From Anxiety to Flow

When I first started NightWalking in 2007, I was surprised to discover several things about vision and life.

First, when you switch in to your peripheral vision and can stay there, the internal activities of anxiety are impossible.

Internal chatter, worry about the past or future, and anything other than being present is impossible when you use your peripheral vision.

I was delighted by this discovery and it’s one of the main reasons I’ve pursued this activity of peripheral vision.

Second, staying peripheral was not something I could do right away.

I had to practice it. Because we westerners are experts in focused vision (tasks like reading, playing on our cell phones, threading a needle, etc are all focused visions tasks) and we haven’t used our peripheral vision much, the connection between the eye and brain is not great when it comes to peripheral vision.

Most people need 12-20 hours of NightWalking to be able to go peripheral and stay there and use it at will. In fact, almost everyone I’ve met who lives in the modern world can’t just “go peripheral” for even a few seconds without a little help. I certainly couldn’t at first. It’s a lost skill and regaining it seems like gaining a Jedi superpower (even though it’s a natural ability of the human eye).

Third, my life was more entangled with anxiety that I realized.

Even with the happy, abundant life I had in safety and security with plenty of resources and friends, I was surprised to notice that low-level anxiety was an itch I was always trying to soothe.

I had attempted, unconsciously, to scratch that anxiety itch with achievements like my college education (which was really fun, by the way!) and distractions like vacations, but nothing had worked to directly address the anxiety.

I didn’t discover the vast landscape of my anxiety until I had some consistent experiences of not being anxious and a guide to help me learn to stay out of anxiety.

After I had that awareness (in NLP we sometimes call it “sensory acuity”) things started to change organically on their own.

I quickly became more resilient.

I had more energy to follow my dreams and desires.

I had more attention to spend on the things I love. At the time, that was improving relationships, being in nature, and learning to share NLP with others.

It was like I had been walking around with a bear trap on my leg not knowing it was there. As soon as I discovered it, it was extremely easy and quite natural to remove it and heal and have what seemed like boundless energy in comparison!

I came to NightWalking before I had much road time as an NLP trainer. As I continue to teach NLP classes (the NLP Starter weekend class comes around again this September and October – kicking off the 10th fourteen-day NLP Practitioner Certification Training I’ve facilitated as the lead trainer), I’ve returned to NightWalking.

NightWalking does not offer therapy or belief changes about anxiety. It is not about “working through* anxiety.

NightWalking gives you a profoundly different, non-anxious experience of the world that you can sustain when you wish to.

Some people call this reliable, enjoyable state that arises while NightWalking:

  • no mind
  • flow
  • seeing the big picture while staying engaged
  • ease
  • expansion
  • love
  • connection
  • sacred space
  • being part of the night
  • oneness
  • calm
  • and many more things…

I don’t know what you’ll call it and I’m curious to find out!

If anxiety or the calm, relaxed flow states that are anxiety’s opposites are of interest to you, I hope to see you at this one-of-a-kind class in Taos, New Mexico. There’s no other class that I’m aware of that takes you through the beginning states of learning to use your peripheral vision and stay peripheral.

Hopefully you’ll also have fun enjoying the natural beauty of the desert in bloom.

www.NightWalking.com/class-taos

Have you ever seen your shadow by starlight?

“Night” is a place most of us urban dwellers rarely go.

Although the human eye can see a single candle flame from ten miles away, where are there ten miles of darkness without artificial light?

Most of us haven’t fully explored our night vision and its natural possibilities because of light pollution, the draw of our marvelous cell phones and computers, and the lack of others who know how to safely enter the night to show the way.

The Necessity of Night

Night is a necessary part of all life on earth.

For humans, we must be exposed to darkness in order for the natural clock run by melatonin to work correctly and for the bodily functions of cell repair and renewal to operate optimally.

Darkness triggers melatonin production which influences sleep, immune system activities, and more. Our organs, cells, and hormones “know” it’s night via melatonin.

Some animals and plants only come out at night, like the beautiful Moonflower that attracts night moths.

Night is a beautiful frontier that we can explore and learn from. And NightWalking helps you enter the night and become a part of it.

When you train yourself to see at night, you can literally see everything in your field of view, all around you. Night vision is not a metaphor; it’s something we can all experience literally via the natural peripheral vision function of the eye. Because the activity of seeing requires both the eye and the brain, anything we do with night vision that we didn’t learn as children is mostly quickly learned via an activity like walking at night without light on natural terrain.

Phenomena reported on NightWalks:
**Day vision dissipates as the sun goes down; colors fade to a beautiful greyscale
**Night vision takes 20-40 minutes to set in after the last artificial light or the sun goes down
**Curious moths checking out the group of strange humans who are walking around in the dark
**Night Hawk birds feeding while flying
**Glow-in-the-dark lichen that you can see from very far away, once your night vision sets in
**Plants appear differently and are easy to avoid

It takes most people 12-20 hours of NightWalking to be able to go peripheral and stay there at will.

This year during our Taos NightWalking class, another special phenomenon will be active: the Perseid meteor shower.

There are no words to adequately describe viewing shooting stars in the milky way in the beautiful Taos desert. You just have to be there to experience it!

NightWalking in Times Square, Manhattan

I was in Times Square this past January. I’m often mildly vigilant in big crowds, moving my attention from spot to spot, person to person, vehicle to vehicle, to catch any oncoming problems ahead of time.

It’s a safety thing many are taught, conscious or unconsciously… stay focused, stay “aware.”

When I realized I had this mild vigilance going on, I thought, “oh, I could try NightWalking!”

I opened up my peripheral vision, and I began to walk.

NightWalking is best taught on a dark night, without artificial light around, while walking on uneven ground.  NightWalking creators Nelson Zink and Stephen Parks discovered that at night, without light, on uneven ground, the *only* way to see clearly and know where to step next is when you’re using your peripheral vision, so it’s the perfect context to learn to stay peripheral, which is NightWalking.

And once you’ve practiced and learned how to stay peripheral, you can NightWalk anywhere you like.  Because peripheral vision is a natural function of the eye, brain, and body, once you know how to do it and keep doing it, instead of snapping back into foveal/ macular vision like we habitually do, you can just stay peripheral.

 

 

All around me, I could see the moving images of advertisements, stories high.

I could see every person and every thing very clearly, without moving my head.

I could feel my feet steadily meeting the ground, step after step.

My breath deepened.

My center of gravity dropped.

And because I could see everything around me so clearly, I can *actually* react to anything needed.

I flowed through the sea of oncoming pedestrians, clearly seeing where to go next.

 

 

NightWalker Katie Raver with mom and fellow Times Square fan Janice