Debra Swersky
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Parking Karma

“Close your eyes and imagine that we’re going to get a parking spot right out front. Exactly where we want it. At the entrance… Quick! Close your eyes! We’re pulling into the parking lot!”

It’s funny what you remember from childhood… I was young enough to close my eyes and believe that we were actually going to get a parking spot at the entrance to the [insert whatever location here] if I closed my eyes and thought about it. As a child I’m sure I gritted my teeth, squeezed my eyelids shut, and said something like, “We’re going to get a parking spot right out front. Yes, I can feel it! And, yes my eyes are closed!… Have you parked yet?!” I don’t remember much from my childhood, but this common exchange stands out in my mind for whatever reason. 

In the midst of the Dallas rainy weather this past week I recalled this moment (and the one where Whoopi Goldberg in Corrina Corrina blows at the traffic light to get it change from red to green…) on one of my many unfortunate drives around town. (I prefer to bike versus drive, but with a weeks worth of rain on the ground, biking was unsafe.) Each morning this past week I dove into my car with an unenviable schedule of back-to-back preciseness of logistics. A workout to squeeze in, a class to get to, a meeting to make, an event to attend, etc. etc. Timing was tight, everyday. But, because I had to wait in traffic, I had many a moment to reflect on my childhood memory. 

Sitting in the backseat of the car, with my eyes closed, likely sandwiched between my older and younger sister, waiting for the car to stop moving… I now realize that my sisters and I learned how to visualize. (That and blow on red traffic lights to get them to turn green. Weird.) And not just “how” but “why.” And not just “why” but “what happens when you do.” Spoiler alert: We scored a lot of parking spots where we needed them to be. 

As I made my way down the road, I realized that visualizing the parking spot at the entrance wasn’t the only visualization technique that my family practiced. My sisters and I, we’re planners-at-heart. We fixate, focus, and relentlessly pursue the minor details of our days. We’re natural visualizers. We anticipate the worst and plan for the best. (Pretty sure this is “spinning” an inherited high-anxiety gene. But, work with me!)

In moving (again), much like when I moved last year, I opted to reassess my morning routine and subsequent habits. Headspace, the latest addition to my morning routine, turned out to be a success… so what else could I add to make me better, faster, stronger?

As I inched along at the traffic lights navigating my very-slow-way across the DART rail tracks, thinking about all of the green lights that I was going to hit on the straightaway and the parking spot that I was going to get right where I needed it, I decided on adding visualization to my morning routine. But not just the high-anxiety kind that I’ve been practicing for my entire life, the intentional kind that Hal Elrod refers to as the life S.A.V.E.R.S. of your morning.

Since I’m crushing the first “S” I’ll figure out how to incorporate the “V” while keeping up with the “E’ and “R”… we’ll see how I do!

Debra Swersky