You and I both know that imagination all by itself creates possibility. But, when you combine imagination and curiosity, you create infinite possibilities!
When was the last time you really used yours? Do you know 90% of what you thought yesterday you will think today and then again tomorrow? Unless you are in the arts, and creating on a regular basis, you probably fall into that category. Scary, huh?
Think about your day, the routine of your day.
Most of us have our lives down to a system of one sort or another. You know the drill…get up, shower, brush your teeth…in some order. Within this system we typically have the routines or jobs we love and those we dread.
There are subsets within the system…relationships, work, family, etc.
We may get creative or imaginative if we are planning a vacation, or a party, or we may hire someone to do that for us because we are too busy doing what is required on the list every day.
Let’s look at the definition of imagination…
Imagination is the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.
What would it be like if you could rekindle your imagination? Who has time for that?
You may ask,” Why would I want to? I am not a creative person! What is the point?”
If so, I am glad that you are asking why, because at least that means you are curious. Curiosity is a very important part of an active imagination.
Let me give you Webster’s definition of curious…
There are three: 1. Eager to learn; 2. Unduly inquisitive; prying; 3. Arousing interest because of novelty. (Read this again!)
Does anyone want to appear unduly prying or feel as though they are arousing interest because they are a novelty?
I contend that even when we allow ourselves curiosity, we are restricted by the parameters of what it means to be a good person in polite society.
Curiosity is pretty much bred out of us except in structured or controlled environments, in which case it is no longer genuine, but contrived.
We are told from when we are little that too much curiosity can get us into trouble. So, we learn to do what is in front of us, do what we are told and taught in good faith.
We are told that doing this will get us the success we aspire to, so we stop asking the kind of questions that are thinking outside the everyday box.
I believe that when we go along with this guidance, which most children do, a piece of us dies; that innocent childlike essence within us is given no room to
play beyond our early years.
Unless we carve it out for ourselves and make it happen.
In my work as a psychotherapist and a healer of deeply hidden emotions, as well as in my personal life, the reactivation of my imagination has meant everything to me.
The following is a personal example:
I remember the first summer my son came home from college after my husband and I had separated. He was sullen and did not speak to me much unless it came out angry. He was also displaying typical teenage boy behavior of not picking up after himself and not actively looking for a summer job.
If the family hadn’t been going through a major adjustment, I might have just a harassed him. Instead, I decided to allow my imagination to help me.
I began to ask my inner wisdom, “What can I say to him that would create a doorway into his silence that wouldn’t offend him or make our relationship more tenuous?”
By living in this question for a few days and not succumbing to my frustration, one morning upon waking a simple idea came to me.
I asked him if I could ask him a question and when he said yes, I asked, “Are you not talking to me because you are mad at me or because you are just mad?”
His response, “I am just mad.”
I sighed in relief and told him, “I am happy it’s not me and I am here for you…if you want to talk.”
Within a few minutes, he started to talk.
His talking to me came from a place of trust, because I was simply curious without an agenda. This short conversation set the stage for a heartfelt summer versus one of adversity.
It took a couple of days of asking myself the question and searching for a new way of being with my young adult son to come up with something that simple. However, the time and result were well worth it.
I contend that without our curiosity, without our unabashed ability to ask, “What is this?” our imagination is dead.
It is important to learn to be able to ask without judgment or preconceived notions, even when this is something, an experience we have had or have seen a hundred times before and we think we already know the answer.
To be willing look and see with new eyes takes us out of being an automaton or a human machine that does pretty much the same thing every day and into a new world that can bring an aliveness we have long forgotten.
When we are willing to ask, “What is this?” …when we ask with genuine willingness to put aside whatever we think we know and be willing to allow our inner wisdom to form a new mental image of something not present to our senses or current reality, we open a window to a new sense of aliveness.
When I was willing to assume, I didn’t know what was going on in my son and start from there, it opened a doorway into a summer of conversation versus stress.
When we are willing to use curiosity coupled with imagination, we are activating our right brain and bringing a new balance into our bodies. We activate an aliveness within ourselves that creates satisfaction and a sense of connection.
Curiosity, combined with a willingness to be imaginative in ways we think or believe we have forgotten, opens doors of infinite possibilities in whatever area of our life is stale or stifling and dreadful.
Try it! See what your inner wisdom will bring alive in you.
A great resource for activating your right brain and your imagination is Breaking the Rules by Kurt Wright.