I was thinking today about Imagination and the Presidential Race, as one does…
I wondered if Bernie Sanders imagined himself the beleaguered, scrappy, but honest and appealing, underdog. And if that is why he achieved what he did. And then I wondered who of the current candidates could really imagine themselves as President of the United States of America. Who could see themselves living in the White House, vetoing bills, appointing people to important positions, talking with other world leaders, working with Congress, going to Camp David? I wondered if that person would be the winner in this surprising and sometimes ugly contest.
And that, of course, set me thinking about what I can imagine for myself and my life. As Goethe said (or perhaps not quite; apparently an Irish poet named John Anster published a translation of Goethe which was a bit loose and poetic, and this is his version of an excerpt from Faust – info from Quote Investigator):
“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it…”
Or more to my purposes, here is a quote by William Arthur Ward:
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”
Apparently, I’m not the only one thinking about this, and it isn’t a new thought at all! It is a telling consideration though. What do you imagine for yourself? Do you have sweet, hidden dreams you believe you’ll never truly achieve? Can you see yourself living the life that includes those dreams, or are you content to just…dream. When I asked myself this question I could definitely see ways I’ve let myself play the beleaguered, scrappy (but honest and appealing!) underdog in my own life. And that’s perfectly fine – if it’s what I truly want.
I love/hate these sorts of revelations! I don’t like feeling that I’m failing myself, or especially others. I don’t like thinking I’ve “ruined” my life by not doing things “right”. I don’t like thinking I could be President by now – had I only dreamed it! – but instead I’m just a goddess dreamer. These are the nasty thoughts of my dear, inner Mongol Horde, of course (read about the Horde here). Happily, I am a multitude, so I have other feelings and thoughts about this as well. What I love is that with each revelation I can make changes that are delicious to me and make my life the delightful romp I want it to be!
This all makes me think about the actual intentions and dreams behind the actions I take each day. Because you can definitely take action and not be aware that you’re creating something you don’t really want. Here is more of the quote by Goethe/Anster:
“Lose this day loitering—’twill be the same story
To-morrow–and the next more dilatory;
Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? seize this very minute–
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it,
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated—
Begin it, and the work will be completed!”
This could be about being lazy *gasp* and finally getting off your behind to take action – but I think it’s more about being unaware of your true beliefs and motivations behind the actions you are taking today. As I tell my clients (and really most anyone who will listen) awareness is everything – in making changes, living a life you adore, knowing who you are and what you want, and in pursuing that All-American goal of happiness.
In order to learn more and be aware of my own motivations today I asked myself – “When I’m eating this cookie am I fulfilling my dreams of losing weight?” And then I wondered – is losing weight REALLY a dream of mine, or am I actually happy the way I am and can quit striving for the “ideal” weight? Why do I want to lose weight? Can I really see myself and my life as a thinner person? These are pretty important questions if I don’t want to “lament o’er lost days” and weigh the same next month. Or perhaps I just don’t need to beat myself up anymore over a goal I don’t really care about.
Or I may look out there at all of the courses that offer a way to “Make 6 Figures!” and wonder what I really want. Do I want to make 6 figures? Why SURE! Do I want to live the lifestyle that many of these thought leaders live? Probably not. I don’t care that much about world travel. I like working from the local park – a far off beach isn’t necessary. I don’t care about being on Oprah or convincing people I’m the only true expert in something. Honestly – I feel my clients are the experts in their lives. But I do want to help people as a career, I know I can help people, and I do want a continuing income I can live well on. Can I imagine that life? What does it look like? Is it different from the one I have now? How?
And then after I ask myself lots of questions and clarify what my dreams really are I can get in touch with what Cassie Parks calls my “future self” and figure out what the two of us DO want. Usually that process of getting in touch with the future me who is living exactly as I want to live, and doing just what I desire to do, yields some good ideas about next steps to take. So, naturally, then I can get off my duff and “Begin it, and the work will be completed”! OK it may take a bit more time, but beginning truly does have a magic of its own – plus it’s the only way to get here to there.
So, as you can see I have some contemplative days ahead while I scrutinize my reasons for my actions. But I’m still wondering…I do believe that “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” At the very least I believe that if you can’t imagine it then it will be pretty hard to bring it into your life – for real. And that still begs the question – who in the Presidential Race can really imagine themselves as President? And more importantly (at least to me) – what can you really imagine yourself being? Make it good!