fantasy, imagination,imagine,anxiety

Fantasy leads too many on a wild goose chase & imagination is too easily stifled. What an interesting polarity of both the trouble fantasy can cause & how important imagination can be to explore the possibilities life offers. Both of these are true at the same time.

Let’s explore the fantasies people get lost in first. I see so many people who are saturated in disappointment because they have these big ideas of how life should be. As if life makes promises! Watching TV makes it easy to believe life should be a certain way, which is why I like the greater honesty of foreign movies where abundance is not constantly on display.

So many Americans are in love with the fantasy of the great American straight line of progress. This (divorce, death, affair, despair) wasn’t supposed to happen to me…..seems very presumptious. People say “Why me?” and I respond “Why not you?”

Life does not owe you anything. Seizing opportunities does not guarantee success.

Suffering is a part of life for every one of us.

Life can change on a dime, it keeps you humble & grateful to remember that.

Too many fantasies are focused on stuff, wealth, a fabulous place to live. Our consumer driven culture loses track of what is meaningful.

I remember wincing at Joseph Campbell’s advice in 1991 to “Follow your bliss…” My advice would be more practical “Follow some of your bliss…” because as many artists know you also have to pay the bills.

My favorite quote (& the only one I have memorized) by Abraham Maslow “People who suffer a lot, often times do so, because they are cognitively wrong about what they think they have a right to expect.” And another by Alexander Lowen: “Despair is the only cure for your illusions.” These quotes
are at the top of my Depression page because there is a huge connection between expectations feeding depression.

My husband & I went to see a play (I don’t remember the title) & it was about a couple that were in a college relationship that then met in an airport, decades later because flights were cancelled due to a snowstorm. They waxed poetic about all their dreams & expectations that did not come to fruition. We left the theater talking about how we did not have expectations back then. He sold coffee machines to small business & I waitressed for 1 1/2 years with our brand new B.A. degrees. I think we were lucky because we both are just extremely grateful about how our lives turned out.

All that being said let’s look at the other half of the equation: So many lack imagination. I believe imagination is the beginning of exploring all that life offers. I’m a bit sad about all the young women that have shopping & drinking as their life priority. Sure shopping & drinking are fun but there is sooooo much more.

How about reading books? How about supporting the Arts? How about volunteering? How about scuba diving, bicycle riding, live music or exploring a new city?

People get stuck in the safety of routine. Habits can STIFLE. Anxiety strangles Imagination.

It’s important to have more of an experimental stance, opening yourself up with your imagination to more possibilities. Just one example; all those who favor the “safety” of group tours when traveling on your own, even getting lost can have rewards. Imagination feeds your openness, thank goodness!

So while we need more imagination to have a more interesting life, we also can set ourselves up for massive disappointment if we embrace too many illusions or fantasies.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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