Is it harmful to have an active imagination and a fantasy life as we age? We tell stories of precocious children who delight us with their vivid creations. But as we age we are supposed to become sensible, and that slides over into stodgy far too easily.
Imagination and Possibility
Being a cerebral, and creative type person I can have dissimilar thoughts butt up against each other in a short time span with great alacrity. I enjoy the new thoughts that come about when unexpected pairing or alignment happens. Psychic pets and encounters with giant swamp gas UFOs are just some of the thoughts that can dance at the edges of reality in what I call creative perception.
If you are lucky enough to get to build a legacy for a perceptually creative person, you might want to practice loosening the constraints that hold everything into tightly bounded boxes of cognition. Allow a couple errant thoughts to take a little walk together and see what emerges.
I do not encourage anyone to venture into the land of fear, psychosis or hallucination. If you are so inclined, you can extent the boundaries of where you draw boundaries and assumptions for non-critical processes.
I have deep and meaningful relationships with my cats, in particular, with my 19 year old Siamese cat, Jujubee. I don’t have tons of time left with her, so what does it hurt to send a little chi her way to help with her kidney function? When I pet her, I visualize healing energy between my hands, and she loves to walk back and forth between them as I very lightly stroke her sides. She seems to appreciate this special attention from me.
These “healing” sessions seem to help her. Is it my imagination? Maybe. Perhaps my attention reassures her and allows her to better relax and heal her grumpy old bones. I don’t know. But I like to imagine that I do have a special bond with her. Perhaps there are electro-chemical communications in which we participate, but are not consciously aware. Our human communication is layered on top of and interwoven with mammalian and vertebrate systems of all types, and we do not understand how all these systems function, came to be, or what they do. There is a lot of room for discovery.
Family stories are powerful. When we are very little we easily accept them as truth.
My mother’s family must have had some fairly powerful beliefs about second sight and such. My mother always told me she was born with a caul over her face and that this was a sign of second sight. She also always told me she was born 5 minutes before Halloween. The implication she alluded to was that she was actually born on October 31st, but that her parents told everyone that she was born a few minutes before midnight so no one could accuse her of being a witch.
She was always telling me about things she had foreseen. She insisted until late in life that she heard my brother in pain yelling for and that a couple days later she finds out my brother had been seriously wounded with a mortar exploding at an angle that sliced up under his flak jacket ripping through his torso.
My family is also one in which people as they are dying describe people, loved ones, visiting them. When my brother Max passed in 2005 he told us that David, our brother who had previously passed 7 years earlier, and my Dad who had passed on in 1986, had come to collect him. My niece, David’s daughter, told me she had a dream that week that he had come to visit her in a dream because he was already in the area to pickup Max.
I have to admit these stories give me comfort. All my brothers have moved on down a path I will not follow for quite a while.
The minds of my family members seem to be conditioned early on, or wired in such a way that we see what we want to believe, or perhaps that are really there. I have no answers. I have only ever seen one unexplained shadow.
I woke up in middle of the night and saw a dark, robed figure in the hall outside my baby daughter’s room and forcefully told it to get out of my house and that it was in the wrong place. We woke up the next morning to find out the next door neighbor, an elderly cancer patient, had killed herself during the night.
I feel things that give me the creeps sometimes, and have had electrical devices act strangely. A phone call with no one on the other end of the call from my family’s childhood phone number, with the caller ID showing my Dad’s name, during Christmas dinner in 2006, twenty years to the day after my died. That was weird.
Oh, and UFOs Too
In my late teen years, walked up on the little sisters of my boyfriend hiding behind trees and looking out into a field where there was a huge orange ball of light a few dozen yards out in a field by the house. They were whispering and pointing, and freaking out. I said, “Well, I want to see what it is,” and matter of factly walked toward the light. It shrank in size and seemed to move way quickly to spot over a distant woods. I think it was what skeptics call swamp gas. Only thing was, there was no swamp near this farm ground.
“Stuff” is Interesting If Not Explainable
I have no idea as to whether all these things were real or were some kind of misinterpretation of what was happening, but I report such things as “stuff I still wonder about,” and try not to interpret it.
When weird things happen I just breath calmly and think that “the power within me is more powerful than that in the world.”
I know that many people would never share such stories, but my attitude is, “Why not?” Even anthropologists and folklorists study these stories. Stories touch the mysterious, shine light on our beliefs, our family culture, and the culture of societies are rich hunting grounds for beliefs, exposing what we do not understand, and merging the past into the present.