It may be my imagination, but I know I have written about this subject many times. However, in our series based on the acronym LIFE, I cannot help but think that the first of the “ I’s”, should focus on so powerful a human attribute, but before I go there, I must admit that the year has started very slowly for me. I have an excuse for the last 10 days as the fires have ripped through Hermanus, including Camphill, Hemel and Aarde Valley, where my daughter stays. More than 100 mentally challenged residents and their staff were evacuated on Friday the 11th as fire ripped through the valley driven by winds gusting over 100kms per hour. Yesterday we all gave Thanks, at a community meeting, that no one was hurt and not one house was burnt: a modern-day miracle. However, for the days before that, I felt like the Retriever whose efforts to rise in the morning were sent to me on video. He wakes up from his snug duvet and pushes his nose into the air. Standing slowly, he stretches his back in an arch. Then, he slides his front legs over the edge of the bed and begins to slowly drag his body forward. As his back legs slip off the mattress, he collapses into another exhausted heap. Don’t laugh! Too much champagne and too many mince pies made you feel the same two weeks ago – com’on, admit it ☺
“Imagination rules the world”, said Albert Einstein. Let’s use an example that you read slowly to take in the moment:
Close your eyes and take a deep breath: Picture a beach, white sand stretching far into the distance. See the palm trees waving in the soft, cool sea breeze. Hear the lapping of the water on the sand’s edge as the sand colours slowly from blonde to light blue to deep aquamarine. Sunshine sparkles on the surface as little waves lap against the shore as you reach down and take a handful of textured paradise. While you’re there, smell the sea air – fresh, salty, cleansing. You want more and even your soul seems more at ease…Now…Before you join the Retriever on the bed, wake up. Now, if it were a place you’ve been to, identify it. Mine was Mauritius 2018.
Imagination refers to the human ability to mentally create things in our heads that we are not currently experiencing. Although the words are close synonyms, Fantasy is generally applied only to those products of our minds that are viewed as impossible or highly unlikely to happen in reality. I can imagine my wife and I taking a trip to Sydney which is possible but flying on the wing of a biplane is impossible. The wonderful thing about imagination is that both are possible in my mind even though the latter is impossible in reality. Just watch and listen to a 3-year-old and her imaginary friend play in the sandpit. Her and “Susi” do everything together, build sand castles, dig holes, walk the dolls and even slide the slides, but for all, it’s sheer bliss and companionship, it’s just not real.
So why did the Creator give us this faculty? It can be bliss or pain. I would put to you that nothing started unless a thought turned into an imagination and that began to drive the inventor, big or small, to reality. I’m sure that when Bell said you could talk down a copper wire or Edison reckoned candles had outlived their usefulness, they were laughed at. Imagine that retired SADF officer (I believe) dreaming while he was vacuuming his pool for the umpteenth time about a little plastic thing running around powered by suction, and cleaning the pool. Imagine if he said, “Ja, but it could never go up the sides so what’s the use?” The Kreepy would never have seen the light of day and South Africa would have missed out on one of her best inventions and exports ever.
Laughter is timeless. “Imagination has no age and dreams are forever”, said Walt Disney. I don’t know if you watched Mickey’s 90th birthday during the Season, but I was awestruck. First of all, a mickey mouse little character is not real, but he and latter, his darling Minnie Mouse, ruled the screen for an hour or so. Adults and kids, all shapes and sizes, some famous and some un-named dancers, sung his praises. His movies, many without sound and black-and-white, showed his life and times. In love, imploring, running in fear, standing up to be counted, driving cars and catching buses and all of it while having a glittering, glamorous 90th birthday. Mickey Mouse is alive and well and is still the main character at Cinderella Castle, Orlando, Florida. All imaginary!! Don’t despise the small things. After all, this began with a mouse, ends the same man, this time at the base of his statue at the entrance to Disney World. Watch the Birthday on Catch-up, probably also someone’s crazy imagination, until it became the product that it has become.
In all of this, the 5-senses have a crucial role to play. Your eyes are the window to your soul the saying goes, but imagination proves they see inside before they see outside. Smell, touch, taste and hearing all follow suit. Amazing faculties that can happen in the imagination and, let’s remember, also have the ability to be stored in memory without even having been experienced. Watch Masterchef – the three judges with their brilliant cameramen capture the taste and smell of the contestant’s dish for us. The sour of the lemons offset with the sweet of the jelly and the saltiness of the caramel – I’m miles away with only two senses really operational – sight and sound – yet I can smell and taste that dish enough to make me salivate. Wow! Imagination and dreams are different, but they can influence each other through the power of the senses.
Allied to all of this is Vision. One of my daily readings puts it this way: Vision is a “holy discontent”, a deep dissatisfaction with what is combined with a clear grasp of what could be. It is a picture – “a mental sight” – of the future that inspires hope. Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare (presumption). Vision combined with action can change the world. So that thing on the top of your Strategic Plan, your Vision, is the source of leadership power and influence. When Bill Gates envisioned a computer on every desk it became not a game or a business, but an obsession. His bi-product was the richest of the Richest, but I’m sure, his satisfaction was simply – “I did it.”
I want to go one step further before I close with a few thoughts. Faith is all of the above in action. Faith goes deeper than the senses. Faith, and its close partner, Hope, go to the heart of Man. Faith is not superficial nor is it weak. Faith is strong, determined, challenging, enduring and knows no end. Like Love, it never gives up. Faith relies on vision built by imagination. It may start in dreams, but it ends in action if only the action to believe. Faith starts deep within but reaches far with-out, beyond yourself or your circumstances. It truly is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. How is your faith?
I trust you have got the message. 2019 does not need to be like 2018. If 2018 was good, then 2019 can be better. If 2018 was bad, then 2019 can be better. What you think and then dwell on in your imagination could be the deciding factor in the outcome of this year. Not your bank balance, not the election, not your health not your team or your partner or your boss who is your partner – No! What you imagine and allow to take root in you, could be the deciding factor. As you imagine the worst and even catastrophise, your imagination becomes mental food and your thoughts begin to control your life with vivid imagery. PTSD is the imagination, based in traumatic reality, gone wild. How much more, positive imagery – Visualisation of a better you, a better job, a better sales record streaming 5-senses of Good into you and your relationships and into your circumstances? This is not dreaming! I’ve just asked the gardeners to dig out ground-cover to make way for new plants. The ground is now prepared and the new plants coming; soon there’ll be green again and then leafiness and then beautiful white flowers. Where and how do I see that simple future garden, but in my imagination? How much more my life when I take the time to imagine, raising my hope to believe greatness? Don’t ever underestimate that small voice inside of you.
At HLJ we don’t ignore it and we standby to kindle the flames in you. Please read this message from the heart again. Strip out the nuggets, forgive the writer if sections are boring and just begin the personal, deep journey to your powerful, influential imagination. Energy and hard work will follow and after that, Success. Picture it, taste it, experience it; a long time before it even gets to reality, frame it in your mind’s eye.