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Robin Silverman

See it, Say it and Savor Your Success!
by Robin L. Silverman

Becky wanted a new life.

After her husband announced he was divorcing her, Becky's life went into a horrifying downward spiral. Her finances took a nosedive. Her oldest daughter started using drugs. Her younger daughter started flunking out of school. She started hating her job, her age, her body and her state of mind.

Rather than collapse in despair, Becky decided to try visualization. She knew she wanted a better life, and wanted to add something more spiritual to her hope and hard work to help make it happen. The process she used is one I teach in my workshops, which can be summed up as "see it, say it and savor your success."

Not long after Becky made her wish, she and I were introduced by a major national magazine who wanted to empower their readers with energizing ideas that reduced stress and produced profound results. So I asked Becky the first and most important question in making visualization work: "What makes you feel safe?"

Some visualization teachers will suggest that their students begin by focusing on what makes them feel excited or energized. "Think big," they'll say. "Go for your dreams." The problem with this is that initially, trying to visualize goals is actually counter-productive for most people. It throws you directly onto an unknown, untried path. This is a frightening place to be, especially if you're using visualization to help break free of dark or difficult circumstances, as Becky was. Early goal visualization can heighten the mental and emotional distance between where you perceive yourself to be and where you want to go. It makes you more aware of what you have not yet achieved and how far you have to go to get what you want.

Instead, it is better to start in the now, in whatever is your personal comfort zone. This actually hastens positive change, since you will feel less fear and resistance to anything new. Becky chose the safest place she could think of: her bedroom. I asked her to see it in her mind and describe it to me in all of her five senses. "It has a huge king-sized bed with red Ralph Lauren sheets," she said. "I like to listen to Kenny G. music and read novels in bed. My favorite snack is a glass of icy cold milk that has just spent five minutes in the freezer, accompanied by chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven, when the chocolate practically drips from the cookie when you bite into them." She added that her little shitzu, Max, liked to jump on the bed to keep her company.

Together, we took this calm setting and made it the place where her dreams could come true. We brainstormed a script where the scene came alive in ways that felt right and good to her. Becky felt comfortable with the idea of coming home, kicking off her shoes and listening to the messages on her answering machine. We decided that the first would come from her older daughter, who would be saying something like, "Mom, I just want you to know that I'm okay. I feel great and I just got a good job, so I can pay for my own apartment now." The second would be from her baby, saying, "Guess what, Mom! I got an A on my history final." And the third would come from a new man in her life, whose message would be something like, "Hi, sweetheart. I have our tickets to the Caribbean. Can't wait to get away with you!"

I took this story and carried it to the next step in visualization: Saying it. Many people have dreams, but they are never more than fleeting thoughts. I recorded Becky's visualization onto an audiotape that not only included everything above, but spiritual reminders in the form of affirmations of the woman she wanted to be. Becky found her spirituality in religious practice, so I added lines from the Bible and other Christian tracts that she found inspiring. The ten-minute tape had a soothing musical background that made it pleasant and easy to listen to. I sent it to her with instructions to listen to the tape twice daily—once upon rising and once before bed. Becky kept a journal after each session so she could clearly see where she was accepting or resisting the life-affirming ideas she had chosen for herself.

Within 30 days of mentally seeing, vocally saying and verbally writing (saying on paper) what she wanted, Becky had begun to manifest everything on the tape. Her eldest daughter moved out and started to support herself (she is now totally drug-free, married, and has a healthy child). Her younger daughter started to do better in school. Becky relaxed about her job and her finances, and both started to improve. "I'm the calmest person at the office!" she said with a laugh one day. Towards the end of the month, she attracted a new beau, a man she eventually married. As things changed for the better, she embraced them, the third step in successful visualization. Today, she says, "If someone had told me three years ago that I could be this happy now, I would have told them they were crazy."

How does visualization work? It uses a uniquely human power, imagination, and combines it with E-motion, which author Neale Donald Walsch calls "energy in motion." These pictures go first into your body, where you feel them physically, since your body doesn't know the difference between something you're merely thinking about and an actual experience of it. When your mental images are in line with what your soul considers life-enhancing, you are full of energy. When you think worried, angry or frustrated thoughts, you're more likely to feel achy, stiff or tired. Read your body, and you can read your mind.

From there, your mental images radiate out into the world around you. The energy that is constantly coming off your body is magnetic, and attracts to it other energetic fields that are like it in character and intensity. This is why on the days when you get out of "the wrong side of bed," you seem to have one thing after another go wrong. Conversely, when you're seeing and appreciating people and circumstances you like, you are literally and figuratively "in the flow."

Our minds naturally think in motion pictures. More than 50,000 times every day, brief mental images flash in our heads. Unfortunately, 80% of these are self-protective, defensive thoughts about things we do not want, cannot do or fear we won't have. These can serve a purpose by creating the contrast necessary to help us decide our next steps, but most people are simply frozen by them. The trick, then, is to wade through this mental minefield to find what I call "one good thought"—a picture of something that makes you feel comfortable, safe and glad to be alive right now, in the present moment.

This one thought becomes the seed of a mighty tree of life for you. But before you plant it, you must test its authenticity. Say it out loud. Let yourself hear it "from the horse's mouth." If it makes you feel comfortable and peaceful, chances are good it's the right one for you. If it makes you feel edgy, nervous or uncertain, choose another.

Once you have your seed, you can play, "And this…and that." Simply put, this is a game where you say, "Now that I have this, I would like this, and that, and this, and that." In other words, you add to the picture, like watering the seed and adding sunshine, a gentle breeze, mineral-rich soil, and so on. Add images that bring the seed to life. Use sound, texture, smells, sights and even tastes until you start to feel a little edgy or nervous, which is the point of resistance. Do it slowly, one thing at a time, savoring each addition. Take your sweet time about it. When God created heaven and earth, our source did not say, "Oops! I forgot the animals and the people." Instead, God simply looked at each new creation and blessed it by saying, "This is good." Do the same, first seeing, then saying, but most importantly, savoring what you have created.

The final touch is to add affirmations to your pictures. Create them in the present tense, since the only time that truly exists is now. Use the phrases "I am" and "I have," as in "I am wearing clothes that feel comfortable on my healthy body" or "I have enough money to buy this ice cream cone." Besides "I am" and "I have" a third powerful affirmation is "Let there be ________." Again, think them and speak them, either vocally or on paper. Sound carries vibrations that also help draw people and circumstances into your life. As things begin to arrive, be careful to embrace them, regardless of the form in which they come. Say, "This is good," as God did, and your success will be all the swifter and sweeter.

If you would like more information about visualization and affirmations, check out the chapter on the gift of Dreams in my book, "The Ten Gifts." There, you will find ten questions to help you clarify and decide what might be the best visualization for you right now. You will also find instructions on scripting and taping an audiotape like the one Becky used.

So see it, say it, and savor your success. Before long, you'll be living with a lot less stress and a lot more satisfaction!

© Robin Silverman. 2001. All rights reserved 

Robin Silverman is an author, motivational speaker and consultant specializing in human potential. She writes and presents visualization programs that reduce stress and improve individual and team performance. She also teaches public speaking at the University of Minnesota. Robin has published more than 1200 newspaper and magazine articles celebrating the best of the human spirit, and is the author of the new book, "The Ten Gifts" (St. Martin's Press) and the forthcoming book, "Something Wonderful is About to Happen" (Adams Publishing, 2001)

Silverman is the author of the award-winning middle-grade book, A Bosnian Family, the story of refugees from the war in the former Yugoslavia. She is also the author of two audiotapes: Love From Home and Relaxation for Busy People, which are being used by men and women nationwide to reduce stress and create happier, more fulfilling lives. Her stories are featured in the bestselling books Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul, Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul, Small Miracles for Women and Heartwarmers. In addition, her work has appeared in a variety of national magazines, including Inc. magazine, Ladies' Home Journal, New Woman, Teen, Woman's World and more.


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