The Greatest Networker in the World – Chapter 12: Pictures of Belief
Pictures of Belief
My instruction continued with a slight change of venue. We’d all moved from the living room to the kitchen.
Time, again, was flying and it was past six o’clock when Kazuko inquired if anyone was interested in eating. A unanimous ‘Yes’ sent Rebecca off to look for Bobby, and Rachel to change her clothes, while the rest of us went in to prepare dinner.
The kitchen was on a grand scale like the rest of house. Big to the point of huge – more like the kitchen of a restaurant – and many of the appliances were the commercial kind, like the big charcoal gray, eight-burner gas stove and the gleaming, stainless steel refrigerator which looked to be at least two or three times the size one would normally find in a private home.
Still in all, this room, too, held a genuine warmth. Clearly, this was the center of their home. I could tell that more living was done here in the kitchen than in the living room, or in any other part of the house, for that matter.
Everyone took part in the preparations. I was enrolled in slicing vegetables, expertly directed by Rebecca, who explained in great detail how carrots were best cut on a diagonal to provide them with the fullest spectrum of both flavor and ‘essential energy’.
“Yin and yang,” Kazuko interjected into my lesson. “This way, we get the most from the carrot, because this way of cutting it provides the greatest balance of the vegetable’s natural life force.”
“Heaven and earth – together,” Rebecca interjected.
“So now I’m really going to get a taste of philosophy?” I mused out loud, and they all laughed with me.
We were all working around an island in the center of the kitchen. Its top was a giant slab of dark butcher’s block strips of what I learned was teak wood. At one end was a double sink where all the vegetables and fish (shrimp, clams, some kind of thin filets of a pale, almost translucent fish, scallops, and… yes, it was… lobster!) that were being used for dinner, were all washed thoroughly.
Above the island were a tremendous variety of shapes and sizes and colors of pots and pans hanging from a strong, wrought-iron affair which was suspended from the high, arched ceiling. And the whole contraption was covered in tiny white twinkle lights. It was always Christmas in this kitchen.
Our completed preparations for dinner amounted to four big platters. Three were covered with assorted, sliced vegetables: carrots, squash, Chinese cabbage, leeks, scallions, broccoli, green and red bell peppers, pea pods, and tiny, miniature ears of corn. The other was a sumptuous array of fish and seafood. And each platter was arranged as if it were going to be photographed for a magazine like ‘Food & Wine‘.
We all stood there gazing at this marvelous array until I could no longer contain myself, and asked, “Now what?”
“Nabe!” exclaimed Bobby. (He pronounced it Nah-Bay, with a strong and long ‘a’.)
“What’s a nabe?” I asked.
Rachel described what’s called the traditional ‘One Pot’ cooking of Japan, where everything is cooked right in front of you at the dinner table in one… pot… The assembled diners sit around this boiling pot of clear soup, heated from beneath by a portable gas burner, she told me, and select what they want to eat from the platters of vegetables, fish and shellfish, put it in the pot and take it back out when it’s cooked. There are usually bowls of rice and a series of sauces in which to dip the food, too.
Kazuko explained that in Japan, nabe was a dish eaten mostly in the winter and fall. But, she told me, since the members of this family were only ‘country samurai’, it was permissible to have nabe any time.
We ate at a wonderful old wooden table tucked comfortably into an alcove in the L-shaped kitchen. As we selected, dipped and retrieved our food (all done, by the way, with wooden chopsticks) Rachel asked me, “So, we were talking about your habits of belief… needing to
balance the scales with new habits… and you were about to ask us how that was done – right?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Well,” Rachel replied, “I’d like to hear what you would do, first.”
“Okay,” I said, by now not at all surprised that the issue had been promptly dropped back in my lap. “I’d go back to the movie of my life that your husband did with me. Do you know the exercise?” I asked her.
“She does,” my host spoke up. “She taught it to me.”
“Oh,” I laughed. “I see.”
“So,” I continued, “I’d take some of the scenes from that movie and build beliefs, new, positive habits of belief around them.”
“Great,” said Rachel. “Tell me about a couple… tell me one habit of belief you have now, and what new one you’d replace it with from your movie.”
“Well,” I thought out loud, “I believe that I cannot speak in front of a group. I mean, I can, obviously, but I don’t like to. I’m not very good at it. But in my movie, I was up on stage and I had the audience responding to me just like I was a first-class speaker.”
“Good,” Rachel said. “Describe what that’s like. Give me the details. What’s it like for you being a first-class speaker?”
I did my best to comply with Rachel’s request. I was hesitant at first. It was awkward, because it seemed like… well… a lie. She noticed my difficulty and asked me what was going on and I told her how foolish it all sounded.
“I understand,” she said. “It’s probably going to be like that at first. Just know that because of all the old habits you’ve formed over the years, these new ideas and images may seem silly to you now. After all, you know you’re not a polished speaker, so the very idea of saying or believing you are something you are not seems ridiculous.”
“But I can see,” I interrupted, “that it’s the way to go. I mean, I know what’s going on here is, I’ve got one old habit rejecting a new one. It’s kinda like the old habit is fighting for its life a bit.”
“Very good!” Rachel said, and I could see she was genuinely pleased.
“Charming boy,” her husband added.
“Go on, go on,” she encouraged.
“Well,” I said – and sighed deeply, closing my eyes to bring to mind the image of me standing on the stage in front of that applauding crowd.
I was shaken out of my imagination by Rachel’s hand on my arm and her gentle, yet insistent, “What were you doing just now?”
“Well,” I told her, “I was bringing up the picture of that scene from my movie and looking at it… remembering what it was like. What they looked like. How I felt. The sound of their applause.”
“Terrific!” she exclaimed.
“Why so terrific?” I inquired.
“Because that, what you just did, remembering that picture in your mind, is exactly the process you use to alter any habit of belief you have on any subject, anywhere, anytime.
“Even though these pictures are imagined, your mind accepts them as if they were real, as if they were actual experiences you’ve had and were simply remembering.
“See,” she continued, “you’re balancing the scales, adding new images, new pictures of your new beliefs. Your mind works in geometric progression, too. It just keeps multiplying the number of times you ‘remember’ or relive the experience. In no time the scales will begin to swing the other way.”
“In fact, they have already. Once they start to pick up some momentum – even just a little – swinging in a new and opposite, positive direction, you’ll change your actions in direct proportion to your changing scales – to your changing habits of belief. Do you see what I’m saying?”
“See what I’m saying… ?” Odd, I actually did see what Rachel was saying. I had in my mind this picture of this set of scales with a pile of stuff weighting down one side, shifting and beginning to have the other side grow heavier – even begin to take on a kind of glow of importance as it sank down. I told her what I saw.
Rachel sat back in her chair and looked at me with a broad smile, “I could look at you – or, hug you,” she said. “I think I’ll look first.”
“What does the other side look like?” the Greatest Networker asked me.
“Excuse me?” I said, not understanding what he meant.
“The other side of the scales,” he said. “You told us the side that was getting heavier was… what did you say? Glowing? What did the other side that was moving up look like?”
I closed my eyes and imagined the scales. I described for him what I saw.
I saw them moving – the scales. One side becoming heavier, glowing with a kind of… well… sparkle, almost. The other side was much darker, yet these somber-colored shapes were kind of… floating.
This was wild! I never did stuff like this. I never see pictures like this in my mind. It was like watching television – or a movie.
“What do you make of that?” he asked me.
“Gosh,” I said, feeling – and speaking – like my habitual teenager voice. “It’s like the old beliefs are getting lighter and just floating away.”
“Fantastic !” he exclaimed.
“What does it mean?” I asked.
“No idea,” he replied. “Sounds great though – doesn’t it?”
I admitted it did – and felt great, too. I actually felt physically lighter. My normal background of worry and preoccupation with the future of things was gone. In their place, I felt… confident.
“It’s nice to have you show up,” Rachel remarked.
I must have looked puzzled, because she arched her eyebrows and opened her eyes wide, and explained, “It’s nice to have you be here. Right here. I noticed that sometimes before you seemed to be somewhere else. Kind of there, not here.”
“Out to lunch,” I said and laughed.
They both laughed with me, nodding their heads in a ‘yes’ direction.
We sat in silence for a time. My mind was flooded with images from my movie, doing things I’ve always wanted, acting with people in ways I’ve dreamed of being. I didn’t even close my eyes. The pictures just flashed freely into and out of my mind.
At last I said, “This is it – isn’t it? This is how you form new habits – mental habits of belief that support you in creating what you want in your life. Amazing.”
“Yes, it is,” Rachel said.
“Mom,” Rebecca spoke up, “tell him about your day planner, your commitment book.”
“What about it” I asked, turning to Rachel.
“You know what a day planner is?” she asked.
“A daily calendar book where you keep appointments and stuff – like the commitment book your husband told me about?” I asked in return.
“Yes,” she said, “exactly. Becca and I each have a clear plastic insert in our day planners – same typed page slipped inside, both sides, so you can read it whether it’s facing left or right – with a complete description of all the habits of belief we want to create on them.”
“We read them every day, first thing – and every night, just before we go to bed. Throughout the day, whenever I glance at my commitments and things to be done, I pick out a sentence or a whole paragraph, read it, then close my eyes and imagine the picture of me doing that or being that. I guess I probably do that 20 or 30 times every day. I’ve done it for years now.”
“That’s how I got my horses,” Rebecca told me. “I put a couple of pages in my three-ring binder notebook at school. One was the story I wrote about me having my horses. The other was a whole bunch of pictures cut out from magazines and books.” She added confidentially, “I thought Dad was going to shoot me when he found the horse books I used from the library with the pictures cut out.”
“I did shoot you,” he replied. “I have a picture of me doing so in my commitment book!”
And we all laughed.
“Seriously,” Rebecca said. “I looked at it every day. Lots of times. One day,” she said covering her impish smile temporarily with her hand, “I was looking at it in English class, when the teacher snuck up behind me and asked what I was doing. I was really embarrassed. But, I told her the truth – what it was, and what I was doing it for, and I guess she thought it was okay… ”
“Okay?!” her father interrupted. “I’ll say,” he said as he reached across the table and messed up the hair on top of her head – all to Rebecca’s protests of “Daaad.”
“The teacher made the whole thing into an assignment,” he said, with obvious pride and delight. “She had Becc’s entire class construct their own stories of beliefs they wanted, bring in magazines – not books!” he said glaring at Rebecca.” …cut out pictures and paste them on the back side of the stories they’d written. She even made a requirement that they all include in their stories and pictures getting an A in English that term. No kidding.”
“Did they?” I asked Rebecca.
“Yes,” she replied, shyly looking down for a moment.
“The whole class – everyone?” I asked in disbelief.
“The whole class,” Rebecca replied, and this time, all shyness was gone from her face and voice.
I was sold.
“Anyway,” Rebecca continued, “I got my own horse about, oh, six months after I started changing my beliefs.”
“Wrong,” her father said.
“Wrong – that’s right,” Rebecca added. “Two horses.”
“Oh, come on,” I said, astonished.
“True,” Rachel told me. “We’d told Rebecca we would support her having a horse of her own, and she’d have to get the horse herself. So, she worked after school mucking stalls and helping at a farm that friends of ours have down the road.”
“They had a lovely, grey thoroughbred mare and her filly that didn’t get along with any of their other horses. They would kick and bite whenever they were with other horses, and nobody liked riding them. They’d had them for sale for months, but no one wanted to buy them. Rachel seemed to be the only one who could control the mare, and one day they just up and gave Rebecca both horses.”
“Unbelievable,” I said, leaning back on the legs of my chair.
I came forward with a thunk, turned to Bobby and asked, “And what strange and wonderful tales of great accomplishments do you have to tell me?”
“First place at the science fair… Tee-ball Season and Tournament Champs… My bike…”
“Stop. Stop!” I exclaimed. “I get the message.”
“Would you like to hear about how I got my house?” Kazuko asked.
“Don’t try to stop her,” the Greatest Networker advised.
“I walked up to the house with my camera one day on a Networking visit back to Nara,” Kazuko told me. “I politely explained to the people who answered the door that it was the most beautiful house and garden I had ever seen. I asked permission to take a picture of it, and after hearing that I wanted one just like it and why I wanted the pictures – how I was going to use them to create habits of belief for having such a house – the owners were intrigued.”
“They suggested they take pictures of me on the walk, in the garden, in the living room. They showed me the whole house, explained its history, invited me for dinner, too.”
“I signed them up that night in Network Marketing,” she laughed. “They are two of my leaders. Dear friends, now. And, about two years after we met, they wanted to move to be with their children in Yokohama and asked me please to purchase their house. It was important to them, they said, that the person who owned it loved it as they did and would preserve its history and beauty. So, I bought it.”
“Lesson Number Seventy-Four, complete?” my host asked, putting his hand on my shoulder.
“Complete,” I replied.
“Good,” he said standing up from his chair. “Guys’ night for dishes. Ladies – split,” he commanded.
“He always does the dishes when there’s only one pot to clean,” Rebecca observed wryly as she left the kitchen skipping through the door.
“He’s a bright and charming man,” added Rachel.
Kazuko bowed, smiled and left us to our work.
Click here to read: Chapter 13: Teaching Teachers