Magic 8 Ball

8:31 AM

In the 2010 film, Inception, Leonardo DeCaprio plays some type of secret agent who targets and steals intel from the dreams of unsuspecting bigwigs. It’s a crazy cool concept, shining a spotlight on the power of the subconscious to conceive an idea and then massage it into fruition. What if the process of conceptualizing that idea could be interrupted, and redirected? The film’s implication: if we can find a thought’s point of inception, and influence it with a different idea, we might alter someone’s original life trajectory.
A thought can become a belief, a belief can becomes a belief system, or a value, and a value can become a patterned way of responding to life’s invitations. This is not a new concept, but it always fascinates me to consider the impact my own thoughts may have had on my trajectory over the years; even more fascinating is considering the impact re-setting a specific thought could have in altering that trajectory.
I imagined for decades that I had been a disappointment to my parents. As a small child, I had created an image of the daughter I thought they wanted me to be, and when I eventually fell short of that image, the one I had myself created, I experienced over and over again what I perceived to be their rejection. What a shock to realize this was all happening inside my own imaginative little head. I was in my fifties when I finally challenged the idea, looking at my folks’ actual words and actions instead of focusing on my fears of rejection.  All of the evidence pointed to the same thing: my parents dearly love me and they’re proud of me. What impact might this one shift in awareness have had on the fear-based baggage I hauled around for decades?
We do, after all, tend to create for ourselves whatever it is we think about, at least, what we think about continuously. Meditation has been helpful, teaching me more and more to become an observer of my own thought life, turning over and re-structuring my mind’s soil to keep it fresh and productive. This is an ongoing process, but I’ve come to believe it’s better to be aware of the thoughts that are propelling us forward, or dragging us backwards,  than to ride along, mindlessly, in the backseat  of our own lives.  
Mind you, I’m not looking to take on the whole Pandora’s box of childhood memes, but I am trying to address whatever is prominent in the moment, using a sort-of, DIY approach. Pushing the pedal that’s up.
When something makes me uncomfortable, an anxious thought or an unpleasant emotion, I try to create a bit of space for it, and then just...sit for a while, allowing whatever underlying belief is causing the discomfort to come into focus. Although this isn’t always instant, our underlying beliefs do come to light, truth revealing itself like the prophetic 8 ball gadget we used to play with as children, circa 1965.


Marketed as both a children’s toy and a parlor game for adults, the Magic 8 Ball claimed its own oracle functions, guaranteed to answer questions about the future, but only when questions were asked in a yes or no format. As children, we would urgently ask something of grand importance, and shake the ball.
“Does he like me?” and a simple yes, no, maybe or something more mysterious, like “too soon to know…” would float into view in the clear center of the ball. Believing in the magic gave the answers their power.
The questions run a bit deeper these days.
Do I like me?
What am I afraid of?
Why did that exchange I just had with my husband create a sudden Tsunami of anxious energy?
Although I don’t often come up with answers about the future, I still believe in the magic, and I have an internal 8 Ball that is holding the secrets I need to know.  I just don’t look for the answers “out there” anymore. I believe in God although I refer to God more as my Higher Power, these days. I also believe that my Higher Power sees clearly through the fog that clouds my perception. When I pray, meditate, or walk with a listening state of mind, I am trusting someone wiser and more sensible than myself who can decode my involuntary programming and give me fresh eyes. Change the way you perceive a thing, you can change the way you experience it. I don't have any better magic than that.


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