Real or Imagined?

The power of our imagination

 Photo courtesy of JP Korpa

Photo courtesy of JP Korpa

Back in High School, I took a drama class. One day, our teacher turned off the lights and instructed us to walk around the room as if we were walking through the woods at night. 

It didn't take long for my imagination to take over.

Suddenly, I was IN the woods...

in the dark...

alone...

with all sorts of imagined creatures...

and noises....

edging ever closer.

I'm not sure what the teacher expected, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the blood curdling scream that erupted from my mouth as I felt something brush against the sleeve of my arm. 

Despite being horrified at my near operatic display of emotion...I was also quite impressed with my ability to completely immerse myself in my imagination. 

I had created a world in my mind (the woods) so convincingly that I actually reacted (screamed) to a real world event (someone brushing the sleeve of my arm) as if it were happening in my imagined world (the woods).

Holy. Cow.

This is powerful.

Truly.

Since the mind cannot differentiate between what is real and what is imagined...we automatically respond as if what we imagine is real and happening in real time.

Given one morsel of thought...we can conjure a whole world and respond to it accordingly.

When merged with our imagination, we have the ability to create the most amazing possibilities that have the potential to become reality.

Every day someone - somewhere has the germ of an idea that begins with a thought that blossoms into...

an enchanting story...

a life-saving medicine...

a helpful tool...

and

a meaningful life.

Our ability to imagine possibility within our mind's eye can also, ironically, create...

our own chaos...

our own suffering...

and...

our own monsters.

A few weeks ago, one of my monsters came for a visit when my husband called to say that he was going to drive to Canada despite the late hour and having had worked a full day.

It was 8:30 pm. 

He was tired and in no shape for a 7 hour drive at night.

My monster mind went to work.

I imagined the worst.

And then magnified it.

Using only the power of thought and imagination, I created a world of stress and chaos for myself. 

I had created something out of nothing.

I acted as if what I imagined in my mind was a known reality rather than an unknown possibility.

It was only when I caught up with my thoughts and imagination that I realized that none of what I had imagined could possibly be known in that moment.

I had made it up and in the process created a heaping bowl of worry for myself.

The imagined monsters, created chaos and self-imposed suffering that I speak of, live in the land of possibility biding their time until the opportunity presents itself to come alive in the land of imagined reality.

Don't give them the opportunity.

In those moments when you feel the itch because...

your spouse is late

or

your neighbor cuts you off in traffic

or

your child is struggling in school

or

your friends haven't called

or

your Facebook post didn't get any 'likes'...

take a pause...

take a breath...

take courage...

and...

take stock of the facts that are known...not imagined.

There will always be monsters and bumps in the night that lurk just beyond your imagination eager for an invitation to create a little chaos.

You alone have the power to welcome them in or ignore them until they just go away.


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Wise Women Speak

Giving Voice to the Wisdom in Women

Oh, and did you check out this week's podcast? Every week I sit down with Linda Pritcher and we ask women to share with us and our listeners how they used wisdom and inner guidance to recognize and navigate a life of meaning, and to discover and speak with their own authentic voice. We hope you will be inspired to listen in more deeply to that voice within you.