What are you imagining for yourself right now?
Are you thinking today’s going to be a struggle? Or are you imagining that things are going to be great?
Is it just another battle to be fought today? Or did you smile as you got out of bed, deeply knowing that whatever comes you’re going to greet it with a cheerful attitude?
I recently came across a candid picture of myself when I was about ten. I guess you’d say it’s a photo of a typical kid — it could be any kid — looking directly at the camera and smiling, being a ham.
I stared for a bit, then found myself wondering what was going through my mind that day…or all my days as a little boy.
I’m really not sure, but I’m betting all my thoughts revolved around having fun.
And I’m pretty sure I know what I wasn’t thinking about.
I wasn’t thinking about credit card debt, the mortgage, my health, how much longer I’ll be on this earth, what the government’s doing (or not doing), the stock market, who bothers me, what’s ailing me, and on and on with other less-than happy thoughts.
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…
— John Lennon
To be fair, I wasn’t what would be considered a healthy kid. I was constantly hit with a variety of illnesses and accidents (there were several near-death incidents as well), so much so that the nearby hospital had a room with my name on the door. But all this never stopped me from just being a kid, and I certainly don’t look back at my childhood and see only those incidents. For what would be the purpose?
Kids are resilient.
They don’t care about the past, either. What they did wrong, when and to whom. They’re not trying to rewrite their history because someone said something bad to them.
All they concern themeselves with is their present day, their present moments.
I know I did.
I jumped out of bed each day, particularly in the summers, threw on anything that could be considered clothing, grabbed my fishing gear and ran to the river banks. (I loved nothing more than fishing.)
I woke up knowing I was going fishing. Rain would never be a show-stopper. I didn’t care what the weather was, I was fishing and nothing was going to stop me.
In between spells of fishing on any given day, I’d grab my bike and I’d be off to some adventure in the nearby woods, go see friends, or just ride the country roads.
I remember one summer when I was particularly busy with my life when my mother grounded me (I was no diffrent from my siblings or other kids. I did my share of “being bad” and deserving some groundings).
When I asked what I did wrong, she simply said, “nothing. I just haven’t seen you all summer, so you’re going to stay around the house today.”
At the time, I didn’t understand her reasoning, but I get it now.
Life was so much simpler then. There was less confusion, problems and issues. That naturally lead to the “what’s changed?” question.
Why the hell do we make ourselves suffer mentally in adulthood. Even the most optimistic person has bad days, but why?
We’re typically the cause of most, if not all, of our distresses. And these distresses are usually in our minds, our thoughts.
I challenge you to grab a photo of yourself (candid ones work best, between the ages of 6 and 10 or so, and not a school picture), and look closely at that child. What do you see?
Peacefulness? Happiness? Joy? Excitement?
What do you think were the thoughts going through your mind as that child? Were you really, honestly worried about your future? Did you seriously have thoughts of dread for each new day?
I’m betting you’ll find a happy face, a happy child, looking back at you.
That child, that unique expression of love, is still inside you. You may not have that same body anymore, but you do have that child’s mind. That has never left you.
Deep down, deep within your adult thoughts, there lives that child, with all those great dreams and desires.
Oh, you may have shed some of them (I know I have), but most of those dreams are still there.
Live each day with that child within you. That can be the “happy place” you escape to when things don’t seem to be going your way. Focus on that child’s happiness and it will percolate to the surface in your present day. It
will bring you to a happier place in your present moments.
And all it takes is imagination. Just imagine yourself as that child today. You can do this anywhere, anytime; no one else need know. Keep that photo with you in your wallet or purse; when you need a boost, just take it out and look at it.
Grab onto those thoughts, that positive energy of your childhood, and bring it into your present moment.
And imagine yourself with those thoughts, living just for today.