Reality Creation Begins at Home!

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, “you create your reality through your beliefs” (to quote Seth, a discarnate entity, in books channeled 30 or so years ago by Jane Roberts). Well, reality creation starts at home, with your identity. How many stories, good or bad, do we tell ourselves about who we are? And I’ve got those stories going on, too.

Now, I’m a also really big believer in playing to one’s strengths. I mean, no one really wants you around for what you’re bad at, right? So unless you’ve been in one of my classes, where I made a joke of it, you don’t know that I referred to myself “one of the slowest runners on earth”. And you don’t know that I can barely carry a tune. Well, actually, the tunes need their own dollies.

This “slow” part of my identity came about in 7th grade, when we first started to run track in gym class. I was small for my age, with short legs, and two years younger than all my classmates, which made me a head shorter than many of them. There were girls whose legs came up to my bottom rib! So naturally, I was embarrassingly slow in that group. I hated being 50 – 100 yards behind everyone else! And it hurt — mostly in my lungs, but also a bit in my legs. Oh, I forced myself, and I kept on forcing myself to run when I couldn’t swim or skate, because back then, it wasn’t known that walking was about as good for you as running. As I got to be an adult, I developed shin splints, and that’s when I completely gave up on running.

I still walk — a lot. 3 miles most days, sometimes more, occasionally less. And in my neighborhood, that means I do serious hills, with stretches that are 20% grade. I hike, too — which is pretty much just walking in nicer surroundings, as near as I can tell. But running… NOT!

The non-musical part of my identity started earlier, when I couldn’t carry a tune as a small child. My Dad kept saying,”Oh, she’ll get it when she gets older; I couldn’t carry a tune till I was about 12, and now I’m fine.” And he was. He could sing, as could my mother and sister.

Also in 7th grade, in a vain attempt to be normal at a school where I was anything but (not only by my age and size, but also by my ethnicity), I joined the Glee Club. The other short girl (a 6th grader) and I sat directly in front of Mrs. Miller at her piano. All year long, Mrs. Miller kept saying that one of us was flat, but she could never tell which one. Occasionally she’d silence everyone else to figure out who it was, with the idea that whoever it was would be, um, invited to leave. She never did, though whether that was figure it out or ask us to leave, I still don’t know. One year of optional humiliation was enough; I learned my lesson, and thereafter confined my singing to solo sing-alongs in the car and “Happy Birthday”, where I figured even if anyone noticed, they wouldn’t care.

Fast forward a few decades.

Last weekend, I joined my more-or-less monthly meditation/discussion group for our very first retreat. The group has built up an amazing energy over the several years we’ve been meditating together. It’s so strong that I feel it literally hold my torso up if I lean in to our circle. And each person I’ve gotten to know is really cool, too — intelligent, articulate, talented, good-hearted, really committed to his or her own spirituality and to community, many of them teachers in their own right. We were going to a beautiful spot in Sonoma, with comfy, though rustic, sleeping cabins, a huge room with a wooden floor and cathedral ceiling for meditation, all set in spectacular gardens — and scrumptious food, too. So it was going to be a great weekend!

And then the group leader, decided that we should run as well as meditate and discuss some texts. He wanted to import the running coach he described as a genius, who “gave him running”, a coach who is used to working with world champions. The group agreed. My reaction was that since I was so bad, any coaching could only help. And hey, someone who can coach champions can probably help anyone. So I was open. Not expecting much, but open.

We arrived at the ranch on Friday afternoon, got settled, and had meditation and discussion before and after dinner, as well as some exercises and meditation before breakfast on Saturday morning. After breakfast, the plan was for meditation to lead into running. Okay, I thought, this is a different approach, and it might actually work for me. No discussion of running form at all. We began with a quick lecture/demo/participation of different running speeds. Then we moved (literally) into a zen walk, where the point is to walk as slowly and mindfully as possible. That’s easy for me, as I grew up skating school figures, which basically require the same focus on the body moving through space. Then the coach, Mike Spino, just said, now you can walk at whatever speed you feel like as long as you maintain your focus. If you lose focus, stop, recollect yourself, and begin again. And if you feel like running, run.

After a little while, I actually wanted to run! This was new! Maybe it was the mindfulness of it, or maybe it was my connection to the group, which included some long-time runners. Then something in my body wouldn’t feel quite right, and I’d go back to walking. Then I’d want to run again. Periodically, Mike would gather us back to teach us something new, or to zen walk, or to do another exercise. In one exercise, we stood and silently shared energy with a partner (whoever was closest to us at the moment) by holding our palms facing our partner’s palms without touching. We were then instructed to have one partner “pack the energy” into the other partner and run together. My partner missed the running together part, so we somehow split off in different directions. Oh, well.

Later on, Mike gathered us in a group out on the driveway, had us focus on a tree 100 yards or so away, visualize throwing a lasso onto the tree, tying the other end around our waists (I connected it to my heart chakra instead) and letting the lasso pull us to the tree. I flew! Okay, it was slightly downhill, but I was passing people! Me, the (now former) slowest runner on earth! I had to change that part of my identity. I’m a runner now.

The next day we went out on a nearby track. We meditated, did the zen walk, walked and ran and walked and ran some more, in any direction (not just around the track). Sometimes we ran as a group, staying together intentionally. Mike taught us another visualization, one of a giant hand coming down from the sky to support us and push us forward. With that one, I felt like my feet barely touched the ground!

And we got another shot at the partner exercise. This time, my partner was a 6’1” ex-NFL linebacker. Oh, God, I thought, how am I ever going to keep up with him? But we shared energy through our facing palms. He wisely decided that he should give me the energy and fell in behind me when we were instructed to run. I could actually feel his hand behind my back, pushing me down the track! And we still weren’t touching.

On the drive back to Sacramento (yes, I’m still out of town, working on my cell phone), it occurred to me that what a great coach does has nothing to do with techniques or skills. A great coach gives you parts of yourself that you could not previously access. I know I do that for people all the time, but I never got what I did, until someone did it for me. Thank you, Mike! I’m truly grateful.

So here’s the really odd part. I indulged myself in an iPod sing-along on the way back to Sacramento, and I’m pretty sure I was on key a lot more often than before. And a few days later, when I called my Mom to sing her “Happy Birthday”, she commented, with no prompting, that I’d done a good job, sung all the right notes. She’s never done that before — she would never say something to make you feel better if it weren’t true — so I believe her. Maybe I can carry a tune? I know I can if I find the right coach to teach me. Maybe I can begin to think of myself as a singer, too.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.