Every so often I enjoy looking through old pictures, and the lives they chronical. And when I came across some of my daughter, I smiled at her unadulterated joy and happiness. I couldn’t help but remember that her favorite toy was a simple cardboard box. The things she could imagine those ordinary boxes to be always astounded me. Every time I would ask her what she was doing I heard different things, from sailing on a boat to flying on a plane. And each answer brought a smile to my face. Because it showcased her pure unadulterated imagination.
It is amazing how powerful an imagination really is when you stop and think about it. The ability to take something utilitarian and ordinary like a cardboard box and transform it into something extraordinary is nothing short of a miracle. It’s also the ability that lets us submerge ourselves into a book. It’s what allows us to transform the words into an image unfolding before our very eyes. Unfortunately, I think it’s an undervalued part of our adult lives. Life has a way of eroding an imagination all on its own, from work to stress and everything in-between.
And while I would prefer to say that those have never tampered my imagination, that would be a lie. My own imagination has taken abuse from many sources, but I’ve always run back into it and encouraged it to grow. I will admit to being, but I believe that imagination is as essential to a healthy life as a clean bill of health is. For the sole reason that our imagination is what allows us to escape the daily grind of our adult lives.
There are plenty of days when the stress of my life begins to wear me down. But that is when I unleash my imagination, and as it soars, I find that my anxieties wanes. The outlet my imagination uses isn’t always one of the stories I write. Sometimes it’s something as simple as cracking open a good book and following an incredible journey. And there are of course days when I curl up and watch a good movie or television show. They do provide most of the heavy lifting, but I find they also can help jumpstart new ideas in my mind.
While I have done a lot to keep a healthy and active imagination, I’m sad to see that spark of creativity dim in my little girl. To know that life has begun to chip away at her once fertile imagination brings a tear to my eye. So I have done what I can to encourage her to help her imagination grow. But I have just found a new way to help spark that wonder. There are sites some sites that provide daily photos one such is NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, and another is National Geographic. Go look at those pictures and let what you see percolate an idea or two in your mind. It’s a fun and useful exercise. Though there is also something to be said to merely place yourself into your favorite place and letting that sight wash away your troubles.
No matter how you let your imagination free. You might be surprised how much happier and healthier you are, than if you were to restrain it. So go out and flex the muscles of your imagination and feel the stress of your life melt away.