I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
Visualization is deceptively powerful.
I know this.
I don't always do this.
Actually, I don’t always consciously do this. Yet I am always doing it. Sometimes I am actually doing more of it with what I don’t want (it’s called worry) than what I do want.
There is a great + easy article in Psychology Today (read it here) sharing some documented visualization achievements: For instance, Natan Sharansky, a computer specialist who spent 9 years in prison in the USSR after being accused of spying for US has a lot of experience with mental practices. While in solitary confinement, he played himself in mental chess, saying: “I might as well use the opportunity to become the world champion!” Remarkably, in 1996, Sharansky beat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov!
It can also come in the smallest of ways. Over a month ago, I packed up my hale (home) in Hawaii and headed off the islands for awhile to teach and to share in the space of some precious people. Knowing I would be gone for longer than ever before, I packed up my sweet dog, Ahonui (patience with perseverance in Hawaiian). I was terrified that the flights would be too much, that the city life would be too much, that it all would just be too, too much for her, yet when asked I would smile and tell people she is fine.
Why? Because I needed to make it so.
There was no room for doubt.
I needed to reroute my fears and believe she would be okay.
I am quite a dog person. I have been blessed with two above ordinary, outstandingly gifted dogs. One from Philadelphia, who I moved to Hawaii and now one from Hawaii who I was taking to Philadelphia.
I remember how much I loved taking my first dog, Kyla, down to the shore and letting her romp momentarily on the beach, eventhough Ahonui was used to long romps on some of the most gorgeous beaches I shifted my mind to focus on the joy of having her run in New Jersey. Yes, New Jersey and where I had spent so much time.
It became a fixation. Ahonui in Ocean City. It is all I saw.
We flew from city to city. I worked in place to place – and all I could tell my patient partner was when I got to Philadelphia:
“We have to go to the beach.”
“Okay, like for a weekend.. in June?”
“No, we have to take Nui, immediately.”
“No, I mean like first weekend.”
“Gotcha,” he soothed, although even I couldn’t explain my vehemence.
Our first Saturday morning we grabbed breakfast at OFC – pumpernickel bagel, breakfast sandwich is my favorite – and piled onto the freeway.
I drove. Normally, he drives. I was adamant. We sang Bruce Springsteen and talked about childhood summers. I took us across the Egg Harbor bridge; I thought about my grandfather who passed two years ago and heard him say, in my head as he did when I was a child, “Ocean City here we come.”
I cried a little; I think I hid it.
I smelled years upon years as we drove through on a grey morning all the way down to 55th street. I shifted from reminiscing to present joy; I hopped out of the car, I called out to my little Hawaiian ilio (dog) who is accustomed to running every morning across Kealia beach on Kauai; we all scampered over to the dunes, where there was a sign that said: No Dogs on Beach, with some unclear dates that left us, after an hour drive, deflated and confused.
I stared at the grey ocean of my youth, tough and cold, powerful and forgiving. I just stood.
I heard the silence in the ocean’s consistency. I felt we were supposed to be here. I didn’t know what I had done wrong; what I had missed.
I know, it’s just a dog on a beach. But – every time we work at something - doesn’t it all seem like it is going the path of ease, and then there is a little hitch.
The hitch is the moment. It’s the moment you decide. It’s the moment that makes all the moments work.
I stood there. My partner had suggested there might be a dog park, or we could go along another way.
I stood there. I curled my toes into the sand. I stared at the ocean and I breathed. I felt the currents of opposing emotions and I stood there.
Out of the corner of my eye, a little girl came around the corner, black dog on the end of her leash, her mother in tow. They walked righ up the dune, and over to the beach. Just. Like. That.
I looked down at Ahonui, patience with perseverance, she wagged her tail. My heart lifted. I sent up a thank you. All three of us tore off down the beach.
I watched her run into the ocean and sniff the difference. I ran with her into the icy cold arms of the Atlantic ocean, and I felt the stress, the planning, the travel, the unknown, run down my legs and into the salty embrace.
I realized: I’m here. We did it.
I realized that all the uknowns, all the prayers for safety, the focused intent of arriving back on the East Coast was wrapped up in that little visualization image of a black dog on a grey, sandy beach. I realized that the image gave my being, my sometimes doubting and wondering mind, a place to focus. I realized as we stood in the present moment of a long intended vision, my body self registered success. We are here, now, joyfully.
It is the discipline of our mind, our opinion of our Selves, our tenacity to create a life we want to live that makes it so. Do we see all the wrong? Do we focus on one little right?
Do we realize how much bends towards us - for us - in the creation of one perfect moment?
We drove back from the beach, all three of us panting in joy – okay two smiles and one lopping tongue. Reinvigorated, reconnected, relieved.
I thought: I need to do this more often.
Kate + Ahonui travel sharing the philosophy of aloha from sea to sea. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or follow us on instagram @wisdomofone
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