An Overview of the Gem Journey
The Gem Journey is based on my theory that ‘we humans’ are composed of eight unique elements or aspects of our lives that need to be understood and mastered.
Each Element is unique and independent, yet totally integrated and working in synergy with the other elements to comprise our identity, the ‘sum of self’, the person we are.
Each Element has the potential to contribute to the sum of self in either a positive OR negative manner. With each Element we are presented with a dilemma: We can either learn to control it or ignore it.
Our whole self is comprised of our Time, Mind, Heart, Behaviour, Self-image, Decisions, Self-awareness and our ‘Dance’.
To achieve Identity each Element of Self must be understood, and the dilemma each Element presents must be brought under personal control.
“The Gem Journey” curriculum provides a step by step process for equipping young people with the knowledge and skills necessary, through storytelling and conversation, to live a healthy lifestyle. Listeners recognise that if they don’t do a thing about controlling these aspects of their lives, they are accepting the inevitable and, by default, submitting to a lifestyle of impulsivity, stress and role confusion.
“The Gem Journey” curriculum teaches the solutions to achieve control over each of these Eight Elements of Self and it is my hypothesis that when all the Elements are understood and brought under personal control, Identity is achieved.
THE EIGHT ELEMENTS OF SELF AND THE DILEMMA EACH PRESENTS
1] Our Time: Either the moments of our life are under our control OR ignored and left uncontrolled and impulsive.
2] Our Mind: Either we control our thoughts OR our thoughts are unmanaged and control us.
3] Our Heart-Emotions: Either our emotions are regulated and in balance OR they are random and out of control.
4] Our Behaviour: Either our actions are guided and under control OR out of control, influenced by emotions and external events.
5] Our Self-Image: Either our self-image is positive OR it is negative.
6] Our Decisions: Either we make good decisions OR we make bad decisions.
7] Our Self-Awareness: Either we understand logical consequences and identify and avoid trouble OR we behave ‘towards’ trouble.
8] Our Dance of Life: Either we build a lifestyle full of meaning and purpose OR live a lifestyle of despair
ORIGINS OF THE GEM JOURNEY CURRICULUM
Early in my career I worked with society’s children at Creative Alternatives. From living with them I saw on a daily basis not only their great potential but also their glaring aberrant behaviour(s). Observing the way the children talked, how they felt, and what they did, highlighted in technicolour the Eight Elements of Self I needed to address. But how could I reach these children who had already experienced multiple therapeutic interventions and were still dysfunctional? The ‘front doors’ of their lives were slammed shut… So I took “The Gem Journey” and went around the house and climbed through the metaphorical ‘bathroom window’.
The storytelling modality captured their imagination, as each lesson addressed the area of their lives that I wanted to remediate. I immediately discovered I could talk to traditionally ‘closed down’ kids on the other side of their attitudes… what a breakthrough. The wonderful storytelling modality broke down the communication barriers allowing cognitive access by addressing their needs with each of these embedded themes. With the storytelling method I was able to metaphorically put their issues ‘on the table’ without resistance, as they listened to learn.
Within the story’s context the Boy enacts for everyone’s benefit the dilemmas of self each of us experience. Within the Story’s context he enacts each dilemma, by first recognising and then learning the necessary skills to achieve control. The Boy’s enactment of each dilemma creates eidetic mind pictures, allowing conversation where the lessons are effortlessly discussed.
SOLUTIONS TO THE EIGHT DILEMMAS OF SELF
Each Element of Self presents a specific dilemma that must be recognised/understood, and then controlled/mastered in order to achieve Identity. The Solutions in this abstract are only a brief description. Each Solution is expounded upon and explained more fully in “The ‘Storytellers’ Guide”.
1] Our Time: With our time the dilemma that must be resolved is control versus impulsivity. Impulsivity can overtake us in an instant and unless we can learn to control that moment we risk falling into negative habits and reactive patterns of behaviour.
The solution is to take Command of the Moment. By applying the steps to commanding the Stand-Alone Moment you are in charge of the instant in time between recognition and response. This is the most important moment in our lives, the moment of taking charge, the moment where decisions are made and anger is mastered.
Steps to Command:
Command the moment by immediately starting to breathe with a purpose*
Continue breathing for clarity and you’ll arrive at keen self-awareness
Breathing answers the moment’s personal question: “What should I do?”
Do what you should do. Even when you don’t feel like it, decide to do it anyway!
Then just Do it!
Note: Once the behavioural construct of commanding the ‘stand-alone moment’ becomes behavioural habit, you take charge of control of your life, and are responsible for your choices and actions. Within this behavioural construct not only do you control the moment, but most importantly, decisions are made based on focused consideration of all the options available.
When you command the Moment you can reliably count on your response being measured and appropriate for the occasion. Once you command your moments you have effectively mastered anger and impulsivity.
These steps, when applied, form an anger management strategy that is 100%
effective 100% of the time. When you command the Moment it is impossible to rage because your metabolism is going in the opposite direction and heading for a solution outcome.
*Breathing with purpose is a mental health skill to master anger, impulsivity and control the moments of your life. It is a strategy to use daily.
2] Our Mind: This Solution has three stages, they are:
Honesty + Forgiveness + Mind Triage = Control
The steps through the stages of Mastery of the Mind are:
Step One is honestly taking the journey to true self where crippling thoughts lurk. You must first identify the thoughts and themes that upset your emotions. All of us have a personal collection of thoughts that consistently upset us. First you honestly identify them as the debilitating thoughts that disturb your thinking.
Step Two is reaching the point of realising that these ‘cripplers’ are destructive to your mental health and must be resolved. True forgiveness is the solution. (Fully explained in “The Storyteller’s Guide”).
Step Three is Mastery of your thoughts by Mind Triage*.
The steps of Mind Triage are: Capture-delete + Block + Reflect
To be in control of your thoughts you must develop the mind-set, ‘This is my life and I’m in charge!’ and it is accomplished by making every thought your captive.
*The Mind Triage skill is a powerful mental health strategy in healthy living. With application, thoughts feelings and actions are under personal control.
3] Your Heart: This Solution is also accomplished through mastering Mind Triage.
Capture-delete + Block + reflect
*Mind Triage also guards your emotions and maintains homeostasis (emotional balance) ‘Let not your Heart be troubled’ is the goal of this solution.
4] Your Behaviour: This solution provides a consistent code to live by.
“The Gem Journey” advocates The Golden Rule*: “Treat others like you like to be treated”. This element’s mastery is self-developed. Again the journey to true self is required to identify how you like to be treated and equally important to consider what you really don’t like from others. These two polar choices form your own unique Golden Rule created from your likes and dislikes, a personal code of conduct. And when you apply your Golden Rule and treat others well you are being a really cool person, soon resulting in many good relationships.
* When the Golden Rule becomes your ‘code of conduct’ (public persona) you have a code of behaviour appropriate for every occasion.
5] Our Self-Image: This solution shows that self-image is not inherited, it is formed by our accomplishments*.
If this hypothesis is accurate then the pathway to good mental health and a positive self-image is developed by learning how to get things done.
Move all your behaviour in line with your Goal + Courage:
*This mastery teaches how to set goals and achieve them by learning the strategies of accomplishment.
6] Our Decisions: This solution shows that choices determine what we do and how we feel.
It is imperative to have a dependable standard for making good decision; ‘The Choice Rule’*.
Do what you should do even if you don’t feel like it, do it anyway!
*The Choice Rule is a reliable standard on which to base your decisions and is an essential mental health strategy for healthy living. Good decisions are positive for self-image, conversely bad decisions are negative for self-image.
7] Our Self-Awareness: This solution requires understanding logical consequences.
Trouble can be avoided by applying: ‘The Cactus Rule’*
At the First hint of trouble:
Command a Stand-alone Moment – Evaluate
Answer the moment’s question – and
Occasionally the answer is to – Haul ass…. (run back to the right track)
*The skill to identify and avoid trouble is an essential mental health lesson in healthy living.
8] Our Dance: This is the way we apply our healthy identity to our life.
It is amazing to realise our life is ours to design! The Ten Tenets* form a helpful personal guide.
When you have mastered the first seven Elements of Self, you have acquired the skill base to design whatever lifestyle you envisage – it’s your life to live. Therefore strive to make your life successful with numerous enjoyable, contrasting activities that combine a balance of work and fun. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Design a lifestyle of purpose, based on accomplishments and contributing to the well-being of others. When this major belief is instilled into your children’s psychology it will have awesome results.
*These tenets for living are spelled out towards the end of the story.
“The Gem Journey” empowers and equips young people to be in charge of their lives, authors of their life book and inspired with the idea that the chapters of their life are going to be exciting and full of adventure. What an adventure their life is going to be! Positive declaration and goal setting is powerful. Helping our young people believe this concept is such a great gift, giving them hope and enthusiasm for their adventure, one that will be so full of zoe.
These dilemmas and some solutions are embedded within the context of “The Gem Journey” story while many of the other solutions are introduced during the post story discussions.
This Curriculum provides a new opportunity to teach our young people the life skills necessary for good mental health. It is time to change the treatment conversation. It’s time to actually start teaching our children how to live.