I had this 4am thought. (When you see the bags under my eyes, be happy for me. Apparently that’s when the Inspiration Fairy is available in my neck of the woods, damn her.)
I was thinking about my snarky commentary on people who use vision boards and manifesting to conjure nice things all for themselves, and PING! the Idea Fairy said, they’re not awful people, you know, it’s just a failure of imagination.
Everything begins in our imagination.
With the image. Of what we long for.
And our imaginations are only as generative as what we feed them.
Garbage in, garbage out, as one camp leader once told me.
In the over culture that we live and swim in, we are being fed a pretty constant stream of images of what we should want. For me, as a mid-age woman, it looks like pin-stick legs, tightened facial skin, very elegant clothes and probably a brand new car. Or if I’m reading the health food store free magazine, it looks like meditation beads, beautiful skin and the ability to run with long-deer-like legs along the beach with a very nice pedicure.
This was my initial confusion around creating a vision board – how could a bunch of magazine ads of things I don’t want, help craft a vision for where I want to go? And how I want to feel?
I see things more symbolically now, and I’m a lot less reverential about magazines. There’s a lot of emotional catharsis in ripping up a photograph of an airbrushed model wearing something very impractical and excising her ear, or her giant diamond earring, and turning it into a twinkly star in your vision…
But we are swimming in a world that is shilling and selling shiny things at us.
How can I judge someone for thinking the most amazing thing she could manifest would be money and a house in Hawaii.
Hawaii is probably very very lovely.
I have come to feel increasingly protective of my imagination, ever since watching Rob Hopkins speak about the importance of our longing and our imaginations, as tools to create the world we want to live in, the future we want to leave our kiddos.
I also heard a future trend forecaster say that the futures that are being created and invested in, are the ones where someone feels like they can assuredly make money.
Which doesn’t necessarily take into account my kiddo, and yours, and all the other living things, who might want 2030 to be awesome, or who might want to experience an old growth forest and fresh air circa 2050, which isn’t that far off, friends.
The way to get there is, first, feed our imaginations, so we are capable of envisioning something more rich and juicy and multidimensional than a beautiful beach house.
When I told a teacher of mine, recently, that I’m trying to let go of my need to get a gold star, she ironically gave me a gold star for that thought. Haha. She said, “the wonderful thing about letting go of the need for a gold star is that it frees the universe or the people around you to give you so much more.” I loved this idea, that the affirmation/pat on the head/gold star that I was trained to orient myself to, is actually not the be-all-and-end-all. It’s kind of a low bar. What might be beyond that, just waiting for me to open my eyes?
That’s where I think our imaginations need some new material. We’ve been dreaming up nice beachhouses and slick wardrobes, but that’s a very anemic, superficial, single dimension dream. We could be dreaming up something much much much more amazing. Transformation! Justice! Everyone with enough to feel at ease! Village squares where people gather and car-less roads and every person with a bicycle and healthy legs or arms or backs!
You might need to read some speculative fiction or seek out some art shows or listen to more live music or go dancing or unsubscribe from dwell magazine and HGTV or pick up a deck of oracle cards. Stop looking at celebrities and re-engineer your instagram feed so it includes a bunch of artists – I recommend Molly Costello, Madeline Jubilee Saito, Rob Hopkins and the transition town movement folk, and other visionaries. Don’t let the capitalist and tech overlords dictate your fantasies, because they’re going to sell you the product they already have, not what you long for, not what will make you really come alive, and not what will make the world a more beautiful place.
Feed your imagination something delicious. (And tell about it!)
Okay. Thanks Inspiration Fairy. That was worth a couple hours sleep. I’m off to feed my imagination some fibre and organic veggies and flying houses and dragons now.