As I noted in a previous entry, I'm beginning to set goals for the new year. Before formally doing so, I take time to imagine what I want. One thing I know is that an individual's life doesn't change until (s)he can imagine a different way of living.
In thinking about the future, I realized I could learn from my fictional characters. In the series, A Dragon's Guide to Destiny, each main character is challenged to imagine a world very different from the one they know.
Melancholy Druid knows he's the Dragon of Destiny, but he is sure he'll fail to accomplish his purpose, in part because all humans have it in for him. Learning to trust a few humans and his own abilities will move him closer to his goal, but can he take that risk?
Tara, the Chosen Kitten, harbors a similar mistrust of humans. She also fears giant dragons. Can she imagine a world in which large and small, human and feline, can join forces?
Human Serazina has unlawful psychic gifts that could lead to her incarceration in the World for the Chronically Crazy (and that would be only the first of coming attractions). Although she must exercise those gifts for her world to be saved, she will have to risk her life to do so.
Phileas, Guardian of Oasis, lives in the tightest mental straightjacket of all, imprisoned by a rigid tradition of mental superiority that suppresses his emotional intelligence. Though he realizes that these limitations are jeopardizing the people he's sworn to guide, he fears that a world in which emotions are fully expressed will be one of chaos.
Like Druid, I often doubt my ability to succeed. I also, like Tara, sometimes question the willingness of others to cooperate in the fulfillment of my dreams. In earlier years, I felt that my gifts and talents were unrecognized by society, and I regularly check to see if this belief is resurfacing. Likewise, I know it takes commitment to keep the creativity flowing.
Each of us may have different limitations in our ability to imagine a different world, but if we want our lives to accommodate our deepest desires and dreams, we need to imagine worlds that our new selves can happily inhabit.
I used to live in a world where my novels lived only in my computer. Before that situation could change, I needed to imagine a world in which they were published, read, reviewed, etc. Without these mental architectural drawings, I had no way to begin.
Now I'm thinking it's time for me to make the stakes as high for myself as I do for my suffering fictional friends. That's going to call for a lot of imagination.
And some inspiration. If you're considering setting some high-stakes goals, you may benefit listening to the music that helped me write this blog.
Both are by John Lennon
Happy New Year!