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The Dream of Dreams

The following is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, “Winning at Life:”

The Dream of Dreams

I believe that one can describe the journey through one’s business and personal life as playing a series of winnable games worth playing. One of my mentors, Coachville’s Dave Buck says there are 3 types of people; people who are playing winnable games that are worth playing, meaning that they are engaged in life’s activities that are either where their passion are or where they really want to be or better yet both, AND they are winnable games, Without both elements, they fall into the second category of folks who in the long run will never achieve the level of happiness and satisfaction of the first group.

This group is either doing what they want to do but the game is not winnable or the opposite they are playing a very winnable (meaning  achievable)  game ( their job, profession, life)  but it is not their winnable game.

An example of the first type would be a person who has aspired to be a world-class pianist but just doesn’t have the chops, the talent to achieve that goal.  An example of the latter type would be someone who always wanted to be a jazz pianist but was pressured by his parents to become a medical doctor. He became a renowned surgeon but he was very unhappy. When he once again took up jazz piano along with being a surgeon, his life felt totally fulfilled.

The third group are those people who are neither playing winnable games nor do they have a clue as to what is worthwhile playing.  These folks just wondering aimlessly through life in job after job, only temporarily happy at what they are doing and not having a clue as to where they are or why they are there. All they know is that this is another less than happy situation in their lives.

For this last group they are like the poor little lamb that has lost his way, of nursery fame.  They are either those who started out in life with an idea of what they wanted to do, but they all did not do anything to keep that vision or dream alive or they really haven’t a clue and just muddle on through life aimlessly. For those who really do not have any idea of what are their interests or passions, consulting with a career coach that specializes in assisting people to discover their passions and/or aptitudes would be a good first step.

Just knowing where one’s passions are and what kind of life’s work would be most satisfying or fulfilling, is not enough to ensure that in the long run those goals will be achieved. The missing element is what I call, “The Dream of Dreams.” The Dream of Dreams is a visualization of what life would look like if his or her fondest, most passionate aspirations are happening right now. The Dream of Dreams is like the automatic pilot in an aircraft.  The autopilot is an instrument that once it knows the destination of the plane will keep the plane on course even when the wind keeps attempting to blow it off course.  Autopilots cannot do their work if they do not have specific destinations entered into the system. If an airline pilot was heading to Hawaii from Los Angeles and the pilot gave the autopilot the destination of “West” rather than the exact coordinates of Honolulu Airport, everyone will get very wet when the plane misses the island and runs out of fuel. That is exactly what happened to those folks who did not continually work on their Dream of Dreams.

When the inner mind, which computes visually, gets a clear picture of where the person wants to go to it will automatically keep him or her on track. The best way to program the inner mind is through visualization. The following is the visualization process. Please keep in mind that this is a practice, not just a one-time thing. Machines like autopilot in planes only require a onetime setting for them to work. Our inner minds need continual visual suggestions for them to finally get that this is a new program for doing things, a new destination. When it does, they will do whatever it is forever. This is why habits are so very hard to get rid of.

All suggestions and imagery must be in the positive, meaning that the inner mind drops the word, “not” out of the suggestion so, “I am not afraid,” gets heard as, “ I am afraid.” “I’m feeling very confident,” works much better. All imagery must be in the present tense as if it is happening now. It is a strange construction but the effective form would be, “In 10 years, I am doing….” not “will be doing ……”

So what is The Dream of Dreams? The Dream of Dreams is that dream that, assuming you have all the education you would ever need, all the finances, all the breaks and all the experience, in other words every resource you would ever need, would be exactly where you would ultimately like to be ending up in your life. The dream incidentally, is always under construction. The most important part is that for it to produce the intended results, dreaming it must become a part of one’s daily practice.

There was a period in my life when I realized that I was stagnating and not liking what I was doing, work-wise. I started depressing myself a bit, because it was not the me that I was used to.  I started an exploration of why that was happening and discovered that because I had actually achieved and had been living my original Dream of Dream, I had neglected to revise it to include my new goals and life’s desires. So my inner mind no longer had a destination and it shut down the creative process and therefore I was in the doldrums.

When I take clients through this exercise of forming and imaging The Dream of Dreams, I would usually say, “Close your eyes and go inside for a while. Imagine and picture that I have a magic wand and when I tap you on the shoulder, you will be transported to a time in your future when you are in your perfect life. You are doing the things you always most wanted to do and living the life you always wanted to live. You have all the resources and abilities you will ever need to be living the ultimate life. So now picture and imagine that if you were open your eyes, you would be in that ultimate life. Look around now. What do you see you doing?  What is your occupation? Where are you living? Who are your friends and associates? Now look closer and engage all your senses. If you are at work where are you? If you see yourself as a renowned professor, what does your office look like, what degrees and letters of appreciation are on your wall? What are people telling you and writing about you? If you are a famous actor, picture yourself in the ultimate role in the movies or play of your fondest dreams. What do your surroundings smell like? Who are your co-stars? Notice the rave reviews of your performances hanging on your dressing-room walls. How does that feel? What are you telling yourself about all this success? Picture yourself being interviewed by the TV interviewer who only interviews major celebs. How great does that feel?

If you regularly practice dreaming this Dream of Dreams, always revising it to reflect your current aspirations, it is almost guaranteed that you will someday realize that you were once dreamed of being. That is because your inner mind, once it grabs that this as the destination it is supposed to be moving towards, will automatically get you to make the responsible choices you need to make to keep you on track. The beauty of this technique is that it is a willpower-less solution! Willpower is an outer mind trying to override an inner mind program, an utterly useless effort that usually leads to frustration and failure. Because The Dream of Dreams usually updates that vision directly into your inner mind through visualization, a language it understands the need to override or try to override its programming is avoided.

One last requirement about visualizing the contents of your dream, it has to be absolutely positive, totally devoid of any downsides or negativity or less than exquisite performance. Job in the Bible, said,” What I fear the most is upon me!”  I say that what you imagine tends to be realized. If you imagine Doom and Gloom, as Jog did, that’s what you get! It is okay to include how well you adapt to changing conditions or bits of adversity or how each performance Is better than the last. You just have to be vigilant to keep doubts and uncertainties from entering The Dream of Dreams. Remember, that all the prerequisites and conditions are more than favorable to insure the total success of your The Dream of Dreams.

©2015, Jason Wittman, M.P.S., LAADC, CATC-IV

[Permission to reproduce this article is granted as long as this notice and the “About the Author and the copyright information are included.]

*About The Author*
 Jason Wittman, M.P.S., LAADC, CATC-IV (aka Successful People’s Secret Weapon) has been in private practice as a Counselor and Coach for over 40 years. His practice, http://Stage2Recovery.com focuses on coaching and advising business and professional clients, who are recovering from alcoholism and addictions, to work and live at their exquisite best. He has his master’s degree from Cornell University in counseling-psychology and is certified as a drug & alcohol counselor, a clinical hypnotherapist and a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). 
He can be contacted at jason@stage2recovery.com or 213-804-4408

Writing For Your Life

Writing for Your Life

Many years ago, 24 to be exact, I had an experience that was very influential. I had a 12 step sponsor at the time who, every time I would present some subject I wanted to discuss and get his advice would ask me, “Did you write about that yet?” My answer, because I didn’t write about anything, was always, “No, I just want to talk to you about it.” Well, one day I visited him and that discussion took place but instead of relenting and engaging in a discussion, he said, “You know what? I am not going to discuss this with you until you have written about it!”

No matter how much I pleaded, he was adamant. I got real upset, stormed out of his house, went to the local supermarket and bought a 5″x7″ spiral notebook and a ballpoint pen. I went home and wrote because I really wanted his advice.

After I wrote a page of “screw you’s”, “how dare he not talk!” and the like, I settled down to write out my original problem about which I was concerned. Lo and behold, when I was finished writing about the problem, the solution popped into my head and I didn’t have to talk to him about it after all.

Little did I know when I was storming out of his house that he had just given me his best advice. I have been writing every night before I go to bed ever since.

Many years later, I took a workshop series on “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron, a seminal work for people interested in improving their creativity. Her first suggested practice is called “Morning Pages.” The assignment is quite simple, write three full-size notebook pages every morning with train-of-thought writing. That is allowing the hand to write what the brain is thinking without editing. Because I had already been writing at night for many years, I quickly embraced this practice. My fellow workshop mates really struggled with this assignment. They reported that it took them hours to finish three pages. That seemed very strange to me because I whipped them out in 45 minutes. After questioning them about how they were writing and comparing that to what I was doing, I got a grasp of the difference. That difference is the key to writing Morning Pages.

Because my Evening Writing was all about dumping my feelings, frustrations, and joys of the day onto the pages, there was no reason to be creative and so I got in the habit of continuous writing until there was nothing more to write about. Along the way, I had established rules for myself concerning this writing. I did not erase or correct anything including misspellings. If it was an obviously poor choice of words, I put a line through it and continued on. The mission was to get it all on paper quickly and go to sleep.

When I started doing Morning Pages, I approached that writing the same way. My fellows were trying to craft a literary work of art, even though the author warned them not to, so they labored over every word and phrase. No wonder it took them so long! So the takeaway from this story is that when doing Morning Pages, once the pen starts writing it does not stop moving until all three pages are done! Period! If I run out of thoughts then I will describe the comfort of the pen and how smoothly the ink is flowing (I have now graduated to gel pens!), just write gibberish, or curse me out for ever committing to this exercise, but through all of that, the pen does not stop.

This is an important part of doing the exercise. To understand why, we need to remember how the inner and outer minds function. Sometimes the outer mind is called the left brain or logical mind, and the inner mind the right brain , or creative one. I like the simplicity of using inner and outer minds. All creativity and exquisite action comes from the inner mind. The outer mind, when it is not busy guarding and protecting all the inner mind’s operating programs, acts as the editor of all actions. It is the part that worries about what other people will think, if things make sense and if the spelling is correct. It operates in real time, meaning very slowly.

The inner mind computes at the speed of thought, a gazillion times faster than the outer mind. Any time a person is operating at their exquisite best, like a champion basketball player at the top of his game, you can bet that his outer mind is not engaged and he is operating exclusively from his inner mind.

The same goes for writing and other creative arts. The purpose of keeping the pen moving is that it is moving faster than the outer mind can keep up with, so eventually, it stops trying to and gets out of the way. At that point, pure thought and action start spilling out of the creative inner mind and onto the paper. What you are currently reading was produced exactly in this manner. Because I have been doing this practice for years, all I have to do is start writing and I am immediately in that flow of creativity.

I find that my Evening Writing and my Morning Pages are a great pair of practices. Before I go to sleep, I write my Evening Writing, in bed (use a ball-point pen, so if you fall asleep with the pen in your hand it won’t drain into your sheets). That writing allows me to clear my mind of all the accumulated feelings and noise of the day. Once it is written, that infernal loop of self-talk ceases and I can get to sleep. If I have written about a problem, by morning I usually have a solution. Because my mind is clear, I get a good night’s sleep so I wake refreshed and eager to see just what my inner creative mind will produce in my Morning Pages. Just like washing and showering wakes the body up, Morning Pages wakes the mind up. If you are not looking to be a writer, this exercise is still useful because it gets all the creative juices flowing and sets one up for a marvelous day!

©2012, rev. 2018, Jason Wittman, MPS, LAADC, CATC-IV

[Permission to reproduce this article is granted as long as this notice and the “About the Author and the copyright information is included.]

*About The Author*
Jason Wittman, M.P.S. has his masters degree in counseling and psychology from Cornell University. He has over forty years of counseling experience and is certified as a clinical hypnotherapist and as a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. He is currently in private practice as a Certified Addictions Counselor and Mentor Coach. As a Certified Level IV Addictions Counselor, he assists people to figure out all the “getting on living skills” that they either neglected or never learned, do to their continued use of drugs, alcohol and other addictions. He can be contacted at http://stage2recovery.com or jason@s4autom.com

Why People Buy Expensive Programs and Don’t Use Them

In the following video, Tony Robbins interviews two very successful internet marketers who are baffled by the number of people who buy their high-end courses and do not use them. Tony is right on with his explanation of their lack of following through. When Tony talks about negative belief systems and lack of certainty those are all products of low self-esteem. If that is you and would like to work on your inner mind so that you can easily follow through, contact me. I have guided hundreds of clients through the journey to great self-esteem. To aid in that process, I have put together a guide to enhancing self-esteem that includes many winning techniques that have worked for me and my clients. You can read that on this website at the Esteem Building Techniques page.

The Stop! Technique to effectively interrupting negative self-talk

The Stop! Technique

There’s a wonderful technique for effectively interrupting negative self-talk and getting you back on a positive track. As with most techniques and methods I write about this is one I use for myself. Before I describe the “Stop Technique,” itself, I need to set the stage, so to speak, by explaining what is going on in the mind when negative self-talk is incessantly occurring.

Although I am sure that brain scientists would not be able to find in their research what I am about to describe, I find this is a useful way to explain what is going on in our minds when negative thoughts abound. The mind operates like a committee of parts (or voices.) Each part has specific tasks that it is responsible for. Some of the prime players are the creative part, that invents new ways of doing things and the protective part, that wants to make sure that the person will remain OK and will do whatever it thinks is necessary to protest the being t keep it safe. It is this latter one that sometimes, in an effort to ensure that we remain OK will go to extremes. I view all the parts as benevolent in that they are doing what they do because they think they are acting in our best self-interests. Sometimes though, the methods they adopt and utilize to achieve their goals are lousy ones.

For instance, the part that keeps folks smoking cigarettes actually has good intentions. It wants the smoker to be at ease while being alert as well as giving him something to do with his hands in uncomfortable social situations. Cigarettes do all of those things but unfortunately, the smoker gets slowly destroyed in the process. Good intention – lousy choice of method.

The same is true for that part that keeps generating negative self-talk and paranoid thoughts. Its good intention is to protect the person against doing or thinking anything that might lead to failure or disappointment. A lousy method though because it causes inaction or over-cautiousness which can produce that ultimate failure that it wanted to prevent.

With this in mind, here is the “Stop Technique.”  When I become aware that that part of the mind is engaged in incessant negative self-talk or conjuring up doomsday scenarios about current activities, potential partners or current projects, I engage the three-part “Stop Technique.”

The first thing I do is, either out loud or to myself if there are others present,  to say, forcefully, “STOP!” I say it in the same voice as if I wanted to command a child who keeps nagging and nagging me to do something for him to the point that I am ready to do grave bodily damage, to shut up. As I say “STOP!” I take my hand, palm-forward and push it out and down (towards the little demon). I say and do this with enough force and positive intention that it will get the child, or in our case, the mind, to stop making noise at least for the moment.

Step two is to use this period of silence to take a deep breath and go inside and talk to that part of the mind that is generating the negativity. Acknowledge and thank it for its good intention and let it know that you received and considered its messages. Then invite the part to quietly observe how your new ways of doing things are working out, letting it know that it could always, in the future point out impending problems, but at this point, just observing without comment would be appreciated.

The final step in this process is to say to yourself, “Now where was I?” which will bring you and your attention back to whatever footwork you were doing before the negative thoughts or voices interrupted that process.

This may work for you that first time through. The chances are, though, it might take repeated efforts before the inner mind understands that you will no longer be sidetracked by negative thoughts.

©2018, Jason Wittman, MPS, CATC-IV, ILAADC

[Permission to reproduce this article is granted as long as this notice and the “About the Author and the copyright information is included.]

*About The Author*
Jason Wittman, M.P.S. has his masters degree in counseling and psychology from Cornell University. He has over forty years of counseling experience and is certified as a clinical hypnotherapist and as a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. He is currently in private practice as a Confidential Consultant and Mentor Coach. As a Certified Level IV Addictions Counselor, he assists people to figure out all the “getting on living skills” that they either neglected or never learned, do to their continued use of drugs, alcohol and other addictions. He can be contacted at http://stage2recovery.com or jason@s4autom.com

A Common Sense Proposal for Preventing “Revenge” & “Pay-Back Time” School Shootings 

A Common Sense Proposal for Preventing “Revenge” & “Pay-Back Time” School Shootings

~Comments on the causes of school shootings and a call for zero tolerance for Teasing, Taunting, Ridicule and Bullying (TTRB) and the teaching of self-esteem.~

By Jason Wittman, MPS, LAADC, CATC-IV

I originally wrote this article, just after the Santana High School shooting in Santee, CA in March 2001. I thought then and still do that the press concentrating on “guns in schools” and “bullying” stories are talking about symptoms (guns) and only part of the problem (bullying). There has been many years and numerous school shootings since the shootings at Columbine High School and now after another and far worse shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School there is yet another one at Santa Fe High School in Texas. While I am absolutely for getting AR-15s and their like off the market and in no way do I want to detract attention from the Douglas’ student’s wonderful campaign, without also making the significant changes I outline here, it doesn’t seem like much has changed to change the chances of future catastrophes. It is the same old speculative explanations and remedies that have not worked to date. Once again, I offer my suggestions that are based on a lifetime of successfully working with marginalized kids. Please take note:

When 15-year-old Andy Williams opened fire on the students of Santana High School in Santee, CA, on Monday, March 6, 2007, he fulfilled the hidden desires of, and became an instant hero to, millions of school kids across the country, as did Eric and Dylan, the Columbine High shooters, before him.  If this statement horrifies you, please read on.

By all the newspaper and TV accounts, Andy was a marginal, ridiculed, picked on, quite passive, “disaffected and unhappy boy, frequently taunted by his peers.” He was called “country boy” and the king of all taunts, “gay.” His classmates described him as “a twerp, skinny, and very quiet.” He laughed off verbal and even physical abuse and never fought back. He was beginning to drink and use drugs to fit in with the crowd. This is much the same profile as the other kids who shot up their schools. It is also the profile of millions of other school kids. Sure, most of them would never do what he did. Fear of the consequences and moral, religious and ethical convictions would have mitigated such a solution. They would just continue to suffer in silence. But to most of them, even to their own horror, the thought, accompanied by a slight smile, of “Pay-back Time!” might have crossed their minds.

In the Columbine High shootings, the press reported at the time that student said the shooters, Eric and Dylan, were continually harassed because of the perception that they were gay. They were regularly called “faggots.” I was able to confirm that they were, in fact, under continual pressure for being gay in a conversation with a gay youth in Denver who knew them.

Today, as for the last 45+ years, I work with teens and young adults, many of whom fit this profile. Probably why I relate so well with them is that at their age I, too, fit that profile. I was a scrawny, twerp, teased about big ears, large feet and being too smart. I would have probably been labeled “gay” if the word had been in use then. I laughed off their taunts and never fought back, per my Mother’s instructions. Fortunately, I found the protective shelter of the high school drama club and its caring teacher/advisor and by spending lots of time with adults.

The part of my high school experience and how I coped with it, that is most germane to this discussion is that, on many a night, I can remember going to sleep while fantasizing the torture and destruction of my tormentors. Fortunate for me and them, the social controls on kids growing up in the late 1950’s, the total lack of support and role models for such action, no guns in our household and my own lack of confidence to even pull off a decent suicide made turning that fantasy into a reality an impossibility. Today, though, kids with these feelings and fantasies have the means, the role models, the support from some of the darker parts of pop culture, and either active or tacit support of their peers. This is why an immediate preventative action plan is needed.

Addressing bullying is not enough. Bullying’s three cousins in harassment; Teasing, Taunting, and Ridicule, are different enough and just as much of a problem to the victims to be worthy of addressing on their own right. Ridicule, incidentally, is what teachers do. When I was in high school, it was usually the gym teachers. When teachers ridicule students it presents a negative role model and gives tacit permission for students to continue to engage in teasing, ridicule, taunting and bullying (TTRB).

After these school shootings, the question is always why did the shooters randomly kill innocent bystanders, people that were not their tormentors? The reason is that because many or most of the bystanders by laughing at them being harassed, were no longer viewed as “innocent” but rather as accessories. The victim no longer is focusing on just the perpetrators of the teasing, taunting and bullying,  but also those who supported the harassment by laughing or not intervening. At that point, the victim’s internal dialog goes from “Billy (or Johnny or the ridiculing teacher) won’t leave me alone!” to “They won’t leave me alone!” and everyone becomes a target for retribution.

Since the shootings in Santee, the usual suggestions for preventing another such tragedy have been offered in the media. As usual, they miss the mark now as they have in the past. The Santee school system had in place all of the most up to date solutions, they had an anti-violence program, adult monitors, all sorts of contingency plans, the works. Obviously, it wasn’t enough. So what will work? I have two suggestions based on over 35 years of working with teenagers. The first one is easy to implement. The second is a long-term solution that will not only deal with this issue but will most probably greatly reduce teen use of alcohol and drugs.

Suggestion #1 is to institute in every school, starting with pre-school, a policy of zero tolerance for teasing, taunting, ridicule and bullying (TTRB). In the adult workplace, today, a slightly off-color or sexual remark can legally be the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit. However, on school campuses teasing is dealt with, if it is dealt with at all, by attempts at fortifying the coping skills of the victim. I have no quarrel with those efforts and my second suggestion is probably the most effective way to do that, but they are secondary to stopping the aggression, period! “Boys will be boys” will no longer do. Kids can get kicked out of school under the zero gun policy just for pointing their finger like it is a gun at another student. Schools need to be at least as strict in dealing with those who verbally assault their fellow students. Principals, school officials, teachers, other responsible adults and fellow students that tolerate any degree of teasing, taunting and harassment or who join in or initiate the ridicule of a student must be held accountable. Zero tolerance for teasing, ridicule, taunting and bullying (TTRB) AND the failure to report or stop such activities, must become the enforced norm in all schools.

When the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in Orange County, Calif. became the first school system to modify its zero-tolerance policy, they defined such harassment as “any gestures, comments, threats or actions…which cause or threaten to cause…bodily harm or personal degradation.” Strict adoption of this kind of policy, nationwide, will go a long way to eliminating most campus violence including playground fistfights.

Suggestion #2 is to teach self-esteem and self-love to all students starting in pre-school. My experience working with teenagers over the years has lead me to believe that lack of self-esteem and love is the root cause of most, if not all, of student problems including, under-achieving, substance abuse and addictions, acting out behaviors and especially campus violence. The bully, taunter and teaser does so in an effort to compensate for and to fix an emptiness inside by putting someone else down. People who love themselves have no need to oppress others. Kids, who do love themselves, have more resilience to the negativity of their peers. They also are less likely to get caught up in abusive relationships and will be more likely to seek out as partners, those who also have an excess of self-love to share.

How to teach self-esteem and love is the subject of many books and articles, including this one from me. There is, though, a very effective, ultra-simple and best of all, no-cost solution for teaching self-esteem and self-love. Everyone that I have ever taught this to, from preschoolers to adults, has experienced huge improvements. This is one thing that assisted me the most build my self-esteem and love. Here is the description of how to teach it, followed by why I believe it is so effective:

“From now on, every time you see your reflection in a mirror, you MUST smile AND say one nice thing about yourself. This nice thing is something you already know that is good about you. It can be a physical thing, but even better if it is an internal goodness, like being considerate or sharp-witted. It is not an affirmation, which is something you would like to believe about yourself and say repetitiously until, hopefully, it sinks in. The other part of this exercise is that if you use the mirror to beat yourself up, you must say two nice things for every nasty one!

This exercise works because it develops a new habit of saying nice things to oneself, which automatically leads to self-love. Most people with low self-love and esteem have a well-developed habit of beating themselves up verbally (and sometimes physically). Perfectionists are the masters of this because they will always perform below their expectations. When this new habit of smiling and saying nice things to oneself replaces the old self-deprecating one, a new person emerges. A side benefit is that one can’t smile and feel down at the same time, so these periodic, face-induced smiles can help break a downward emotional slide.

An important side benefit of the zero-tolerance policy for teasing, taunting, ridicule and bullying is a climate that is conducive to building self-esteem and self-love. This will be especially true if the policy includes the school staff. Public ridicule from teachers both sets a bad example and destroys the recipient’s self-esteem.

Now is one of those windows of opportunities when school districts can really do something that will positively affect the quality of life on their school campuses. Immediately adopting my zero tolerance suggestion will so drastically change the campus atmosphere that the need for the picked-upons to engage in any form of retribution or “Pay-Back Time” will be virtually eliminated. Quick implementation of these suggestions will ensure that no more lives are needlessly lost.

©2001/ rev. 2018, Jason Wittman, MP:S

[Permission to reproduce this article is granted as long as this notice and the “About the Author and the copyright information are included.]

*About The Author*

Jason Wittman, MPS has worked extensively with at-risk teens and young adults for over 40 years. He has founded and run youth counseling programs and residential addiction treatment programs. Currently, he has a Counseling and Coaching private practice. His practice, http://Stage2Recovery.com focuses on coaching and advising business and professional clients, who are recovering from alcoholism and addictions, to work and live at their exquisite best.

He has his master’s degree from Cornell University in counseling-psychology and is certified as a drug & alcohol counselor, a clinical hypnotherapist and a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). He is the published author of “The Street Shrink Chronicles” and the forthcoming, “Winning at Life.

He can be contacted at jason@stage2recovery.com or 213-804-4408

Tagged: #adolescence  • #adolescents • #Boy Code  • #bullying • #Dr. William Pollack  • #family • #Parenting • #parenting skills  • #parenting teens • #parents • #parents of teens  • #Ridicule & Bullying • #school shootings • #Taunting  • #Teasing • #teenage boys • #Education • #Shared responsibility  • #Better future

 

[Permission to reproduce this article is granted as long as this notice and the “About the Author and the copyright information are included.]

*About The Author*

Jason Wittman, MPS has worked extensively with at-risk teens and young adults for over 40 years. He has founded and run youth counseling programs and residential addiction treatment programs. Currently, he has a Counseling and Coaching private practice. His practice, http://Stage2Recovery.com focuses on coaching and advising business and professional clients, who are recovering from alcoholism and addictions, to work and live at their exquisite best.

He has his master’s degree from Cornell University in counseling-psychology and is certified as a drug & alcohol counselor, a clinical hypnotherapist and a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). He is the published author of “The Street Shrink Chronicles” and the forthcoming, “Winning at Life.

He can be contacted at jason@stage2recovery.com or 213-804-4408

 

Tagged: #adolescence  •  #adolescents  •  #Boy Code  •  #bullying  •  #Dr. William Pollack  •  #family  •  #Parenting  •  #parenting skills  •  #parenting teens  •  #parents  •  #parents of teens  •  #Ridicule & Bullying  •  #school shootings  •  #Taunting  •  #Teasing  •  #teenage boys  •  #Education  •  #Shared responsibility  •  #Better future

The Benefits of Personal Writing

The Benefits of Personal Writing

I was dragged into doing personal writing kicking and screaming
all the way. Many years ago, I had a mentor with whom I would
meet to talk about what was going on in my life. He was someone
that I called upon to assist me to sort out my current concerns.
When I would pose a problem I was having to him, he would
usually reply by asking me if I had written about the problem.
My reply would be no and I just wanted to talk to him about it.
This became the regular verbal dance we did every time we spoke,
until one day when he answered my question with, “I’ll tell you
what, I am not going to discuss this with you until you go home
and write about it!” No amount of protestations would get him to
budge. I was more than quite peeved, to say the least,
(actually, since this is the PG version, I can only say the least).

On the way home, I stopped at my neighborhood stationery store
and bought one of those 6×9 spiral notebooks and a ballpoint
pen and, still fuming, wrote out my problem. For
some reason, once I wrote out the problem the solution became
quite obvious. He was right; the first step to problem-solving
is writing it out. I have been writing ever since. Twenty years
and many filled notebooks later, I still have a spiral notebook
with a pen sitting in the spiral, tucked into my mattress so I
can write in it, in bed, before I retire every night.

I journal the events of the day, my feelings about those events
and my feelings at that moment about me and the other cast
members in that play called “my life.” It is a real taking stock
type of exercise. It is an automatic writing exercise. What my
mind is thinking my hand is writing. My conscious mind is an
idle observer of this process. Spelling and grammar are of
little importance. I do not erase or blot out anything. If
something needs correcting because it was the wrong word it gets
a single line through it and the pen moves on. Since I started
doing this type of writing, I have found that I get to sleep
faster because my mind no longer replays the day and my
feelings, over and over again. For some reason, once it goes
down on the paper, my mind can let go of the thought. Also, I
notice that if I wrote down some problem that was of concern to
me, I usually wake up with the answer. Doing this writing on a
daily basis keeps me constantly in touch with my progress on the
projects I am doing, allows me to fine tune the game plans to
make winning more of a possibility and keeps me in touch with
feelings so that there is less chance that my judgment will be
clouded by them. My strong suggestion would be to put doing
nightly writing high on your “to do” list.

Years ago, I participated in a workshop that
followed the suggestions of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
The book’s first suggestion is to write three, full-sized
notebook pages first thing every morning. She calls this “the
Morning Pages.” It is also a train-of-thought, automatic writing
exercise. The difference between this one and my night time
writing is that this is not intended to be a journal. It has no
parameters and no boundaries. It is a vehicle for creativity to
abound. It can be anything the mind wants to produce; writing,
poetry, drawing, whatever. Only three caveats are that it must be
three pages, it ought to be the first activity of the day and written
automatic writing style (which is my addition to Julia’s Morning
Papers prescription).

Automatic writing style means that once the writing starts the pen
must keep writing until the three pages are completed. The
difference between this writing and the evening writing is that with
the evening writing the pen is automatically recording the current,
conscious thoughts that are endlessly looping around the brain.
With this writing, the object is to get beyond the conscious thoughts
and allow pure thought and knowledge to pour out of the inner mind.

The outer (conscious) mind wants to edit, make perfect and is not
very creative. It also is fairly slow, so by writing continuously until the
three pages are finished, even if what is being written is nonsense
such as talking about the weather, describing how wonderfully the
ink is flowing out of the pen or cursing me for introducing you to this
exercise, you will eventually exceed the ability of the outer mind to
keep up. At that point, it will get out of the way and let pure creative
thought pour out of the inner mind and onto the paper. Having done
this exercise for a long time, this is how all my writing, including this
writing, is done. My outer, editing, mind is trained to get out of the
way from the moment I start writing. It knows that it will have an
opportunity to review the writing later on, so it is content to a
assume the silent observer

I am finding that when I am finished writing my mind is fully engaged
and I am totally ready to take on the rest of the day. Prior to
doing these Morning Papers, it was maybe noon before my mind was
up to speed. Quite a difference! This writing requires more
preplanning of schedules than the night writing because it takes
me about an hour in the morning. I am now going to bed an hour
earlier so that I can do the writing without pushing my day an
hour back. That is a total revolution for this former night
person which in itself is a testament to the benefits of writing
the Morning Papers. By the way, both this article and the
Communications Skill article flowed out of my pen and onto the
“Morning Pages,” an effortless and highly creative way of
writing. Write On!

©2007, rev. 2018, Jason Wittman

[Permission to reproduce this article is granted as long
 as this notice and the "About the Author and the copyright 
information are included.]


*About The Author*
 Jason Wittman, M.P.S. (aka Successful People’s Secret Weapon) 
has been in private practice as a Counselor and Coach for over 
40 years. His practice, http://Stage2Recovery.com 
focuses on coaching and advising business and professional clients, 
who are recovering from alcoholism and addictions, to work and live 
at their exquisite best. He has his master’s degree from Cornell 
University in counseling-psychology and is certified as a drug & 
alcohol counselor, a clinical hypnotherapist and a practitioner of 
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). 

He can be contacted at jason@stage2recovery.com or 213-804-4408