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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean

Imagination and Image

Inside each of us there seem to be many figures, a multi-faceted collective of soul-parts and inner ones, many of whom have been alone for a very long time. Somehow, the pull and craziness of the outer world distracts us from understanding that the outer world is the way the inner world, the forgotten ones . . . communicate and remind us they are there.

Over time we have turned away from various parts of ourselves, or they have been sent away, rendered homeless, separated from our hearts and minds . . . for we came to believe, at some point in time, that they did not have a place in the present or future we imagined. But you might have noticed, from time to time – early in the morning, late at night, maybe at sunrise or sunset . . . the voices of these forgotten parts emerge as a felt sense of loneliness, an ache in the heart, a tightness in the throat . . . they are calling to you, communicating their longing for connection, their longing to be loved, their longing to come home to the beloved, in whatever form source might take for you. They are longing to be included, longing for the rest that comes from being held and from holding.

If you are missing, ignoring, rejecting, denying these voices, which are communicating as sensation or emotion through your body, they will eventually move into your outer world where they may be better able to get your attention. In the same way my cat comes to sit on my laptop when I ignore his cries for contact and reassurance, so too, your disowned parts will move into the center of your field of vision in the form of a life challenge, until you turn to the feeling, to the ache, directly, acknowledge its presence and attend to the need that's expressing. Some parts require just a moment of connection; other parts require more regular care to heal the long-time attention deficit.

The important awareness here is that healing yourself, collecting and integrating your disowned parts is an invitation into imagination. In the infinite field of imagination the qualities of curiosity, compassion, interest, and care can express unhindered. It's not "real" so you can make it up in just the ideal way that works best for you! Imagination is alive and creative and completely your own personal prerogative. To slow down, allow the inner other to matter, to tend to him or her, to touch and be touched, to fall apart and come back together . . . can all happen in the infinite space of imagination, outside of the limits of time, outside of the limits others have imposed on us as infants and children.

It's possible, in imagination, to see yourself as an eight-year-old held in the lap of an accepting mother-goddess Gaia. It's possible in imagination to see yourself, healthy and young, supported by the beauty of nature and resting on the earth in the sun. It's possible to feel the comfort of such moments and to rest there for 15 seconds or 60 minutes. It's possible to return to these moments as many times a day/week/year as you need to . . . and as you do, these inner images start to show up in the center of your field of vision.

Notice for a moment the image of yourself to which you awaken and which you step into every morning . . . you're a banker or coach or therapist or librarian or sister or father or pet-owner . . . activist, financial wizard, corporate executive or counter-culture hipster . . . You're choosing your clothes, your car, your food, your TV shows, your mate, your lifestyle, your work (the list is infinite) all based on some very deeply held internal images, all based on the acceptance of some inner parts and the denial of others. You are making manifest in the material world your internal process of sorting and prioritizing, your imaginings of who you are.

Look around you, listen into your body, feel into your life. What are you imagining? How are you imaging your Self? What is the image of yourself you are projecting into the present? And how are the parts you deny or resist pushing their way into the center of your field of vision? What are the persistant, unrelenting problems or issues you can't seem to resolve . . . those problems or people that suck a low-grade of energy and attention from your life? Look closely now. These are your inner cat, sitting on the laptop of your life. For just a moment, stop imagining you're something else, stop trying to work around the discomfort or obstacle in your way . . . and pay attention to what's in front of you.

Some of your inner parts are meowing . . . and some are howling. Look . . . listen . . . use the image you have created to inform you about how you are using, . . . and can choose to use . . . your imagination.

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