Audio for Day 18
Welcome to Day 18!
I woke up in the middle of the night with a song in my head, one I learned last week to sing for a retirement event for a wonderful choreographer. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s stuck in my head, wired in because of all the times I played it the past week. Repetition is so powerful, the brain wiring so strong that I can hear it in my head even waking in the middle of the night. I need to replace it with something else – something I want there. So I will be saying my Power Phrases a few extra times over the next few days so that they’re what pop in to support the life I want.
Today is about the “E” in POWER which stands for ‘envision’. Einstein said our imaginations are more powerful than our intellect. Our imaginations have incredible power which most of us do not tap into as often as we should except for picturing what could go wrong. How often have we used our imagination worrying about something that never even happens? My mother is my classic example of this. I travel for business. One time I excitedly told my mother I was going to one of my favorite US cities – San Diego. Her face fell. “I wish you weren’t,” she said. I asked her why. She told me she was afraid that the plane would crash or I would get into a car accident or get kidnapped. Kidnapped? Really?
That’s when I taught my mother how to direct her beautiful brain in a more positive way. I first of all asked her how many people went to California the week before and had none of those things happen to them. She said lots of them. I agreed and told her that I too would be one of those. Then I asked her to redirect her thinking every time that worrisome thought popped in her head. I suggested she use what I imagine anytime I’m traveling (and even that day when my tire blew out on 95) – me driving safely into my garage at the end of the trip.
You’re probably thinking that I have no say as to whether or not I arrive safely home especially since I can’t control other people’s actions. You may be right. Here’s my take on it: by choosing to see myself safely home, I derail the anxiety train and the stress hormones. That’s a win for me right there. I’m certainly a fan of Law of Attraction as you have figured out by now and believe that my thinking in that way helps direct the results. You may or may not be there with that and that’s fine. We are all on various places on the belief spectrum from pure science to totally spiritual. What I like about this strategy though is that it even meshes with ‘ask and you shall receive’ from the bible.
Whatever you believe, your imagination is powerful. The celebrities probably imagine themselves doing well on the red carpet as they step out of the limos. I know athletes use visualization as a component of their training. I was instructed to use it when I was learning to fly. I couldn’t afford as many lessons as I needed to for optimum training so my instructor told me to ‘chair fly’ – to use a chair in my living room to practice the whole sequence of a typical flight. I thought it was silly at first. Now I know better. Why does it work? Because the brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s really happening or our imagining of it. So it counts as a practice.
I do it for theatre too. The company I work for has few rehearsals before we’re on stage in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. I practice in my head using my imagination as often as I can because it counts as a rehearsal. My brain gets to visualize me going through the whole show and that is essential to learning my part.
So what does this mean for you? Given a choice – and you always have one – choose to imagine the events in your life going the way you want them to go. In fact put aside a few minutes a day if you can (and most of us can find a few minutes if we’re truly honest with ourselves, minutes that we waste doing unproductive stuff) and imagine in detail using as many senses as possible what you want your life to be like.
I shared my vision with a friend the other day. Here’s a short piece of it: I can see myself in a house where the back faces the water to the west so I can see sunsets from it every night. There’s a deck across the entire back with one section screened in with a hammock inside so I can take a nap while feeling the breeze…and without bugs. The room directly inside has sheer curtains along the sides of the huge windows, curtains that flutter in the breeze. I can smell the beautiful ocean air as I feel the breeze on my skin. I have a desk near the windows so I can see forever which inspires me as I write….
You have the idea. Talk about it out loud if you have someone who is willing to listen. Write about it if you’re someone who likes to write. Or just think about it at least as often as you use your imagination to worry.
Law of Attraction suggests we do this daily because we’re creating a vision for what we want our life to be, that once we do we can create what we focus on. Brain science says that we look for what we tell our brains to look for. Our RAS (reticular activating system) in the brain seeks out what we tell it to look for. With so much input coming in constantly – sounds, sights, smells, feelings – our RAS selects out those things that threaten us or intrigue us, usually no more than 4 or 5 at a time.
You’ve experienced your RAS at work. You get a new car and notice that car everywhere. It’s interesting to you so your brain starts looking for more proof that they exist. A friend of mine says she sees monkeys everywhere and she does because she instructed her brain to look for them. I call it the ‘front porch’ of my brain. When I want to remember to bring something for the day, I put it near the door to the front porch (which I actually don’t have but you get the idea). If I want my brain to remember something or focus on something, I have to tell it to.
This also clicks with goal setting strategies because you can’t get what you want if you don’t really know what you want. Taking the time to imagine what your want gives your brain the message of what to be on the lookout for, makes you feel good (unless you let your thoughts go to jealousy of others who have what you want or anger at yourself for not having something yet) and in general gets the process going of making your desires a reality. It worked perfectly for a red convertible I imagined myself in (but couldn’t afford) years ago. It works when I travel and get home safely. It works when I notice opportunities showing up in front of me because I’ve imagined myself being successful in that area of my business or life.
Your mission: If you have a chance this week, put aside a little time to imagine those things you most want in your life – the job, the relationship, the health, the house, the family, the holiday. Think about how you’d like them to be, not what your fear might happen. If nothing else, you’ll have a joyful few minutes as you do.
P.S. Now you can choose to continue to the next day or wait until tomorrow. Either way, here's a link to the next chapter.