“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”- George Bernard Shaw
Do you have a vivid imagination? Can you envision your dreams and desires and see them through to fruition? Take a look around you and know that everything in your life was once an idea in someone’s mind. From the computer or phone on which you are reading this article, to the chair or sofa on which you may be sitting, and the song that might be playing in the background; they were brought into being once a person held the possibility for them to exist.
There is a story about Walt Disney who died in 1966, before Disneyworld was open for business on October 1, 1971. His brother Roy was being interviewed by a reporter who marveled at the fantasyland that families from all over the world would be able to enjoy. The journalist mused that it was a shame Walt hadn’t live to see his dream unfold in such a glorious fashion. Roy responded, “Walt saw it first, which is why you’re seeing it now.” Seeing it first is the initial entre’ to all creation.
Is Seeing and Saying Believing?
Athletes have discovered that even when imagining running their races, lifting weights or otherwise working their muscles, physical benefit is in evidence.
Olympic skier, Emily Cook swears by a multi-sensory approach to her performances. “Visualization, for me, doesn’t take in all the senses. You have to smell it. You have to hear it. You have to feel it, everything.” That has assisted her in working marvelous feats of flight as an aerial jumper.
The legendary heavyweight champ Muhammed Ali used the one liner, “I am the greatest.” as a means of keeping his fire stoked. When I first heard him utter that affirmation, my initial thought was that he was arrogrant. I immediately corrected it to, “Not arrogant…confident.” If he had said that he could, “Maybe, kinda, sorta be a halfway decent boxer someday,” he would have been flat on the mat. It was his solid belief in himself and his well honed abilities that kept him vertical more often than not.
Over the years, I have built a tool kit which includes items that I utilize myself and teach clients and students to put to work in their lives.
- Let your mind run wild by brainstorming what you desire, whether it is a job, relationship, car, education or vacation. No holds barred. No editing or censoring. Pure imagination.
- See the highest, wisest and best version of yourself going out into the world and interacting with others. How do you sit, stand, walk and talk? How do people respond to you when you bring your A-game to all of your relationships?
- Imagine conversations before they even happen. You may think of them as role plays in which you and the others involved are speaking what needs to be said. There have been times when they have played out, sometimes word for word, as I have experienced them in my head.
- Practice experiences en route. When I am prepping for teaching classes, I see the classroom in my mind even before I even arrive. I walk and talk myself through setting up the space, so that by the time I get there, my body just needs to catch up.
- Journal your dreams Keep a notepad or book by your bed, so you can recall in writing what transpired in your somnambulic state. Some of my most entertaining and disturbing dreams have guided me to insights that I might have blocked while awake.
- Allow for success on your own terms. Many’s the time we have bought into others’ expectations for us and the ways in which they wanted our lives to unfold. Even if the adults in our lives had the best intentions, we are the ones who are to live with our choices.
- Internal inquiry; ask yourself how you would feel if you were to be healthier, wealthier and wiser. Most people don’t just want the objects or experiences they claim. They wish for a particular emotional state. It could be freedom, relaxation, security or love.
Have you ever made a Vision Board or Treasure Map? You could think of it as a collage with pizazz. Gather together magazines from a variety of genres, dollar store supplies of poster board, scissors and glue stick. Clear a large space, whether floor or table top, so you can spread out your tools. Take a few minutes to consider what it is that you want to call into your life. Perhaps you desire a new job, a cross country move or a fitness routine to help you create a healthier lifestyle. One option is to create one board for each aspect and another a composite that incorporates the many facets of your life.
To prepare, allow this to be a multi-sensory experience. Turn on music that inspires you, enlivens you or soothes you. You may want to light a candle and brew some tea.
Peruse a publication and allow words and pictures that speak to you, perhaps without even knowing why, to draw your attention. Cut them out and set them aside. Know that they are symbolic and not necessarily a direct represenation. For example, you may find two cranes side by side that might symbolize relationship, since they are heralded as mating for life. If you have a craving for the Caribbean, a picture of ocean waves and the words, ‘vacation,’ or ‘relaxation’ may entice you.
Once you have the images and verbiage cut out, place them intuitively on the poster board. Rather than allowing logic to guide you, let your instincts move you. For those who are left brain-linear-logical, this may prove to be a stretch. Go with it.
Allow it to be a work in process, as you are yourself. There is no wrong way to engage in this experience, so put your judgements aside. There are times, when the ‘cake is fully baked’ and your board is complete for the time being. Set it aside and take a deep breath as you affirm to yourself, “This or something better now comes to me.” So often, we forget that piece of creative work that involves surrender to the process of life itself, without attempting to micromanage how it is to unfold.
Some of my most rewarding experiences have resulted from doing this work, including travel, publishing my first book, improving my health and interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama. After placing his picture on a board, someone suggested putting my own image next to his. I am convinced that symbolic proximity contibuted to physical manifestation.
I just read a story about the power of manifestation from someone who is considered the queen of having her dreams come true…Oprah Winfrey. While I can’t say for certain that her action tipped the election, I can vouch for the value of collective intention.
On the morning of the presidential election, November 4, 2008, Oprah called New York City radio station Power 105.1 and shared the following story:
“I was speaking with Michelle [Obama] and Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver – we were all doing a big rally out in California. At the end of the rally Michelle Obama said something powerful: ‘…I want you to leave here and envision Barack Obama taking the oath of office’. I created a vision board. I had never had a vision board before. I came home, I got me a board and put Barack Obama’s picture on it, and I put a picture of my dress I want to wear to the inauguration.”
This is an exercise that can be done independently or in a group setting. At the end of each year, I create a Vision Board for the upcoming 12 months. That will take place today. In a few weeks, I am hosting a gathering at which friends will create theirs. When I have done this with others, we bless each others’ creations and last year, we wrote messages of support on the back so they know they have cheerleaders.
As I am seed planting for the life garden I want to grow next year, I can feel a sense of excitement and anticipation growing as well, shoots bursting through the soil I have been cultivating for a lifetime.