How to Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create the Big Magic
You Think You Know What You Want? Dream Bigger
“Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”- Napoleon Hill
What one thing do successful people have in common? They all believed it could happen to them. They dreamed and imagined the possibilities.
This remarkable life tool is available to anyone who chooses to use thoughts, words, and actions to set dreams in motion. Children are naturals at dreaming.
Think back to the first time you made something happen…
I was just 12 years old and I wanted to see the Beatles more than anything in the world. When I heard they would be playing the Cow Palace in San Francisco, I was determined to make that dream come true.
It meant convincing my parents I would die if I didn’t see my first true love… Paul.
I didn’t know then, my drive to make this happen was my very first experience with creative visualization.
The negotiations went something like this,
“Mom, I have to see the Beatles, I’ll die if I don’t see them!”
“No,” she replied, “It costs too much.”
“What if I earned the money?” I begged.
“That’s a lot of babysitting,” she replied.
But she didn’t say a firm “no.”
I had to scramble. I only earned fifty cents an hour babysitting. Tickets were due to go on sale within days. I made a little handwritten flyer offering my services and passed them out to neighbors.
That weekend I earned a whopping $1.25.
My heart sank, not even close. Monday, mom picked us up from school. The local radio station blared one Beatles song after another until they cut to a station break with the BIG announcement from the DJ:
“We’re giving away a set of Beatles’ tickets for the concert at the Cow Palace. Send in a postcard, and we’ll draw for the winner next week.”
“Mom!” I screamed, “What if I win the tickets?”
Mom shook her head and used my formal name, “Oh Sandra.”
That afternoon I walked (a hell of a long distance) to the post office and spent my babysitting money on 3 postcards and postage stamps. As I licked the stamps, I imagined myself in the front row at the Cow Palace, screaming at Paul. In my mind, it was so real it sent shivers all over my body. I made one last wish and dropped the cards into the mailbox.
Yes… you guessed it. I won!
That was the first time I ever had proof that my thoughts could become real things.
Mike Dooley calls it “leveraging the universe” in his book by the same name.
My young-girl mind never had any doubts; I just kept feeling the thrill of seeing the Beatles live until it came true.
And that’s how all manifestations begin… seeing it with the end in mind. In looking back, I can see other times when I clearly defined my future with thoughts.
“Thoughts become things.” — Mike Dooley
My dream-making machine continued… After seeing the Beatles, I visualized performing on stage, so I joined a local singing group. The production led to me flying to New York at 16 to audition for a show that would tour the world. I took high school on the road and experienced other cultures, histories, and the joy of traveling, all from the stage I imagined.
I knew if I put enough belief and devotion into dreaming, my creative spirit would find a way to make it happen. I was a fanatical journal writer and recorded all my fantasies and sometimes wrote them as poems and songs.
Those were the unencumbered days when I thought all was possible and dreams happened because I willed them so.
I carried my dream-making machine with me into my adult life.
When I met the man I married, together we dreamed of having a life in the entertainment business. And it happened. My husband wrote screenplay after screenplay until one day Disney bought one of them. We moved to Los Angeles with our first-born son and pursued the life we planned, adding three more to our beautiful family.
And then one day we experienced something we never dreamed…
The greatest tragedy of our lives… the loss of our oldest son.
He died overnight from an aggressive form of Meningitis. We didn’t even have time to say goodbye because we didn’t know he was dying. Neither did the doctor. It was that damn fast.
It sucked the life out of our marriage, and we split in the most awful way. I never imagined the future without David, ever.
I struggled with knowing who I was. I was a writer’s wife. I was his editor, his idea collaborator and most of all the mother of his children, four of them. But the one who was missing left the biggest hole in our beautiful life. We could no longer survive.
And I lost my identity, the labels I thought defined me.
I wanted to believe we’d get back together someday; I envisioned it just as sure as I envisioned those Beatles’ tickets; my life depended on it.
Years later David began calling me again. We talked about our children, how they survived so much. We talked about his new script, and he asked me to help him with it. Creativity had always been our connection; perhaps it would be the thing that could heal our marriage.
We both still loved each other; there was no doubt. We just didn’t know how to live together with the daily reminder of our deeply tragic loss.
David said, “I’m coming back to LA, Sandy. We can talk then.”
I woke up every morning with the hope and vision of making our family whole again.
Three weeks later I got the call. David died of a sudden heart attack; he was just 54. He never made it back to Los Angeles.
I’m certain it was the wound of his broken heart. Losing a child can do that to you. It makes you question living at all.
I stopped believing in dreams.
I existed day-to-day, the only joy being that of watching my children miraculously survive two losses in their young lives. I was determined, no matter what, to make their day-to-day lives happy.
I vowed I wouldn’t show my internal struggle, but they knew. I remember my daughter saying, “Mom when something funny happens you just say ‘Oh that’s funny,’ but you don’t really laugh.”
Children have more intuitive and empathic feelings than you think. Believe them when they tell you something. They know, they always know.
Four years later a book changed me.
Four years after David’s death, a book and a course changed my thinking and my life. I read A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. Shortly after that, Oprah announced the first worldwide Skype classroom and interviewed Tolle in weekly sessions.
I had my notebook and pencil ready every night. My copy of A New Earth was underlined, highlighted, and tagged with colorful post-it labels. Every single page had something meaningful and gave me hope of recapturing my spirit and drive. It was one of the most thrilling emotional and educational experiences of my life.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” ― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
Those few words changed me. I don’t believe that my son died for the evolution of my consciousness, but I do believe how I choose to live my life after his loss is the experience that shows me I am resilient, strong, unstoppable.
The book offered me hope of re-framing my thoughts and choices in navigating my day.
I set out to prove it.
Since the death of my son, I had been plagued with troubled sleep and horrific dreams. When your child dies in the middle of the night, your thoughts are not safe. They reel out of control and send dreams into the darkest and scariest places. I’d awaken in a sweat and my heart pounding. Then, I’d tiptoe into my children’s rooms to watch them breathe. There was no hope of sound sleep after that, just moments of dozing until dawn.
For most of my adult life, mornings typically began with turning on the news and reading the LA Times. But, in pursuit of my emotional makeover, I created a new ritual at dawn, beginning with a hot cup of coffee, crawling back into bed, reading chapters of an inspirational book, then meditating. I noticed my mornings changing quickly. I had more, more peace, more energy, and more drive to build my business.
Nightly rituals changed, too. Instead of watching the 11:00 news, I’d fall asleep to guided meditations on my iPod. Nights of fear transformed into sleeping soundly until early dawn.
For years I thought I’d lost my ability to believe in the power of my own thoughts.
But I was wrong.
My three living children brought such joy to my heart as I could see them more clearly, unencumbered by fear. I untethered my pain of loss to experience them, to be fully present in their lives.
There is life after loss.
Together we discovered there is life after loss and no matter what happens to you, love will carry you through. It doesn’t mean you’ll never feel the tears again; it just means you have a choice to go on living and turn the sorrow into something you learn to accept.
One morning, during my new reading time, I picked up a book that had been dormant on my bookshelf for years, Creative Visualization, Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Life, by Shakti Gawain. It was a book I’d read in the 80’s that validated my beliefs when I was young.
I always knew I could make my dreams come alive, and that book reminded me of the little girl who won Beatles’ tickets and toured the world. I was unstoppable then, and I intended to resurrect that invincible wide-eyed red-haired little girl.
I designed a plan for my future, asking questions in my meditations:
What do I want? How can I plan for my future? How can I create a fulfilling life?
I wrote pages and pages in my journal, then putting my dreams in motion with these steps:
- Visualize what you desire by using your creative mind to see it.
- Put tiny details in your “story” to bring it to life… like what you’re wearing, the sights before you, sitting in your office, looking out the window, watching the trees blow in the breeze, the smell of fresh coffee.
- Believe with all certainty that you will achieve it.
- Feel the emotion, the excitement, the thrill of having your thoughts and dreams come alive.
- Practice the vision daily, even if just for a few minutes.
“If your thoughts are what shape your future, wouldn’t it be ideal to consider what you’ve been thinking lately?” –Mike Dooley, Life on Earth, Understanding Who We Are, How We Got Here, and What May Lie Ahead
You don’t have to know “the how.”
Mike Dooley suggests you don’t have to know “the how,” you just take the very next step and the next.
It leads somewhere, it really does.
In 2010, it was four years since David’s death. I’d begun considering opening my heart to love again.
The years prior, I was so desperate to feel desired that I made stupid choices in dating and relationships. But I recognized even bad relationships taught me something while preparing for the right love to appear.
I longed for a companion, a friend, a lover, a creative “inspirer.” I wanted a man of impeccable character, not because he had never done anything questionable, but because he’d learned from his own mistakes and was better for it.
I wanted romance! To be desired! To feel desirable again.
In researching guided meditations online, I discovered “Create the Love of Your Life” by Stin. Her voice was soothing and took me into the world of possibility. I looked forward to this new daily practice!
It helped me create a story in my mind, walking hand in hand with my “dream guy” along a cove at the beach, boulders cupping each end of the shore. I envisioned birds flying overhead and the sun setting, while waves lapped at our feet. We were having a conversation. I could feel my hand in his, but I didn’t picture his face, hair, height, or any specifics, just a presence.
Six months later I met a man and fell in love.
Apparently, my dream machine was planning for my future when I was just 16 in New York, auditioning for the stage. He was 20 then and remembered me. Now all these years later, he re-introduced himself to me, and we began a conversation that never ended.
We married a year later.
On our second anniversary, we went to Hawaii and walked the beaches at sunset.
I began to cry...
I realized this was the beach I imagined in my dreams. Here I was with the man I loved, holding hands, having a conversation while walking the curved shoreline of the cove, boulders up ahead, and waves lapping at our feet.
Never doubt the power of your mind to create your life. Thoughts become a reality when you put them into motion with emotion.
Even when you feel life is unbearable with loss, or disappointment, or heartbreak, believe in the power of dreams to resurrect your life. You can’t imagine what the universe has planned for you… even beyond your wildest dreams. I hope you start visualizing the possibilities now.
**Previously published on Medium.com**