When I was young, the things I imagined appeared so real to me that I was often convinced that it was my reality. I remember having such powerful daydreams of becoming a superhero who could fly and throw fireballs. Admit it, you imagined you were a superhero too! It felt SO real that I thought it would make perfect sense to attach myself to a helicopter, then throw toys that I had wrapped up in red construction paper at kids who bullied me and they would be in awe of my super powers! I also thought it made perfect sense to plan my marriage to Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block. (Insert eye roll)…So it’s fair to say my imagination had a broad spectrum. LOL.
But what has happened to that imagination we so often used as a child? Why is it that as we get older we find it difficult to use the power of our imagination to the same level we did back then? Sure, busy days and busy lives may seem to only allow for daydreams at best, which include thoughts of how to get the kids to soccer, or how to pay a bill, or how to plan for our retirement…And yes, these things need to be thought about. But why in our adult lives have we forgotten to use our imagination to truly experience and inhabit the dreams and aspirations we have? Other cultures do it all the time! So in this blog, with the hope of benefiting our overall wellbeing, I would like to propose that we try to take back, and use, the power of our imaginations.
Yes, being a superhero who hangs from helicopters and throws fireballs isn’t on the top of my to-do list anymore! LOL. But, without genuine faith in my ability to succeed, aka utilize positive imagination, I at times seem to be very capable of thinking that I am still the ‘self’ who can’t do something. Who can’t attain a certain goal. Who can’t possibly deserve to be happy. And sadly, if I stay convinced of these things, and can’t even imagine being happy and living out my dreams, I reinforce the belief that I’m simply a limited ‘self’.
When we use our imagination, we allow ourselves to go somewhere else at that very moment. You can experience your dreams through imagination. If you think about it, every single human-made thing on this planet has originated in our imaginations. If you can think it, you can do it! If you have an aspiration to be something, imaging your success in attaining that goal is so very important. Olympians deeply imagine what it would feel like crossing the finish line and winning the gold medal in order to believe they can do so. Inventors deeply imagine their invention being used for its purpose so that they truly believe they can build it. In short, our imagination is the passageway to all possibility. But without allowing ourselves time to imagine, our dreams are quite unlikely to come true.
So now you may be asking yourselves, “When do I do this imagining Natalie?” and “Isn’t imagining just a waste of time?” My answer to the first question is to try to fall asleep imagining your positive goal, rather than the busy day ahead. But just like mediation, this takes practice. Our busy minds are SO filled with stuff, that calming the storm long enough to imagine something positive may take a bit of getting use to. But make it part of your nightly routine…and it will become just that, routine! Secondly, I can speak from experience that imagining happiness and the attainment of goals is NOT a waste of time. When I was sick, I actually found it silly to allow myself to imagine being happy. And by not trying, I just became more angry and numb every day. Now I love the peacefulness I feel when I let my imagination guide me and my future goals. I also use this idea to keep my motives in check. If it ‘feels right’ when I imagine myself following through with a certain task, I know I am on the right path. Furthermore, rather than embarking blindly into a life mission, imagining the mission can help me sort through the possible hurdles and begin to actually feel the rewards as I travel down that road.
So dust off that imagination cap! Stop thinking that it makes you look silly! 🙂 Use your dreams to calm your mind and see what possibilities arise. Yes my imagination has matured, and I know that I won’t be marrying Donnie Wahlberg or turning into a superhero that can throw fireballs…but through imagination, I sure do feel that I can fly! 😉