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...
with all sorts of imagined creatures...
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).
This is powerful.
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...
a meaningful life.
Our ability to imagine possibility within our mind's eye can also, ironically, create...
our own chaos...
our own suffering...
our own monsters.
Last night, one of my monsters came for a visit when my husband called to say that he was going to drive home from Canada despite the hour.
It was 10:30 pm.
He had already driven 5 hours that morning to attend a funeral.
He was tired.
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
your neighbor cuts you off in traffic
your child is struggling in school
your friends haven't called
your Facebook post didn't get any 'likes'...
take a pause...
take a breath...
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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