Years ago I was working amongst the shipping area of the waterfront. To get to the building I would have to walk along a long dreary stretch of concrete that felt like a never ending trail of asphalt so I made up a game. I would see how many steps I could take with my eyes closed. Have you ever tried that? It. Is. Freaky!
The most I could ever go was 8 steps but after I'd moved on from that job, I continued the experiment and 15 steps had been the farthest I could go.
This last weekend was sunny and it would have been immoral of me not to go out into it so I headed out for a walk along the waterfront. As I got closer to the train station I decided instead to go up some steps I'd never explored that I knew lead to the Stadium. At the top were wide, empty pastures of concrete concourse and you know where I'm going with this right?
15. Easy peasy.
20. Was getting a bit nervous but still felt like a huge achievement.
Then I got to the widest part of the concourse and started getting a bit clever and working with my brain. With my eyes open, I took 10 steps then looked back how far that was. I went back to the start again then looked ahead of me. I was then able to calculate that the nearest obstacle in any direction was at least 40 steps away - so even if I went wildly off course, I still had 40 paces before I needed to open my eyes but there was room to go 300 or more.
I can only imagine how this process might have looked.
I walked back to the very beginning, did some side steps to get dead centre, hesitated as I took a deep breath then closed my eyes and set off walking.
I only got to 20 steps before screaming to a halt because a shadow crossed my eyes and it gave me a fright.
I went back to the start again, factored in all the shadows and when to expect them and set off again.
Once I got to 25-30, my minds eye got all matrixy and was erecting fences all around me but I kept reassuring myself that I knew there were no obstacles and to keep going.
I ended up walking a whole 50 paces with my eyes closed yet it was the surreal aspect of pushing through the images my mind was creating that overshadowed the achievement and became my new favourite metaphor for the barriers our mind creates for us.
I kept on with my stroll and came down on the waterfront side of the motorway - coincidentally to the first piece of asphalt where this all started. I wandered around the buildings taking images then went back the way I'd come. I needed to go to the bathroom and even though I wasn't far from home, I wasn't ready to end my walk so I looked around for how to get down to the railway station.
I could see ramps going down to the platforms but the gates at the top of these ramps said Access Closed. After looking around me and feeling a bit mischievous and stealth like, I headed toward them anyway.
I had to stop myself from laughing out loud when I saw that the signs were actually on open gates! My mind had stopped at the signs and had already decided it wasn't allowed to go any further and it was only because I was in an adventurous mood to find a necessary bathroom that I kept going.
It felt like I was being taught a valuable lesson about what games the mind plays that it might see as fun but we don't even question. Now that I'm on to it, I'll be interested to see how this new realisation unfolds in the next while.
At the bottom of the ramp, I was taken by the Japanese-like beauty of the entry to the platform. It reminded me of the Torii I was so fond of that were at the entry to every temple. This is the sort of imagery that puts me on high alert for something significant but over the years I've learnt to take note but not make it into anything it isn't.
As I got closer to the quiet station, my mind, knowing it was being watched, decided to show me something that wasn't tricksy. There were no less than 6 trains, all lined up on standby with not a soul around them.
Then quietly it said "They're all waiting for you. You just have to decide what direction you want to go..."
Pimp My Attitude
This is where I think out loud as I transform my appearance, thought processes and most of all, attitude - no matter how unpretty.