I was at a gas station the other day and a minivan pulled up to the pump next to me. As a woman got out of the minivan to fill her tank, a young child started screaming at her from the back seat. He was upset because the DVD player stopped playing when his mom shut the engine off. She told him that everything would be ok and the movie would be back on in a few minutes. The child continued to throw a tantrum because the movie might start from the beginning instead of where it left off. She told him that he was only 5 minutes into the movie and that it wouldn’t kill him to watch that little bit over again. She then proceeded to tell him that he should be thankful that they were fortunate enough to be able to afford a minivan with a DVD player in it. At that point, I had finished pumping my gas and got back into my car. Once back in the warmth of the car, I began to process what I had just overheard. I felt bad for that kid. Why? I’ll tell you. When I was a kid, we didn’t have DVD players for the car. Going for a ride in my Mom’s station wagon became a journey into the world of imagination. Sometimes I imagined being in a train, plane, spaceship, submarine, or pirate ship. Other times, I was in a giant drill, making my way to the center of the Earth, or traveling through time in a time machine. I had many wonderful adventures while riding in the car. The kid at the gas station was missing out. He might never have any adventures of his own while riding in that minivan. Why? Because he was plopped in front of a DVD player instead of being encouraged to use his imagination. Are we killing off future generations’ ability to use their imaginations? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to imagine a world without imagination. What would that even be like? Would we all be mindless drones just schlepping through our days? How boring would life be? How would we advance or evolve? If you have children, I ask you to encourage them to exercise their imaginations. You might just be helping the next Einstein reach his/her maximum potential. With that, I leave you with a few quotes by Albert Einstein:
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Last month was a difficult one for me. I started the year off losing my Grandmother. I feel blessed to have had her in my life for 39 years and for all of the love and good memories that she left me with. She caught pneumonia at the end of December and never recovered. At one point, she was hooked up to a machine to keep her breathing and lost the ability to communicate. Seeing someone you love “living” like that is hard. It’s not how I wanted to remember her. Then something happened. My Grandma came to visit me in a dream. We were in the hospital. She was in the typical hospital gown, laying in a hospital bed. In the dream, she wasn’t hooked up to the machines. She looked over at me and said that she loved me. I told her that I loved her, too. This dream was a gift because it was more real to me than what was going on at the hospital. The dream gave me a memory of her not hooked up to the machines. The dream gave us the chance to tell each other that we loved each other one last time. A few days later, I had another dream. My Grandpa, who passed away 33 years ago, appeared. He was smiling. Then, my Grandma appeared next to him. She was smiling. They had waited 33 years to be reunited. Both of them looked like they were in their late 20′s or early 30′s. My Grandma began to wave as the two of them floated up into the air together. That was my Grandma’s thing. Whenever you left her house, she always stood in the doorway and waved goodbye until you were out of sight. So, this was another way to confirm that it was her in the dream. Grandma passed away shortly after that. She’s sent messages and come back in dreams a few more times since then. I find comfort in knowing that she is okay and that she will visit from time to time. It’s just like when we would go to the movies or to lunch. I’ll miss having her here physically and am tearing up as I type this. But, I look forward to those dream visits. This whole situation has really reinforced the power, beauty, and importance of dreams. It’s never only a dream or just a dream. They are real experiences. That’s what I wanted to stress this month. That and one other thing… Take the time to spend time with or even call or write the ones you love and make sure that they know that you love them and are thinking of them.
This one’s for you, Gram. I love you. See you in the dreamtime.
Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s the one day of the year where you can be anything that you want to be without people questioning you. As Halloween approached and all of the costume stores started cropping up, I began thinking about the concept of masks. We wear different masks at various times throughout our day. This contemplation reminded me of a comment that was made earlier this year at a dream circle. Someone stated that they enjoyed being at the circle because there were no masks there. What that person meant was that the people at the circle could be themselves and share their dreams without judgment and without having to pretend to be someone they’re not. Because the environment created at the dream circle is a respectful one, we could all express our true thoughts and opinions to one another in a non-projective and non-offensive way. How often do we experience that? How often do we hold back or change who we are to blend in and/or avoid conflict? Think about that…
We play different roles depending on the environment that we are in and the people that we are around. Sometimes this is healthy, but other times it isn’t. Think about a time in your life where you had to mask who you truly were in order to avoid a conflict. I know that I have done this many times while working in a corporate environment. At times, it was easier not telling management that an idea wasn’t going to work than to deal with the repercussions of speaking up and being labeled “difficult.” Have you ever gone though a major life challenge and emerged a different person? Did you have to mask the new you and pretend to be the old you in order to continue fitting in with a group of friends because you didn’t want to let them go from your life?
Think about all of the masks that you wear, the roles that you play. Does a mask no longer serve its purpose or your highest good? What if you took that mask off? Imagine what that would be like now. How would you look? What would you sound like? How would it feel? What do you experience while being authentic to yourself? How does that experience differ from having to wear that mask? How would your life change if you retired that mask and didn’t wear it anymore?
On the other hand, maybe you are thinking of making a change in your life or taking on a new role. Imagine putting that mask on. How do you look? Do you sound different? How does it feel? Do you like the experience of wearing this new mask? If not, you can go ahead and take the mask off and know that it is not for you. If you do like the new mask, what would you have to do to keep it? Map out a simple action plan. The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined. That’s what allows us to perform these little imagination experiments.
From time to time, evaluate the masks that you wear in life. Get rid of the ones that no longer serve you. Don’t be afraid to try on ones that you think you might like.
I was talking with my doctor the other day and he asked me how my practice was going. I had learned some new hypnosis techniques since my last visit to him and decided to share a little about my studies. Fortunately, my doctor is open to holistic modalities and takes an interest in what I do. So, we began talking about stress and stress management. He said that a lot of people are suffering from stress right now. I said something that made him look at me like I had two heads. I said that stress doesn’t really exist. When I saw the look on his face, I pointed to his waste paper basket and asked if he could fill it with stress for me right then and there. He couldn’t. Stress isn’t tangible. It is a state that we create within ourselves. It’s a waste of thoughts and energy. Then, I began to explain how hypnosis helps with stress management. Think of all of your body’s systems as a highway system. Now think of stress as a traffic jam. Your brain is your GPS. Sometimes our maps get outdated, so we miss out on better ways of getting to where we want to be. We can use hypnosis to upgrade your maps and establish a connection with a “traffic report.” When the traffic report shows a build up starting, your GPS can indicate that a better route is available and recalculate new directions for you. We can use hypnosis to train your brain to recognize the beginnings of a buildup of thoughts and energy. We can show your subconscious mind that a better route is available. Instead of getting stressed out, we can remain calm and divert those thoughts and that energy to something more positive. My doctor thought about everything for a moment and said that was a good way of looking at stress. So, think about it. Does stress really exisit?