Imagination- it is often underestimated. If you don’t believe me, I can walk you through many many “jokes” about my college degrees in theatre from people who think my skill sets learned there are useless. Imagination is powerful- but like any other tool it can be powerful in a creative or destructive way.
Similar to and linked with my superpower of empathy, my imagination is truly a double edged sword in my own life. Imagination is the root of my anxiety. In its basic not form this deals with images and picturing oneself in a different way or situation. I have spent the last few weeks battling anxiety and up with insomnia triggered by picturing worst possible outcomes or imagining myself in horrifying or tragic circumstances. I am so thankful for people around me who can walk with (or occasionally drag) me through the worst parts of my imagination and back to what is actually in my own present reality.
My imagination is amazing too though! It is a parenting super power and has given me so many benefits when it comes to creative problem solving and making do with what I have. Personally this translates in my writing, in crafting, in throwing together what’s in the pantry in a way I might have given up on a few years ago. It also translates to helping others in the ways I can instead of lamenting all the ways I can’t. I will likely never be able to afford to be an “angel donor” to the causes I care about with one big huge sum of money, but I can give in little ways in actions, in awareness, in several smaller donations. I am creative all the time with my kids as we read together or make things together or play together. Imagination turns our walks and hikes into story times and adventures.
The same way it is a double edged sword in my life, so also imagination can be used for good or destruction in the world.
You can come up with some horrifying imagining of the world other than what it is- isn’t this how the current war in the Ukraine is being justified? One man’s imagination suddenly declaring that a country is actually composed of other independent countries that should be under his control or protection and then continuing to imagine ways to justify atrocities against civilians? That’s a current extreme example, but using our imaginations against us is the main aim of advertising, and of the social media brain hacking that makes us imagine everyone else is doing great compared to how we are.
But the global imagination is also AMAZING and innovating really positive ways to use those same platforms. People are donating money to people they had never reached before thanks to giving donations through etsy, air bnb, etc. and they are hearing about using those means through social media sites. Charities and news organizations are able to boost the signal on story after story and seeing the charitable work done on the ground in the moment is something that can really make people feel better about knowing their funds are making a difference. People who have almost nothing are giving the gift of music and the gift of sharing stories and prayers. On a less specific global goodness note, I am a huge fan of John and Hank Green (aka vlogbrothers) because they use their imagination and marry it with really practical steps to make the world a little better one year at a time.
This isn’t the most eloquent or coherent post I have ever written. I’m not even taking the time to edit or add pictures or any of that usual blog stuff. It has been a really hard mental health time for me. I almost didn’t even write a post for this week, but I know I’m not the only one struggling, and if your imagination is turning toward the dark side too, I wanted to share a little reminder that lots of people are out there helping, because it can be easy for those stories of helping to be swallowed up by all the dark news stories right now.
Edit: I wanted to include links to a few charities actively helping the Ukraine people/ refugees during this time:
World Central Kitchen: https://wck.org
World Vision: https://donate.worldvision.org/give/ukraine-crisis-fund
Razom for Ukraine: https://razomforukraine.org/razom-emergency-response/
Catholic Relief Services: https://support.crs.org/donate/donate-ukraine?ms=agicrs2022ukr00her01&_ga=2.264378630.849744982.1646856453-546614577.1646856453&_gac=1.12807749.1646856453.CjwKCAiAvaGRBhBlEiwAiY-yMJ0Oz7kLVstKnwLQGYhQghss5oFAe0AqztIPmLOe9H-6i8r9vKVbgBoCfEkQAvD_BwE