So I recently returned from a convention of life coaches. Over 400 Martha Beck-trained coaches, and Martha herself, basically creating an incredible positive energy vortex around a beautiful high rise hotel in sunny San Diego. On the last day, Martha spoke to us about the power of imagination. And especially the power of imagination in service of love rather than fear. What's possible when we imagine this way is infinitely amazing and wonderful. And sometimes just plain fun, like this cat-certo - a concerto created around a YouTube video of a piano-playing cat!
I ran into a very simple example of the power of imagination in the LAX airport. There's a food vendor there called "Lemonade", and the wall of their dining area is bordered by giant script letters spelling "lemonade lemonade." This isn't that big an engineering feat, I know, but I was amazed. Here's what went through my mind: "Someone had to have the idea of making the wall of the restaurant out of giant script letters. Then they needed to quiet the part of their mind that said, You can't do that - it's silly. Or it's too hard." They imagined it, and then they figured out how to do it.
It's a beautiful concept - a lovely restaurant, and a fresh food oasis in the middle of the airport. I got curious and went to their website and found this - looks like imagination in service of love to me! Yum!
The tricky thing with imagination is how powerful it is. When we get good at using our imaginations and getting out of our own way, it becomes easier and easier to create whatever we envision. Which is amazing! Yet sometimes when we get what we imagined, we realize it's not what we really wanted in the first place. Like all the stories with genies in them, we are taught to be careful what we wish for - we might get it!
Here are some tips to getting what you actually want using your imagination:
1. Begin with your feelings. How do you want to feel? Everything you wish for, from cars to a cool job to a wonderful partner to a beautiful home or a tropical vacation, or even world peace, you wish for because it's going to make you feel a certain way. What you really want is the feeling.
2. Visualize. Use any tool you want - writing, collages, daydreaming - to picture your desire. Be detailed. Be bold. Be even more unreasonable than giant script letters spelling lemonade!
3. Pre-member. Imagine it has already happened. Bask in the glow of your desire and the feeling you get from having it. Feel the fantastic feeling now.
4. Take steps in the real world. Tell people about your desires. (Ok. I will tell you one of mine. My current unrealistic "lemonade lemonade" desire is to bond with big cats but only in a way that doesn't harm or exploit them. I have no idea how this will happen. I really want to hug them but this seems exploitative in just about every scenario I can imagine. Or if it's not exploitative it seems dangerous.) I have many slightly more doable desires that I'm taking steps toward as well. And telling people about. And imagining how they might be possible.
5. Pop back to that feeling again. Any way you can get a taste of it now? The feeling I'm looking for with the big cats is connection - oneness. I can do that with so many species - not just big cats! I can bond with my small cat. I can hang out with the birds, squirrels, turtles and bees in the yard. I can watch videos of beautiful wild big cats. I can learn more about animal communication. Curious what I mean? Check out this gorgeous video of an animal communicator connecting with a black leopard. (I know it might be heavily edited and "storified", but it's still a beautiful video. And there is lots of lion hugging at the beginning!) I can donate to sanctuaries that rescue and don't exploit big cats. You may find a very simple beautiful way to get the feeling you want - without having to create anything complicated!
6. What if you create something you realize you didn't want after all? Maybe your dream job or dream house doesn't feel that way anymore - maybe it's not what you expected. That's ok - start again! Take another direction - try something completely different, or just tweak things slightly to connect you back to the feeling you were looking for. You don't have to stick with what you have just because you created it once - you can try something completely different! That's the power of imagination.
Oh, and if you know of a way I can hang out (unexploitatively) with big cats, let me know!