Creative Visualization Breathes Life Into You

An Article By Jeanie Marshall

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotation

"Creative Visualization" is a wonderful phrase to capture a concept that is foundational to all manifestations in life. "Dreaming" and "Visioning" and "Imagery" and "Mental Imagery" and "Imagination" and "Expectation" convey similar ideas. More important than choosing the perfect word or phrase is to understand the ideas.

We are always individually developing ourselves and creating our own individual lives. We create with a combination of these: (1) desires and dreams, (2) thoughts and images, (3) language in writing or speaking, and (4) actions. In our culture, many people believe that actions, and only actions, get results. I consider that it's the combination of these, in alignment with each other that create the desired results.

The concept of "creative visualization" combines aspects of (1) and (2) in my list above. All life grows because of desires and the thoughts associated with the desires. All through the day, you have a variety of desires: to breathe, to interact with others, to open the door, to eat, to sleep, to walk to your car, to do a good job, to relax, etc. How you think about each reflects and determines your relationship to it.

Practical Application: Enhancing a Relationship

One of my clients, Kevin, a manager in a large company, was having difficulty relating to a new member of his team. He found her brash and competitive. I immediately "got the picture" that he was sending with his initial words, so I let him know I didn't need additional information. If he were to talk longer, he would be planting the seeds for continuing the relationship in precisely the way he didn't want, undoubtedly exaggerating her brashness and competitiveness to make the point more clearly. He would be, in fact, creating more of the opposite of what he wanted.

I suggested we do a little creative visualization about this relationship. In a sentence or so, I explained how he could change the relationship simply by thinking about or imagining it differently. I could tell that Kevin was already feeling different about the situation just with my comments, so I asked him if he could feel the relief. His response was an enthusiastic, "Absolutely." He was already benefiting from my own mental image, even though I had not articulated the specific picture to practice.

I continued by suggesting a specific mental image, explaining that he was not to act on this image, only to imagine or visualize it. The image is this: He is sitting with her at his desk, with her at the side of the desk (not opposing him, but to his right) with her arm on the desk. He reaches over and places his hand on her arm gently and says, "I'm so glad you're on the team." He got it!

The mental image changed him — that's the key. And it began to enhance Kevin's relationship with her, as long as he remembers to activate the mental image that makes him feel better about his relationship with her. At some time, he may say the words "I'm so glad you're on the team," but the actual words won't be necessary if he gets to the feeling that he felt when we were doing the creative visualization. Likely he won't actually touch her, although that is acceptable in his company in certain situations.

It's also important to mention that saying the words "I'm so glad you're on the team" without the accompanying feelings can be counterproductive.  When words contradict your true feelings, the contradiction is received more loudly and clearly than the words.

This is one example of the power of creative visualization with almost immediate transformation within a person. Of course, Kevin will have to keep practicing seeing positive mental images. With another person in a similar scenario, the images that shift consciousness will be different from this example. The basis for an effective mental image must be the person's heart's desires, not trying to trick the Universe with some symbols or images from a book. Personal development is, after all, personal.

Creative Visualization Applies to Any Subject, Any Time

Intentional creative imagery can be focused on any subject, and on any aspect of any subject. Keep in mind, you're creating negative experiences if your images include primarily negative thoughts; you're creating positive experiences if your creative dreaming includes primarily positive thoughts. It's quite common to have a combination of positive and negative thoughts, so you may find yourself experiencing a combination of positive and negative situations.

This example with Kevin also illustrates how simple it is to shift from a negative image or expectation to a positive one. It really is simple, although it's not necessarily easy until you practice. When you're in the middle of a situation that's very uncomfortable (I like to say a "mess"), it's not always so easy to turn your thoughts around. The reason for this challenge is that it's most natural to continue to think the most familiar thoughts and imagine the same outcomes, unless you make a conscious choice to think or imagine or dream differently.

The Way Out of a Mess is With Your Thoughts and Images

The way to get out of a mess is the same way you got into a mess: with your thoughts and images and expectations. Often people who find themselves in a mess gravitate to others who will join them in the mess by agreeing, encouraging them to talk about the mess, and tolerating explanations and justifications. When friends respond that way, they do a disservice even though their intentions may be good.

You can be a more powerful friend to those in a mess by asking "how do you want to feel?" Or, "how can you imagine it could be better?" Or, "if this situation were the way you most want it to be, what would that look/feel/seem/be like?" In other words, help to stimulate the positive creative visualization process based on their desires instead of reinforcing the negative images that create more negative situations. Other questions to assist you or others to stay out of a mess are in the article Power of Questions: Asking Empowering Questions.

If you (or your friends) are in a mess and want to get out, talking and thinking about all the dynamics of the mess will keep creating the mess again and again, and sometimes quite creatively! You will be creating new messes, and re-creating the current or past messes when your thoughts are about messes. There's just no way around this: you pave the way to the future with your thoughts.

I've observed again and again the power of imagination and imagery when it shifts an uncomfortable, even painful, situation into one that is more desirable, even pleasurable. With clients, I sometimes make suggestions of a specific mental image, as I did with Kevin. Other times, I lead clients through a guided imagery process that empowers them to perceive new meaning or more positive perceptions. The new meaning might be a slight shift in consciousness that provides them with a profoundly new wisdom for enhanced personal empowerment. So that my clients feel the shift, I always start with their desires, not my own desires for them.

Dream the Dream You Want to Live

Imagine and Hold Your Dream

In order to create the situation you want to live, you must think the thoughts, dream the dreams, and speak the words that are in resonance with your desires. You can do this in the day-to-day, moment-to-moment situations in your life. You can do it for the long-term dreams or goals, also, but when you start practicing in the immediate situation right in front of you right now, it becomes so much easier to apply the approach to longer term dreams and desires. You experience what you think about, what you dream about.

Creative visualization is powerful. It is the basis for your tomorrow. For me, creative visualizing and breathing are in the same category of importance: both are essential for a satisfying life. Surely, not everyone uses creative imagination or visualization in the same way or to the same level of benefit, but it is an act of creation. Not everyone uses creative visualization intentionally; in fact, it's rather commonplace to be careless about thoughts, imaginations, and dreaming. These are not as private as most people think they are.

So, my suggestion is that you be as intentional and positive as you can about your creative imaginings. When you expect a presentation to your boss will be poorly received, you're using negative creative imagery. For better results, change your expectations and images so that you pave the way for a well-prepared, well-received presentation. When you imagine being embarrassed on the tennis court or golf course, stimulate some creative visualization about a winning game of tennis or golf. When you're considering a variety of approaches to ease a relationship, use positive mental images creatively.

Creative visualization is a power that is your birthright -- it comes with the human package. How you use it is your choice. When you use it with high intention, integrity, and joy, you are empowered!

Copyright © 2008 Marshall House. All rights reserved. Jeanie Marshall, Personal Development Consultant and Coach, has developed Empowering Personal Development to encourage you on your path, This article is not available for republication without express written permission.

This Article focuses on Creative Visualization

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