One day one of my writer's mind students asked me if I had ever done it on myself. I was surprised. I hadn't. I usually use all my tools on myself. But it is a tricky one to do on one's self, but I decided to give it a try. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to like less, because I fancy my tastes as pretty healthy. I thought of some things I don't like. The first thing that came to my mind was Kalamata Olives. I hate Kalamata olives. I realize hate is a strong word, but if there is one thing that can ruin the flavor of any entire salad or pizza it is these ugly purplish black deformed things. I thought, "why would I want to like that more?"
But to give it a good test, I decided to do a shift on Kalamata Olives. The technique is actually deceivingly simple. You just make a picture of the thing in your mind and then move the picture around to a place where something you like is.
Once I finished, I had no way of testing because make no mistake there were no purple olives found in my house. I forgot completely about it. So completely that a month later when cooking dinner with a friend at her house and the recipe called for them, I begged her not to include them. "Yuck. I won't eat it," I said.
Another month later, I found myself at a social gathering with an unidentified dip in front of me. It looked suspiciously like olive dip, and even as I scooped some onto my pita chip, something in my brain was saying "No! It could be gross. You might have to spit it out in front of everyone." But this other part of me was directing my hand and popping it into my mouth and chewing it.
What happened in my mouth is difficult to explain. I will try. It was like I was tasting a whole new food, but my taste buds hadn't yet formed an opinion. I walked around a bit and then the buds and the brain conferred. I suddenly felt an urgent need for more. I went back and had another bite. I could see the black dip getting bigger in my sight line as it came toward my mouth. A part of me was saying, "I don't think I like this..." but another part of me kept eating it.
I thought perhaps I was in some warped version of reality or dream until I remembered what I had done months before. Had I really done that? I couldn't believe it. They literally tasted different to me. They tasted good. I realized how much of my world suddenly opened up. I could order so much more food now. I could order Greek salads. I didn't have to firmly remind them to hold the olives every time I ordered the Tuna Niciose at Tender Greens. It didn't realize I had all these restrictions in my life. And now I had so much more flavor. It took part of me a while to catch up with this new change, but I finally allowed myself to buy them at the store and wholeheartedly accepted that I love Kalamata olives. I confess, I think about them as much as avocados. Even though I accept it and I do it every day with my clients, it still blows my mind.
And I can't help wondering about all things that we don't even realize we are missing because we think, "Why would I even want to do that?" It's the classic you don't know what you don't know. At least until someone challenges you. Which I am doing.