At four o’clock this morning I was meant to be alone, launching limbs wherever I might on my personal 60-inch spread of clean sheets, without encountering any obstacles in my pursuit: I wanted just eight (okay…six) consecutive hours of restful slumber. Instead I was awakened after only four, when, turning over to find my space restricted by several feet (and my body robbed of most of the blanket), I opened my eyes and realized I had company. It turns out I was wrong, four o’clock is not a time you are supposed to be asleep. It is the time when you get together to talk about what dreams you’ve had and how to make them go away.
It started some months ago when the dreamcatcher broke. Now all the worst nightmares have access to Katie’s bedroom window and last night’s dream featured ET the Extraterrestrial. I know: Spooky, right? But she is only ten, she’s never actually seen the movie, and this dream version of ET apparently grabbed her face. I don’t know about you, but that would make me somewhat uncomfortable.
The worst part about bad dreams is that once you wake up, they’re still there, hovering in some part of your brain that taunts you with a ghostly memory. If you would like to get back to sleep anytime soon you have to figure out how to get those nasty images to go away. Since I have some experience with finding solutions for negativity, I quickly made the connection between this problem and the search for useful positive affirmations.
Katie herself had the issue partly figured out: “When I think, ‘Don’t think about it, don’t think about it’ it doesn’t work!” she exclaimed in frustration. She’s right, of course, and when I told her it’s because she’s repeating “…think about it, …think about it,” she giggled, knowing it’s true.
So we set about coming up with a good affirmation to help her get rid of ET. “You need words that accentuate the positive, like ‘I only think good thoughts’ or ‘Good things make me feel good’ or something like that,” I told her.
“What about, ‘I feel better when I think good thoughts’ ?” she suggested, then added, rightfully, “…though, that’s kind of long….”
I tried it out. “I feel better when I think good thoughts, I feel better when I think good thoughts…. It sounds a bit like, ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Follow the Yellow Brick Road’!” and we giggled some more.
In the end, we decided that reciting “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” will clear your head of negative thoughts just as well as anything else: it keeps your brain busy and keeps positive images flowing.
We dozed off then and slept right through the alarm. So, I was late this morning, but I was okay, because I hummed “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” all the way to work.