The ‘snowflakes falling’ exercise is a gentle defusion demonstration that helps us see the process of thought.
In this exercise, I visualise myself on the top of a mountain, with snowflakes falling on and around me. (Even those of us who live in parts of Australia where it doesn’t snow have seen enough movies and TV to imagine this!) As I stand on the peak, I reflect on all the snow that is falling now, has fallen before, and is flowing down the mountainside. I consider all the snow that is melting into rivers and streams further down the mountain and at the base.
The snow reflects the history of my thought. Some snowflakes will hit us and others will fall on the mountain. The snowflakes that fall on the mountain collect as snow and stay for a while before melting. They are falling on many years of previous snowfalls – previous thoughts, opinions and judgements – that provide the basis underneath today’s snowfall.
And just as we can’t escape the snowflakes as we stand on the top of that mountain, we can’t escape our thoughts. We have to accept that they are there, and let them be.
When using this exercise, explain that this metaphor is about allowing thoughts to fall on us, gather around us at times and melt away in their own time. We invite our client to become comfortable. We guide the client through the exercise, starting with the journey to the top of the mountain. We rest at the top, noticing the view surrounding the mountain, noticing the snowflakes falling out of the sky. We guide them in viewing the snowflakes as thoughts and messages. They fall, collect, and melt away down the mountain.
The aim is to demonstrate that thoughts will be around for a while but most will melt away. We want to allow them to fall on us and around us, to let them be. As one is coming down, and I’m catching one, another is melting. Have a discussion afterward of how that felt with your client.
Practice this exercise yourself before introducing it to your clients.
Connect with Nesh on:
The Mind is a Reason Giver
Walking in the Street
Fact vs Thought
Defusion and the Survival Response
Radio Station Metaphor
What are Thoughts?
Defusion with Teens
Snow Flakes Falling Exercise
Tug of War Metaphor
Defusion Case Study