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Articles written by Marilyn

What Color Is Your Thinking


The Green Light® Goal: Create the greatest good,
for the most people, in the best way, for the longest time.

Greenings! Welcome to a new world where the focus is THRIVING. As a creativity catalyst, I want to find out what it takes to foster creativity – and to create a safe environment where creativity is ex-pressed. Years of research and product development lead to a most joyous breakthrough. I discover that LANGUAGE is a crucial key! WOW! Language is changeable! This opens up a world of possibili-ties. Hmmm. I begin collecting language – in two groups. That which stifles and that which supports creativity. Curious. They also apply to relationships. Double hmmm.

The impact expands in every direction. Then comes the realization: we live through language. It’s how we express ourselves. So then, language impacts everything! Triple hmmm! This gives us great power – the power of choice. We can choose language that enriches our lives – and aim to avoid that which diminishes it. In support of this, I create a brain-igniting tool, BOFF-O!® Brain On Fast Forward – a card game, now an app. (See the BOFF-O! tab on gogreenlightway.com.) Amplifying positive thinking, this new field of psychology requires ACTION – and a specific kind of language. This is the foundation of my book, GO! How to Think, Speak and ACT to Make Good Things Happen.

I’m excited to share some thoughts and tools I’ve been working on that help create less of what we don’t want and more of what we do. Red Light: What does not work. Green Light: WHAT WORKS.

Red Light Style   Green Light Style


Red Light – FOCUS: Obstacle – what we don’t want.   Can I do this? (Get a NO!)
Green Light – FOCUS: Objective – what we want. How might I do this? (Get help.)


Here are clues to the color you’re experiencing in the moment. Add to the list as you notice other clues. (A good question to ask when you in the Red space is, “What might make me feel Greener?”)

Red Light Green Light
Feel tension Feel peaceful
Scowl, frown   Smile, grin
Arguing Discussing
Stressed Relaxed
Stiffness Laughter
Anger Pleasure
Get even Get happy
Feel pain Feel joy
Feel stuck Feel inspired


Red Alert! The psychology of language is always operating. It’s in our thoughts, words and deeds. It either works against us – Red Light – or for us – Green Light. Being conscious of this, we are freed from auto pilot. We are at choice. While it’s not always easy, it IS always worth it – now and/or later.

So let’s head on down the road. We’ll travel the path of an intriguing adventure – en route to the ever-growing, ever-Greening Self.


At night you’ll see a Green Light welcome from Christo’s on Alki in Seattle.

Red Light is a destructive, harmful habitual way of thinking and acting. It creates division, dissatisfac-tion, disappointment and struggle. This ignores the brain’s wisdom and the heart’s desires. It keeps our minds and lives stuck in old patterns. It dwells in what doesn’t work. It is de-energizing.

Green Light is a new, constructive and unique way of thinking, leading to helpful actions. It ignites the brain and creates unity, fascination, delight, possibilities and momentum. It’s what works. It serves us – and the planet. It is energizing.


The Green Light Scale™
Worst case

Shift from the 3 Red Light/Worst case scenario to create a 3 GREEN LIGHT Ideal Scenario.
Then move in that direction! From 3 Red to 2 Red is a step in a Green direction. GO! Greenly!

Red Lights show what needs to be Greened. Reds are full of opportunities – for Greens.


MONEY. An area everyone deals with, that’s full of Red Light thoughts and language. What thoughts come up just with the topic? What color are they?

Here are some elements many regard as Red, with some Greener options. Changing the language changes the experience. What other ways might you express the Red terms/thoughts?


Red Light   Green Light
Payments Contributions
Obligations Commitments
Cost Fee

I have to pay my bills. I am processing invoices. I am honoring my commitments.
I worry about money. I choose thoughts of abundance.
I struggle with money. I used to struggle with money. Now I revel in it. Money is a friend that serves me.

Notice what you feel with the Red and then with the Green language. Watch for other Reds to Green up in creating your mindset/experience of money. Avoid the terms that deflate and de-energize you. Choose the terms that lift and inspire you to action. (Funds? Finances? Loot? Dough?)


Red Alert! We’re surprised by some of the ways our brain works that we don’t expect. Also by some ways we aren’t using what we know. Carpenters often warn the new worker on the job, “Don’t let the hammer hit your thumb.” Intended as a light-hearted welcome, it sets up something else. When told “Don’t drop that!” what often happens? Yep. The thumb gets hammered, the thing gets dropped. There’s a very good reason for that. The brain can’t DON’T DO. It can only DO. So it picks up on what it can DO.

So watch out for the nasty, sneaky Red word, “Don’t”. Switch the auto-pilot Red instructions. “Don’t look away when you… swing the bat, drive the car, chop the onion, run the saw.”
Greener: “Look where you want to: hit the ball, drive the car. Watch the knife, the saw. Watch your fingers when you’re …” Replace the don’t do with the DO. Greener, more powerful – and DOable.
AVOID merely stating what’s not wanted. State what IS wanted.


Red Light Green Light
Unconscious Conscious choice
Destructive Constructive
Exclusive Inclusive
Divides Unites
Hurtful Helpful
Contracts Expands
Violence Harmony
Brain brake Brain break


Another way to generate Greens is by making new ideas that serve the Green Light Goal: Create the greatest good, for the most people, in the best way, for the longest time. BOFF-O! Brain On Fast Forward is the game/app that equips you to generate new Green ideas – in a flash!

You combine a Launcher (SUITCASE) with a Booster (ADDRESS SAFETY) into a new idea.
In this case, the idea addresses keeping your suitcase safe, with a voice-activated system. This is just a sneak preview of part of the game. You think Green all the way through. (Free download in app stores.)

Play the free version and see how many new ideas you can make in 5 minutes. Play it again later and see what you get in the same time. Then see what Targets you can hit with your ideas.



What a difference a little Green action makes!
I have a glorious time at the annual Seattle Art Fair this fall. Artists and galleries from many countries exhibit. Above is an eye- and heart-catching creation, in a mahvelous gallery. The shot on the left is what I first see. I’m frustrated that the lighting is counterproductive. I resist my usual urge to just quiet-ly and unobtrusively move it a few feet to where the light will bring it to life. I can imagine getting a good public scolding from the exhibitors. So I ask a representative, “What needs to happen to move this adorable Teddy Totem to the light?” She said, “The base is concrete! It’d take four guys to do that. And it’s already sold.” She turns to a customer.

Okay, so now I figure I’ve covered myself by the conversation. Next, I look around for help and see two candidates. I approach them as heroes-to-be, show them the challenge and mention, “They said It’d take four guys to move it.” I ask if they had two friends close by to help. They immediately came over, check it out and get down on their haunches to push it over. The first effort clued them in to the teddies’ weight! Their second full muscle push moved it to exactly where it needs to be. YAY! We stand back and ahhh at the difference. I thank them profusely. We three are lit up by the Greening.

Everyone who came by experienced a happy new view. All it took was a Green thought followed by a Green action: finding a couple Green folks. They make it happen. I still do the happy dance whenever I see these photos and remember the joy of a little action making a big difference, thanks to a pair of Green heroes.


My Calico Siamese rescue kitty sends you a
high five (well, actually a high four) for all
your Green actions! She thinks you’re purrrfectly meowvelous! She’s “Cally GO Cat.” (Tweaked calico to add my book name.) Her purr is not to be heard, but seen and felt.

She’s a very Green kitty cat and loves to get her exercise by racing around and or being chased – or run after some long fern stem or other nature toy.

When I lean over to pick something up, she’s likely to jump up on my shoulder. I hang on to her tail and she becomes a fur stole, warming my neck. She’ll ride as long as allowed.


“We become what we think about.” Earl Nightingale


Our brains LOVE new questions, new connections, new challenges.
Green Light is a shift from boring and ignoring our brain
to feeding and re-seeding our brain.


Sing yourself awake (and asleep) with, “I GO, GO, GO the Green Light way!” Make up your own tune. You’ll reinforce your intention to think Greenly. This kine of mental aerobics builds our Green neural network – and skips, avoids and retires Red neurons. Plus when we shift from Redding to Greening, we turn off the stress bio-chemicals (cortisol and adrenaline) and turn on the feel-good bio-chemicals (serotonin and dopamine). It’s good for our body, mind and spirit to GO GREEN! Good for the world too!


What do you want to create in your life? Whatever it is, choose Green thoughts and actions to support it. Want to stop smoking? See Green Light in action. Google Nicci Tina and her mission. (Clever name, huh?!) Shift the undesirable Red Light style to the life-enriching Green Light style, from Redder to Greener choices.

I am a smoker.
I used to smoke.
I am a non-smoker.
I am inhaling fresh air.
I am making good choices.
I am loving my healthy life style.

Notice the progressive shift in thinking, language, images and intended actions. Apply this approach to any areas you wish to alter. Choose the language that serves/works with your brain. Create a Green mindset.


The above shows a key breakthrough process. It is a shift – a powerful progression of instructions to the brain. Note the sequence in the six previous statements:

1. The focus is on what we do not want.
2. The language used affirms what we do not want.
3. The undesired is absent. (smoking) It can trigger old patterns/habits, thoughts and actions.
4. The element to avoid is absent.
5. The focus is on what we want.
6. The presence of what we want is affirmed.

Our ongoing goal is to focus on 6! Saluting our every shift, each transformation from Red Light to Green Light – and Green to Greener!


A magnificent Green red room! This amazing space in the downtown Seattle public library is lus-cious!!! It’s a glorious redness. Red steps lead up to it, encompassing you in it’s high energy.

(Just for fun, I had to insert a touch of Green – to emphasize that in this case, red is very Green!
Red is a great color for clothes, cars, fire trucks and more.
It’s a lousy color for a life style.
Live Greenly!


Red Light Green Light
Inertia ACTION
Give up easily Be resilient
What repels What appeals
The Dark The Light


The news is full of Reds. The good news is it’s news because it’s not the norm! Remember this!!! We must gather our own Green news. Notice the Greens. Share inspiring stories of people Greening others – and the planet. GO for Green, Greener, Greenest! COLLECT GREENINGS! It equips you for a vital role – being a conversation shifter, one who Greenly shifts talk away from the Reds, into Greens.


Ask your brain “What’s the IDEAL?!” Remember your brain eagerly awaits your declaration and focus
on the superblious powerful Green motto: I deal in the IDEAL!


Red Light Green Light
Direct by Red mandates. Lead by Green example.
Kill momentum. Grow momentum.
Negative intention Positive intention
Attack and destroy. Improve and create.
Low conscience High conscience
Truth is irrelevant. Truth is foundational.
Lewd, crude, rude Kind, caring, compassionate
Promote the petty. Go for wisdom.

Red Light is often easy, quick destructive action – without accountability – or even visibility.

Green Light yields a great harvest of happiness – a natural result of doing good in the world.


WRONG. We sometimes hear the phrase, “There’s nothing wrong,” when addressing something that didn’t go well – or as planned – or recommended. Our brain responds to that message in a surprising way. The brain hears, “There’s nothing wrong” as “WRONG! Uh oh! There’s something wrong!” The statement may have had a Green intention, yet it is received in a Red way.

We have many associations with the word “wrong” – from childhood, from school, from work. “Wrong” is a heavy, negative word. It carries lots of Red baggage. “Wrong” immediately sets off our defense system. We hear it as the first shoe falling – and await the second one. Helpful phrases include, “Let’s take a look at this.” Let’s work on this.” “How might we handle this?” “What’s another way to do this?”


A step further. “There’s nothing wrong.” This Green intention arrives in a Red delivery truck. The Green results are diminished. Check out a variation of the message.

Helpful dialogue starters:
“Everything’s right.””It’s okay.””All’s well.””Things are all right.”
(The same Green intention, delivered in Green language, has a Green effect.)
“Now we have an opportunity to … create a new plan, make a new choose. What’s next?

This is Greener. (All the energy generated is Green. There’s no Red energy to overcome, to cancel, to replace (or disremember!). Beginning with a Green intention, following with Green language and action, is likely to be received Greenly and generate a Green response. This builds a Green base to build on.

All’s well. Here’s what’s so/what happened:… So now what’s next to create? Greener yet.


How much do I practice thoughts that bring me joy, and how much do I practice thoughts that bring me pain? – Abraham-Hicks


Red Light Green Light
Churnalism Journalism
If it bleeds, If it leads,
it leads. it serves.

Churn the “news.” Sound bites as news. Headlines as stories. Endless repetition of Redness. Making the small significant, the significant sensational. Often this means focus on the small stuff, ignoring the big stuff. Gossip vs. NEWS. Genuine, classic journalism is still conducted by some. Green heroes and sheroes. Let’s support them!


Meet G.B. – for Green Being. Geeby, my short hair Calico Siamese rescue kitty, is a sweetheart. Her loud, happy purr cancels any concern. (Her Greenness disappears my Redness.) I shall record it!

She and Cally are both very Green – they’re so creative. They can turn anything into a toy. Their coloring? A work of art. None of their eight feet are colored alike. They have a meowzillion shades on their luxurious fur coats.

I put a white board on top of the cupboards, above the window in the kitchen. Linking the two opposite walls, they now have a real catwalk. Heat-seeking misses, they sometimes nap in the sun up there.

Geeby’s a mischief maker – a creature after my own heart. She created a trick I just love. When I’m standing at the computer too long and she wants to play, I will suddenly be surprised by a “TWHACK!” She’s just raced in on her little cat feet and thrown all four legs and her little body up against my calf! Then she runs off, expecting me to chase her, which I usually do. She and Cally make great laugh-generators.


Check out kindness.sg. To help build a gracious Singapore, the national Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) encourages people to internalize courtesy, kindness and consideration. SKM en-courages everyone to start, show and share kindness. Very Green Light actions. Visit and Like the site. Take their Kindness survey for work. Offer an act of kindness today – and daily. Create a kind-ness game at home.


In Our Hands is an excellent resource, inviting all ages to explore ways to serve the planet.


The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. – Ayn Rand

The first half confirms that permission is unnecessary. The second conveys an expectation of opposi-tion. The statement is intended to be bold. To Green the statement further switch the second half of the sentence to, ” who is going to join me?!


I reply to a major service’s email with a request to cancel my subscription. The auto response: Please note we will not reply to customer service issues or billing questions from this mailbox. Even though it then gave the proper address to contact, I immediately felt the negative power/Red impact of “We will not…”. It tends to generate a sense of adversaries. An alternative:

Please note we do not reply to customer service issues or billing questions from this mailbox. Only one word was changed but it makes a powerful shift in the recipient’s experience. An even Greener response:

Thank you for contacting us. As this mailbox goes to the delivery department, please help us serve you better by contacting us at the email address below for customer service or billing questions. Greener yet – add: We look forward to hearing from you and the opportunity to serve you.


Situation: You have a general work number for someone and you want their direct number.
What do you ask?

Can I have your cell number? (Can be a put-off and diminish the relationship.)
What phone number do you prefer I use?

(They will likely give you another number – or the “message” that they don’t want to – at this time. Re-gardless, it’s a Greener way to ask.)


I have a conflict on Sunday. I can’t be there in the morning. I have to run an errand and pick up lunch.
Sunday I can be there after noon.
What works for me is Sunday between noon and 4pm. Short. Succinct. No story.


The question: “What’s a possibility here?” The brain hears, “Think of one.”
The question: “What are some possibilities?” The brain thinks, “Here are some – and there’s more.”


Stay within the lines, in the box, inside others’ expectations. (I want to fix you.)
How can I support you in your goals? (I’m committed to your success.)


I love traveling the path of adventure with you –
along the grand road to our ever-growing, ever-Greening Self.


We are here to make a difference – Greenly.


This humorous item was sent by my friend, Adam:
I have finally discovered what’s wrong with my brain:
On the left side, there’s nothing right,
on the right side, there’s nothing left.

The laugh can take us to another version:
I have finally discovered what goes on in my brain:
On one side there’s only Red –
on the other side, there’s only Green.
AND I’m creating a Green-only brain.


“Every thought seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.” James Allen, author, As a Man Thinketh


Only 10% of your happiness can be predicted by your external world; 90% of your happiness is de-termined by the way your brain processes the world. Shawn Achor, The Happiness Factor

The research in Achor’s book affirms the power of Green Light, as it empowers us to recognize Red choices and equips us to make Green ones. Taking Green Light actions makes us happy – and likely others as well.


A while ago I was at an estate sale and found a fun swirly red and purple rose-like fascinator. I had no idea what I would ever do with it or where I might wear it but it just shouted, “FUN!” So I glommed on to it. A few months later friends invited me to join them for an opening night reception for an outstand-ing clothing exhibit – past, present and all things in between. I thought, “AHA! I must wear my little whimsy flimsy. Twas great fun – and prompted lively conversations and laughs with strangers in astonishing creative outfits.

I’m reminded how Green it is to play! To have fun. And how I must avoid leaving it to chance. Friends and family offer many opportunities. Check your Play Time! What’s the next one? Green someone’s day by creating/sharing a fun experience.



I have an obligation to use my talents.
I have a responsibility to use my talents.
I have an opportunity to use my talents.

How does it feel when you say each one aloud?
Which is more motivating? Why?


Critics criticize. Coaches suggest and support.

Redness disappears in the face of Greenness.
Where might the Redness disappear in the face of your Greenness?


Darkness disappears in the face of light.
Where will you disappear the dark next?


We sometimes hear the statement, “Changing the world, one life at a time.” Great. We can also play a bigger game. Be a multiplier. Let us aim for “Changing lives three Green Lights at a time – for the masses.”


I’m introducing Green Light to an executive for consideration in his department, He’s very interested. And he has a barrier. “If you can make “X” person stop being so dang Red, we’ll give it a go.”

Generally, the opposite works better. Start with those who already have a Green style. Their skills, upbeat manner and creativity mean they’ll take Green Light further, faster – and have more fun with it. They will attract other Green Lighters and keep expanding. In a short time, with leadership support, the environment will be far Greener. Increased productivity is a natural outcome. The dark Red employee may decide to leave – or as often happens, begin to shift. The new way to be with people becomes preferable. It’s its own incentive.


It’s grate to go Green.

We can bloom anywhere.

And it’s far easier to shine,

to go Green, in Green spaces,

with Green colleagues.


What Color is the Lens of your World View?

The stunning news of major painful events at home and abroad calls us to be especially thoughtful – and conscious about our responses. We can empathize with those who face these devastating events and acknowledge their experience. We may feel helpless, unable to “fix” these stunning, heart-wrenching situations. Even so, we can volunteer, offer prayer, contribute food or provide funds to support respected charitable organizations like World Vision, PATH or Scholarship America.

We can also be helpful by avoiding making matters worse. Joining the continuous retellings in the media and making it the frequent focus of conversations, expands the negative impact of the events themselves, Zig Ziglar calls that “awfulizing.” Regenerating, intensifying and magnifying the impact of these recent situations around the globe de-energizes us – and those around us. It is vital to handle Red Light challenges in a Green Light manner.

Red Light is the ungood stuff.  Green Light® is the good stuff.*  
I can’t do anything about this.  I can do one thing about this – and so I will.

 Red Light focus: Obstacles, adversities, limitations and stalemates.
Green Light focus: Objectives, possibilities, successes and actions.

 Red Light actions disempower people. (Complain, criticize and blame.)
Green Light actions empower people. (Equip, encourage and support.)

 Individuals have done amazing things in service to their global mates, often by starting something small that inspired others to participate and soon it grew into a surprising contribution. Stories abound that highlight a child who achieved astonishing results.

We drain our batteries by Redding. We charge them by Greening. Choosing the higher road, the one that diverges in a Green direction, energizes us.

Without minimizing or denying the difficulties and challenges of recent events, the fact remains that we can add to the grief and shock by repeating it repeatedly. This demoralizes us – and those with whom we are speaking. Good (or even neutral) intentions can unknowingly carry insidious toxic impacts.  Often invisible, they de-energize and distress people – and decrease positive attitudes and actions.

Now is not the time to emphasize – in our thoughts and deeds – all that is “wrong” in the world – and how impossible it is to address. Rather, now is the time to courageously, responsibly and passionately take charge of our thoughts – and constructive actions. 

We can be a demoralizer, the carrier and spreader of depressing messages –
or we can be a contributor, an igniter of visions that spurs helpful actions.

We get to make our world (our view and experience of it) worser and worser – or brighter and brighter. We get to choose: find and focus on the good in the world and spread it – or do the opposite. Let us choose to be among the heroes and sheroes of these challenging times by initiating, switching and directing conversations and actions toward that which motivates, encourages and makes a positive difference in the world.

Let us equip ourselves to turn off Red Light conversations and turn on Green Light ones. Let us gather examples of good news and uplifting thoughts. Employ them to assist others in redirecting their focus – and thus how they experience the world. Foster the shift from what’s terrible, awful and unforgivable, from who’s at fault, who should be punished and how, to “What can I do right here, right now to make a positive difference in my world and others’?”

We are each part of the problem or part of the solution. At this time of great and varied challenges, we are called upon to conduct our lives at the highest, most inspirational, productive level ever. Our thoughts, words and actions shine Red Lights or Green Lights in our world and those we connect with. We can add misery or add joy. Let us choose joy.

Great appreciation and sincere commendations are extended to those who consciously go about living their lives as their best, ever-Greening selves. They thereby sustain, enhance and inspire others to switch their mental mode from Red, habitual, unconscious and undesirable patterns, to Green, intentional, conscious and preferable patterns.

Humankindness is a verb. We put it into play by Greening our thoughts, words and actions. It’s a Green world after all.


*Ÿ Green Light is a universal language, a skill set, a brain technology and a global movement.
Green Light is a conscious choice to think, speak and ACT to make good things happen.
ŸThe Green Light Scale ranges from 3 Red Lights to 3 Green Lights, from the worst case scenario to the Ideal Scenario.Ÿ The Green Light Goal: Create the greatest good, for the most people, in the best way,  for the longest time. 

Are you making the patient sick? Get Green Light medicine.


NOTE: This article applies Green Light ® to a specific challenge. What challenge would you like to Green up?)

Are You Making the Patient Sick?
(Take a dose of Green Light® Medicine.)

Is the patient better off or worse off because of your visit? Are they eagerly anticipating your return or helplessly awaiting your departure? Do you sooth their spirit or set off a surge of high blood pressure alerts?  My mother’s wisdom comes to mind: “Everyone brings joy here – some by coming, some by going.”

Years ago, my father was suddenly diagnosed with a terminal condition. When I visited him at the Mayo Clinic, I wore my Groucho glasses. Their big bushy eyebrows, big nose and mustache instantly triggered a great grin on Dad’s face – and returned the twinkle to his eyes.

When hospital staff came in and saw me with the glasses they always smiled and joked about them. Dad’s response was so strong I have since worn many a pair of funny glasses on hospital visits. I leave them behind for a diversion, for smiles – and a reminder to focus on life and living.

When a dear petite elderly friend was hospitalized, I came to visit her wearing the Groucho glasses. I squatted down to her eye level in the wheel chair to give her the full effect. She laughed and giggled like a child. Then I put the glasses on her face. She just beamed! Nurses told me she wore them most of her stay. She’d tootle down the hallways, leaving happy smiles in her wake.


Green Light is a new universal language – and a learnable skill. It’s a conscious choice – a conscious intention to think, speak and ACT to make good things happen.
How do you think, speak and act in situations involving health issues?

Green Light® style – positive, optimistic, heart-lifting; focused on objectives and good news, on healing, wellness, humor, on being helpful, reassuring, supportive

Red Light style – negative, pessimistic, depressing; focused on obstacles and difficulties – on sickness, injury, debt, arguments, fear, aging, death