We sometimes ask ourselves, how did I get to where I am at this point in my life? Am I where I want to be?
When we are young, and during the years of adolescence, there are often actions that we take along the road to adulthood that are reflective of the norms of the family and community that we are a part of. Who we play with, where we learn, where we pray, who we date and who we marry, are often part of the expected path to adulthood. Often, we don’t ask ourselves too many questions, as the expectations of family and community are clear. Then the day comes when we are no longer quite so young anymore. We may have a family of our own, a profession or a vocation, and we look around and ask ourselves, “How did I get here? Is this where I want to be? Is this where I want to stay? Is there some aspect of me that isn’t being expressed? Is there something else I would like to have happen in my life?”
Sometimes, just asking these questions makes us feel disloyal – mostly to ourselves. We followed the expected path, created something good, so why the slightly unsettled feeling? At times there is a small voice within that says, “If only….” or “What if…?” It challenges us by raising the specter of dreams unfulfilled or of roads not taken.
There are times in life when we feel that we are not taking the lead but, rather, that we are being led by circumstances. Life is typically a series of highs, lows and just “being in the flow.” There are events that bring us joy, others that cause sorrow, and many everyday moments in between. When the unexpected occurs, whether positive or negative in nature, we often respond to events by doing the best we can in each moment.
But in those everyday moments when life is calmly flowing, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves if there is something else we’d like to have happen in our lives. Is there something more I’d like to be or like to create? Is there something else within me that I’d like to give expression to? Sometimes there is something new I’d like to learn and have never had the time for. Sometimes there is a skill within me that I’ve never really used. There are times that there may be a story within me waiting to be written, a piece of pottery waiting to be formed or a piece of art waiting to be created.
Just because I have not yet done something, does not mean I cannot do it. Because I have not explored an option that once seemed unavailable, does not mean that road is now closed to me. If I want to branch out and try new things, it does not mean there is anything wrong with the way I am living my life.
But a sense of slight dissatisfaction, or of wanting to just try something, is a feeling worth exploring. It is worth looking within and trying to gain clarity about what it is that feels like it’s missing, or that seems to be waiting to be tried or accomplished. When I gain clarity on just what it is that I’d like to try, I can take advantage of a resource that we all have available to us –intentional imagination.
By using my imagination, I can let my dreams begin to take shape and form. I can bring detail into what I would like to create in my life. Sometimes this can be hard at the beginning. For some of us, our imaginations are rusty, not having been used intentionally since we were children at play. But once I begin to use my imagination, the rust flakes away and the wheels begin to turn. The more I use it, the more effective my imagination can become. There are those that say that the mind doesn’t distinguish between what is real and what is not. Instead of being led by circumstances, I can make conscious choices. With imagination I can bring focus, intention and feeling to what I want to create. The more I do this, the more likely I will begin to create the opportunities I am looking for that will bring even more meaning into my life.