Imagination is a powerful tool. I think that I had forgotten this somewhere along my way, but I was reminded in an imagination session that I attended a few weeks ago (now months ago as I’m revisiting this draft) in which we imagined a world without police. A world without police seems impossible when I look through the lens of my indoctrinated mind (the one that is so influenced by white supremacist and punitive thinking that it leads me to believe that there are no alternative worlds). But in this session I was reminded that in order to carve pathways to action, we have to imagine where we’re going first.
So I’m about to embark on an imaginative journey, and I’m inviting you to come along with me.
As an aside, I’m realizing that perhaps the answer to my continual question of “why am I blogging about these thoughts instead of writing them in my journal?” is at least in part that it is much easier to get my thoughts out and get them all down if I’m typing. So here we are.
An extended invitation for you to step into my ideal vision for what my life looks like. As I create my world, I invite you to play around and design your own and see what your new world would ask you to change about your current.
I want to take a moment to imagine how I would spend my time in a world where money is not of concern. Where I could live wherever I want without needing to “make ends meet”. I’m giving myself the space to think about what I would be doing if my rent (or mortgage if I own a home in this new place), my bills, my groceries, etc. are all paid for. Money is not an object. What would I be doing with my time then?
Let’s carve out what a weekday might look like. I would wake up naturally, sometime between 9 to 10. I’m interested in envisioning a world where I’m not tied to my phone, so I’m woken up by the sunlight coming through my window and by the signs from my body that it has had all the rest it needs. I take a sip of water from my bedside table. I may lie there for a minute and feel gratitude for how comfortable my sheets (jersey cotton probably — the absolute best, no question) are and how beautiful and light my room is, and I’ll roll out of bed to go wash my face.
I probably still love coffee in this world. So I’ll put on a pot of coffee while I wander around my space. I might clean a little if I didn’t get to the dishes the night before. I might pick up whatever book I’ve been reading while I wait for the coffee to brew. In the reality that I’m writing this from, I usually don’t have much for breakfast other than some breakfast granola bar on an average day, but in this imagined world maybe I’ll have some fresh fruit from my home garden. Maybe it’s already picked or I’ll go outside, with the crisp morning air whipping my robe around me, to pick a few of the colorful, ripe, fruits that I see around me. We’ll imagine that my partner hasn’t woken up yet (since I am partnered in this dream world — tangentially, I’ve recently been warming to the idea of having separate bedrooms from a live-in live partner should I have one, so my waking up around 9 or 10 wouldn’t wake them up if we hadn’t shared a bed that night), so I’m picking some fruit to put out on the table for us both.
“What are your plans for the day?” my partner asks after they join me in our breakfast nook. If I’m not partnered, this conversation would still be had by myself as I sip my coffee and eat my freshly picked fruit. I’m stating this to remind myself that I would like a partner but don’t necessarily think they would be the crux of this fantasy life, but an enhancement to the experience if they are there.
So what would I fill my day with? I’d check my calendar to see if I had any meetings or panels or workshops to attend. See if I have a class to teach sometime that afternoon. With the morning and early afternoon hours mostly free, I’d spend a few hours at my bookstore, checking in with the employees there, chatting with customers about some of our new arrivals, making sure the team had everything set up for the author talk we’d be hosting later that evening. I’d go get lunch at a favorite restaurant. I’d go home to get ready for those workshops, then make sure I had my materials together for my class — could be a movement dance class, could be a theory class, some class about a new software, could be literally anything else (maybe I’ve gotten to a place to teach a pottery wheel class, since that’s something new I’ve been enjoying in the current reality that you and I are in as of late). I’m learning, in the space and time that we are in, that I do like to teach to an extent. Then when all of the meetings, all of the tasks are done, I’d curl up with a book, my partner if there’s one there, maybe just lounge with one or all of my dogs. Maybe we’d watch a movie or re-watch a show or have deep, complex, emotional, and inspiring talks about our day, something we learned, or some new thing we’re imagining for ourselves. And then when our eyes got heavy, we’d go to sleep still mulling over all that we had learned, and leave the day with peace and gratitude and curiosity for all that is yet to come.
Context note for this next bit: I think (I being me on 11/3/2020 around 2:43 PM EST) I started this post sometime in September or October. Some period of time in which I was prepping for a launch in the bubble of my corporate work.
What am I getting at here? What I’m really wanting to get at for myself is what to I actually want to be doing? I’m wanting to get closer to the answer (or an answer) to the question we all ask at some point about where our purpose lies. I get glimpses of my purpose here and there. It doesn’t help that the meaning of my name is Purpose (thanks mom, no pressure there), so at some point I have not choice but to step into it, and get guided back to it should I ever stray away.
I get glimpses of that capital “p” Purpose when I’m having an engaging conversation with someone I feel connected to. When I leave an uninspiring conversation from someone that maybe I don’t click with as much. When in either case, I’m reminded that there’s always space to learn something new. When I’m able to offer some advice to someone along their way. When I receive some advice that helps me along mine. When I create something that I’m proud of, when I experiment with something that I’m excited about, when I tap into activities that engage with the parts of myself that I like the most.
And sometimes I wonder if what I’m reaching for here is too fluffy. We’re in an exercise of imagination, so there is no such thing as too fluffy in this space, but when we’re constantly called to be “realistic”, to be practical, to do something and think in ways that make sense, we’re (I’m) stifled. My reality and practicality gets even more cloudy and I lose touch with what it is that actually leads me to that spark. That spark being those moments of engagement, those moments of joy, those moments where I’m not exempt from difficulty and frustration and challenge and responsibility to those people and things outside of myself, but those moments where I’m able to see how those challenges, those moments of friction, those important periods to spark deep change, align with the larger goal.
And I’m in a moment of struggle and stuckness now where I’m not quite sure what goal I’m working to fulfill. I’m not quite sure if this full-time job I took a year ago is how I actually want to spend my time. In this brief imaginative exercise, I imagined a world without 40 hour a week work commitment, and let’s be honest, is there anyone who actually wants that? The more you pick capitalism apart the more you realized it wasn’t designed in support of fulfilling lives, since I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head who feels fulfilled after a minimum of 8 hours of work everyday.
And I’m feeling the need again to call out my privilege here that I even get to sit and ~think~ about my vision for my life. I make more than enough to have headspace to think about things other than how I’ll make rent and pay bills and what not. And wasn’t that part of my goal? Wasn’t that part of the point of going through quote elite un-quote schooling to get a quote elite un-quote job? I’m rolling my eyes at me, too, since I’m complaining about how I some days I don’t know if I’m just having a bad day or if I would actually be better off if I quit while human beings literally everywhere don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
When I read disclaimers like this in writing, I often wonder what’s the point? What’s the point of the out of touch author displaying their knowledge of their privileges for the public to read? I’m not quite sure as I make myself That Author right now, and I wish I could tell you, other than the fact that I feel like I have to assign a disclaimer to my public whines to let you know that I know how trivial this all sounds. How trivial it feels that I’m writing about this and thinking about this while I pass people everyday that don’t have homes to go to in this system that is not designed to support all human lives, only some of them. And maybe that’s what I’m really afraid of since I know I’m not exempt. Maybe that’s why I’m writing this lengthy disclaimer in the middle of my imagination session that I’m conducting in the middle of my 8 hour work day because I’m feeling torn in my decision making out of fear. Out of fear that with any misstep along my path then the relative and false sense of security I have in this job, in this home I’m building, in this city, I could realize that it’s all hanging on by a thread and come crumbling down.
That’s, perhaps, something else you should know about me, if you don’t already — that I tend to catastrophize. I tend to have at least some part of me at all times holding out for that other shoe to drop. Bracing for some relative tragedy within my current lifetime. And these worries may end up being self-fulfilling, as my therapist has at times pointed out. That if I worry that I’ll always be romantically alone, for example, then I may in fact create a life where I end up that way by convincing myself that that romantic aloneness will always be fact. That if I worry about the types of love that I “lack” in my life, that I may forget to receive and show gratitude for all that is and always has been there. But that seems tangential to whatever point is to be made here.
So, with that tendency to keep an eye on the worst case in mind, if I worry that this cozy job and all of its benefits will at some point be lost to me, well aren’t I on the path to creating that other shoe that may drop if I’m sitting here blogging instead of actually… doing the work for said job? I know, I know, I should get back to work. But this work, this writing, this reflecting, this imagining, feels more important to me right now. And what is the point of all this privilege in #thesetimes if I’m not taking the time to think about what I actually want, think about what I actually need, and start considering and taking action along the path to get there? (Although, my blogging would be much less stressful if I would finish the corporate work on my plate for the day and come back to this when I have “free time”. If only I could transport myself to that imaginary world where I’m no longer on the corporate clock.)
We have now, through the beauty of autosaved drafts, the art of the separator block, and the mystery of The Cloud, come back to writing from the I/Nia/Purpose on 11/3/2020 around 2:46 PM EST. Side note, that I love how much fun writing is, where I get to do random things like refer to myself however I want and hopefully make you laugh a bit and make you feel as if you’re sitting over coffee having a conversation with me face to face if you’ve read this far.
As with anything I write, conclusions are the hardest part as I try to summarize whatever stream of consciousness I’ve put out thus far with just a few words. Maybe, as I invited you to take a moment to imagine with me, I’ll do the same once again.
I’m currently in a plane on its descent. I braved the airport and the public at large, masked, and against some states guidance and perhaps a bit of my better judgement. Was my short, non-essential trip worth it? I think so, but time and the web of events following will tell.
I’ll probably land in about 30 minutes or so. They’ve already cut the wifi, and I’m typing this in the Pages app to save and share with you later. So right now I’ll land in about 30 minutes or so, but by the time you’re reading this, I’ll likely be in a car back to my apartment or already safe at home (but if I’m finding home more and more within myself, am I already there?).
I should get groceries when I get back. I should make a list when I’m in the car, thought I don’t remember what traces of last weeks run remain. I’ll get groceries, then I have a scheduled call after that. Then I might take ballet with a friend, but I’m not feeling like moving so I’m considering skipping for today. Again, time will tell what my future choices actually were, so we’ll either both be reading this knowing that my skipping was premeditated or I will have been there, guided by a fleeting and last minute decision.
I have to “stow my laptop” (stow is such a funny word) at the moment, but I’ll be back to finish us off.
And we’re back, and I’m at home, and I’m wrapped in a blanket because the chill is seeping in through the walls. It’s about as quiet as my street can get right now. I had a call shortly after I got back from the airport, I got those groceries, I skipped that ballet class, I made and ate dinner, I did a tarot reading, and now I’m here again with you. I guess I’m doing less imagining right now and just narrating snippets of my present, but what good is imagination if we lack foundation and grounding in where we are right now?
Again, conclusions are hard, so I’ll cut myself off here. I don’t know what to leave you with other than a reminder to dream, to imagine, to seek peace in where you are, take note of where you are, and take action towards where you want and need to be. Have some fun though, be creative in your imaginings, and in your actions you may be surprised with what comes along the way.