Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Can’t See What Is Not There

Posted by terrepruitt on October 1, 2013

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaI am playing a game on my iPad that is a hidden object kind of game. I like games where I don’t have to concentrate a lot, ya know, think too much – a little is good, but I like it to be fun. I have other things I have to think about so my games I want to be brainless and easy. This is kind of like that. Just look at pictures and pick out the objects. To me it is cool because it is not the same as the hidden objects games of my youth where the object is drawn into the scene. This game is tricky because the object are not necessarily hidden. Yeah, I know, they are right there in plain sight sometimes and it is still a challenge to see them. I find that really funny. I actually employ a theory of my husband’s about a phenomenon to play this game. It makes me laugh whenever I think of it. Especially when it works. My husband’s theory is: You can’t see what is not there.

That sounds obvious right? And it is, in reality you cannot see what is not there, but what he means when he says that is “I can’t see what I THINK is not there.” But the belief is so strong — it (the object you seek) is not there. So we don’t even bother with the “think” we just say, “I can’t see it because it is not there.” Because no matter what, once you believe it is not there it might as well not be.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaMy husband will often look for something then say, “Honey, can you look for the XXX (whatever) because I have been looking and it is not there.” Then I walk over without even looking and pick it up and give it to him. He says, “See? Sorry.” I say, “That’s ok. I get it.” Once you think it is not there — IT IS NOT THERE!

When I told him I was going to post about this he said it wasn’t originally his theory. He can’t remember whose it is. He kinda thinks it might have come from Sonny. Yeah, Sonny as in Sonny and Cher. But he can’t remember.

When you are looking for something that might truly not be there then this theory is difficult to get around. But in my game I can easily get around it. I know that the object on the list is there. So I have found myself thinking, “I will never find it.” Then I remember I can’t see things that aren’t there and I can’t see things if I think I can’t see them. So I take a breath and remind myself it is there and I can find it, and usually I find the object. I know it might sound silly to post about applying a theory to a game, but ya know, most of the time thinking is just a practice so if I practice it in a game situation, I can learn to practice it in real life. I just think it is funny because I believe the theory to be true so I work to counteract it in the game.

Also with the game I am not sure what the object will look like. So it is a good practice for opening my ideals of what things look like. Again, just a practice. As an example the object list might say bell. What did you picture? Bells can look a lot of different ways. As I typed this I thought of one of those bells that one used to ding for service. But it could be a bell like the liberty bell, or a school bell. You don’t always know. So in addition to letting go of not being able to see it because I THINK it is not there or I can never find it, I have to be open to recognizing what it might actually look like.

Ha. Just had a thought . . . just right now as I am typing . . . these ideas can be tied to Nia. Nia is not familiar to a lot of people so some think they will not get a good workout in a Nia class. Well, if that is what you think . . . then that is what you will get. If you walk in knowing it is a good workout then you will be able to participate fully. Also, when the participate releases the idea of what a workout “SHOULD” look like, they will be surprised that our skipping, moving, bending, dancing, etc. is great exercise.

So yeah, the theory can be applied to a lot of things so in some cases, when you don’t have a spouse to “see” it for you, you can be aware of the phenomenon and work to counteract it for yourself.

So are you aware of this phenomenon? Do you feel like this happens to you?

4 Responses to “Can’t See What Is Not There”

  1. Positive thinking always helps in every aspect of life. I agree with you 100 percent.


  2. niachick said

    omg…this is my favorite blog post. I love, love, love it. So many times during the day (especially around my “judgement” or “opinion” of what someone has said or done) I will say to myself “nothing is as it seems” or “look beyond what you see.” I love the phrase “can’t see what is not there”. One of my spiritual mentors used to say “I’ll see it when I believe it” (rather than the “I’ll believe it when I see it”). And whoa ho yes, it applies to Nia. I had a very positive experience on Monday morning in class. A new person came to class. She said she was “just here to check it out.” After class, I walked up to her, as I always do with new students, and asked her how she liked the class. She said, “I loved it. I don’t feel like I just exercised, I had so much fun.” We laughed a bit and talked a bit more and she’s definitely going to come back. I did tell her that I love it when I look in the mirror and see students smiling and having fun. I didn’t used to see that in exercise classes I attended back along the way. It seemed like so much effort. The beauty of Nia is that it is effortless effort.

    My husband does the same thing as yours. “Honey, I can’t find the (whatever).” I’ve had enough experience with this now that my answer is “Move stuff around. It’s there.” His “looking” is to just look, not to look around, or pick things up and move things”. If it’s not there when he looks for it, then it’s not there. You can’t see what is not there. But I can usually!!! HA!!! 🙂

    Thanks for this great post. I enjoyed it immensely.


    • Ha, ha, ha, ha. YES. “I’ll see it when I believe it” EXACTLY!

      And, of course, it applies to Nia, but honestly I wasn’t even thinking that until I was almost done typing. And then I was thinking about some women who showed up in class yesterday (that same as your student; “just here to check it out.” ) and I received the same comment I often get, “Oh, it made me sweat.” I never know what people are thinking/expecting that causes them to be surprised that they sweat during a workout. Makes me laugh! — Especially since usually I am DRIPPING with sweat.

      I love smiling students. I often say something to allow them to smile when I don’t see them smiling. Sometimes they are concentrating so hard they “lose” their smile. I help them find it!

      Well, when my husband asks, I know it is because he really can’t see it, so I just go over and find it for him. Yeah, husbands must be allergic to picking things up and LOOKING. Ha!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Love you!


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