Use your imagination to help with creative challenges and improved health.
By Jill Badonsky, MEd | Posted 1/15/07 | Updated 1/2/21
"Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance." —Bruce Barton
Ally McBeal had background singers, Jimmy Stewart's character had a six foot rabbit named Harvey, countless characters have angels and well those of us who write have all the characters in our novels, screenplays, poems, plays and songs. Who do you have?
We humans can invent characters. The world is not only populated with us flesh and blood souls, but it is filled with millions of fictional characters that we both love and hate. Many of us can't wait from week to week to see what our fictional TV favorites do next and wonder why they make certain decisions even though they are fictional. Some of us would like just one night with Sawyer from LOST.
Since we have this ability to invent characters, why not invent ones that can help with our creative challenges and our desire to improve our health? No, really. It can work. We did just that this past week in Body Blissmas (and a Happy New Rear), a program that combines the creative process with wellness/weight loss. And I invite you to do the same.
Often times the encouraging word or guiding glance of another person can be the turning point where we decide to stay with a creative project rather than give up. Nurturing, non-scolding support can help us stick with a nutrition plan or help us decide not to turn to comfort food when we can satisfy that emotional need with something else nurturing maybe something even creative. Who says that person has to be real? Creative people do not do well with demands we rebel, resist and abandon. Yet, our own inner talk is full of demands, self-judgment and play-by-play criticism. Try something new.
Conjuring imagination, intuition and emotion through a guided imaginary designed to elicit an imaginary friend who can help us have more discipline in a compassionate way, the Blissmas group came up with grandmothers, bears, muses, French lovers, nannies, trapeze artists and more. We determined and listed the moments that these imaginary friends would be of most use to us in our lives. We figured out what they would say and visualized these moments. We brought them to life in collage and poetry. And what we really were doing was bringing to life our own inner strength.
"If you can live by the best inside yourself, the worst outside yourself will crumble at your feet." —Laura Teresa Marquez
Here is the description of one member's imaginary friend:
He is my own personal Chippendale's dancer: 6'2", very tan, shiny jet black hair down to his shoulder blades, clean shaven, wears tight black pants with cuffs and a bow tie.
He CROONS to me in an accent I have identified as reminiscent of Pepe Le Pew.
He talks to me constantly in the most nurturing, empowering way on EVERYTHING ranging from food to wine to sleep to exercise to new habits, etc.
It sounds something like this (remember to CROON with the ACCENT):
"Sweetheart, I want you to have a salad with a little cheecken on it tonight. You've had a hard, complicated day, so your food should be seemple. This would make Marco very happy to see you eat simply tonight. Here, let me fix it for you.
"Why don't you go to that nice belly dancing class tonight. Marco loves to watch his Rena move. Go! You will have fun, and I know *I* will...
"You are pushing yourself too hard, my love. Please just sit and be still a while. Give your worries to Marco. I love you."
THIS GOES ON ALL DAY and I notice that I have actually been able to replace my negative self-talk with my beloved imaginary entity! My pants are already fitting better after only 1 week of this!
My imaginary friend is a big nanny who insists I stay in bed a little longer for my creative ideas to gel. She also keeps me on the treadmill for 30 minutes when I want to get off after 5 and says "So what, do it anyway!" when I get discouraged about a creative idea.
A creative process like this has more appeal and amusement than practicing affirmations or forcing ourselves to make it through weak moments. Appeal and amusement fuel motivation and follow-through. Who's waiting to help you?
©2007 Jill Badonsky. All rights reserved.