Out of The Box


I often work with imagery, visualizations, when trying to understand myself better, or when confronting an issue that confounds me. This practice has long helped me to get another perspective. One where solutions and healings that had been eluding me are suddenly, boldly, and easily, forthcoming and available.

I recently got an image that has been powerfully working on me. One that has universal applications around what it means to be alive; especially when we find ourselves stuck or “attacking” who we are or life’s demands in repetitive ways.

I saw myself as a bird. There were lots and lots of other birds around me. We were all trying to fly, but kept banging up against a glass box. I could not see my way out. I could not see behind me. I could only see the sides right in front of me. And they were all glass. They were all impenetrable. And though I had flown higher in the box than the other birds looking for a way out, I was as trapped as they were.

I got the message to stop doing what I was doing. That though I had developed lots of skills, I was still stuck in a paradigm of my own making that did not allow me to express the truth and the freedom of who I am. That my bashing up against the box was not only fruitless, insane and harmful, it was leaving me to believe all the wrong things about what is possible in my life.

Cultures since the beginning of time have used imagery to help and to heal. Even our Western world of medicine is now beginning to recognize the powerful impact visualizing has on everything from mental health to healing diseases like cancer. Best part? You don’t need any training. Humans know how to imagine. We do it all the time.

Only problem is we usually use this powerful and life-giving capacity to imagine what we don’t want. To conjure up fears. To have fake fights with others in our minds. To tell people off. To ruminate over worst case scenarios.

But what would it be like to begin to turn towards this innate capacity in a positive and life-affirming way? This right-sided expertise of the brain that helps us to see things in new and creative ways is not to be ignored when it comes to out-of-the-box thinking. Now I don’t know what is going on in your life, but it seems easy to make the case these days that out-of-the-box thinking is, well, our only way out of the box.

Try it. Lie in bed in the morning, drowse in a chair, sit outside watching the wind blow the trees, or any similar equivalent. Let yourself focus on something you need help with. It can be absolutely anything. Then let your mind drift while you ask for an image to help you. Stay loose. Stay soft. Open up.

Write down what you saw because in the writing often more will be revealed to you. Let the image turn over and over in your mind. But do it softly. More than think, feel what you have been gifted with. Let it inform you.