Bubba and I had a party to go to across town. It was the wet of winter; rains and winds swirled outside and the sun had long set on the horizon. The idea of driving that night was unappealing; 30 minutes to get there in the dark on wet and very windy roads that risked flooding, plus the drive back after monitoring our drinking. It was a holiday party, requiring us to get dressed up in fancy attire.
As we mulled over the upcoming event the day was closing in on, we could feel resistance to the idea of going. The couch, with its warm and fluffy blanket, beckoned. Several unwatched movies lay on the table. We had hot chocolate and crème de menthe to warm up the evening.
What would we talk about at the party? We had no upcoming vacations scheduled or recent vacations we’d taken. Trying to broach my idea of “characters” and “personas” at a party, well, that didn’t exactly feel like a winning topic. We were of an age where hip and knee surgeries were becoming common, but neither of us wanted to spend a night talking about that. Conversational topics of interest felt thin. We had nothing.
And to top it off, the dress I planned to wear required a boatload of Spanx. Ugh.
The dark clouds were settling quickly on us both; we feared we’d be there with pasted on smiles of cheeriness, trying to overcome an inner dread that was closing in.
We had RSVP’d that we’d be there. We were going. Whether or not we had a good time was the issue.
Then Bubba did a Jedi mind-trick.
“Imagine,” he said, “if we were in Italy and had been invited by some local folks to go to a festive Italian holiday celebration; a party in an old hall, nestled in the woods, arrived at after driving along a winding Italian road to get there. It’s an invitation-only annual affair. The food will be a mix of homemade Italian delicacies and holiday treats. Folks will be wearing their finest holiday garb and will come from neighboring hamlets. Conversations and laughter will fill the hall. Fine wines from local vineyards will flow. Music will be playing and there will be dancing and entertainment.”
In that instant, with that new vision before us, our internal states changed. The entire scene shifted. It was one of those pivot moments that demonstrated the power of our minds. The party was the same party; the rain still fell. Nothing about that had changed. But–oh–how our thoughts about it did.
Now when we find ourselves having low enthusiasm about some activity—for whatever reason—we pull out this mind trick and head off to France or Ecuador or Thailand. And when we do, it amazes me its power to change our perception. Regardless of which country we head to.