“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain, birth name of Samuel Clemens, American author and humorist, most noted for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1835-1910)
Sometimes we can’t see what is right in front of us. Our eyes, although they physically work, don’t seem to be able to recognize objects, people, opportunities, even reality. Why is that? Could it be that our mind is so otherwise occupied that we’ve somehow fallen out of focus? Is our imagination lacking, asleep or deliberately ignored?
We can do something about this, although it may not seem like a very high priority. After all, we may complain, don’t we already have too much to do just to tend to our recovery? Frankly, we all can use a little imagination in our lives. Imagination helps the picture look a little clearer, more soothing, desirable and within reach. Imagination helps us overcome whatever obstacles may be in our path, figure out seemingly miraculous solutions to exasperating problems, repair the most damaged relationships, achieve the most difficult goals.
In short, imagination helps us see what we cannot see in real time no matter how hard we try.
But how do we jumpstart our imagination, especially when we’re so out of practice? Here are some tips:
- Sit in a quiet place with eyes closed and allow our mind to drift. Let it go wherever it wants, but recognize when it wants to scamper into dark places and center on negative thoughts and gently steer it into a warm and inviting place.
- Picture the most beautiful spot on earth, someplace we’ve been or long to visit that is so appealing we can’t wait to go there. Allow ourselves to dwell on seeing ourselves there, enjoying that place fully and completely.
- If doubt or worries begin to intrude on this imaginary picture, envision the sight and sound of a bell ringing, bringing us back to the delightful place where we reside – on that beach, at the top of that snowcapped peak, surrounded by loved ones and family or achieving our most prized goal.
- Give our minds permission to adapt, to revise, to build upon, to devise and create whatever it wants to make the vision, the picture, the imaginary place more accessible, attainable and real.
- After residing in this welcoming, healing imaginary place for a while, slowly come back to the present. Open our eyes and take in our surroundings. Try to see and appreciate every object and person within our view. Give thanks for the opportunity to be here and now and have the ability to make decisions based on our free will, desire and goals we wish to achieve.
These simple steps will go a long way toward jumpstarting our imagination so that we can see beyond whatever may have seemed to be in our way before. After that, get going on action plans and taking action so that we do succeed in pursuit of our goals, little by little and step by step. Remember that recovery isn’t a race but a journey. Enjoy the ride.