Using the power of your imagination to cope with the death of a loved one

Using the power of your imagination to cope with the death of a loved one

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all that we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the whole world and all that will ever be known and understood.
Albert Einstein

In Western culture, the imagination has been given insanity. It is believed to be a source of illusions and an ability that simply increases anxiety and fear. Nothing could be further from the truth. We can certainly imagine bad things happening. This is not unusual and we reap the negative feelings that go with it. But what we fail to recognize is the power of the imagination to create images that help tremendously in adapting to an environment without the physical presence of the loved one.

Think again if you were the victim of an authoritarian figure at an early age who said in response to your fear, “You’re letting your imagination get the best of you.” Is this one of your unconscious limiting beliefs?

Great architecture, inventions, discoveries and musical masterpieces, literally every new human creation, are the product of some part of our imagination. It is a mental faculty that we have all been blessed to use to deal with the changing scenes of life. You have the ability to visualize and imagine how you want to deal with each loss or make a plan to change your behavior. So how do we develop our imagination to help us cope?

1. Begin your journey by finding out all you can about how others have dealt with loss. This can happen by reading books about grief by professionals or people who have experienced a loss similar to the one you are currently experiencing. This will give you some basic ideas for constructing healing images that you prefer. If you personally know someone who has successfully dealt with a similar loss, be sure to talk to them at length. Ask them about their beliefs about doing well and what specifically helped them. Can you turn them into useful images?

2. Expand your knowledge base by looking up how some of the more famous writers and therapists have dealt with loss and how they view the grieving process. People like Carl Jung, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Moore, Gautama Buddha, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, J. William Worden and dozens of others can provide insights and ideas to consider when creating paintings. Be sure to include spiritual readings from your spiritual traditions.

3. Set an immediately achievable goal and make a plan. Start with a specific goal for the next minute, hour or day. To do this, you will need to start using your imagination to create pictures in your mind of exactly what you will do to get through the next minute, hour or day. Remember to “see” and feel the end result you want to achieve and the steps you will take to get there. You envision a successful coping. What you imagine will cause physiological changes in the body.

4. Enter details. Visualize yourself moving a certain way, saying a certain thing, and going through a behavior that will help you deal with unwanted thoughts of grief. Be alert to what comes from your subconscious, seemingly out of nowhere, and pops onto the scene. Your subconscious will provide you with creative ideas to achieve your goal. Listen carefully to your inner voice.

5. Trust that using imagination is your uniquely individual self-healing strategy. See it as a resource that is always ready. All you have to do is call it out and start creating positive images in your mind. One approach that can maximize results is to surround the image with bright light or sparkling diamonds after creating the image. This technique will maximize the feeling you are trying to create to change the mood. Now expect random failure at times. It happens to all of us. Just get up and start over.

6. Try swapping images. You might imagine meeting your loved one’s old friend for the first time and shaking hands. Then think of an image of yourself hugging him/her and hearing yourself say something about how much your loved one cares for him/her. How does one compare to the other in terms of feelings? What is correct? You might want to call ahead. Again, think about how you will start the conversation and what seems appropriate to say.

7. Use your imagination as an ability to rehearse different coping responses. Place yourself in a favorite retreat where you know you can relax, a place you’ve visited in the past, a cherished family memory, or anything that can evoke a sense of release and stillness. Now choose how you want to handle a specific change you know needs to be made. And here’s the key: Keep playing the scene. Repetition is critical to healing because you create a routine that will become a habit of thought and action. Importantly, repeating vivid images affects the unconscious, creating new beliefs and ideas that help you adapt to your great loss. When you succeed, celebrate it and tell yourself you can do it again.

8. Here are some coping answers to consider when using your creative imagination. Make images of a beautiful song and what the words mean; evoke a fearful thought; ask a close friend for help with a task; create an affirmation or two to deal with lingering anxiety; go where the love is; imagine your lungs expanding and releasing tension as you use deep abdominal breathing to relax; imagine you are with the most loving person who has been helpful to you and says, “Thank you. I love you;” make a list of all the relationships you still have and another list of the ones you need to strengthen or renew. Then build visuals of how you will strengthen and renew.

Finally, always be alert to focus on the good feelings generated as you see yourself adapting. Become an expert on how you feel at any given moment.

#power #imagination #cope #death #loved

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