The imaginary power…

… of our mind

Originally, I planned to learn how to take and live every day as it comes. Not being anxicous about having no plans, seeing where it takes me, meeting inspiring people, travel, reinvent myself and being surprised at what I can actually do.

The first stage is nearly over – and what have I done? I have stayed mostly in one place, having had a clearly structured working day, and freaking out about weekends with no plans. But I have also met incredible people who slowly became friends and I reinvented and surprised myself. In the last couple of months I have been a campaign manager, facilitator of conflict resolution trainings, speaker, event organizer, karaoke singer, and a poet going up on stage to perform my very own poetry. I have been back to the 20s/30s, have been high up in the air and have probably taken about 300 sunset pictures (- and they are all gorgeous!). I can now say my mihi in Maori and even sing a Maori song. I even tried meetup for the first time, went to a bar and a pub on my own and mingled with Unitarians.
As for the travel part – watch this space. There is a long route ahead taking me to three different continents and four countries (maybe even five if you count Disneyland as one).

It is nearly time to move on, to greet some old friends and maybe meet some new faces along the way. But this time I won’t be alone…

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So I guess it always, always, turns out differently than you expect. Just because in your mind you are in control of all the variables – you make up the different scenarios and how people might react. And even though you think you have thoughts of every possible reaction – they do surprise you with being who they are, saying the things they think, acting in the way they know. And not how you imagined them to be, to think, to know. And in a way this is a really good thing because this is real. But it can also be scary as you can’t control what happens. Because – surprise, surprise – you are not in control!
You are only in control of yourself – and even that only to a certain extend. Sometimes you even surprise yourself in a good or in a bad way.

Going to a new place, meeting new people, learning new ways of knowing and living can be daunting.
Starting from scratch is exhausting.Yet, we have a powerful ally – our mind.

While it is also the source of dark thoughts, anxiety and doubt it also holds the power to create our life. It is not a wish granting machine as if one can think “I want to be a pilot” and then you are a pilot. But it allows us to deal with and live through change. Because in our minds we have lived and relived a certain moment, a situation in time. We have already dreamed of how it could be. We have already gone back imagining how it could have been. And yet, when we are in the moment it is all so different. The location might be the same as advertised in the travel magazine, the people might be same as ten years ago, but as you have your imaginary version of the moment so they have theirs. And so it turns out all differently than expected. Sometimes better, sometimes worth, sometimes only different.
But our mind and its powerful capacity to imagine, to reinvent, to adapt is our ally to deal with all of it.

You have all you need to cope with you right in this moment. Because you are breathing and you are imagining.

“If a caterpillar wishes to fly it must grow wings and become a butterfly. If we wish to fly we don’t need to change our bodies. We invent an aircraft. I believe it is through our minds that we metamorphose. That is how we change our way of life. (…) We are the authors of our transformation. We invent technologies that force us to live in new ways. We have ideas that radically alter society. We dream a better version of ourselves. Change conceived in our minds that drives our history. And once those changes are set in motion they become bigger than any of us individually, they get a hold of us, they can overwhelm us and surely that is metamorphosis. (…)

Our metamorphosis is different to the one of the caterpillar or the tadpole. (…) The critical difference is that there is no butterfly that looks back with remorse to the caterpillar it used to be, but we do. We remember. We can’t help, but look back and remember the creature we used to be. And regret what we might have lost. And this for us is the great irony at the heart of metamorphosis. That the same part of us in which metamorphosis is realized, our mind, is the same part of us that fears it most. (…)

We are so ambivalent about it. It’s the thing which we have argued is so important to who we are both individually and as a species. And yet, we are not happy with it. It is as if a butterfly was afraid of flying. Here we are the most changeable , the most metamorphical creature and we are so troubled by it. But maybe that’s what being human is about.”

– David Malone, Metamorphosis: The science of change

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