Sometimes writing comes fast, other times, it comes slow...
This was one where I started, thinking i could knock it out in 15 minutes and a week later, I am still tinkering... and it is only a 5 minute read!
Pieces have been arriving in my dreams and at other inconvenient times.
And the trick has been capturing the flow.
Then whittling it down is an art sometimes... especially challenging with subjects that struggle to become spoken language. And English is a clunky form for capturing the numinous.
Anyway, here goes...
Is my theme du jour.
My new course begins on Monday and I'm finding this theme is woven deeply through all of it and so it is kind of obsessing me.
Anyone who has worked with me, will likely not find this surprising, I imagine.
As I've been preparing the lessons, I've been thinking about how imagination relates with being in a body. Also the impact of the industrial / capitalist / colonial projects on this profound gift we all have..
Somewhere along the line, we seem to have become convinced that imagination is only useful if it is productive.
Also, the myth that imagination is something that happens 'in our heads'.
Both these definitions reduce and castrate one of our most fertile species gifts.
And the second isn't even biologically accurate!
We know that when we imagine doing a movement, a similar neural pathway lights up in the body mind as if we were really doing the movement.
We know that when I say, for example - 'imagine eating a spoonful of maggots'* it has an almost instant physiological effect.
Compare this with say, the instruction - 'imagine eating a spoonful of your favourite ice cream!'.
These explorations provide clues for how potent and direct a translation into the physical realm, imagination really provides us with..
We know we can bring something into form that we have envisioned; we can shift shape or state at will; we can take on the life of a character and imagine into someone else's reality. We can relate to their circumstances. We can even imagine ourselves into ones without nervous systems or so called 'sentience' . We can imagine what it might be like to be clay. To be volcano.
All these maps live inside us via the imaginative system.
And that's just the entry level usages!
There is so much more! The symbolic, the mythical, the metaphoric, the poetic. The Sacred. The Spiritual.
It is one of those themes that is fractal like in it's nuance and ever increasing in it's complexity. The most I explore it, the more it opens up to be explored..
One of the things that can stop us experimenting and exploring is the fear that we might be 'making it all up'.
But experiment, creativity and not knowing - also to a certain extent, making it up - is part of it.
Making it up is a portal to growing more confidence in navigating realities that are less concrete, maybe more metaphoric, metaphysical, mythic or differently bodied.
Making it up is a step in the direction of settling into a different quality of noticing and offering of our awareness.
The nature of the invitation of Life itself is emergent, improvisational, co-creative, and participatory and these are all qualities that imagination LOVES and knows well.
There is something here about remembering how to soften the boundary between different kinds of knowing. There is a level of truth that can only be perceived through myth, story and metaphor. Through defolcalising the analytic, executive function obsessed western gaze. These kinds of big complex truths have very little to do with facts, but are no less real.
It is ok to make it up a little whilst you re-member / re-learn this other way of knowing, AND stay connected with the earth and the here and now.
What about if both were possible. Can we make that a practice?
Imagination is our main gateway between the etheric and the material and back again, it is our primary organ of connection across species, time, experience and relationality.
Am i over egging it here?
I suspect not...
Bear with me.
This multivalent, neuroplastic, highly specialised GIFT of our species is DEEPLY exciting, much under appreciated and she is KEEN to be returned to Her right full place at the centre of our experience of life.
Where ever i turn, there is another layer of it revealing itself.
There seems to be a lot of resonance and magic around the timing of it all too. In the midst of all this a book landed on my lap - (Thanks for this beauty, dear Rob Grundel!)
In Songlines: The Power The Promise co-written by Indigenous Elder Margo Neale, from the brilliant First Knowledges Series, . we are given clues to this gift's vastness and its ancient roots in our species.
We are shown shared envisioning as the core species mapping and knowledge system, connecting people to Country and all living things including each other. And that this is a knowledge system that is traditionally passed down through song, ceremony, dance and story. And that the enacting of the song, ceremony, dance and story literally keeps Country vibrating with life.
✨ Imagination as a process for bestowing aliveness ✨
This is less something to believe (or not) and more of a devotional, reciprocal practice of cultivating aliveness.
In what is now Australia, it had functioned as an ever adaptive, unbroken system of knowing and living for more than 65,000 years before the colonisers came.
It is something that the colonisers had forgotten how to do, so they didn't recognise it when they encountered it and weren't able to see it's value.
So how might we re-member the full potency of our imagination as a somatic - whole body portal to all sorts of wonders...?
Here's a few places I see it coming into it's own:
internal maps of: desire, disgust, grief, delight etc.
thinking about doing anything
a bridging device between worlds, space and time,
envisaging the yet to be realised,
the known, but yet to be seen!
our inner life,
trans-lingual, interpersonal, metaphysical, interspecies & intra-species communication.
What else would you like to add to that list?
More to be discovered and shared on all this soon, I suspect...
Yarrkalpa (Hunting Ground), 2013, Kumpaya Girgirba, Yikartu Bumba, Kanu Nancy Taylor, Ngamaru Bidu, Yuwali Janice Nixon, Reena Rogers, Thelma Judson and Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Martumili Artists, acrylic on linen, 300 x 500 cm. National Museum of Australia. © the artists, Martumili Artists.
From the National Museum of Australia Song Lines Exhibition.
writings on states of being, being in a body and being human.