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Mar 01, 2018
I have always daydreamed. Most creative-types do.
When I was a little girl, I used to imagine what my life would be like when I was a grownup. It was always a perfect, fantasy world, of course. I used to draw my fantasies too, and called it playing "Story". On a chalkboard up in the attic, I would escape real life downstairs and draw my "story" family, the Petersons, all lined up in a row, from oldest to youngest. I changed their clothes by erasing the bodies whenever they needed a wardrobe change, I had them talking to each other, and each participating in an idyllic family life. My sister Jane sometimes played too, but usually I played alone.
I was later told that as a Christian, having a fantasy life was a dangerous and dark pastime, and I suppose it does have its downside, because escaping life habitually, whether it's through alcohol, drugs or fantasy thinking, can be toxic if it takes us away from facing truth about our lives and ourselves.
But neuroscience has discovered that there is a positive side to fantasizing and imagining. When healing from trauma, it helps us to be able to both reimagine painful images from the past in order to see them with a new and healthier perspective. Fantasizing also helps us imagine a future for ourselves that is positive, hopeful and motivating.
So now I am taking another look at my fantasy life and my imagination, believing that there is a healthy and productive way to imagine, especially in wanting to develop my creative life.
The history of science and culture is filled with stories of how many of the greatest scientific and artistic discoveries occurred while the creator was not thinking about what he was working on, not consciously anyway - the daydreaming mode solved the problem for him, and the answer appeared suddenly as a stroke of insight. Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist
For just as C.S. Lewis' imagination was "baptized" when he read George MacDonald's fantasy novel, Phantastes, so our imaginations also need to be baptized in a fresh new way, so that we can be free to roam in our inner lives, discover new things about ourselves, how God made us, and what we have to say to the world.
The paths of our daydreams may lead us into the forest of Mindfulness, traversing the fields of our Intuition, climbing the sunlit hillsides of our richest and most delightful vistas where we just might find our Voice.
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