Make It Easy
I used to go on these long bike rides a couple days a week after work, and even some longer ones on the weekend. After work I didn’t have much time, so I’d to either go on a loop, or go on a long up and back trip to some particular destination that was interesting enough to go to. Usually the beach. What was cool about riding to the beach was that by the time I got there, the winds were just starting to pick up, giving me a pretty good push on the way back. I had one of those digital speedometers which measure average, max and all that. Not only was my average speed on the way back much faster, but also I exerted much less effort, as I had a strong wind at my back.
Of course there was an occasional weather pattern that would really mess things up. Coming back was really difficult, which made it hard to plan my energy exertion. Usually on the way down, I’d go all out, knowing coming back would be pretty easy. But to go out all the way down (about twenty miles) and then turn around only to find I’d messed up, and going back was going to be much more difficult that going down, that wasn’t too much fun.
I remember I took this really cool NLP seminar once. The last day we spent a large portion working on setting up our timelines. If you have never done any first hand time line stuff, it can be pretty powerful. To get a rough approximation of how your own personal time line is set up, imagine some things from your recent past, your medium past, and your far back past, and figure out where you keep them around you. For example, if you think of something you did yesterday, how do you represent that picture? Where is it? In front of you? In back of you? Above you? Below you? Likewise with something that happened a couple weeks or a couple years ago.
If you take the time to figure out where you keep things, it can have an impact on how well you do on projects you take on, and how well you get over things you wish you’d done differently.
For example, say you have this big goal of cleaning your garage. If you picture a clean garage as some big huge picture that is ahead of you, but far off in the distance, and way up high, then you might respond with stress or anxiety when you think of cleaning the garage. Not only is it far away, but it’s a long hill as well.
On the other hand, if you picture your clean garage as up close, and slightly down, then it might be easy. Anything that is close and downhill is easy to get to. Also, you may picture your clean garage kind of off to the side, almost behind you, so when you visualize it you have to strain your neck to even be able to see it. In this case you’d likely not even ever start. You’d only have this vague idea of wanting (or needing) to clean your garage.
One metaphor we tried at that seminar was going out into our future, using various hallucinations. Time machines, magic hot air balloons, floating lawn chairs. And as we went into our own futures, we placed presents for ourselves so that we could find them as we went through time toward our choices and goals. Both as encouragement to find along the way, and as proof that we were along the right path.
One trick you can do is to imagine your future goal, way out there. Maybe six months or a year. Then come up with five or ten things you’ll find along the way that will let you know that you are absolutely on track. The cool thing about this is they can be vague. You only need to give them certain colors and feelings. Your unconscious will work the details out later. You can also think of things that will help you along the way. Maybe chance encounters with strangers, or random occurrences with people you don’t know. Come up with five or ten of these as well.
Then imagine that you have these ten or twenty pictures, and fling them into your metaphorical future, and watch them sail out ahead of you. Some will go out only a little ways; some will go out almost to the end.
Then days or weeks later, when you are out cruising along, you’ll find one of these instances that you gave yourself from your past, and it will remind you how important your choice is, or give you proof that you’re already well on your way.
Of course, this is all a hallucination, but a useful one. If you come across a strange looking cat, you can interpret it to mean nothing more than everyday randomness. Or you can interpret it as aliens spying on your from planet Xexok, or you can interpret it as proof, given to present self, from your past self, that you are well on your way to achieving whatever it is you want to achieve.
Another way to use timelines is to go into your past and change your history. You can grab some resources from the present, hop onto your magic lawn chair, and float back into your past when you had some particular troubles before. Then you can float down just before the trouble happened, give your past self some of the resources from the present, and then step back and watch your past self go through the scenario again, but this time with more resources. And when I say resources, I don’t mean some magic sword to stab that third grade bully in the throat, I’m talking about a broader perspective, to give your past self much more understand of what was going on, so your past self can have more choice in giving meaning to whatever situation it was that used to give you trouble.
Then after you give your past self the resources, you can go back and relive the experience, only this time remember your present self (back then your future self) coming from the future to give you resources. Then go into the situation with those resources so you can get a better handle on things. Maybe your second grade teacher yelled at you, and at the time your only conclusion was that you were an idiot. Only when you go back to give yourself some resources, you might let your past self know that people are generally goofballs, and don’t always have a handle on how they talk to people. That way when you go back and relive the experience, instead of judging yourself an idiot, you can just write off the incident as your second grade teacher having an episode of less than appropriate behavior, for whatever reason. Maybe she backed over her cat on her way out of the driveway that morning. Whatever works. Your brain is pretty cool, and when you start to play around with it, you’ll find that you can do much more than you think you can.
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