Are You in Denial? Good!

I’d been looking forward to the visioning workshop for a few weeks. It was an annual event hosted at my spiritual center and would be held after Sunday services. The day of the event I made all the necessary arrangements to be gone all day: I scheduled a dog walk, made a lunch, and took an Uber so my son could have the car for the day. I was ready to vision my new year!

What I’d forgotten to do was pre-register. As the church service was concluding, the pastor announced that the workshop was sold out. I felt myself caving with disappointment, followed quickly by outrage. It can’t be sold out! I’m supposed to go!

Then I caught myself. I had already envisioned myself at the workshop, so there was no room for disappointment. I simply would not let it in. I pushed back against the shrinking feeling and charged my words with a new, purposeful energy. It can’t be sold out. I am supposed to go. I repeated the words to myself emphatically and felt a burst of certainty. I found the pastor and asked if there was a way to be put on a waitlist or to find out if anyone didn’t show. She smiled and said that a community member was sick and said to make sure someone got her paid ticket.

Not only was I in the workshop, it was gifted to me at no charge.

There is power in having a vision, and it shouldn’t be confused with similar words, words like resolution and intention, words that have opposites; you can be irresolute or you can lack a plan, but vision has no opposite. (Go ahead, search for its antonym! It will say no definition found.) Nothing can or should get in the way of a vision. It means being able to see, and it’s a picture we hold to even when what we see with our physical eyes or experience around us doesn’t match.

Sometimes I think of visioning as a mystical form of denial. In The Power of Unlimited Imagination, Neville says it this way: “Stop being conscious of something unlovely, for every unlovely thought causes you to walk in psychological mud.” That’s a great philosophy and an important goal for anyone who wants to be creative. If you want to write, or paint, or invent, you have to have the kind of vision that doesn’t waver. You have to reject anything that doesn’t support your vision, even when it flies in the face of evidence or common sense.

Because creativity always flies in the face of common sense.

I saw this play out beautifully as I drove along Lake Shore Drive. High winds had whipped the lake into whitecaps that were exploding against the cement pylons and spraying tall plumes of water onto the road. In front of me, city workers in yellow vests were putting down traffic cones to close the lane. It was hard to drive with such a spectacular show of nature occurring. I found myself waiting eagerly for the next wave to hit the retaining wall, wondering how high it would go.

I thought about how the water was like the creative force, hurling itself against a solid wall of reason. And I can tell you where my eyes were fixed. Every intermittent thrill was worth the wait. Even when the waves just churned and receded without fanfare, I was certain the spectacle would happen again. And it did.

That same force of nature is within us, waiting for the right conditions to burst forth. Waiting for you to remind yourself that, yes, I am supposed to be here, doing this.

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