PART 2 – Dare to Dream Again | Dream Your Life Awake

It is recommended that the reader print the “Flash Drive Forms” and “Terms and Definitions” page prior to reviewing this online educational platform to aid one’s comprehension and understanding.

Note: This Core Stream is reviewed once every 4-5 treatment appointments.

Core Program Outline: (Completed by the Patient and shared with the treating physician)

Part 2: Finding North Stars| Shaking the Vision Tree

What distinguishes a North Star from a recovery driver is its function as a Recovery Vision setter. A recovery driver is transformed into a North Star because each one is attached to an aspiration defined by you. An aspiration answers the question, “What am I striving for by having this “x” North Star in my life”. For example, with the theme flavor of Connecting, “dating” as a North Star of mine, I strove for social engagement as an aspiration to feel alive rather than alone and depressed as an aspiration to that mattered. For my passion flavor, being with my children as a North Star, I was striving to be the best father I can be, to exercise my worth and to be present for my children the way my father and mother were not able to be with me.

A North Star of prominence, has stick-ability, strength, gravity pull and commit-ability. More than one North Star is referred to as a constellation. The adage “less is more” is a principle that applies to North Star Visions. Having a multitude of North Stars does not necessarily translate into better results in recovery. Therefore, a small core constellation of North Stars can suffice which act as a power base for making a recovery possible. Even one North Star of great significance and pull can suffice. Below are the properties of North Stars to consider for their selection:

– A North Star ought to galvanize a recovery vision to offer coherency, purpose, hope and meaning
– A North Star ought to capture one’s imagination
– A North Star ought to command a “commitment” to action rather than relying mostly on “desire” to adhere

– A “North Star” ought to pull one out of bed and hold each person through tough times
– A North Star ought to ground one in times of need while continuing to pull one toward the recovery destination
– A North Star ought to be doable, manageable and reasonable with the resources available

How to Start
Equipment: a writing instrument, colored markers or crayons, journal and writing canvas whether digital or not and a printer)

Step 1: Review both the Top Six recovery drivers (Section 1, Survey C) and the landscape of recovery (Section 1, Survey B) to determine whether any of the identified constituents are North Star candidates-based criteria noted above. List each recovery driver you select as potential North Stars and using a numbered scale of one to ten, where ten represents a very strong capacity, rate the strength of each criterion listed against each North Star candidate considered.

Next, determine the flavor of these North Star potentials and their cycles.

Step 2: Review these North Star candidates following step 1 and determine which recovery code domain(s), in the recovery code signature, would such a candidate support favorably for a recovery according to their prioritization. There can be more than one domain code of support for a potential North Star.

Step 3: In this step, you are asked to ascribe an “Aspiration” theme for each North Star candidate. An “Aspiration” of significance contains these properties in its makeup, a) a striving to better one’s self and life, b) providing a sense of accomplishment, c) it is a rewarding aspiration, and d) resonates with one’s core being. The statement for an “Aspiration” can begin with the following sentences,

-Engaging this “x” (North Star) allows me to______”
-Engaging this “x” (North Star) offers me_____”

For example,“ fathering” as a North Star of mine held this aspiration,

“… to forge a closer bond with my sons; to build up my sense of worth”

 Step 4: In this step, each of the North Star candidate’s “emotional gain” is outlined. There are three forms of emotional gain.

a) Anticipatory: gains resulting from the lead-up to engaging the North Star
b) In the Moment: gains occurring during the North Star Engagement
c) After Glow: gains experienced after the action engaged is over.

In noting the forms that house the emotional gains, a person can determine which form has the most value followed by the next salient one and third in line.

The emotional gains serve several purposes. The gain felt can buffer against stress; provide an upliftment; increase motivation; enhance commitment to engage and strengthen a looking forward mindset for the future.

Let’s look at each form of “emotional gain” more closely:

a) Anticipatory Form: The anticipatory lead-up to a North Star activity can for some people be very salient to the investment in the North Star. This future anticipation is considered both rewarding and exciting. As such this anticipation builds up a “looking forward” mindset leading up to the engagement of activity. This can look like the promise of pleasure and fun to come; the warmth of connection to come; the anticipated calm or relaxed sensation to come; the feeling of peace to come to the feeling of accomplishment to come, as examples. There can be multiple emotional gains for a North Star.

b) In The Moment Form: For some activities engaged, salient emotional gains are obtained during the action itself such as feeling more peaceful; contented; euphoric; joyous to excitement; connected; jubilant and so forth. There can be more than one emotional gain for a North Star.

c) Afterglow Form:  For some North Stars engaged, the afterglow, emotionally, is what counts,  e.g., more energy, contentment, motivation, hopefulness, calm, contentment, happiness; more upbeat to being grounded and so forth. There can be more than one emotional gain for a North Star.

The next step is to outline the emotional gains for each North Star candidate and the form that houses these gains. A single emotional gain for some people can support more than one form that houses them.

With greater awareness of these emotional gains, more attention can be applied by marinating in their feelings when felt and staying with them in that moment. This means keeping these emotions front and center in one’s felt consciousness and relishing as much as possible in their presence. In doing so, a person’s neural circuits are recruited to strengthen the activity involved to buffer and counter existing brain networks already primed for pain, suffering and negativity which can cloud one’s vision from seeing the “roses” in front of their eyes and those to come, rather than just thorns and pessimism.

Step 5: Review all the information from steps 1-4. Make a determination for which candidates iare waiting to make the cut to stay on to be an official North Star(s). Once this decision is rendered enter the information in the North Star Chart.


Shaking the North Star Tree
The shaking of a North Star Tree becomes viable if the candidates are weak or there are not enough candidates in the pool to consider.

To shake the tree start by asking yourself these questions;

a) What goals, dreams, or interests were let go in the past or never pursued that can be brought forward and may be worthwhile investing in?
b) What roles once played or overlooked are still dear to one’s heart?
c) What present commitments are worth strengthening and keeping?
d) What kind of person would you want to be known as or remembered for and what is a step one can take towards this?
e) What kind of legacy do you wish to leave behind that matters and what step can you take towards this?
d) What kind of educational and learning pursuits have captured your interest in the past that is worthy of considering now?
e) What ways of living are worth having for your life and how can you take steps to achieve this?
f) What kind of “gift” would you like to “give” or “leave behind” for the world or those close to you that best represent you and or the life lived?
g) In what way do you want your life to count or stand for?
h) Are their undeveloped talents, abilities and skills worth pursuing?

In answering these questions and or others like this, themes for potential North Stars can be shaken down from the tree that provides the raw materials to sift through in order to locate more suitable candidates. Whether there is one or more candidates brought forth, each candidate is run through Steps 1-5.

Vision Board
Once your “North Stars” are chosen, load this onto a “Vision Board”. This board records them and what they stand for. This Vision Board can be placed in one’s journal or on a dry board, chalkboard or bristol board through word, drawing or painting. This vision board, can be decorated with pictures, graphics and or affirmations that represent the North Star. Alternatively, the medium of the Vision Board can be uploading a video or a song from an artist that embraces the spirit of the North Star. As well, writing a poem or creating a dance or ritual that celebrates their vision is also to be considered. Just use one’s imagination.

The Vision Board is personally reviewed between treatment room appointments. Share your board with the treating physician.

A person’s vision board is a document that is used to reinforce and affirm one’s recovery vision. A Vision Board ensures that the top North Stars charted maintain their activation and relevancy.

Recovery Talking Points
These physician-led questions are posed to the client,
a) Tell me about the contribution of each North Star for your recovery with respect to what they tell you about your intentions for your life…based on this reply, what are you saying that makes the North Star difference maker in your mind?

b) Spell out for me the specifics of the how, where, when, frequency and with whom for each North Star?

c) With each North Stars in place, what kind of message can you imagine, this is sending to The Illness about your commitments…how does this position sit with you…. what leads you to this thinking?

d) By exercising each North Star what mental place is evoked more of, like mental clarity; focus; attention, better recall, memory retention, mental calm, concentration…as well, consider what is evoked less evoked such as, a less scattered mindset; less racing mind; less anxious thoughts; less negative thinking and so forth. Discuss their merits and rewards. North Stars exercised ought to leave one in a better place than if they did not exist for this benefit.

e) On the whole, based on all you have just shared in this conversation, what can you likely give yourself credit for? In doing so, what kind of person does this suggest you are …in your words, share a bit of what this sense of self has brought to your life though not acknowledged enough …can you give an example of this self in action from your life experience of …what is like hearing yourself acknowledge this now …how is this acknowledgement leaving you feeling knowing it has been made more visible to your awareness …what in your mind is the value of this acknowledgement and awareness …how, in your mind, would staying true to yourself in this way contribute to your recovery and mental well-being, in your estimation?

Important: Ensure, Encouraging Questions, Session Ending Questions, Future Pacing Questions are engaged as outlined in the Preparation Page)

In Closing
When a person’s recovery vision as North Stars is added this can greatly prime one’s recovery mindset for making a recovery possible.

(See Appendix for printable Recovery Talking Points for Entry Core Stream, Secondary Core Stream and Advanced Core Stream, both Folder A and Folder B)

“We are all in this together.”

-The Recovery Specialist