Imagination (Jan 2019)


looking back to look forward: Julie by @catherinebyrdy

As I write this, the moon is getting ready to bleed. She is low on the horizon, a heavy super moon, and will be slowly turning red in a few hours. I have been following the blood moons closely over the last couple of years and try to do my best to at least catch a glimpse of them when I can. Full moons are always a time of letting go, and eclipses (especially witchy blood-red ones) are especially powerful.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the ways in which I believe in myself (or don’t). Because in order to believe in some better kind of life, I need the right self to believe in. The writer and yoga teacher Michael Stone has said that one of our biggest problems as human beings is that we get so stuck in our narratives of who we think we are, what we think we can do, and what we expect our relationships to look like that we don’t open our eyes to what’s actually happening. “I really think that addiction at bottom is an addiction to a narrative,” Stone has said, “and one sign that there’s addiction to a narrative is that your imagination isn’t there.” Lately, I think, I have been lacking in that particular type of imagination. I can’t quite conceptualize of myself living a different kind of life. I see myself on a certain track that looks a lot like the one I’ve been on, and it’s hard to see any other options on the horizon.

But that’s not enough for me. I know I want more for myself. It’s an old saying that the first step to doing a yoga pose is imagining yourself doing it. Why wouldn’t that be true for life as well?

Imagining is easier if you put your face in a blanket.

So I’ve been sitting with these possible other future selves, trying to birth them into conceptual existence. And on this blood moon I’ve also been thinking about the selves I’ve been before that might be standing in the way of that feat of imagination.

I think of the self that tried to protect me after my sexual assault, wrapping me in wrong relationships and numbness. I want to thank her for her service—she did protect me. But I don’t think I need her protection as much as I used to, and now she’s holding me back from having different kinds of experiences. I think of the self that refused to sit still, refused to spend any time alone with herself, ran around chasing drama, because being alone with herself was too painful. That self brought a lot of fun, exciting experiences into my life, but a lot of anxiety, too, and now I’m much more curious about what swims in the still pond. I think of the self that is still astonished when I have any kind of success and shrinks away when people want to read my work or hear what I have to say. She was trying to protect me from being hurt, too, but there are things I need to say that I want to be heard now, and I believe (I want to believe) I will be strong enough to handle whatever happens if (and when) not everyone likes what I have to say.

This blood moon, I want to hold these selves tenderly in my hands, thank them, and say goodbye to them. I want to make space in my mind to be able to imagine new selves that can go on the adventures of vulnerability, connection, stillness, and speaking up that I want to call into my life. I want to imagine myself in a multitude of futures, letting all those possible worlds exist in my mind side by side so that I’m not stuck on one track simply because it’s the only one I can think of. Then I might just have a new self I want to believe in.

Want to connect to the moon with a nightly practice? Try my course Moon Goddess Meditations, where you’ll get a guided meditation and a journaling prompt every night for a moon cycle. Download and practice at your own pace. Details and register:

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