When I was a Freshman in college I took this class titled creative visualization. Not because I was looking for find myself or I had some need to be more creative. I simply thought it would a an easy A. I had better things to do than take tough classes and learn. My roommate and I waltzed in to the evening class and found it to be way more than we bargained for. I think we may have been the only ones under the age of 25 which at the time seemed ancient. We were just 18 and felt we knew everything and here we were with these old people sitting in a circle! We glanced at each other and I know we were each thinking if we went for it we could reach the door and get the hell out of there. The door closed and we were stuck. The mild mannered instructor with the soft voice welcomed us all, asked us to introduce ourselves then give a brief description of what we were hoping to get out of the class. Panic bubbled through my veins as I listened to those older well spoken students talk about the deep profound ideas they had of tapping into themselves at a deeper level. My mind was spinning as I waited my turn. I certainly couldn't tell them the real reason I was here. My turn came and stuff rattled out of my mouth I barely recognized. I actually impressed myself. I couldn't tell you what I said but it was deep enough to cause the instructor to bond to me like glue. After the class finished Gogo (yes my roommates name was Gogo and she was awesome) and I laughed our heads off and made serious fun of ourselves and everyone else. Exhibiting behavior you would expect from sure of themselves college Freshman. We stuck with the class. There was no homework and no tests so how bad could this sharing stuff be? If we just kicked backed, smiled, listened and occasionally said something we could score an easy grade.
The definition of Creative Visualization is: the practice of seeking to affect the outer world via changing one's thoughts. Creative Visualization is the basic technique underlying positive thinking and is frequently used by athletes to enhance their performance, or: a meditative technique in which the meditator imagines that the conditions or things he or she desires are already manifest, helping to bring those conditions into being.
Throughout the term we were required to participate in several meditative sessions which if you know me that is a stretch. I barely sit still long enough to write this blog. I didn't know anybody really mediated except in the 60's. In my world as a teen I didn't share my inner thoughts. I suppose that would be extremely normal but here I was forced to share. That was the main requirement. In a circle of strangers we were each required to talk about our life goals, life pitfalls and create a vision to achieve or develop an outcome we sought. This was a long term and it wasn't just some fly by process which I hoped it would be. The whole class was invested in your meditation from beginning to end. We all held hands (yuk) while a student shared what they wanted to achieve. We listened as they took us through each step of gaining on their dream from beginning to end. It might take several classes for one student to get through their whole creative visualization. There were buckets of tears and I was so moved many times I had to fight back lots of emotions. At 18 I was certainly NOT going to be crying in front of anyone. The class became addicting. Both of us anxious to hear what students had to say and more importantly we were drawn to the excitement of another emotional trigger. Sounds sort of crazy but watching folks work through their fears and drive towards their passions would drum up lots of huge emotions. I became deeply invested in almost every students dream as if I wanted to do anything I could to help them succeed. It was a moving experience no matter how much I fought it. I was fortunate to have such an opportunity as such a young age. Most of all I believe it has been a tool that continues to shape almost everything I do. If I can't visualize myself doing something I most likely will not do it. Over the years I have become a master at dissociation. I don't mean that in a bad way however I can get myself in trouble at times. Dissociating with the present and bringing awareness to what it might be like to do something or become something other than what you currently are is pretty fun. I do this all the time in races. When I am suffering I pretend I am someone else. Generally I like to pick runners I admire or see as strong powerful influences. Before I know it I have been running on their legs for an hour forgetting about mine. Since I am so new to mountain biking the visualization has been intense. I am taking this dream very seriously. By the time Leadville events roll around in early July it will be like I have already done it in my mind many times. I can sometimes even feel it as I get myself all worked up dreaming about it.
While at the Lululemon Ambassador Summit I was thrust into another one of these kinds of classes. 3 days of visualizing, dreaming, sharing and making plans. Again I was overwhelmed, better prepared for what might surface but still out of my comfort zone. Coming off a big emotional and physical failure of sorts made the timing of the summit confusing. I wasn't yet ready to tap into my well of dreams. So much change and torment was still settling out. I still needed time to sit with my thoughts before I could commit myself to pressing forward and goal setting. However I knew it was just a matter of time. At the summit we were given a shirt that has a place for your personal goal. I saved mine because I knew I was wanting to do something big for 2011. I pulled it out the other day and filled in my goal. It was a powerful feeling to write "Leadwoman 2011" on that line. With that I wrote my own manifesto. A personal collage of phrases or thoughts I live by. It's an evolving document. Living this dream in my head is step one in achieving it and I am nervous as hell but couldn't be more excited at the same time. It's the perfect storm!
With the close of 2010 it's the perfect time to think about what's next. Lululemon is a ferocious goal setting company. Yes, they make awesome clothes but they do much more than that for everyone who touches the inner soul of the company. The heart and soul of Lululemon is about making things happen in style of course. J Happy New Year everyone!