01.05.2004

Make your dreams real - by Cheryl Morris

Imagination is a powerful thing. In our 'mind's eye'we can see ourselves in all sorts of wonderful scenarios.we can be transported to a romantic beach on a tropicalisland, ride gondolas in Venice, go on safari in Africa.We can have adventures everywhere, even outer space.We can imagine ourselves doing amazing feats, meetingfamous people, being an extraordinary person. It's abit like dreaming, except you're awake. It's only imagination,but it feels 'real'.

In actual fact, we know the power of imagination.We know that great athletes visualise themselves runningthe race, and then standing on the winning dais. Weknow that the most powerful part of goal setting isvisualising ourselves as already having achieved ourgoal, each night just before sleeping. We know thatthe sick have healed themselves by visualising theirbody fighting the disease. Yes, our imagination is avery powerful tool for making our dreams become reality.

Somehow, the energy of our thoughts and feelings,our imaginings, helps us 'create' the future we desire.It's as though some magic happens. No one can explainwhat or how it actually happens, but 'life's winners'say they 'saw' themselves as succeeding first. and thenthey did.

So just as our imagination can help us to manifestthe positive in our lives, it can help us to manifestthe negative as well! Over the past few weeks, I'vemet several clients doing exactly this very thing.

One has a business that is experiencing a downturn.At the same time, his romantic partner has decided towithdraw from the relationship. Naturally, my clientis experiencing stress, worry, and fear about his monetaryfuture. Naturally, too, he is experiencing anger, confusionand grief about the loss of his relationship. In hisimaginings, all he can 'see' is loneliness and despair.And the only solution he can 'see' is to opt out oflife altogether.

Another has become a sole parent, after a drawn outviolent separation. She has a young baby, no job, andreceives no support from her ex-partner. She is experiencingfear, resentment and anger. All she can see in her imaginingsis what could have been. How wonderful it could havebeen 'if only'. In her imagination, her future lookslike a long lonely struggle. The future she imaginesfor her child is a fatherless one. The only solutionshe can 'see' is either getting back with her partneror suicide.

Still another is recovering from an acrimonious divorce.She is experiencing resentment, bitterness and jealousy.In her imagination, her future looks bleak. To her,her children's future looks like one filled with problemsdue to the 'damage' done them by the divorce and theloss of their dad. The future she imagines looks likestruggle, with her life falling short of her long helddreams. Her future cannot include a partner of any kind.

Each of these clients has very different circumstancesfrom the other, but they also have several common factors.They are all experiencing unwanted and painful circumstances.Their lives are going through breakdown and turmoil.However, these circumstances are part of life's journey.We all go through ups and downs, good and bad, positiveand negative. While we are in a period of breakdown,it is hard to see the bigger picture. It is hard tosee that the circumstances are only temporary. So whilewe are in the breakdown, feeling the pain, grief, angerand resentment, we become depressed. That is naturaland normal. In fact, it would be abnormal not to bedepressed in these types of circumstances!

When we become depressed, it's hard, if not downrightimpossible, to have positive, happy thoughts and imaginings.Rather, we spend countless hours picturing our bleakand unhappy futures. We spend more and more time daydreaming,or should I say, 'day nightmaring' about our negativefuture. We spend hours lying awake, tossing and turning,worrying and fearful. Our imaginations can and do imaginethe worst. And the more time and energy we give to thesenegative imaginings, the worse we feel and the moredepressed we become. We get caught in a downward spiral,a negative vortex.

If we stay in this place for too long, if we indulgeour worst imaginings for too long, we end up creatingexactly the future we are imagining.

The worst thing you can do, when faced with a breakdownin life's circumstance, is to withdraw. Certainly, wefeel low and unhappy, and withdraw into our shell fora time. No one feels like partying in these times. Butdo not cut yourself off completely. Stay in touch withclose friends and family. Experience your negative feelingsfully and share yourself with people you can trust.See a counsellor if necessary. Keep up with your responsibilities.Make the effort, even though you don't feel like it.Keep on participating in life. Participate and communicate.If you do, you will survive, and live to turn everythingaround!

Remember fear is Fantisised Experiences AppearingReal - your imagination is not Real - But given enoughtime and energy, it will become so.

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