Is this helpful, to visualize our lives in the future? Research confirms that it is and frankly, I'm banking on it.
Pretty soon I'll be sitting on my couch with my leg up and my knee in a brace recovering from surgery. There will be no running for a looong time, or only a short time, depending on how I decide to frame it. It's going to be really hard--or not, depending on how I decide to frame it. Running already doesn't come easily for me and this is a big setback. OR it's a golden opportunity--yes, depending on how I decide to frame it. Those are choices I can decide to make concerning my attitude about the procedure and recovery, but can I also become a better runner while I'm just sitting on the couch? Maybe it's kooky, but I kind of think I can. At least it's worth a shot.
Our minds are powerful and mine has ruled the roost, and not always in the best way. When I started running again I had no idea how busy my mind was nor the kinds of unproductive messages that were on a loop. The gift of running for me was how exposed my life became to me--it turned me inside out. I got to see all the strengths and weaknesses and life imbalances in play on the inside by working on the outside. I have a strong mind, but she wasn't really acting on behalf of team Diane. So we (and by we I mean the rest of the team in there; and by the team in there I mean the little tribe I envision inside me helping to guide my life) offloaded some of her self appointed duties, like belief--specifically belief in myself. She had taken the ball and run away from our goal post, so running tackled her and took belief back. Next was attitude--she just dropped the ball on this one and walked away. My poor attitude just laid there on the field getting trampled, yelling This sucks! You suck! I suck!, until a coach walked over and offered a hand and said You're better than this. Get up and do better. My mind put up an admirable fight while we rewrote her job description and gently but firmly shoved her into her own lane. She wanders, so it's a work in progress, but when she does stay in her lane and all of that power is pointed in the right direction, that's when the magic starts to happen.
And that's the magic I intend to conjure up in recovery. My mind is being groomed going in, and here are the guidelines, rules, and assignments:
1) You are not allowed to sabotage belief, i.e. if you don't have something nice to say then just don't say anything at all.
2) Attitude is your boss; show some respect.
3) Gut and intuition are the top dogs. You are vital and valued support staff. They make the final decision.
4) We can see that you've gotten a lot of your "information" from Fear. From here on out your conversations with Fear need to be held in the common areas so we may all be privy to the conversation and correct inaccuracies in real time.
5) You must take rest days. You cannot go 24/7--it's not good for you and it's not good for the team. We are providing resources for you on How to Slow Down, How to Let Go, How to Get a Good Night's Sleep, Meditation, and a new program called Let's Have Fun!
6) We recognize the enormous strength and power you have and how truly essential you are to a healthy team. Your main job during recovery is this: Visualization. We need you to imagine Diane one year from now: what does her running look like, with details--pacing, power, stride, breathing. What is her daily running routine--stretching, warm ups, cool downs, trails, roads. How does she feel about running (she feels good, btw. Please envision her feeling good about running). Please visualize races and experiences and focus on her power and taking good care of herself as a runner. Next, imagine Diane's life, with details--pacing, power, stride, breathing. What is her daily life routine, how does she feel about her life (she feels good, btw. Please envision her feeling good about her life). Please visualize decisions and experiences and focus on her power and taking good care of herself.
At the risk of stating the obvious, these two threads will knit together.
7) We recognize that eventually your above assignment will require a plan, and we do know that this falls in your lane and that you like this kind of work. However, you will first need to do the work of visualization daily. We will give you the green light for the planning stage when we feel the necessary work of imagining Diane's life is complete. Please note that as you are given the okay to move into Phase 2 you will be asked to keep a daily practice of visualization. You are encouraged and expected to work collaboratively with your teammate Belief on this and all projects going forward, and Attitude will be checking in with you on a daily basis.
I can already tell that my mind has gotten a jump start on this work. I can also tell that belief is not always included and some of the conversations with fear are still happening out back by the dumpster, but that's what it means to be a work in progress. Visualizing myself running, and visualizing my running life, and visualizing my life life are the first steps in creating the runner I want to be and the life I want to live. It may seem funny to say, but it isn't easy work, and it might seem like the most logical step is to skip right to planning and cut out the fluff. But the "fluff" isn't any fluffier than discipline, grit, or planning your race schedule. Visualizing is a real and powerful tool that often gets dismissed or at the very least overlooked; and I don't know about you, but I'm not about to throw aside free tools at my disposal.
All of this is allowing me to actually look forward to the surgery and recovery. I get to reset everything. I get to experience something new. I get to take baby steps back to running but I'm also not starting at the beginning. I get to rest. I get to write. I get to work on my upper body strength! And I get to sit on my couch everyday and imagine myself a year from now and believe that I will get there.