"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it"
- Roald Dahl, The Minpins
- Roald Dahl, The Minpins
Why is it that as children we literally believe we can fly and when we "grow up" we give up on even the simplest of dreams. We make excuses for ourselves, accept that the good life is for someone else and not for us, we jump off in the tunnel when we could've waited one more train stop… I have counted and there are 5 million and 6 reasons (ahem, I do exaggerate at times…) our life is not where we thought it would be. But I've also come to realise that we're not that far away from it either. There is a simple method to getting it back on track and pointing in the direction of stars again. And it is called imagination.
My best friend in childhood (and still such a beautiful friend in my life!) was Jessie (pink elephants and lemonade) and together we had flying DOWN. Her Dad was building their new home so there was a lot of exposed framework and and entire ceiling/roof cavity as our playground. Plus, we had KEYS. Keys. Kids love keys. Keys unlock powerful objects - like driving machines. And secret doors (like the gift cupboard. Or your big sisters diary of her first kiss.) Oooohhh the things keys can do. Our keys were of the Make-You-Fly variety. I swear we spent an entire day creating a ritual around these keys that would enable us, as make-believers, to climb up into that ceiling and fly around. Now this story doesn't have a terrible ending. Somewhere along the way a tiny bit of rational thinking entered our brains and we never actually jumped. But that day was one of the best days of my life. It was a day of magical thinking and in itself was the KEY to FLIGHT. Imagination always comes first.
"The man who has no imagination has no wings"
- Muhammed Ali
- Muhammed Ali
Imagination is the soil in which dreams ideas and what ifs are planted. And if they are nurtured those dreams can come to life. When I was at art school I remember sitting staring at a painting I was working on, trying to figure out what wasn't quite right with it. I sat and I stared. I stared and I sat. My tutor walked in and aaahhhh Panic Monster. But I will never forget it, he just said sometimes your best day's work is in the work you do in your mind. And he was right. By the end of the day I had decided on the simple solution of changing the background colour and to this day it remains one of my favourite pieces.
"Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions."
One of my favourite exercises is the Dream Day. What you do is think about waking up to a regular day in your life, and imagine what it could look like if it was exactly as you could hope for. So it might be about who you wake up next to, what kind of bed. What kind of setting. What kind of energy you have in the morning and if you want to have some great project to get up and work on. Or if your life is such that you can relax in the morning without rushing off to work. This is not the "What I Would Do If I Won Lotto" dream. It's on the realistic side of What Could Be.
For me over the years it's been about having a family and little kids to wake up to. During almost five years of infertility this often seemed impossible, especially when it seemed like everyone else was popping out the babies. We tried some different things and were on the waiting list for IVF (which when you have 'no reason' for not getting pregnant takes five years). In that time I never wavered from wanting children (despite having some very dark days in the not having them) and the Dream Day kept me hoping, seeing what could be, and allowed me to be creative with thinking about how it could be realised.
Adoption had always been something I had thought about. I had simplified it and thought it was the 'easy' option if you could't biologically have kids. Now I know better that in no way is it easy on either side. But in this time of disillusionment about getting pregnant my husband and I did begin to entertain the idea seriously because at the end of the day - or the beginning - we wanted to have a family. And so we went through the entire process through CYFs - the classes, the interviews, the portfolios and actually got on the list. It was one of the best times because we knew we were doing the most tangible thing we could to make that dream come true. And then, we did get chosen by a birth mum. It happened right around the same time we found out I was pregnant. It was SUCH a surreal time because we had invested so much into adoption and I truly wanted both babies. We were not able to proceed with the adoption because of my pregnancy (obviously!) but I still sometimes think of that baby and hope it has found a beautifully loving family to be part of. And hopefully made their Dream Days come true too.
The other part of my Dream Day has always been about business. About having a business where I can work from home, do what I love to do and help people, and have an assistant and a cleaner and a nanny! I'm well on the way to this too. All the while the Dream shifts slightly and changes but it's a great place to come back to and imagine what life could be. Have you ever created your Dream Day?