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Cook Up a New YOU!


Marilyn Schoeman Dow



How about, just as an experiment, re-inventing yourself. Create yourself anew. Savor and celebrate all the wondrous elements you've been growing yourself with over the years. Consider what you might like to add, tweak or omit. You may discover you allowed parts into your self that, upon examination you figure, hey, I don't really want that anymore. Actually, maybe I never wanted it. I didn't think about it. I just let it be a piece of me.

How do you choose which parts to keep in the re-created you and which to leave out? One way is to weigh them on the Green Light/Red Light scale. In general, Green Light® is the good stuff. Red Light is the other stuff.

For example, if you want to bake a great cake, you consider what you know about ingredients and remember chocolate, flour, sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla bean extract are good things to include. Onions, ammonia, motor oil, soap and sand won't be gathered for the batter.

Likewise, in creating an even greater new YOU, you probably want some of your favorite personal ingredients, like your passion and compassion, your creativity, sense of humor and your ability to successfully complete significant projects. You might also sprinkle in your strengths, interests, achievements, relationships, goals, dreams and aspirations - those hearty elements that renew your Self. I call these Green Light® ingredients.

What color is your style?
How do you think, speak, ACT?
  Red Light Green Light®
  What you resist What you prefer
  Focus: Obstacle Focus: Objective
  Attention: OFF goal Attention: ON goal
  Intention: to NOT get goal Intention: to get GOALl

Old insults, grudges, arguments, embarrassments, failures and feuds won't make it to the pot of possibilities when cookin' up the new You. Sarcasm, putdowns, belligerence, dishonesty, selfishness and cruelty don't show up in the mix either. They appear in the pity party recipe (with more pity than party.) These are Red Light ingredients

  Green Light: Life is a bowl of cherries.
  Red Light: Life is a pile of pits.

We can't change our history. We can change our view of it. We can't rebirth ourselves by picking new parents and a new childhood. We can, every day, rebirth ourselves by picking new viewpoints. They can range from dark Red to bright Green. It's a bit Red to expect to be Green all the time - yet it's a good target to aim for. Practice the skill of Green Light and watch your life get Greener.

  Count your blessings.
  Red Light - I don't have ONE!
  Green Light - 101, 102, 103...

Often, the world gets painted Red. For example, check out the weather reports. One day it's sunny half of the time, cloudy half of the time, with five minutes of rain - in one area. What's the report? "It rained." Rain is often considered Red. Red gets reported. A day ninety-five per cent Green gets reported as one hundred per cent Red. So make your own weather report. It's an interpretation anyway, so have at it. You want a Green day - rain or shine, just tune in to your Green weather report!


What color do you focus on?
Green Light® Red Light
Magnify the good stuff. Magnify the bad stuff.
Minify the bad stuff. Minify the good stuff
What you have What you don't have
What you want What you don't want
What you want more of What you want less of
What makes you smile What makes you scowl
What makesyou excited What makes you angry

Create a Green Light life. Consider it a game: how Green can you be? How quickly can you catch yourself when you tilt toward Red? How fast can you shift back to Green? How long can you maintain the shift? Just playing around with these questions lightens your spirit and makes it easier to Green up your viewpoint. With apologies to Dr. Seuss, go get some Green eggs - and ham it up. Take a swig of Green bean extract, then playfully, artfully, create your new role. Act the part of a Green being. The world needs more Green beings!

Take the Green Light game a step further and view a situation as a stage production. Your life is the play. The current scene is being written. What role do you want to play? What role do you not want to play? How will you choose to play it in various situations, with various characters? Pick a scene from your recent past that didn't go the way you wanted, where you didn't handle it the way you prefer. Replay it in your mind. Rewrite the script the way you like, then Green up your role in the next performance.

  Who is your Chief Life Officer -   Red Light: Why I can't...
  your CLO? You are!   Green Light®: How I can...

When you see life as a game, you can step back a bit. You see the things you missed when the focus was on how others disappointed you, ignored you, treated you unfairly. (Insert whatever Red Light stuff is in your life.)

To keep the game going in your favor, when you find yourself in a challenging situation, ask yourself three questions,


  1. How does it look from a Green Light® viewpoint?
  2. How does it look from a Red Light viewpoint?
  3. How do I want to see it?

Then decide to see the view you chose. Make a conscious choice instead of auto-piloting through life. That helps free you from being locked in old patterns and beliefs - and seeing Red.

  Green Light® unlocks creativity.
  Red Light blocks creativity.

When you feel yourself slipping back into Red Light modes, commend yourself for noticing, then just repeat the process. Ask the questions, choose the view. You'll soon recognize the Red earlier in the game and shift more quickly and easily.

  Handle the Red Stuff Greenly.
  Who makes you grin? Who makes you frown?
Who turns your world quite upside down?
Who decides it's ease or it's strife?
Who's in charge of you and your life?
  Green Light - first aid for the Red, cross.

Be careful not to harp at yourself - it's not a pretty sound. Notice your self talk. What do you whisper so softly in your head that you don't quite catch the words but you sure catch the feeling? That's the Red Light stuff - discouragement, ridicule, failure feelings - a nagging,, a doubting of your abilities.

Pitch those contaminated ingredients into the Red refuse bin - to be refused - tossed out with the rest of the trash of putdowns and deflators. Mine your experiences for the nuggets you can grasp. Keep the lessons. Lose the lectures. (Failure is just an event minus the message. If you got the lesson, it wasn't failure. It was an experiment that led to a discovery.)

Put on your Green glasses.
Who decides?
Who decides what you think, what you feel?
Who decides what you say, what you do?
Who decides how you view a memory?
Who decides how you interpret a life event?
See the world you want.
Happiness doesn't depend on circumstances. They change.
Happiness depends on our decisions. We, too, can always change.

The most intelligent life - on any planet - is Green! So - go ahead. Get the Red out. Turn yourself into a bright Green bein'! The Jolly Green Giant pales next to you!

  Green Light: The universe is conspiring to do me good.
Red Light: The universe is conspiring to do me harm.

Chose today, at this moment, this tiny precious piece of the present, to create a Green Light being. It's as easy as that - and as challenging as that. Collect the choicest Green ingredients and cook up a delicious, splendiferous new YOU - a human being Green. A Green being. Tis the season. Tis always the season for reNEWal. So grow your Greens!


© 2004 Marilyn Schoeman Dow, creative strategist, heads ThinkLink in Seattle, WA. She is an inter-national speaker, past-president of the American Creativity Association and creator of BOFF-O! ® (Brain On Fast Forward), the problem solving card deck/game/tool, Her new book, Green Light®: Your Key to Success in Every Situation, is due in 2004. Marilyn may be reached at 206-200-7212 and

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