Monday, October 22, 2007

Imagine Nation

This is a garden path in the middle of a non-distinct, medium sized town. Once you step under the archway, you'll notice a subtle light shift from silver to gold. You'll hear rustling in the leaves that couldn't be heard from the gravel path just steps before. You'll feel giddy, like a child again and skip--not walk--further into the woods via the almost-hidden stone stairs to your right. There will be laughter in the wind, and you will stop and strain to find the direction. Fairy dust will begin to fall like stage glitter from the trees and your heart will swell with a sudden love for the life pulsing and swooning around you.

It was just a thought. No longer than the deep breath of fresh morning air I inhaled before I took this picture this weekend.

Imagination, something necessary in the creative world-- is it a blessing or a curse? Or both?

I'm trying this "fear of flying" course online and one of the things they say is "keep your imagination in check." This is a big problem for me (and I'm assuming a lot of others) because once the plane hits turbulence, I can't stop myself from finishing the flight off in my mind with a nose dive and a ball of flames.

I say "can't" but I know I can. I just haven't learned how to yet.

So--any suggestions, all you creative types, on putting the reigns on your imagination?


Shawn said...

Um, no -- and I wouldn't want to. Fairy dust and all. It's about balance, equanimity ... or, at least, realizing that it is just our imaginations at work. I live less fantasy now than before I became a mom. My imagination was endless then. So, I say, you're lucky to have that with you. Own it. Cars and trains work fine. So long as you don't need to leave the states for a book tour.

Gary said...

Well, this prompts a different set of thoughts/questions for me, so here it is:

If (this is provided you were single and looking, of course) the two of us were to look at each other and say, "Kiddo, I just want to meet an honest somebody, an honest heart," which do you think would have better luck finding it, me, the male, or you, the female?

Believe it or not, that's what the imagination question has prompted. Of course, being happily married, I think your answer may be colored to my disadvantage by that, but as unbiased as you can be, which of the species is more honest, on the whole, men or women?


Shannon said...

Unfortunately, Shawn, I know I would regret not traveling or visiting other countries at the end of my life. I already feel like I have missed so many opportunities. (And it would be nice to be able to dream about book tours without panic attacks being part of them :-P)

Shannon said...

Gary, I don't think honesty can be broken down into male vs. female. I think it's more about people who are afraid of being judged badly by others vs. those that aren't. I also think that people lie to themselves more than to each other.

Anonymous said...

What I would ask, were I sitting across from you in a cafe, sipping tea, is:

What specifically is it that you're afraid of? Where did that fear come from?

There could be several answers to that...death, being out of control, heights, falling...

Whatever answer you might give, there is a way to face that fear down and conquer it. (spoken like a guy, huh?)

Shannon said...

Actually, spoken just like my husband, Christian. Gack. So, let me break down the fear here:
1) fear of being out of control
2) fear of seperation from my children in the event of my death or all of our deaths
3) fear of the "fight or flight" reaction experienced on a greater scale after each previous flight.
4) fear of having a panic attack after brain uses a bit of turbulance to construct a rather graphic vision of plane crash, which I experienced on last flight.


Anonymous said...

What a profound and provocative question. Here's my say: a little imagination goes a long way. No imagination goes even farther. It is limitless.

shelli said...

Fear of the unknown is what causes most of our anxiety, isn't it? I don't think you can put the reigns on your imagination. It's about will power. You need to channel your imagination to think better thoughts. Write a new story so to speak. I know this is difficult when you're scared of something, but think of arriving at your destination, not the plane crashing. My dad was a pilot, so I flew a lot. You are missing a lot if you don't go. Perhaps if you learn as much as you can about how the plane flies it will take some of the mystery or "unknown" out of it.

As for the one in a million chances that something could happen, we all have to prepare for the possibility of that. The only way to prepare is to live your life in the fullest way possible. Try not to have any regrets.

Of course, this is all easier said than done! I wish you the best of luck with conquering your fear. At least you are trying. Many people never try.

Shannon said...

Karen, you say things on purpose to turn my brain into a pretzel so I stop trying to figure things out, don't you? :-)

That's actually very good advice, Shelli (according to the experts, anyway) That's part of the class, learning all about how the plane works, what causes turbulence, wind shears, etc. I guess that does take away a chunk of the "unknown" in the equation.
Only time will tell if it works, I guess.

bella said...

I tried to post earlier but it didn't go through. Or are you denying my responses? :)

Here's my take on it.
Imagination is a gift. That said, I know very well how it can be used to scare ourselves to death rather than to life.
I've found it most helpful, not to attempt to banish the catastrophic fantasies, the imagination running wild, but to let it have its say and to also reside in that place that is the Observer. Here, I am running in my imagination and yet I am also observing myself doing so, which provides the knowing that it is my fantasy and only that.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Shannon, I'm not trying to confuse you at all! Great, true, authentic stories come from an empty mind, not from a fantasy in your mind. They are not made up. They emerge. Do you see the difference?

There is a place for imagination, but it is generally overrated. A useful place to start, like the bluff over the valley from which you launch into a hang glide. Do not confuse the bluff for the limitless sky.

Shannon said...

Bella, one of my favorite women, no denying you :-)
I did forget about the observer. That has helped in the past to fend off depression. Thanks for the reminder.

Okay, Karen. After thinking about it twenty times, I caught a glimse of it. Such a foreign thought for me.

Shannon said...

"Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process of conceptualisation in a way that we actively observe and control the way our thoughts go."

Seamus said...

Uncle Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important that knowledge." Stephen Hawkings has stated things in very similar terms. The two greatest minds of the modern era put that much stock in it. In Nietzchean terms it might be labeled the abyss. I've only ever heard of one soul that could create a thing from nothing, though he happens to be an author too, it is reported, i.e., God. I think I'd rework a metaphor or two going on around here myself. Nice page you have here. I see why Gary puts so much stock in you. :-)

Gary said...

Looking over these comments after I sent that email, I couldn't help but laugh: looks like I was not too far off topic on the control thoughts, etc. LOL How funny.

Shannon said...

I'd say right on the button.

Hi, Seamus, thanks for commenting...Gary who? :-P