Just My Imagination

Song title by Smokey Robinson

After a long dormant winter and short spring season, summer fills me with vitality and time in nature to relax the mind and body. Longer days, sunshine, gardening, vacations, and activities overload my calendar, but that’s just fine. Summer is meant for engagement. These pleasures give me a greater sense of well-being. 

Many summer moments linger as I begin to write appointments into my September calendar. My imagination takes hold of me for a minute and sends me back to kayaking on Green River Reservoir and locking gazes with a particular noble looking loon in a beautiful tiny inlet. Peaceful feelings come from that moment.  I will use this memory to imagine myself back on the water to calm myself when the next sign of stress enters my life. 

Perhaps I was not ready to look fully into September. Maybe I was not ready to connect with what one associates with the fall season; the desire for change. Fall does that to us. It is an invigorating and peppy time of year. We breathe in clear and crisp air and are mesmerized by color – reds, yellows, and oranges ignite from mountains to valleys.

I know I am not alone when I walk into Expresso Bueno, my local coffee shop, and overhear heady conversations about the potential of new jobs, projects, schools, relationships and even self-development work. A new direction, focus or task may also be brewing as September approaches. 

As a coach, if I could whisper into an ear or two of any of those people who are engaged in conversation, I would say, “Please, invite your imagination to participate as you contemplate these new changes." 

“Everything you can imagine is real. --Pablo Picasso
 Try this little thought experiment now:  Imagine that you have a lemon. Picture yourself slicing through the bright yellow rind, exposing the translucent fruit inside. See yourself holding it up, squeezing it, and letting a stream of tart juice splash onto your tongue. Can you feel yourself puckering and salivating—not in your mind’s eye, but in “real life”? I use this example as part of a pre-talk for a hypnosis session.

Writers, poets, artists, and inventors all rely on their imaginations to create their artistic reality -  books, paintings, and products. 

Science has been studying the imagination for years. You may already be aware of the fact that fMRI scanning reveals the neurons in the brain have plasticity: the adult brain is surprisingly malleable. If for example, we go blind in midlife, some of our neurons for processing vision can shift to dealing with sound. 

More interesting - using fMRI scans, researchers like V. S. Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, have found that the same cells in the brain light up whether we perform an action ourselves or watch someone else do it—which might explain why some of us find action movies so exciting. But these “mirror neurons” aren’t activated just by the things we see. The effect also occurs when we simply imagine ourselves performing the action.

Athletes do the same thing. They will imagine themselves performing the action, over and over again. This helps them train and perform better. There is a lot to be said for conditioning in these imaginative thoughts.  It will strengthen the neuro pathways allowing for further communications to continue doing what the imagination is suggesting. 

This brings me back to fall in Vermont. The possibilities for change in your life can be exciting, as well as scary because of the unknown. 

Think in small chunks. What’s next that you want to improve upon, change, or leave behind? 

Let your imagination in on it, and you too can create a healthier, happier and calmer reality. Would you like help with this? Call or message me to set up a free half-hour consultation.