I might have caught you thinking that this is a typo :-). Reviewing a year that is just beginning is impossible, you may say. But is it? We create our own reality, right? Why not travel one year ahead and look back, at least in our imagination. I write science fiction and fantasy stories. Anything is possible there. It’s such a freeing experience to write in that genre, almost like the dreams I had when I was a child, where I could breathe under water or float in the air without wings. Why limit ourselves?
Here is my new years resolution: To go to that darkened tomb deep underground and unlock the ancient door that holds my imagination captive. You might know the saying: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” A high school dropout named Albert Einstein once said that. I think he was onto something :-).
There is an exercise I do once in a while. It has helped me in the past when I was stuck, not only in the story but with issues in my life. For the exercise, you just need a comfortable chair in a quiet spot in the house (Yeah right, when you have kids racing around :-). Good head phones will do. Here is how it works:
Once you have closed your eyes, see yourself stepping into an elevator and push the button that says [-10]. Try to see what the inside of the elevator looks like. Does it have mirrors or just walls? Is it an old rattling cage-like thingy or a futuristic one? It doesn’t matter. Whatever it is for you, works. After you pressed the button with the [-10] on it, the elevator starts to descend. Try to watch the floor numbers above the door. Are they in red? Green? Gold? Are they digits or is it like the hand of a watch moving from floor to floor.
Watch the numbers change from -1 to -2, -3, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8, -9, and to -10. The doors open. What do you see? Describe it. Is it a cave? Is it the top of a mountain? Is it an under water city? Is it the inside of a volcano? Whatever you see is your unconsious, showing you the way to your idea storage facility, to your library of stories that have yet to be written, or to a solution to a problem that you’re facing.
As you step out of the elevator, you can smell the air, you can feel the ground under your feet. Is it damp there? Is it Dry? Is it raining, hailing, snowing, or is it hot and humid? At the end of that landing platform, there is a straight path. If you’re on top of the mountain, it could be a bridge. It could be a tunnel or a path through the woods. Whatever it is, you are now ready to step onto it.
As you walk, you notice that you have a key in your hand. See what shape it has. Is it heavy, light, small, large, rusty, clean? Maybe it’s an electronic key kard. That is the key to a door that waits at the end of the path you’re on.
You become aware of your purpose, the reason why you came down here in the first place. You are here to unlock the door to your imagination. You are here to set it free, let it soar among the eagles high up in the sky. It has been imprisoned for too long. By you. You have kept it small and managable. But not anymore. You are here to free it, to let it unfold, to create things you cannot possibly imagine yet. You are here to set it free. You are here to set yourself free.
You can see the door now. As you walk toward it, you can make out its shape. Is it a regular house door? Is it a metal gate? Is it a huge ten stories high iron cast door that blocks the sun? The closer you come, the better you can see the door with all its intricacies, its solid structure. With a door as formidable as this one, what lies behind it, must be vast and powerful and limitless.
You raise your arm and put the key into the key hole. If you have a key card, you slide the strip throug the reader. If you have a large rusty key, you push it into the key hole. You can feel the resistance when you turn the key and it might take you a minute to turn it but eventually you’ll hear the sound of the locking mechanism when the dead bolt retrackts into the door.
You grab the handle and pull it, fully knowing that with this act, you will finally free your mind from imprisonment. The door might be heavy or light as a feather. It might swing open all the way or just far enough that you can see inside. Once it is open, your imagination – whatever form it has taken on – will be free. It might stay in there, timidly looking past you, not sure if it is really no longer a captive. It might run you over and race back to where you came from, waiving a sign that says “Thank you!” Whatever it is, let it happen.
You’ve done it. Congratulations.
You might sit down with a blank piece of paper or a fresh word document and start writing. Or you might begin to think of a situation you’re in just slightly different. Be prepared :-). And if you want to, you can look back onto 2015 and see yourself doing things you have not yet dreamed of. Whatever your goal for 2015, if you can imagine it, you can do it.
Paintings by Hans-Werner Sahm
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