'THE STONE AROUND MY NECK'
There is a stone we wear around our necks, because we believe we need it. It anchors us.
It makes us feel we “belong.”
It makes us feel we understand “our struggle.”
It makes us feel life is “familiar.”
The stone could be pictured in a variety of ways: as an attitude we carry around with us; as a relationship; as a vague “necessity”; as a central idea that organizes our experience; as a pain.
But from it we gain a sense of stability and predictability. It’s going to be there when we wake up in the morning.
But then there is this other thing called imagination. It operates on very different principles. It doesn’t ask to be worn around the neck like a weight. It envisions new possibility. It’s free.
In designing and developing imagination exercises for my clients over the years, I’ve kept that stone in mind. It needs to be dealt with. But the trick is, PEOPLE CAN BE VERY LOYAL TO THEIR STONE.
It’s like a friend.
“Hey, don’t mess with my friend!”
Well, a friend is supposed to help you. Is the stone really doing that? Is the friend making things better for you?
Or is the friend just providing a sense of stability, at the price of making life seem like you’re treading water or climbing slowly up a very steep hill?
And is this hill a real one? Or is it a fictional hill that doesn’t need to be there?
Because you see, imagination can dissolve hills. It has that capability.
And so, in my practice, I work with those dynamics. How much hill, how much stone does a person need, versus how much liberation, through the use of imagination, does he want?
Finding ways to work with both sides of that equation, that see-saw, is the key to success.
So when a person says he can’t find his imagination, or he doesn’t know what it really is, or he doesn’t see how it will transform his life and future, he’s often referring—without saying it—to his stone. He’s saying, “Hey listen, I have this friend. And I need to stick by him. He’s seen me through thick and thin.”
Yes, he has. But he’s also gotten you into some muck, some swamp. He’s put you in a corner.
And in your best version of your future, you don’t need that particular friend.
What imagination exercises accomplish, among many other things, is the teaching of that exact lesson.