Self-Care: Using Your Imagination

On the blog for the past few days I’ve been writing on self-care.  Yesterday we relaxed our minds.  I trust that this was a pleasant experience for you.  Today we will focus on using the imagination.  One of the most powerful gifts given to humans is the ability to imagine.

Think with me for a moment of a ripe lemon.  You walk into your house after a particularly hot day in summer and you are thirsty.  You see a bowl of fruit.  See the fruit in your mind’s eye.  Red apples, purple grapes, plums, bananas, oranges, and yellow lemons.

Looking in the bowl, take out a lemon.  Hold it in your hand.  Closely examine it, squeezing it, feeling the soft firmness of perfect ripeness.  Roll the lemon around a bit and smell the sharp citrus smell of the oils being released by your squeezing.  You take a knife from the counter and cut the lemon in half.  See the segments and the juice that runs from the cut.  Now, hold the lemon up to your mouth and squeeze:  Let the juice of the lemon run into your mouth and over your tongue.  Sharp, tart, slightly bitter.

Now, back to reality for a moment.   Were you able to imagine the scene, especially the lemon?  Did you have a physical reaction from imagining the lemon juice squirting into your mouth?  If so, you have a graphic example of the power of our imaginations.  How does this fit with self-care?

Let’s think for a moment.  Yesterday we spent time relaxing.  I led you on a mental journey into releasing tension from your body.  What does tension look like?  Is it a black, dark, fluid?  These images are from our imagination, however they help us understand the world.  Stress is based on how we imagine the world to be and these imaginations are rooted in our actual experience.  If I gather stress by how I imagine the world to be, I can better control stress by changing how I imagine the world.

At this point I will probably get an argument from someone who will report that the world is real, not imaginary.  I fully agree with that statement.  I realize that there is an actual world, a physical world with which we come in contact.  However, my understanding of this actual world, the meaning I create for my interaction with the actual world is strongly influenced by my understanding of events, and my anticipation of what may occur.

We are focusing on our internal experience of our external world.  I have very limited control of the world outside my skin.  I must learn how to deal with what happens to me.  How I mentally face the external world is my choice however and I can learn how to deal with external circumstances by using my gift of imagination.

Memory works closely with imagination and both are part of this self-care discussion.  If you have lived on the planet for any length of time your mind is filled with encounters with the outside physical world.  Rarely do we attend to the conscious examination of our experiences.  Most of the time we take life as it comes, with little thought on how we deal with life.  It is only when something hurts, when an event affects us in a painful way that we begin to think of change.  Our memory and imagination are the elements for life-long and lasting change, but these very tools that are intended to assist us in living a happy fulfilled life, can trap us in painful memories with no hope of escape.

I might have gotten too metaphysical for you right now, but bear with me.  I’ll talk more about the experience of memory in an upcoming post, but for now let’s focus on imagination.  I’ll ask you right now to imagine yourself in your relaxed space, the situation you placed yourself in yesterday.  Think of how relaxed your were as you allowed the golden flow of peace to fill your body.  Did you actually get filled with a golden fluid?  And yet peace still came into your spirit.  Amazing isn’t it how a mental image can bring a physical reaction to our body.

Practice today paying attention to the events of your day.

We will discuss more in tomorrow’s post.

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