Tuesday's entry about the lemon experiment, combined with Sandy's comment about relaxation techniques, reminded me of a self-hypnosis class I took at LSU one summer. One exercise in particular stands out in my memory.
The instructor asked us to close our eyes and imagine that we were standing in front of a chalkboard. "Now," she said, "pick up the red chalk and write your name in large letters on the chalkboard." No problem, I could easily imagine that. "Next," the instructor continued, "put down the red chalk and pick up the blue chalk. Now write your name in blue, just below where you wrote it in red." That, too, was clear in my mind. "Now," she said, "put down the blue chalk, pick up the green chalk, and write your name in green underneath the blue." Without hesitation, I mentally wrote my name in nice, large, green letters. "Okay," said the instructor, "put down the green chalk, pick up the yellow chalk, and write your name in yell..." Uh-oh! I didn't know what to do, but I knew I couldn't do what she suggested. I started to stress out. The reason? I'd written my name too big the first three times, and there wasn't enough room on my (make-believe) chalkboard to write it again.
Isn't that weird? All this imagery took place while I was leaning back with my eyes closed in an uncomfortable classroom chair. There was no chalkboard and there was no colored chalk. I had set imaginary limitations that kept me from accomplishing my task.
Isn't it interesting to think about how much each of us might be able to accomplish if we weren't held back by our own preconceived ideas, false perceptions, and self-imposed limitations? I wish it were easier to identify some of those.