Remote Control Exercise – A Personal Example
In my last blog post, I introduced a process called the Remote Control Exercise. This exercise was created by an emotional health specialist named Laura Duncan to help people connect with their emotions, identify the root of their triggered reactions, and ultimately to bring comfort and healing to their internal pain. When I was first taught this method, I was skeptical, to put it mildly. This process insulted my left brain dominated and logic-based mind. Learning the science behind this process helped some, but I was still very apprehensive. However, I was hungry for help, so I decided to work with it. A short while later, I found myself in a triggered moment. I followed the first step, which is to PAUSE the trigging event. To do this, one must firstrecognize that they are triggered and not acting rationally. This is a hard step and the most important one. It is the most important simply because it is the first step, and without the recognition of the trigger and corresponding PAUSE, the rest of the process cannot happen. The second step is to connect to what you are feeling, both the big reaction emotions as well as the underlying soft emotions. Behind my strong reaction emotions of anger and feeling overwhelmed, I found the soft emotion of scared. In the third step, you identify what you need from the “10 Gifts” list shared in the last post:
- to be seen
- to be heard
- to know you are enough
- to be accepted
- to be provided for
- to be protected
- to be played with
- to be taught or instructed
- to be valued
In this instance, I was needing to connect with the feeling of being protected. In the fourth step, we connect with compassion. I understand that breaking this process into steps can make it seem formulaic. If we approach it too much as a formula, we will most certainly miss compassion. Without compassion, there can be understanding, but true healing will not take place. Compassion is the healing agent. It is a substance that brings healing to emotional pain, trauma, and unmet need. It heals us emotionally, just like medicine can heal us physically and the wonderful thing about compassion is that it has absolutely no adverse side effects! Learning to find your voice of compassion for yourself is not always easy. In future posts, I will share more on this topic, but for now, I will tell you to focus on speaking to yourself in the same manner that you would speak to a young child that you know and love. In my example, I am feeling scared. I remember one time when my at the time five-year-old daughter and myself, were spending the night at a condo that we rented in a neighboring town while she was attending a special pre-school for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. A bird must have hit our window, and our ADT alarm started going off. My bedroom was upstairs, and hers was downstairs, closer to the alarm. She started screaming in terror, and I jumped out of bed and hurled myself down the steps. I could not get to her fast enough. I wanted to be with her so she could feel safe. So, in this example, I chose to speak to myself in the same way as I did my little girl. I told myself that “I will sit with you until you feel safe.” Talking to yourself in this way can seem a little strange at first. The reality is that talking to yourself is perfectly normal, and you do it all the time already. Studies have shown that we have thousands of thoughts or conversations with ourselves every day. These same studies also show that 80% of what we speak to our hearts is negative. Speaking compassion over our hearts is contrary to what we normally are speaking and that is why it might sound strange at first. I can attest that after using this process for almost two years that speaking compassion to myself is no longer strange!
In this fourth step, I also want to introduce a new concept and that is learning how to get your need met. In my example, what I am needing to feel is the gift of protection. At this point in my process, I prayed and asked for God to reveal to me when I have felt the tangible feeling of being protected. Almost immediately, a picture of my pastor popped into my head. This was a little strange at first, but then I remembered that when I am triggered, I am not operating out of my adult sophisticated brain, but rather my primal or child brain. In the moment of trigger, none of us are acting our age. This can be plainly seen by some of the ridiculous things we do and say in our triggered moments😊! It is not the ADULT me who is NEEDING protection it is the 8-year-old me. It is the little boy who was very tiny for his age, was perhaps more emotional than his peers, and who was often bullied. He needed to feel protected. As my child-self sat with this tangible feeling of being protected, a feeling that my adult self has felt in the presence of my pastor, I felt a tremendous peace come over me. It was then that I knew that this process really works. I had to feel the pain of feeling unprotected, in order to feel the comfort of being protected.
This brings us full circle to the fifth and final step, which is: “How do you feel now?”. My answer is……at peace😊!
This process is not easy, but the joy of discovery makes it worth every ounce of difficulty. In my next post, I will share another example. In the meantime, please practice on your own!!
I have also found this process to be very invigorating for my faith. Experiencing the tangible feeling of being protected makes passages of scripture like Psalm 91 come alive in a whole new way. This process helps your soul come into agreement with what your spirit already knows and believes.