How much of our lives are spent rehearsing for future events and experiences? I would venture to say, at least half of my waking hours and 99.9% of my sleeping hours are invested in planning, plotting and strategizing for a time that has not yet arrived. Sadly, sometimes it falls into the woe-some/worry category. That’s where anxiety has set up camp and needs to be evicted. I would much rather take my precious energy and practice feeling good, successful and triumphant.
Since my life is so busy, I find myself in the car running through what I will be doing when I arrive at my destination. For example, if I am heading to one of my two counseling jobs, I envision the clients I will be seeing, getting out their charts, sitting with them, listening to them. Even in light of that, I am still spontaneous in my responses. When I am preparing for a weekend away, sometimes I need to pack for various stops along the way and I talk myself (literally) through the items I will be packing. As I contemplate teaching a class or workshop, I imagine standing or sitting in front of the participants and offering the best of myself to them.
I remember back in my teens when I was a competitive swimmer in Willingboro, NJ and would run through each race in my mind before my body even left the starting block and splashed down. I could see and feel the race, hear the cheering of the crowd, (my mother among them, at times), smell and taste (yuck!) the chlorine, experience the churning of arms and legs, making my flip turns against the turquoise cement wall and finally touching the finish line wall. Even now, all these years later, my heart is racing with sense memory. When I became a coach at 18, I taught my team that technique and would like to think it served them well.
One of the things I like most about this skill is that by the time I arrive and am literally engaged in the activity, it is as if it has already happened and I am simply catching up with it; like a stage onto which actors walk, having awaited their cues. Although I know that my life is the real deal, the main stage appearance and not a dress rehearsal, when I practice success, I can fully embody it.