Let Your Imagination Run Wild
When I was 15, our family lived on a farm at the end of a dead-end street. A double row of Norfolk Pine marched along the roadside hiding our house and barn where we kept two horses, one of which I rode every day after school. His name was Flash and given half a chance, I’d have ridden him off into the wild…a place that began just over the creek and into the woods behind our farm…or so I imagined.
I had a lot of reasons to want to run away on the back of a horse, not the least of which was an alcoholic mother and an angry stepfather who fought all the time. I couldn’t see where my future was heading and so I fantasized about escape, about a life of peace on the other side of the fence from where I lived.
But what stopped me?
First, I didn’t have much money (who does at 15?). And my mother would have been pissed. But mostly I gave in to my fears of what I didn’t know beyond the field where I currently rode in circles confined by locust posts and barbed wire. Looking back now, I was afraid of who I’d be without the walls of my familiar. Who would know me?
I made a choice right then to confine myself to an identity that wanted safety and security, two things that I later found out don’t even exist. In truth, we can’t protect ourselves from life, from pain or mistakes or hard times, no matter how hard we try.
Nearly ten years later, when my kids were still quite small, we walked through the woods and down to where the road crossed over the river. At that juncture, three metal culverts (large enough for an adult to stand up in) took the water from one side of the road to the other. It was there we stopped for a game of Pooh Sticks. The game, which we read about in “The House at Pooh Corner,” involves dropping sticks into the water on one side of a bridge and running to the other side to see whose stick would emerge first.
One spring day when the water was especially high and running fast, the conversation evolved into a “what if” session about building a raft and riding it down the river. Their excitement grew as they offered up ideas about how and when they could build such a raft, the things they would use to keep it together, hay twine and “other strings,” and what they would need to take with them as they traveled, blankets and various food items. The conversation was as entertaining as it was concerning. As a parent, I was torn…I wanted to encourage their imaginations, but I also wanted to keep them safe. I wanted them to dream big and wild, but a huge part of me didn’t want them acting on any of their crazy ideas…at least not yet.
It was ME, all over again entertaining that desire to break free and give myself over to the wild!!
As children, we engage often with our imaginations, but as we age, (even as early as 15) we learn to check our daydreaming like a controlling parent. We don’t really allow ourselves to envision much because we’ve been taught by society to be realistic. We simply don’t want to be disappointed by what we think could never really happen anyway.
It made me realize the inherent risk we all face in using our imaginations. It’s fine to dream about wild things, right? But why we do we so often pull the plug before we go too far?
When was the last time you let your imagination run wild? I mean really unchecked like a mustang running free across an open field? What did it feel like to allow yourself to dream? And more importantly, what came of it?
Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
What Einstein seems to be saying is that knowledge limits us by restricting us to what is “realistic,” or already known. Knowledge tends to tell us what we can and can’t do whereas imagination leaves the field of possibility wide open. And yet we tend to value knowledge way more than imagination, mostly because we feel safer acting from information that can be managed and controlled.
What we don’t realize is that in not taking our imagination seriously, we’re shutting down the Universe’s main avenue for gifting us with great ideas and innovations. Each and every one of us has a lifestream of creative thought designed to make human life richer and more beautiful, to make our lives richer, more beautiful, and more interesting. But not everyone gives themselves permission to imagine.
But what if we all did?
When we allow ourselves to dream, we invite our Divine nature to come forward and create. We know that creativity is the greatest power in the Universe – and we share this power with God through our imagination. Imagination is the language of the Soul, our Higher Self, our Spirit.
When we dismiss our imagination, we don’t allow ourselves the possibility of our own greatness. We make ourselves small. We clip our own wings. We don’t accept the gift of insight we’re being offered by the Universe because what if some crazy part of us wants to act on it and we fail. Maybe it’s “just a crazy dream,” we think, dismissing it from our consciousness.
What if by not using our imagination we’re missing something really important?
At 15, I imagined what it must be like to run free on the back of a horse. I didn’t know it, but it was my first real longing for personal freedom. What does a wild mustang possess as it runs wild and free across the plains? Courage and unquestioning faith and trust in the Universe. It throws itself 100% into the present moment and it opens itself to experience. Perhaps that is what my imagination wanted for me all along, to be wild and free, and a little bit courageous.
Tell me: What is your imagination telling you about what your soul wants to experience?
Share in the comments below and we’ll have a talk.