Some people are ideas people.
Eye-widening plans and heart fluttering schemes seem to orbit their worlds like 40-watt-butterflies.
Other people might look at the ideas people and think, “gosh, they’re creative” or “they have lots of interesting thoughts,” but what those OTHERS don’t realise is that sometimes being an ideas person can be a right old curse.
Because ideas are seductive and luring and gorgeous.
Ideas whisper into your ear at night and fill pads with scribbles and jottings.
Ideas shimmer and bewitch like the mirage in a desert that promises an oasis.
Ideas dangle the carrot, catalyse the action, take the Ideaer on some wild goose chase of actualisation and sometimes – more often than not – what the idea has suggested is QUITE different from the reality of doing it.
Let me give you an example that illustrates what seductresses ideas really are.
In October I had a Really Great Idea.
In my process of exploring Embodiment I decided that I needed to learn about my body.
I wanted to know what was going wrong, what parts needed strengthening and how I could build on my physical strengths and weak spots.
So I decided to book myself 6 sessions with a personal trainer.
Which all seemed like a very good idea.
I drove up to the private gym of my personal trainer and confidently entered her mirrored world of form, core and fear.
One hour later, I tumbled out of the door with my face resembling a sunburnt tomato and sat *perspiring* in my car for ten minutes before I could drive home.
The following session, I left with both knee caps feeling like jelly.
And at this point I began to question the Grand Idea. You know … the one that had seduced me with ideas of physical strength and high level health. This idea had suggested that the whole personal trainer thing was going to be a breeze; enjoyable, fun and full of grinning squats and jokey burpees.
What I was in fact getting, was this:
I had purchased the lessons and I couldn’t get out of going without losing my money.
The whole experience might not have been so bad if there were other people in the room – but there was no one to hide behind.
It was just me.
And the personal trainer.
And what I was there to do.
At one point I tried to make small talk and be so warm and friendly that the PT would forget her job and just be my friend instead.
She had none of it.
There was nothing for it.
I just had to keep going until the session was done.
I guess this relates to the above issue.
It became glaringly obvious just how easily I’ll let myself off the hook when things get tough (ie. feeling as though my legs were going to buckle from underneath me or in a state of panic that I am going to fall off the back of the treadmill).
My PT was also one of the “form” police.
There was no sloppiness even when I was about to cry.
I developed on-going form paranoia.
That November I hurt in places I’ve never hurt before.
All of my old ideas about exercise and fitness were exorcised and replaced with gym-dread and good form.
At one point I remember climbing a hill on the treadmill and imagining myself to be Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games, running through the forest with some fire ball after her.
Out of sheer love and loyalty to Katniss, I kept running.
By week three I was feeling pretty irritated with myself for entertaining the idea of getting a personal trainer. I couldn’t believe that I’d managed to seduce myself with a vision so removed from the panting, sweating reality.
The night before my forth week’s session, I woke up at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep.
I lay awake thinking about the torturous session that lay ahead of me the next morning.
I imagined the pain, the perspiration and the clock slowly clicking the seconds away.
“Oh God,” I thought, “it’s going to be horrible and now I have barely slept.”
The “idea” of having to go to see my PT suddenly seemed like the worst thing in the world.
Then something interesting happened.
A gentle, peaceful part of me detached from the uncomfortable idea of what lay ahead and instead just watched my mind working as if an observer.
I must have fallen asleep then, because the next thing I knew it was morning. Feeling shattering, yet still non-attached to my mind’s cinema screen flashing scenes of the dreaded gym session, I gathered my tshirt and trainers. Driving to the private gym, ideas of torture still writhed around my brain.
I drove down the track.
I pulled up on the gravel.
“Nooo!” screamed my mind. “Don’t do it! Leave now! Leave NOW!”
“Shuddup,” I told it. “You know nada.”
I went in to the gym.
It was the best session ever.
Like – I enjoyed it.
Yes, it was hard, but I enjoyed it and found that my form and strength had actually improved – or perhaps my PT was softening.
Which proved everything I needed to know.
Ideas are simply ideas. They have no real insight into the experiences they herald. You could think something is going to be great. It turns out to be different. You can have an idea that something is going to be rubbish or painful … and afterwards wonder “what was all the fuss about?”
I’d had the idea to get fit that was pleasurable and for some time the experience was not pleasurable. Then I’d had the idea that my sessions were NOT going to be pleasurable and it turned out to be pleasurable.
Ideas really know nada.
They can lead us forward or hold us back.
They can restrict or launch us.
They can seduce us and send us reeling into catastrophic adventures or keep us snuggly wrapped in the “fur lined cage” of our comfort zones.
In essence, we don’t know if our ideas or thoughts are going to be aligned with what happens.
It is only when we can detach and observe the strange creature that is our mind, choosing which sign posts to follow and which false gods to ignore, that we can move forward with open minded freedom.
And if it all goes a bit tits-up?
Well, I guess you’ve only got yourself – and not your madcap ideas – to blame.
What are you putting off because you have the idea that it is scary or out of your comfort zone?
How would it be to navigate into that situation with an open mind … giving it a try, just to see whether your idea is accurate or not?