Rooms 336-342: Become Invisible
Note: I know it’s been three weeks since my last post, but here’s the cold reality: sometimes you have to work through your own truth before you can put it on paper.
Every now and then I’ll do a Sunday run that takes me down this one particular alley, where I pass a back entrance to a yoga center. Once in awhile there will be paparazzi waiting for some celebrity to come out, not uncommon in the area of Los Angeles where I live.
Whenever I run past the paparazzi, I like to put my hand over my face and pretend I don’t want them to take my photo. A couple of them will laugh, but most will pretty much ignore me, continuing to wait for their real celebrity catch.
Well, last week, I went for my same run. It had been a couple of months since the last time I’d seen them. But, there they were, ten or so photographers, all waiting for that one shot they could sell to People magazine.
Once again, I turned my head away, covered my face with my hands as I ran quickly past them. Only this time—I kid you not—two of them started chasing me with their clicking cameras. They scared the hell out of me, too.
One was on foot, while the other got on his motorcycle. Of course, I could have turned around and immediately given myself up as a happy nobody, but for some reason, I got into the spirit of things, making a quick right down another alley, then across a parking lot and into a nearby neighborhood.
The motorcycle guy had to go around the block to catch up with me, while the other guy yelled something to one of the other photographers. I’d like to think he yelled it was Ryan Gosling, but I could be imagining that.
In no time, I had both photographers on my heels. I’m a pretty slow runner, so it wasn’t more than a few minutes before they caught up to me.
I stopped running, turned around and smiled. “Alright boys…one shot…but that’s it.”
They quickly left and my seven minutes of fame were over.
I won’t lie, though. The whole thing was a rush. For three long blocks I was “the man.” Even neighbors on the street were staring. Well, maybe it was just that one guy watering his lawn, but that was enough for me.
Now, I may be a bit on the shallow side, but I don’t think I’m alone. In one way or another, we all like the attention. It’s our culture, right? We want to be noticed.
In our own individual worlds, we want our share of the stage. And, of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be valued or recognized for our accomplishments. The problem arises when we start to measure our lives by how much of the spotlight we get, or just how much we’re chased, wanted and admired.
Of course, being in the spotlight is neither good or bad. It all depends on how we stand in that light. After all, sometimes we have to put on our bold pants (Rooms 129-132), step up and be heard.
But, we also need to remind ourselves that there can be just as much boldness in our quiet, do-nothing ways, as there is in walking to the front of the line and shouting “I’m here!”
Sometimes the world doesn’t need to know who you are.
Sometimes the real power comes when we’re invisible.
Rooms 336-342: Become Invisible
We’re not looking for super-hero invisibility this week, or, for that matter, to turn ourselves into wallflowers who don’t participate in life. We’re simply learning how to fly under the radar as a tool on our journey to awareness.
First of all, to become invisible we must start on a practical level. This begins by knowing when we should or shouldn’t be around people.
Now, I know you probably love the human race as much as the next person, but there are times when being around others is not an energetically good idea. Most of us intuitively know this. The trick is to live it.
How many times do we go to the mall only to come home drained, or go to an amusement park and walk out fatigued? And how about all those times when we’re with a certain group of people, or even one person, only to leave feeling agitated, angered, tired, or even depressed. That’s not a figment of your imagination. It’s real energy, which effects how you feel, think and act.
The question is: what will you do with that energy?
Answer: become invisible.
This week, start noticing all the places you visit, and the people you see, then begin to feel the energy that goes with them. Now, with intuition as your guide, start to slowly remove yourselves from those situations that don’t feel right. Sometimes, a few minutes away is all it will take, or a couple hours. Other times, it may take days, weeks or longer.
Become a fine–tuned master of your entire day.
Don’t be afraid to cancel lunches, rearrange dates, bow out, take a rain check, or excuse yourself early. Be subtle, though. The idea is to be invisible as you try to be invisible, which is not an easy task for many of us. Outside of Hogwarts, I don’t think they teach that in school these days.
Of course the real challenge is that it’s not only strangers or co-workers you might be trying to avoid, but family and friends. Truth is, sometimes the people in our own orbits lose their emotional compass, and their energy becomes out of balance, angry, distant, overbearing, and even intrusive.
And while we can be supportive and understanding during these hopefully brief times, we shouldn’t let someone else’s imbalance affect our own lives. And let’s be honest, some people don’t want to look at their own issues.
As hard as it is to accept, sometimes we need to temporarily stay away from people. You probably know when it’s happening. You can feel it in your gut. This is the week to stop ignoring those feelings.
I realize this is easier said than done, especially if you happen to live with that individual, or work in the same office, or share the same circle of friends. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid someone.
But, here’s the key: being invisible isn’t always about removing yourself physically. It’s also a matter of removing yourself emotionally or mentally. Invisibility is really about neutrality and detachment. In other words, we can always choose how to be around someone.
You want to be invisible? Stay under the radar? Become more free in the process? All you have to do is stay neutral.
Here are 3 ways to get started.
Invisible Tip #1: Practice the Law of Silence
(a.k.a. stop shoving your opinions down someone else’s throat)
As my wife likes to tell me, “If I wanted your opinion I would have asked for it.” She’s not a big fan of my unsolicited two cents (a truth I am still humbly learning, nearly 30 years later).
Sure, it’s great to have convictions and to believe strongly in something. But, it doesn’t mean everyone around you needs to take the same ride.
Being invisible requires us to allow others to believe whatever they want to believe, without judgment or attitude. If we don’t open ourselves up to hearing other people’s ideas, beliefs and opinions, we become frozen in time, and our worlds become smaller and smaller, until eventually there’s no room for anything else to come into our lives.
Having a loud and unmovable opinion is also the surest way to stand out in a crowd. You might as well put a bull’s-eye on your back.
This week, ask yourselves what opinions do you have that keep you frozen in time? That keep your world small? Find the answer, let them go, and you’re on your way to invisibility.
Invisible Tip #2: Let Go of the Need to be Right
Needing to be right is our ego’s way of peeing on the fire hydrant, like a dog marking his territory. It’s saying I have all the answers, and my way is the right way. It’s having the last word, the final say and then putting a check in our win column. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about politics, religion, gun control, or how to raise your kids, being right is all about feeding the ego, and all the fears and insecurities that go with it. Of course, it’s all at the expense of our own sanity and peace of mind. Being right is not only the cause of most of the hatred, violence and warfare in the world, but our own unhappiness as well.
You want to be a target for other people’s negative energy, go ahead and be the guy who’s always right. It will not only alienate those around you, but it will keep you surrounded by the same like-minded people. And that’s probably not the best way to find your way into new and exciting rooms.
This week, see how many times you find yourself wanting to be right. More importantly, see how many times you can stop yourself, let go and choose to be happy instead.
Invisible Tip #3: Learn to Let Go
(a.k.a. keep out of other people’s space)
This is really both of the previous tips combined, only on steroids. Getting in someone’s space might sound a bit new age, but it’s real, and it’s happening every time we tell someone else how to act, think, believe or feel.
It’s downright scary to think how much we try to control someone else’s life, right down to how they drive, style their hair, put in a lightbulb or chew their food. And we don’t need headlocks or bullhorns to do it. In fact, we don’t have to say a word to get in someone’s space. We can just as easily do it with a disapproving glance, a shake of the head, or a deep sigh.
You can call it anything you want, but it’s essentially a controlling act that’s attempting to take away another’s freedom. We do it so subtly that oftentimes we don’t even know it’s happening, until suddenly the other person can no longer breathe. They’ve been suffocated. And the simple truth is: we can’t take away someone else’s freedom without taking away our own. We always end up getting what we give.
This is the week to give freedom to everyone in your world, from the co-worker who doesn’t dress the way you think he should to your child who doesn’t have the interests you’d like them to have. Catch all those small and large moments when you’re trying to control what another person does, and then back up and give them space. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give, not just to others, but to yourself.
Put it all together and being invisible is about being harmless in everything we do and say. It’s about letting other people have whatever experience they need in order to discover who they truly are.
Being invisible is the ultimate expression of freedom.
It’s not an easy way to live, mostly because we want to get in there and mix it up with others. For so long we have been conditioned to enjoy the fight that comes with our opinions, our desire to be right, and our need to tell others how to live. To do otherwise would almost seem unnatural. After all, it’s easy to be in the crowd, doing what everyone else is doing.
It’s not so easy to be standing alone, living quietly and peacefully in your own truth. But, once you get used to the neutrality and the invisibility, you’ll find it’s as welcoming and liberating a feeling as you could ever imagine.
It’s just you…as your real self.
You may be alone, but you’ll have the whole cosmic universe applauding, and ready to take your photo.
Congratulations…you’re infinitely famous!
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