In my early mid-20’s, more or less, I read a book called “Creative Visualization” by Shatki Gawain. I don’t remember the details, details are for those who still remember what they had for breakfast, but I formally encountered the idea of using my imagination to make things happen, for the first time.
It altered me in some way; made etchings on my soul I still can’t scrub off. I was inked for good.
Over the last three decades this idea gained popularity in the west. Some call it visualization, others “manifestation”. Some say it’s a secret. No wait, they refer to book called The Secret. There are no shortage of mantras about the phenom. Thoughts Become Things. If you can see it, you can be it. Sayings like that.
Myself, I just think of it as imagination. I like to imagine things. Picture them in my mind. I suppose it’s the child in me, wanting to play. “Manifestation” takes itself so seriously, like it could do serious damage in a misguided brain. But imagining? That’s for kids, and I could do that.
I was curious to learn that Einstein was also a great fan of imagination. Who knew? I would never have guessed we had this in common. I credit my Gram for this connection.
Gram, a simple farm girl from eastern Ontario in the early 1900’s, knew nothing of Einstein but one of her favourite idioms went like this: “You have to think about dinner before you can eat it.”
Gram would say this each time I asked why on earth she felt it necessary to plan dinner before she had even eaten breakfast. Which she did every morning. Eventually I “got it” – but only after I became a parent. If you don’t spend time thinking about that crock pot of baked beans, how exactly would the beans find their way into it?
There was a ritual to this exercise of imagination.
Think about the beans. Get out the beans. Soak the beans. Crock the beans. Apply heat to the beans. Serve the beans. Eat the beans.
Dinner happens because we first IMAGINE THE BEANS. And this would become a preview of our upcoming dinner.
See where I’m going with this?
Somewhere in or about my 40th birthday (in this instance, I can actually say it was precisely my 40th birthday) I began imagining an adventure happening when I turned 50. And I was oh-so-generous with my imagining.
I was a single parent of two young children and we were in the middle of what I refer to as the “juice box” years – years when lack of financial resources necessitated knowing exactly how many juice boxes were in the cupboard for school lunches and no one drank a drink box without extensive consultation with management. There simply weren’t extra boxes of juice to work with.
In challenging times, I seemed to have a natural propensity to use my imagination to reshape stress I felt. I thank Gram, her beans, and her genes for that. It helped me imagine future days that would bring an ease I had not felt for a long time and this helped make each day just a little bit gentler.
I didn’t have a van adventure in mind when I did all this projecting into the future. I knew enough to leave that open. Life takes suggestions, but not orders. I just began imagining how it might feel to be free, for an extended period of time, to play. I simply imagined playing, in all varieties of scenarios.
Now, I must tell you – I’d pretty much forgotten all this imagining over the last couple years, but Life did not forget. For reasons I won’t go into here, I completely lost sight of this dream of play and no longer saw it as a likelihood anymore.Yet, here it is, and here I am, and I am feeling playful.
I have a vivid vision of a van – a camper van – an amazing team helping make this dream a reality and a sharpening plan to journey across this beautiful country and share stories of the people, places and communities I discover along the way.
Pretty cool right?
I’m not saying I MADE IT HAPPEN.
I simply defer to Einstein, and of course Gram, because they were each smarty pants in their own way, and it seems they would both suggest my imagination played an important role in the design of this coming attraction.