Visualizing the Right Answer
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
One of the best decision-making tools I have ever used involves visualization, and it’s one my personal Yoda introduced me to. I won’t describe the technique in as much depth as necessary to get the full benefit, but I will give you my reactions to the tool and how it worked for me personally. This is the kind of meditative experience that’s useful for anything where I have multiple paths to consider and I’m feeling ambivalent about them.
The question at hand involved six separate paths I could take regarding a business decision and a product/ service I’ve created.
I close my eyes and find myself in a vast forest. Daytime. Trees, mainly oaks, so thick that sunlight could not stream through. It’s comfortable, serene. Light trickles through the thick oak leaves and branches above and filters down, dappled light on the carpet of brown oak leaves under my bare feet. I love this place. It’s my enchanted forest. It’s beautiful and I’m surrounded by it.
Choice A appears in front of me. I’m told to observe my surroundings and how they change. Not much happens. I notice more of the brown and dead leaves. It’s peaceful, but there’s no sense of movement. The choice involves giving away a particular product of mine for free, as I often have. It’s a service-oriented choice, but I feel stuck to where I’m standing. Everything is very, very still.
Choice B is presented to me. It involves receiving a nominal amount for the product. A miniscule amount, really, but that’s what I’ve charged for it in recent years because I wanted to make it available to as many as needed it and still cover basic costs for my non-profit venture. I find myself taking a step backward. There’s a sense of nothing at my back and the forest in front of me. There’s a little bit of disgust and disrespect I feel with this path. The first choice was at least about service to humanity, but this one is just…insulting. Yes, it covers the physical costs, but that it wouldn’t be snapped up at that price is abhorrent to me. I see what I never saw before when this sounded like such a sweet idea to help others…the real value of it is ignored. I would rather go with Choice A and give it away than to be insulted.
I am given Choice C and I suddenly take a couple of steps forward. Strange. The forest isn’t surrounding me now but I feel it 3/4th of the way around me. The light in the forest is more noticeable and I can just see the bright green, sunlit grass in the fields surrounding the forest. Low-down to the ground, barely visible beneath the shade of the trees. But for the first time, I’m aware that there’s something beyond and outside this forest I love so much. This place is serene, and feels lighter. I’m happier here.
But before I can settle in, I’m offered Choice D. Instantly, I feel myself move forward, probably 20 or maybe even 50 feet. This place is serene and peaceful, too, and the forest fully surrounds me now. I can see more of the green fields beyond the forest’s edge, so bright it almost hurts my eyes. I’m very comfortable here.
“Now think about Choice E,” Yoda instructs me.
I’m propelled—or sucked, I’m not sure which—all the way to the edge of the forest! I’m still in the shade of the serene forest but I can look out at the bright fields in the sunshine, feel the breeze, shiver in excitement. The forest is all but behind me now. I like this place. It’s comfortable but there’s a buzz of excitement. I’m still standing in pleasant peaceful shade and I’m pleasantly cool but I can feel the warmth of the sun on the field just beyond the forest. I like it here, a lot.
Then I’m given the next choice, the final choice in the series of possible directions for this project. I step out into the sunshine. It’s warm and wonderful but so bright. Gods, it’s so bright I can hardly see. I have to shade my face. I’m in the first steps of the bright green, but I’d rather be back in the edge of the forest, in the edge of the shade and looking out at the sunshine than in the sunshine and unable to see anything around me or even the forest so close to me.
I open my eyes, and Yoda and I talk about my visualization. The first two choices were dead still and moving backward. The third choice was a step in the right direction. The last choice was too much, too uncomfortable for me.
Choices D & E were much more comfortable for me, with E holding a lot more of an anticipatory buzz that I liked.
Based on this decision-making model, I’ve decided to go with Choice D for the basic idea and choice E for the expansion. I also have some bonus material that I could incorporate into the plan that would make me much more comfortable with Choice F. So in the end, I ended up with not just one course of action, but three with a little different alterations to fit them. Without this technique, I would never have considered anything riskier than the third of my choices.
Using a self-guided visualization and interaction with Yoda (taking notes and asking questions occasionally), I figured out my answer in about 10 minutes…to a question that’s bugged me for years.
All it took was a trip through my enchanted forest.