Tag Archives: holistic wellness

The incredible power of imagination…5

What happens when the vision imagines you?
In early 2010, an image began popping into my mind.  It was a house on a beach.  I didn’t recognize the beach or the house but I knew it was in Maine.  I’d never been to Maine and couldn’t explain how I knew, I just did.

This vision began appearing daily.  I read articles, did research, and tried to understand why this house was appearing.  Literally and metaphorically, I tried to understand what it was saying to me.

A couple of months later another vision appeared, a lighthouse.  This lighthouse was at the end of a thin slice of land that jutted out like a finger sticking out from a hand.  I didn’t recognize the lighthouse, but like the beach house, it began appearing daily.  I still had no idea what it meant and tucked it away.

Not long afterward, I had a dream that I was walking along a path near a lake.  There was a beautiful old church nearby.  I woke up and did some quick research.  The dream location was definitely New England.

About a year later, we took a trip to North Carolina and hit the beach.  I half expected to find the places from my visions, but didn’t.  Several months went by, another move, and I forgot about the visions.  But they didn’t forget about me.  Recently, the house began appearing in my mind’s eye, daily.  I remembered the lighthouse but it was only the house on the beach that incessantly filled my thoughts.  It got to the point where this started the moment I woke up in the morning and kept up daily.

Deciding to follow the lead, we headed out to the Northeast for a vacation.  On our first day in Maine, we drove up the coast.  As many know or have heard, New England in the fall is incredibly beautiful.  However, that wasn’t the view that had me exclaiming.  “That’s from that dream I had.”

We pulled off the freeway, drove by the area (it was exactly as it had appeared in my dream) and then continued on.  I wanted to see the ocean.  About twenty minutes later, I was standing on a small beach staring at the house from my vision.  I was stunned, but not at having found the house from my vision.  The beach stunk to high heaven!  It was awful!  I could barely breathe!  I couldn’t believe there were people (though not many) actually sitting there.  How could they stand it?

I don’t know what had happened but instead of the smell of fresh ocean air, I was faced with an odor that wasn’t different from the porta-john at the entrance to the park.  It was rank.  It was so bad I was nauseated for the rest of the day and into the night.

On the morning we were leaving, we stopped by another beach, further south.  I stood in the water, letting the waves wash seaweed over my toes, breathing in the fresh sea air.  Looking off to the right, I was only mildly surprised to see the lighthouse on a stretch of land jutting out from mainland Maine.

For a long time I considered the lighthouse and considered the house on the beach.  I thought about the beach and how awful it smelled.  I had joked it was time to find a new vision.  Perhaps the experience was a metaphor reminding me that at times that’s exactly what we have to do.  We have to realize when a path we’ve started down is no longer in our best interests.  Or perhaps we need to modify our goals, upgrade our visions, realize we are aiming too low.

One thing we can count on is change.  How often do we apply that to ourselves?  Judging by the headlines, people want all the reward and none of the downside inherent in taking risks.  They are happy enough when things are good but during downturns they howl and rage like it’s personal.  That makes as much sense as being angry the sun sets instead of being in the sky 24/7.

I’m not sure what it all means yet but I’m willing to consider the places in my own life where my goals need to be tweaked.  It certainly makes a great deal of sense in a world that changes at the speed of light.

 

 

 

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The incredible power of visualzation…4

There  are several excellent books on visualization.  I regularly give my  favorites as gifts.  Among them are The  Visualization Workbook by Shakti Gawain, Write It Down, Make It  Happen  by Henriette Klauser, and I’m  Rich Beyond My Wildest Dreams, I am I am I am by Thomas  and Penelope Pauley.  What I love about these books is that they are so  uplifting.  They give hope.    They are written in such a way as  to make the reader believe that we can make our wishes come true.
There  are times in our lives when we can feel stuck between Plan A and Plan B with no  idea what to do next.  And even though my father may be right when he says  that sometimes doing nothing is doing something, to me that is the worst kind of torture.

So  when I find myself searching for my Plan B, I grab these  books and get to work.  Even if I haven’t changed anything, the  simple act of pulling out a spiral notebook and a pen lifts my  spirits.  I  feel like I’m doing something toward achieving my goals; and I am.

The  most important step is figuring out what it is you want.  Get a clear idea  of it in your mind.  Next, write out, as clearly and in as much detail as you can, exactly what it is that you want.  In my experience, details are important because you are  very likely to get exactly what you ask for; verbatim.

In  2005, we were looking for a house.  I knew exactly what I wanted, so I  pulled out my spiral notebook and I began to write.  I wrote down how  many rooms I wanted, described a beautiful yard, nice neighbors, a  fireplace, wood floors, and several other details I felt relevant.  Oh, we  got our house all right.  It was only after moving in I realized I’d  forgotten to say what style of house I wanted.  I had actually  imagined a Victorian style house but we bought a ranch.  I also  didn’t mention the square footage; we could have used a little more.

It  was a good lesson and one I would like to pass along.

Another  key is to realize that, like Shakti Gawain points out, if you write down your desires and then toss the book away in a drawer somewhere, you are very likely  to find they  manifested anyway, when you weren’t looking.

In  the winter of 1995, I was working through The Visualization Workbook.  I wrote down an ideal scene for a desire I had at the time.  I eventually put  that workbook away and moved around the country in the years that  followed.  One day, in 2001, while unpacking a box, I withdrew the old workbook.  It had warped with age, had a bit of water damage, and  smelled rather musty.  Flipping through, I came upon my ideal scene,  written in pencil all those years ago.  My heart beat a little  faster as the words sank in and I rrealized that I had achieved exactly what  I’d written on that page, to the letter.

Today, a  photo copy of that page sits in the album that represents the power of the  mind.  It’s a solid reminder that things may take time but they can turn  out just the way you imagined.

A  final word of advice.  I always include the words, “This or something  better in harmony for all involved,” at the end of all my efforts.  It’s a  bit of CYA but it hopefully guarantees that no animals or insects (or humans) were harmed  in the achievement of life’s goals…

The incredible power of visualization…3

I was quite shaken up after stumbling upon my visualization in a location other than my mind.  In point of fact, I was terrified.  I quit going to that place when I relaxed, which meant that for a long time, I couldn’t relax. I worried about what I might envision, lest I made it real.  This anxiety plagued me off and on for several years until I finally settled on a new scene of ideal relaxation in the summer of 2008.  This one was a beautiful ravine with a river running through  it and woods all around.  I added a trail that went alongside the ravine, complete with areas of sudden, unexpected drop off.   I also threw in some waterfalls for kicks and an area where I could set up a campfire and sleep under the stars.
In July, 2010, my family and I drove into the Rocky Mountains for a day trip.  Anxious to do a little exploring, we pulled over and set out for a short hike.  The path, which ran along a river, eventually turned upward and seemed to move away from the water.  We hiked single file and as I was in the lead, I paid close attention to the safety of our path.  As a result, I saw an area  here it suddenly thinned out, dropping away sharply.  If we weren’t careful, we would slide  down into the river.  Just like in my vision.

I halted and took a closer look.  Sure enough, I had manifested my place of ideal relaxation; a place I had never been to other than in my mind.  The only difference was that CO-14 doesn’t run through my vision.  As we continued ahead, I found the open space that I had added to my own vision; the one where I could camp out under the stars.  Bit of a fire hazard in reality, but the location was spot on.

As we drove home, I decided that fear was not an ally I wanted or needed.  I was going to embrace this as a wonderful example of the power of the mind; the ability to make wishes come true.

I returned to that location a week later and took several photos.  I placed those photos, along with one of the water falls and one of the tree overlooking the ocean from my previous vision, in a photo album repurposed to showcase tangible examples of the positive power of the mind.

Any time I feel frustrated because my efforts to achieve something appear to be going nowhere, I can pull that album out and remember that it is possible…just possible…to achieve exactly what I envision.

The incredible power of visualization…2

In 2000, I took the Silva Method BLS course.  One of the mental exercises requires that we project ourselves to our ideal place of relaxation.  This place can be real or imagined.  I  proceeded to meld together a scene from the novel The Mists of Avalon, with a Greek amphitheater and a tropical beach scene.  I had extra elements, such as a beautiful tree that hung low over the ocean, a river that went alongside the main area, and a forest that ran behind it, with a trail for riding horses.  When we had to create our mental laboratory, I added a 2-story southern plantation house with a large veranda that faced the ocean.  I had never been anywhere tropical, had never been to Greece, and the book has no photos, so the entire place was invented within my mind.
Four years later, my husband and I were taking a break while hiking on a remote part of Kauai.  Suddenly, I realized that I was staring at the exact beach scene from my vision, complete with a tree hanging over the ocean.  I looked up to the wooded area not far away and considered how the only thing missing was my 2-story home with the large veranda.  I glanced down at the tour book and stared in shock at a point of interest on the page.  There was a natural  amphitheatre close by and from what I could see on the map, a river close to it.

As we walked down the beach toward the natural amphitheatre, we passed a beautiful house with a front veranda facing the beach.  Excitedly, we approached the river.  Not far beyond it was the beautiful amphitheatre.  We decided to walk back to our car by taking a different route, one that would lead us through the woods.  I only shook my head as we passed a couple on horseback heading in the opposite direction.

Impossible as it seemed, I had manifested every element within my vision with only slight variations.  The house was smaller and located some distance away from the tree overhanging the ocean.  The river was actually a small stream and it was on the wrong side, relative to my visualization.  The amphitheatre was quite deep and there were no marble benches upon  which to sit and meditate.  But the woods, complete with horse trails, ran along the back of the entire area.

In the Silva BLS we are taught that going to level once a day is good, twice a day is better, and three times a day is excellent.  I had been visualizing my ideal place of relaxation several times a day, almost every day, for four years.  Of course, I never had any intention of actually manifesting that place, but it happened anyway – and that wasn’t the only time…

The incredible power of visualization…1

While seeing King Kong (the one with Fay Wray) at the drive-in as a kid, I thought how cool it would be to swim beneath waterfalls in a beautiful setting like that (sans the big ape).  Like so many of the millions of thoughts that come and go, this one was filed away somewhere in my mental computer and I gave it little thought (okay – no thought) as I grew older.  In 2004, my husband and I were checking our tour book and I learned that the falls I had been swimming beneath that afternoon were the same ones that appeared in that very movie!  I had gotten my wish (it was icy cold – poor Fay!).
During a conversation with colleagues early in my career, I casually mentioned how cool it would be to live in a loft like the one in Desperately Seeking Susan.  Fifteen years later, without consciously trying, I had accomplished it.

I read that actor Mike Farrell had considered how wonderful it would be to work with professionals like the ones in MASH before winning the role of Dr BJ Hunnicutt on the show.  Apparently, Hayden Christensen had a similar reflective experience when wondering what lucky actor would get to play the next Annakin Skywalker, before landing the role himself.

In all of the above scenarios the desire was considered in an off-handed, almost careless way, as if it really didn’t matter whether or not the wish came true.  According to some esoteric disciplines, this is the key to manifesting what you imagine.  You visualize and you let go of the attachment to the outcome.

Easier said than done and not necessarily the only way…

If youth only knew and age only could … 2

You have to grow into your success.   I have to admit, if someone had told me this I probably would have reacted badly.  Okay, more than badly; I may considered having a tantrum, even if only mentally.  Why?  Well, I felt I was ready for the success I had aimed for.  I felt I had put in my time, paid my dues. Apparently, life felt differently.
Our society tends to infantize adolescents and even those in college and newly graduated, too often dismissing their experience and ability.  Turning 18 only means one can legally skip high school without a note from their parents or they can vote.  Turning 21 simply means you can legally drink. Graduating from college means you are in a position to get a job and start all over again, working your way up and through.

(I won’t even go into what happens when starting over in a new career)

The truth is, however, we do have to grow into our success.  If someone handed it to us we would likely lose it, and quite quickly.  Not because we didn’t have a piece of paper that said we were entitled to hold the job we’ve found but because we are still missing an even more valuable piece of education; experience.

With experience comes better judgment.  This enables us to not only hold onto the success we have obtained to that point, it allows us to build on it.  The cool thing about experience is it keeps happening.  You don’t even have to try, you just have to live.  If you let it, it will hone you and help move you toward your goals.

If you are like me and you want to shortcut your way around that in your haste to accomplish your goals, seek out someone who has that experience.  Let them share with you the pitfalls they faced.  Trust me, you will face plenty of your own even if you are wise enough to acknowledge theirs and not repeat them.

I remember the day I realized people were sharing information with me, not so they could tell me what to do but so they could help me avoid some of the painful mistakes they had made.  It was the day my youthful chip came off my shoulder.  I think I was about 19.  Life had knocked me around sufficiently that I was ready to listen.

So be prepared to grow into who you are becoming and know that no matter how hard you try, life will set the pace, not you.  Go with the flow of that and it will be easier.

and finally…

It may look different but it’s still success…

Think back to when you were 7 years old.  What was important to you? What did you want to be when you grew up?  Where would you live?  What about when you were 15?  At 15, you were probably focused on getting your driver’s license,  followed by a car.  You probably even
decided what car you wanted.  You knew the color, what options, and numerous details.  Perhaps you even had a poster of said vehicle on your bedroom wall.

Let’s say you got the car.  You realize you wished you had chosen a different option and you weren’t using some of the ones you originally thought were important.

This is a good metaphor for all our life’s goals.  We get what we thought we wanted and perhaps it is everything we thought it would be.  However, even if we are enjoying our goals we may realize that we’ve already outgrown them.  We are already realizing that some of what we thought we wanted or needed isn’t so necessary or important after all.

Or perhaps we realize we should have included some other features because it turns out we’re in trouble without them.

To me, this is that experience that helps us make better decisions which take us closer to our goals.  If we go with the flow, remain flexible, allow life to help us steer, we may one day look around and see that while it isn’t exactly what we had envisioned, we have indeed arrived; we have success.

Who Are We? Rite of Passage

For some time I’ve considered the fact that in the US  (in fact in our modern western society), we don’t have a rite of passage the way indigenous tribes do.
“Graduation from high school,” my husband countered.

“True, but that’s a far cry from walking off from the tribe, spending time in the wilderness to examine the psyche and returning to have your tribe recognize you as an adult and give you a new name and all the other benefits that go with it.”

I went on to point out that the recognition of adulthood in the US was largely left up to the family of origin, if not the community of origin, or the culture.  To compound the issue, there typically isn’t any formal declaration by families to an individual “We now recognize you as an adult.”

In some families, the individual is treated as a child until they marry.  In others, it’s until they have children of their own.  Still, in others, the family of origin never bestows the recognition of adulthood.

“I remember attending a Thanksgiving dinner,” explained one individual I spoke with, “and the grandchildren were expected to sit at tables set up away from the elders.  It reminded me of the kiddy tables I would see in certain restaurants.  The problem was, these younger people were in their 30s.”

One father told me “I asked her if she thought of herself as daddy’s little girl anymore and she said no.  That’s when I knew she’d grown up.”

I wondered how long she’d been married before this conversation had taken place.

I think that a rite of passage is an important step in self-development and maturing of the ego. It helps us identify where we fit in society.  After all, given that many of us wait until much later in life to marry, we shouldn’t have to spend our 20s single and professional but being treated as if we’re errant children for failing to fulfill some dated definition of our roles in society.

Another important effect of such recognition by the family and community of origin is respect.

“My father-in-law went through our private papers,” one woman told me, “and was basically the guest from hell. “

It’s bad enough to be treated like a child when you are a grown adult but if you actually have a youthful appearance?  Prepare for a significant delay in the respect department.

“Why, you look like my granddaughter,” one automotive customer told me during a  customer visit.  “You couldn’t possibly know how to install UNIX.”

I most certainly can, along with your NIC card and get your network up and running with a  dual boot so you can take advantage of both network protocols.

Fortunately, Mother Nature has a built-in mechanism that helps us make the transition sooner or later.

“Around 28 years old,” a friend and I discussed, “you pretty much start to grow into your own.”

“It happens again around 35,” I commented.

“That’s so true,” she agreed.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of generations lost in space and people in their 50s and 60s still waiting to be handed their scepters.

The reality is we can’t rely on something for which the mechanism simply doesn’t exist.  We don’t have any formal rite of passage in our country. 13 brought us the right to have teen as part of our identity.  16 allowed us to drive.  18 allowed us to vote.  21 allowed us to legally drink (though for many of us it was actually 19 when that honor came about).

In spite of all of this, we still find ourselves being treated as children long after we graduate from college.

“People start to treat you with a little more respect after you turn 25,” I told my brother upon his milestone birthday.  “Then it gets better around 28 and…”

He owned his own business but had some customers unable to look beyond his baby face.

“It gets better,” I assured him.

Identity is probably one of the best examples of nature and nurture.  We’re born with an innate sense of some of it but a great deal of it is formed as we mature.  We are told we are sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, Catholics or Jews or Muslims, Americans or Irish or Italian or  Bolivian.  We are told we are Michiganders or Floridians or Californians. As if any of that really means anything at the end of the day.

Like so many coats piled upon us we are bogged down by the weight of other people’s opinions and in the process of trying to breathe, we too often forget that ultimately, we are the ones who have the final say on who we are.

Every single day we have the power to present ourselves to the world the way we want the world to know us. We have the power to shed the labels of people who don’t live in our heads and our hearts.

It isn’t about them, it’s about us.  When it comes to who we are?  We have the power…