It felt like a cruel April Fool’s day joke as I sifted through and “cleaned” up my calendar to reflect my new reality. With each click of “delete future occurrences,” dreams were whisked away. As I journeyed through each week, I deleted long held and some recently conjured visions of my life; images and feelings of joy and beauty held deep within each one: Adam arrives in LA, Columbia Graduation, Luxembourg workshop, Leadership R3, self-care, holidays, celebrations – DELETE! Many of these imaginings were paired with emotions that had been stirring and growing within for years. Others were new visions and creations. All of it hurt. I feel it still, sadness deep within my heart and behind my eyes, an emptiness, a hole, a void, a gap. Sadness, loneliness.
Several weeks ago, only 2 weeks in to the quarantine, my husband and I walked by a door laying on the parkway along Olympic Boulevard. We stopped to marvel at it, imagining that maybe if we pulled on the knob there would be a hole for us to slip into, like Alice down the rabbit hole, into an alternate reality from the one COVID-19 had lurched us into.
I imagined sliding down into a world in which we witnessed our son donned in Columbia Blue walking across the historic quad of the University, the one in which I arrived in Spain to meet my colleagues for R3, the one in which I drove to work every day and listened to audio books, and the one where I met friends for lunch and over dinner and game nights of Parcheesi and Mexican train dominos and beverages of course! A reality in which I can make plans, travel freely and hug my kids.
Instead, here I am. That hasn’t been the last month of my life and it’s not going to be the next one either, and maybe not even the one after that.
But that door…it continues to call me…calling me like the rabbit hole called to Alice… to wonder… to explore…to keep going.
I’ve decided not to let this current reality stop me from imagining, dreaming, visualizing and setting intentions for all the futures I can imagine behind this door. I’m imagining a world in which I can continue to be content with slowing down and focusing more. A world in which I acquire only what I need and say no to what I don’t need. I imagine doing less of what I don’t want to do and more of what I do. A world in which I can relax and read a book on a Sunday afternoon or even a Tuesday afternoon. A world of long walks and noticing – everything. I lean into an image of presence and gratitude and faith that it’ll be ok. I’m imagining a fruitful pause during which the long list of home projects are crossed off the list. I’m imagining a world in which the workshops I’ve co-created and launched in the last month continue and grow, morph and thrive. I imagine traveling again and seeing the world, this time with new, brighter more appreciative eyes. I imagine Leadership Retreat 3 being epic as a result of the growth we have all done in between. I imagine we are running 2 day experiential workshops in which participants laugh and play and find their center. I imagine a quiet weekend in Ojai with my husband, and an epic family trip to celebrate that graduation and family togetherness. I imagine starting our home improvement projects and completing my Quest. I imagine my kids thriving as young adults on the other side of and because of the gifts hidden in this pandemic pause. I imagine partnering with people I enjoy to make things I love and that inspire joy, growth and expansion within others.
I can imagine the colors, the sights, smells, feelings, sounds and textures of every one of these images. And I will now hold these images more lightly. For just as Alice learned through her journeys, you don’t really know what’s around the corner or exactly what is going to happen. And what I know for sure now, if I didn’t know it before, I can dream, imagine and hold intentions to manifest what I want to be behind that door, but I certainly can’t control it or mandate that it be so.
Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
- Lewis Carroll
What world do you long to imagine behind that door?
by Lynne Harris Bernstein