At this point in my life, I place a lot of value within the Ideal Playground, and its intrinsic importance increases with each passing day. It started out as a space I imagined during a session with one of my healing clients who was suffering from a tremendous overload of fear, as I ‘asked’ for ways to support him. From there, it has grown into a powerful ‘energetic tool’ that continues to evolve and reveal its incredible benefits, as well as its natural, (and easily avoidable) pitfalls.
This particular client had been trying for some time to accomplish some things he deeply desired and deserved, while his fears and anxieties were essentially keeping them just out of his reach. His ‘fear experiences’ were taking up nearly as much mental bandwidth as his day to day activities and had started encroaching on his sleep. Even his diligent preparation had become compromised by his recurring feelings of potential failure. He often felt hopeless as his efforts went unrewarded over and over again. I’m happy to note that after a short time he was able to shift his perspective and re-examine his fears, along with their accompanying emotions. He was only able to do this once he accepted, mentally and emotionally, that his thoughts play a huge part in how his life unfolds. From that view, it all seemed profoundly easier, and his continued success is a testament to a simple shift in perspective.
In the Ideal Playground, we have an energetic ability to bring our emotional experiences and our thoughts together with our best intentions to create whatever we desire. We naturally ‘breathe more freely’ as our feelings of guilt, shame, fear and anxiety subside, transformed by our individual emotional creativity (especially if we don’t see ourselves as emotional OR creative). Building on the principles taught around concepts like ‘the power of positive thinking’ and ‘the law of attraction’, the Ideal Playground opens the door to the same discoveries many deep thinkers, ancient and modern, have been seeking in their life-long contemplations: a clear window into understanding the roots of our individual existence and the meaning of life as we know it. Simple, right?
This client is not the first person I’ve seen in this state, but his deep rooted anxiety was the catalyst for broadening my perspective (and his) about how much power exists within our thoughts, and invited us into practicing this joyful way to ‘untangle’ them. It’s not that I didn’t/don’t already ‘know’ how potent our thoughts are, it’s that the more time I spend paying attention to them, the more I know it to be ‘true’. The act of whisking them to the Ideal Playground and imagining the connections and solutions that are born from uninhibited mental creativity is not only mind-expanding, it’s exhilarating – like the slide, the swings and the merry-go-round felt when we were kids. It’s simple, it’s exciting, and once you get past your strange feelings about doing it in the first place, you connect to the most valuable part of it –IT REALLY WORKS!
I’ve always admired artists and what they could ‘do’ with any given set of raw material. I can say the same thing about musicians and their ability to play an instrument, or even mechanics and their knowledge of how automobiles work. These are all things that I have, for one reason or another, placed outside of my own abilities for a very long time. That is, until I started visiting the very Ideal Playground that I had envisioned and described to that ‘emotionally stuck’ client. Even as I spoke the words, I could feel my own soul energies being pulled to explore the concept I was describing. After playing around with it a bit, I began to invite other people into the practice, incorporating it into even the most general conversations about healing our fear, pain, anxiety, shame, etc. If you spent any time asking me for advice in the last few years, you probably heard this statement: “While you’re dealing with this ‘problem’, close your eyes, take deep breaths with even deeper exhales, and imagine the absolute best outcome you can envision…”. Just a few small visits to the Ideal Playground provides the type of energetic support we have always wished we felt when we become ‘overwhelmed’ with things that feel out of our control.
Emotionally, we have been conditioned to suppress ‘unpleasantness’ for such a very long time that we have given ‘truth’ to the collective notion that our feelings possess no tangible value. That they are something to be overcome rather than incorporated into the whole of our experiences. As a child, I was always required to stop what I was doing and retreat within myself if I became emotional in any way. Instead of exploring my original feelings, I always found myself winding up angry at the people who didn’t/wouldn’t let me express them, and it unwittingly built a lot of energetic debris around my ability to say (or even recognize) how I really felt about anything.
That set off a period of time where I was fiercely protective of my own weaknesses, trying to hide them from myself as often as anyone else. It was only when I recognized that our feelings help us move organically through our lives that I began to examine their ongoing value in my own mind/body. Attaching feelings to the places where I had previously only been willing to apply reason and logic gave me a measure of depth and understanding that continues to provide additional insight into my lifetime of choices and beliefs.
Everything we experience, past, present and future, is connected to the types of thoughts we are exposed to every single day. The world news, fraught with more negativity than most of us care to digest at one sitting, is a fantastic place to start ‘playing around’ in the Ideal Playground. Every heart-wrenching story can be reimagined in a span of seconds, as we use our intellect to conjure the best for every situation: its perpetrator, its victims, its eventual outcome and the reverberating fallout. Whether we believe it’s possible to fix things or not, spending time thinking about ‘the best’ helps us temper ‘the worst’, simply by placing our energy there. The more time we spend doing it, the easier it becomes to observe our own thoughts with curiosity. Our judgment wanes and our imagination moves into the driver's seat with unlimited possibilities that are way outside the box of what we believe is physically possible. Our dreams have a better chance of taking flight and the limits of our ‘core truths’ broaden to allow more information than they did the day before as ignorance becomes more interesting than annoying.
Our values are largely constructed by the way we see the world and our specific relationship to it. A lot of us claim to value human life, but we aren’t even in agreement about when that begins, or how we go about protecting it. At our individual core, we each have to make conscious and unconscious choices about what we believe to be ‘true’, as well as what we have decided is patently ‘untrue’. With so many conflicting statistics and facts swirling around, the pursuit of truth has become arbitrarily defined by the ‘natural algorithm’ that is funneled our way. Optimists and conspiracy theorists alike are presented with information that furthers their own belief systems, begging us to reconsider and redefine concepts like ‘the value of human life’, absent an overwhelming agreement about what is ‘true’. It places knowledge itself in the hot seat, which can be confusing to even the most educated minds among us. In ‘fact’, that might be where the division began.
Our concept of what is valuable has never reached a defining human consensus, and as much as I enjoy playing around with what World Peace really looks like in the Ideal Playground, my ego is not convinced that we ever will. Since 1980, our society has launched full steam ahead into a steady stream of ego-driven desires as we ‘gave’ advertising executives and product manufacturers carte blanche to rework our emotional landscapes, without realizing it was happening. They craft our wants and needs, leading us onto a path that is often at cross-purposes with our inner passion and purpose.
The ‘shiny ball’, as it were, has kept us from the things we truly desire in favor of that which has simply appeared before us, over and over, telling us that we want it, and convincing us of its value. My favorite candy bar is Snickers, but does it really satisfy the way its advertising suggests? Not in any lasting way that I have found, and believe me, I have tried! Indulge too much, and you are likely to feel sick. A Snickers Bar barely contains any nutrition at all, yet we purchase over two billion of them every single year, normalizing the practice of putting things in our body that don’t nourish it.
Louis Vuitton bags, first known to me in 1983, were nothing but ugly to me when I first saw them. Then I quickly learned of their ‘value’: how much they cost, how every girl my age wanted one (and not many could afford it), and how, six months later, if you didn’t have one you might feel less valuable as a human being than the people who did. I can go back and ‘watch’ my feelings about that bag change. I have still never owned one, but as much as I thought they were ugly, I bet I would have carried one with great, misguided pride if given the chance.
In high school, my version of the Ideal Playground had me imagining the best for ME, which was kind of a step in the right direction, but obviously lacked consideration for everyone else around me, and gave little thought to the environment we all get to live in. Our own best interests are important, no doubt, but the benefits that materialize when we consider the ‘greater good’ as well as what we want, individually, are nothing short of ‘magical’. I urge everyone to give it a shot, but I also have no attachment to the outcome. It would be awesome if each of us spent our ‘negative thinking time’ in the Ideal Playground imagining the best for our world and its people, but I know that is an Ideal: possibly unattainable, but worth so much more that every little thought in its direction.