Improve Your Aim

Sliver of moon slides out from behind the palm tree at dawn.

This morning, during walking meditation, I had a thought. In my meditation, thoughts aren’t bad or meant to be chased away. Sometimes they drift in, settle down, take form and surprise me. This one did.

A friend of mine who is a ski instructor tells her students, “Don’t look at the big rock off to the side, once you look at it, you’ll go there.” If you ski, you know how true this is. You look at something you don’t want to hit, and while you don’t want to hit it, you head right for it. SMACK! No avoiding it.

My friend Don, who taught me more about motorcycles than I thought possible, always says, “Don’t look at the bike, look where you want to go, and the bike will take you there.” I’ve learned to get through hilly switchbacks by not overthinking and letting the bike do the work. I keep my eye on the spot I want to get to. Suzie Lightning (my bikes all have a name) takes me there.

The same thing is true of our thoughts. Think bleak ideas, “Oh, I’ll never be a good writer,” and you won’t be. You can’t be. You are looking at your goal—being a crummy writer. And you’ll head right for it. “I can’t write a book. I don’t have the patience.” OK, you won’t. All those negative thoughts we indulge in—that’s right, indulge in— fondle, clutch as proof of how we were damaged, those thoughts become our goals. We head right to that sad spot and live there.

Now suppose you imagine something fierce and bold. Imagine it in detail. See what the other side looks like. Love the image, the shadow it casts, the way the light slides over it when the moon rises. When we see something powerful that clearly, we head toward it. It’s ours. We keep our eye on that goal, we figure out the path to the door, we live in it.

Are you saying “that’s not how it works!” It won’t, then. Thoughts are tricky, but our brain follow right along. We have a gremlin that whispers destructive words, but we can develop a seer that shows us a bigger vision. I know it works. I’ve just experienced it over the last several days. I didn’t know what was happening, but now I do. My seer looked ahead and showed me a vision of strength, of abundance. And I kept my eyes on it and wound up at the door.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. She believes in the mind-body connection.