You ever have one of those nagging negative thoughts that won't leave your head? You're trying to write, rehearse, practice, even perform and that one tiny moment keeps repeating over and over, like some crazy cat GIF gone awry. Years ago, or perhaps yesterday, a critic didn't like your latest show, a director gave you a look when you missed a line, an editor commented negatively on your favorite phrase, or, the worst, your mother said she didn't like your newest creation. You replay the words that felt like a dagger, your confidence sinks and your spirit begins to shut down. All of the positive work you had accomplished begins to fade.
Here's what I've been playing with lately. Every time my mind returns to the negative moment, I practice replacing it with a positive one. Like the spontaneous compliment from a respected colleague. Or perhaps the memory of an accomplishment.
I will warn you, this takes time and practice. The first time I experimented with this practice, I found myself working on it for almost a week. But it did stop the negative thought from planting a root in my mind. I'm trying to recall the moment right now and I cannot. Truly. It is quite remarkable.
There's another practice I've been working with. I remind myself that I am the only person on this entire planet who is still experiencing this past moment. Everyone else has moved on, possibly to more joyful moments. I have a choice. I can hang on or I can let go.
Guess which one I choose?