Themes often emerge in my coaching/counseling practice.  I don’t consciously dictate the themes rather they surface organically.  An ongoing theme that is consistent within my practice and I believe is problematic for adults within our culture is the lost art of IMAGINATION.  Somewhere along the line we stop allowing ourselves to imagine, to pretend, to play, to act “as if.”  IMAGINATION is a huge part of our early development and an indicator of emotional health later on.  If a child is not engaging in IMAGINATION there are major red flags.  Most of us carry fond early memories of some game of imagination.  I used to pretend I was an archeologist as I explored the woods in our backyard.  Our children use our dress up box daily and last night were making elaborate potions they called, “Diverticulitis” ( a bowel condition they picked up from adult conversation).   This all seems to start getting lost in our early to mid twenties where the art of PRETENDING for fun is often considered immature or not “adultlike.”  At this age we start receiving messages that it is time to “grow up.” The inner experience of allowing CREATIVITY to emerge becomes more of an outer experience where someone else’s IMAGINATION (i.e. movie) is being projected on to you.  It is not your idea.  Its coming to you rather than from you.  In my experience, during this twenty something time people continue to allow themselves to IMAGINE but it is directed  towards negativity and worst possible case scenerios.  Thus the rise of anxiety.  “What if I never find a partner?  What if I don’t find my dream job?  What if I don’t have a life purpose?  What if I fail?”  And then the gift of IMAGINATION starts going in to hibernation.  Sometimes staying asleep for life!

 Most people  decide to work with me because they are feeling stuck in their life.  The have found themselves caught in a perspective and do not know how to get out.  A huge role I play is to get people to think outside of the box and explore other perspectives.  I also encourage them to DREAM, to IMAGINE, PRETEND and ACT AS IF.  My clients also tend to be highly intelligent and have perfected the art of logic.  Here lies the challenge for them.  I am consistently asking them to put their logic on the backburner and PLAY. This proves to be a very difficult task.  For example, I might say, “tell me about your dream career” or “if money or time constraints were not an issue how would your life be different?”  It is not uncommon that I watch many of my clients sit uncomfortably struggling for a logical answer.  And here is where I say, “lets just throw logic out the door for now and play.”   A common response is, “really, we can do that?”  Not only can we do that, I find that IMAGINATION is an essential ingredient that gets someone back in motion.  It somehow frees up the cobwebs in ones consciousness.  If one IMAGINES owning five homes throughout the world or becoming the fastest runner in the world, it might not mean that that is exactly what will happen.  Rather, it brings to the surface an individuals love of other cultures, their desire for more adventure in their life, perhpas their interest in architecture or their passion for exercise and their desire to excell.  The possibilities are endless.  And they might just end up owning five homes and being the fastest runner in the world. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand.”

I believe it is imperative that we uncover the lost art of IMAGINATION.  As we progress as a society we seem to be attaching less value to it.  It sickens me to go in to nursing homes and see the majority of people sitting in front of TV’s. It concerns me to see robotic faces herding throughout grade schools and high schools.  Students are being lectured at, expected to regurgiate material without thought (and then get rewarded!) and art funding continues to get cut at alarming rates.  For the sake of our country, our world and ourselves its time to get out there and PLAY.  Yes, LOVE is the answer…………coupled with IMAGINATION.  I leave you with the words of John Lennon…………

“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”

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