The imagination is a powerful tool. Confined only by our own limits, the imagination provides a means of escape, motivation, vision and amnesia.
There is a plethora of research about the role that imaginary play has in the development of a child. I know it formed the base of nearly every discussion in my appointments with my maternal health nurse, when my children were young. As they grow older, we as adults and parents, feed their imagination with tales of fairies in the garden, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Father Christmas. It is magical to watch our children as they experience the joy of belief and the excitement of presents or gold coins delivered. We are the ones who feel dismay once they turn the corner, approach the age of disbelief, because we understand that without the magic of imagination, life can be overwhelming, too hard, and sometimes, boring.
But, there is no need to let go of our imagination. Indeed, there is plenty of research to show that we never actually do let go of it. I’ve heard people say to artists and designers, writers and actors, that they are the lucky ones; they say, ‘I have no imagination for things like that’. That is simply not true. We all use our imagination, some of us are just not aware that we are doing it.
Think back to the last time something went awry in your world. I bet you dreamed of a way out of it. I bet you planned better days. I reckon that you said something like, ‘I’m living in a nightmare.’ All this is reflective of our imagination working for us. And sometimes, when there is a disaster, or death or an event that threatens to break you, your imagination can work in the way of smoothing it over in your mind, a form of amnesia, maybe.
The imagination is created from within you, in spite of you and your circumstances. Its most common form is through dreaming, of course. But also the imagination comes into play when you’re wondering how others might react to a situation, or possible futures and byways in life.
Don’t think your imagination is dead. It’s there, you’re using it. Trust in it. Play with it. And have fun.