Do you have a dream?
I didn’t. And that makes it very hard to picture my future.
I have no career calling to me, and thus looking at job adverts is like looking over a menu where all of the food includes something I “don’t mind” and nothing I truly love. Nothing jumps out at me and I can’t make a choice.
The Map and Compass
It’s clear to me that without a direction, without any idea of where we want to be, we can be lost. Without a destination, we can’t access or even create a map.
However, I’ve begun to pick out future events I’d like to happen. I can picture me-in-five-years, and she has a house, she’s got a child on the way and she’s writing her novel. I can’t tell if the novels are her full or part-time work, but they’re there.
Through knowing I want children one day, jobs working with children have begun jumping out at me – at least I can learn to be a parent by working with other people’s children.
Through knowing my novels are important enough to still be in my life in five years time, I know it’s important to devote time to writing now. If I stopped writing completely, I wouldn’t be that “me-in-five-years” who is a writer. And I know I want to be that future writer.
Our imagination is a wonderful tool in the journey of redefinition. You can redefine your future by acting in certain ways now. And the best part is: no one can read your mind. So you can redefine life as it happens to you, too.
Imaginary Panic Weasels, Redefined
Ellie Di of The Headologist talks about anxiety and worries as “the panic weasels”.
She defines panic as: “a dozen weasels. Now put them in a dog crate. Now give them PopRocks and Coke, shake vigorously, and open the door. That’s what happens to my brain, my heart, and frankly, my whole day when overwhelm and stress meet in a shower of shit I just can’t handle.”
And for me, it’s similar. Last week I had three cases of panic weasels in three days. I was stressing about an interview, the dentist and then I couldn’t find my mp3 player.
The panic set in as I did NOT want to walk four miles to the dentist and back with a painful face/head/mouth, let alone without music to distract me and keep me calm.
Enter the Ferrets
Thinking of a crate of weasels running around the safe space in my head, I got to work on my imagination. I sprinkled them with water until they hid in a corner. I put up cardboard barricades which led from the wall to the patio doors. When they left, I tried to shut the doors, and when they tried to get back in, my future pet ferrets guarded the door.
I had no idea I had inner ferret guardians until Ellie gave me the tool to frame my anxiety as a weasel. But the imagery really works for me. And that means you can cultivate ferret guardians as well.
A Tiny Bit of Science
Your brain can’t tell ‘reality’ from imagination.
A study mentioned in The Secret talks about athletes running a race in their imagination, where their body still released chemicals and the brain wires needed to use muscles still activated.
“The mind cannot tell the difference between an actual, ‘real-life’ event and a vividly imagined one” – Dr. Denis Waitley
In more mundane life, when you watch a scary movie, you experience real fear.
When you imagine running into that person you like, you feel the butterflies in your stomach. When you see the panic as weasels, you can pick them up by their tails and chuck them out, or you can visualise ferrets chasing them away for you.
The calm that follows? It’s the brain’s way of saying “phew!” because the anxiety is gone from conscious thought.
And it’s in your control.
How about you give it a go.
Could you use your imagination to redefine yourself today?
– Rose –
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