How often do you day dream and envision a place, an experience, or a relationship that brings a smile to your face and a warmth washes over you leaving a sense of comfort and joy?
Then, the noise of the real world becomes louder, and you snap back to reality. The rush of anxiety & stress from outside influences invades your mind, the tug-of-war between want to do and need to do pulls you back and forth, the breakdown of boundaries between work, family, and friends occurs, and they all crash your party.
Finding your “happy place” is a healthy exercise in self-care. Unfortunately, the tsunami of responsibilities can become so overwhelming that we lose ourselves and inevitably lose perspective of who we are, what we want, and how to get there.
The hard part is many individuals don’t know where they want to go! The lack of direction in personal, professional, and beyond can slowly unfold and present as anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, fatigue, lack of motivation, disconnection, as well as a host of many other experiences.
As younger versions of our adult selves, we could close our eyes and visualize, we had boundless imagination which offered an endless blue ocean of opportunities. As we age the added responsibilities, pressures, and cultural influences of life can cloud our imagination and leave the path less clear.
I frequently advocate for my clients to give themselves permission to imagine, find their fantasy island, and begin the journey of setting sail to get there.
To do that, I should explain what I mean by fantasy island. Fantasy island is not a mystical place with gum drops and lollipops, it’s not a place where you wear spandex and have super powers, or where you can be a glutton and do whatever and not get caught.
Rather, it is the place inside of you that holds the secrets to your joy and fulfillment. I have witnessed, on many occasions, that both individuals and couples are extremely challenged when asked to express what brings them joy. Furthermore, many of these same clients are not sure what they personally need to be fulfilled. It comes across as if their imagination has been locked up and sent to purgatory.
When we don’t know what brings us personal joy and fulfillment then it can become extremely difficult to honor what our partner, family, or friends need from us as a means of support for them. Which is why I suggest to my clients to exercise their imagination muscle.
Simply start by giving yourself permission to allow your imagination the freedom to unfold and be limitless. Pause the voice in your mind that repeats the same “I can’t” song over and over. Allow yourself the time and space to imagine what “I can” or what “I want” or what would be “cool” to experience.
At first, the experience of imagining may feel “crippling” and you might find yourself “stuck” and unable to identify what brings you joy or fulfillment. That’s okay! Consider your imagination as a muscle and it needs to be exercised.
Finding what inspires your imagination is the first step in building that muscle. Finding inspiration to exercise your imagination is like how a gym has different machines, free weights, group classes, and personal trainers. You need to try it to identify it!
If your imagination muscle has become weak and fatigued then I urge you to give yourself permission to imagine, find your fantasy island, and begin the journey of setting sail to get there.