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Updated: Jun 17, 2021

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." Albert Einstein

I have the ability to imagine anything I want. I learned to prepare for the worst because of life experience so I got really good at imagining the worse-case scenarios.

I lived through the era of positive thinking which helped to an extent. In reality, it helped me in moments, but facing life with a terminally-ill child really didn’t fit with putting on a happy face and pretending all is well. My inner judge had more to work with when I couldn’t be successful at putting on a happy face every day.

Life is cyclical. I’ve learned to accept me where I’m at, monitoring my needs and pursuing all sorts of ways to deal with life using my thinking brain, my emotional senses and my imagination.

Imagination is a doorway into anything possible. The key is to let go of any timeline I put on what I imagine.

At this point in my life, I’m able to sit back more and observe. I’m past the point of critical care for my loved one. I’m past big changes, though some of coming. I’m past the point of reacting to every unknown because I’ve survived many unknowns.

My imagination is easier to manage now. The journey towards my doorway of imagination is not riddled with so many fears. Because I survived. I’m living life, not going to live it. I’ve found community, not want to find it. I enjoy nature and beauty, not going to enjoy it.

Yes, I want life to be easier for everyone. I want suffering to end. I want answers to conflicts. I want health all around. I can’t control life happening around me. I control how I talk with myself. I control my worry. I work with my fears. I grant myself love. I problem solve. I imagine.

I’m remembering when I was divorced, feeling alone, responsible for two adolescent children and one being so sick, I was devastated. With the help of a therapist, I figured out what I needed.

I didn’t want to feel alone. I wanted community. I engaged my imagination for community, what would it look like; how would I feel surrounded by community and so on.

I used affirmations. I created community. It took time. I had time. I believed it would come because when doors close, others open.

I love hearing experiences from participants as they describe bursts of pollen and cheerleading dreams. I love the description of colors and smell the flowers abundantly growing in their gardens. I love the skating on the Danube and flying down a snowy hill.

Everything feeds my imagination.

Gently invite comforting imagination. We deserve to be comfortable with our needs provided. We deserve to be cared for and held in community. we deserve to be loved.

“For example, what the trees do

not only in lightning storms

or the watery dark of a summer's night

or under the white nets of winter

but now, and now, and now - whenever

we're not looking. Surely you can't imagine

they don't dance, from the root up, wishing

to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting

a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly

more shade - surely you can't imagine they just

stand there loving every

minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings

of the years slowly and without a sound

thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,

and then only in its own mood, comes

to visit, surely you can't imagine

patience, and happiness, like that.”

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you. I was struck by the line survived many unknowns. It seems to me using imagination helps to be in a state of unknowing. That’s part of imagining and it is being in a state of expectancy and not in limited thinking. It’s spaciousness. There’s so much to imagining. Joy, empowerment, openness. It’s a brave space to be in because of the unknown and the uncertainty, the risk of exposure, the vulnerability. Those all go into imagining.

  • You talked about vicariously learning from the contributions of the group. On Being with Krista Tippett, her guest has studied the evolution of society. We are the only species where we all have different faces. That is critical because it allows us to associate that face with a different set of characteristics. I look to different people for insights, and if we had similar faces, I couldn’t.

  • I was struck by the idea of blooming where you are planted. Trees are rooted and can’t move. We are rooted as well in the particulars of our lives and we can’t really move either, but we can live in the present and we can imagine what the blooming would look like. Can I bloom more brilliantly or more fully? I think we have a lot of power. I was struck your affirmations, statements of fact in the now not in the future. You’ve worked at it and you are there. The appreciation of that, the strength of the imagination, the work that went into it, and then the blossoming. The wording is so important because it is in the now that I say what I want, instead of in the future.

  • I was reminded, when you were talking about the importance of imagination, of what I learned recently from Christine Meeks, the Director of the Center for Racial Healing. How we can use imagination to walk in someone else’s shoes to experience a heart broken open. We must heal our inner demons before we can heal the external manifestations of racism. Studies have shown that enslaved people survived the horrors they lived in by using their imaginations.

  • Thank you. I love acknowledging my imagination and living in it and feeling it. It’s saved my life many times. It’s like I’ve never been alone. My imagination has held me since I was very young. I also loved the Mary Oliver poem about trees. I experienced an out of body experience where I was held by a tree. Somehow, I was there with a tree spirit. It was extraordinary.

  • Thank you so much. I remember years ago, I was by myself on a retreat, and I found myself in an orchard. I felt moved to open up arms and send myself up into the sky. My imagination was having a wild ride. Then when it was time to leave, I held my arms up and called myself back. It was glorious. It was a gift of that day. I’m happy to be reminded of it.

  • I love what everyone has been saying. It makes me feel open and positive. I read a quote years ago, “your fear is your imagination going in the wrong direction.” I could win a contest for being the person who can go to the worst-case scenario the fastest.

  • During the mediation, I reflected on imagining what gentleness to myself would be like. This is what I wrote down. For me, gentleness is like the softness of a light blue sky. Gentleness is so necessary when my head and heart are full of disappointment. Gentleness is the sounds that I soak up from nature soothing my insides. I need gentleness to calm my fears, longings, and mistakes. With gentleness, I decrease my perfectionism. Gentleness by my side is like taking a breath as I move through the day.

  • That’s beautiful. One of the things that occurred to me, I’ve gotten really good at my negative imagination. If I can do it negatively, I can do it positively. That’s when I realized my negative imagination is a habit, almost like I’m stuck in it. It’s just a habit. I can use the same skill imagining ways that help me. What you just wrote is exactly that. And I’m sure everyone could feel the words as you said them. It was beautiful.

  • For 20 years, I was a corporate crisis manager because I had this uncanny ability to catastrophize. And they’d pay me to show them. Now, as part of this group, I am having a harder and harder time staying in that mindset because I am so focused on the positive side.

  • Really, imagination is a skill. And if we do it negatively, we can flip it around and use the skill in a positive way.

  • I usually associate imagination with pretending, with something that isn’t real. I’m realizing I can use my imagination to discern the truth. I can look at what’s going on beneath the surface.

  • I can imagine something that is comforting and pleasing. Connecting with the reality of any situation is usually better than anything I am imagining.

  • And you know that skill we have, when we imagine a blue car and all of a sudden, we see blue cars everywhere? It affects what we see in the world.

  • Thank you. This has been a fun conversation. I look at my day-to-day schedule, and I’m going to be around people which is often problematic for me. Right now, I am writing the recipe I need to take care of me and I am using my imagination to do it. I’m using my imagination to call in my helpers and I’m using my imagination to call my parking angels, because it guides me and helps me. And if things don’t work out how I want them to, I imagine something else because I’m taking care of me. I wish the same for each of you. I hope you all have a gentle, blessed day.

Photo credit: Ali Abdul Rahman

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