Vein of Gold–Alchemy Exercise

In the book ‘Vein of Gold’, I found one exercise particularly interesting. It is titled ‘Alchemy’. It consists of taking the destructive and painful words that were used to describe us as children and converting them into strengths, or positives. As in the ancient belief that alchemy as a science could convert a common metal like lead into gold, so are we to take these ‘wound-words’ and find their gold–or make that–silver lining.

Often, parents and teachers will find a child’s gifts threatening or disruptive. Through these words they are able to tamp down that talent in an effort to make the child behave, or in worse cases, maliciously to scold, ridicule or shame. Eventually, after hearing these judgments over and over again, the child begins to believe them.

A partial list of some of these destructive words might include, but is certainly not limited to: dreamer, impractical, irresponsible, lazy, weird, too sensitive, unrealistic, silly, childish, grandiose, foolish, not disciplined, not focused, selfish. Have any of these words been used to describe you in an unkind way?

Taking these hurtful memories and accepting them has a therapeutic effect, like cleaning a wound is necessary before it can heal properly. It can be painful, but with a pinch of compassion and some creative thinking we can see the very weaknesses we were derided for, are really the strengths that make us the creative people that we are.

For example:

Dreamer can be converted to—-Imaginative

Eccentric becomes—-Original

Obsessed makes one—-Focused

Silly turns into—-Playful

Unrealistic means—-Generous

Too sensitive changes into—-Passionate

There, you get the idea. Now, make a list of ten of those labels that have been used to abuse your self esteem and creativity and ‘convert’ them into gold.

Now you have your list of Golden Words, ‘consecrate’ them; make them real, the new you and not the old. Post them on cards, decorate them with calligraphy, glitter, illustrations, anything to make them more valid and vivid to you.

Take these new descriptions of yourself and tape them on mirrors throughout the house, pin them up at your desk at work, or on the door so you are reminded of the new and positive you each time you leave your home and venture into the world.

3 thoughts on “Vein of Gold–Alchemy Exercise

  1. I like this blog, very constructive. I don’t think there are too many of us that grew up without damaging criticism…makes me very aware of what I may have and could say to my children. {{{hugs}}}

  2. Fey says:

    I love the principle of this 🙂 it’s a very positive thing but I do think some of the words I’ve come across in my lifetime just can’t be made into gold, oh well ^^ it’s an excellent blog anyway

  3. Great exercise. Thanks for sharing. Will definitely have to ponder that. And I would also add, I think you’re great at doing this for others too, E. That’s something I love about you. 🙂

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