Tag Archives: imagination

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Reality

Perhaps, just maybe, the one thing I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty today is: “Reality is Individual”.  I no longer look around and think that I see my surroundings the same way everyone else sees them and especially that we feel the same way about them.  I also recognize that I see and feel about them differently from day to day. So not only is my reality different from the others around me; but, minute by minute, it is different for me myself.

I can accept that my reality is always changing.  For instance, at 7:00 a.m. this morning the sky around me was a bright hazy peachy-apricot color…..luminescent.  Twenty minutes later, clouds had accumulated so thickly that the sky was dark, grey and threatening.  Obvious, right?

But, what about the sunny day that I see as cheerful and then minutes later view the same bright blue sky as boring, or even worse, depressing? That had nothing to do with the sunshine or sky and everything to do with how I felt.  How I felt changed my perception, my reality.

Okay, this is the thought I am trying to let crystallize.  My beliefs are changing, evolving.  As they change, my reality changes. And….. I am beginning to recognize that how I feel means everything to me.   As my feelings change, everything about my reality changes.  I am causing these changes by being aware of my feelings and caring about feeling good, and feeling better, and even feeling great.

My mind-blowing conclusion is that my reality coalesces around me based upon my perception.  I love that word:  coalesce.  I love the images and feelings I have as I just even think the word.  As all of the relationships and things I want swirl around me, and congeal, coalesce, they become my reality.  How does this happen?  I have no idea.  I only know that it does.  I witness it happening every day.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the paintings of surrealists of the late 1800’s, early 1900’s.  I’m enjoying reading their biographies and seeing how their paths crossed with each other and the intellectuals of their time.  I feel them speaking directly to me as I patch together  their observances and quotes.

Salvadore Dali said, “One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.”  When he used the word “officially”, he couldn’t have meant world-wide…..could he?  Because reality is individual and no two humans have the same reality.  It is inconceivable to me that a large group of people could agree on such a thing.   We are all in such different cultural, social, political, economic and physical circumstances.

Dali’s friend, Rene Magritte, is quoted:   “If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream.”  Waking life is what we realize as our reality, our conscious life.  The dream, our subconscious.  We are riding on a constantly twisting ribbon of dreams, imagination, subconscious and conscious flow.  We are carried along, if we allow it, to greater creativity and satisfaction.

Another of their buddies, Pablo Picasso, said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”  I agree.  Focus on what you imagine and it will expand until others can see it is real also.  That’s what reality is.

These surrealist artists allowed their beliefs about their dreams and subconscious minds to flood onto their paintings, untamed, in order to present a perception of reality that would cause the viewer to question his own perception and even the perception of the whole culture in which he lived.

I want those who view my paintings to question my inspiration, my intention, my sanity…..it doesn’t really matter…..just question.


Meditation?  I was encouraged to start a simple meditation for 15 minutes everyday. Immediately an image of a cross legged, religious person in robes sprang to mind.  No, no, forget any preconceived notions.  This is just you, by yourself.

Dress comfortably, I was told.  Sit comfortably.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe in, deeply, but comfortably (don’t try to hard), and then breathe out, feeling your breath move through your body.  These were simple instructions.  So I decided, this must be doable.

Initially, I set the timer on my phone, relaxed and settled into my breathing.  Then, thoughts, worries and to-do-lists, one by one, popped into my mind.  I was told this would happen and not to worry about it…..just recognize the thought, dismiss it and refocus on my breathing.

The first few weeks it seemed like I wasn’t making much progress; but, gradually, those thoughts were fewer and it became easier for me to refocus quickly.  The only reason I kept with it was the wonderful feeling that encompassed my upper arms and torso.  It was a sort of tingling feeling…..a very wonderful feeling.

The one caution I received was to meditate without an agenda.  Don’t expect answers to questions.  Do it with a completely open mind.  Do it to relax my body and allow my mind to connect with my source, my God, my soul.  What a beautiful thought.

I’ve known that there are activities that are meditative.  I recognize as I paint that often I’m lost in a place without thought.  Many people describe their experiences while concentrating on these sorts of activities as being in a time warp. They are so focused that it’s as if they’ve lost time.  Scientists, artists,  musicians, athletes, well, creative people in any area, talk about “coming to” and realizing they’ve been totally absorbed in their process for minutes, sometimes hours at a time.

In the Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra said, “During periods of relaxation after concentrated intellectual activity, the intuitive mind seems to take over and can produce the sudden clarifying insights that give so much joy and delight.”  I love that description.  I think he’s as much a poet as a physicist.

We all use words to try to interpret our experience, based on our belief system.  More and more, I’m using “intuitive mind”, imagination, inspiration, soul, source, God, inner being, and still small voice as descriptions of the same thing.  I want to listen.  I want to receive the inner peace and knowing that listening brings.  The problem, for me, is the noise, the everyday noise of everyone else, the radio, TV and my reaction to them.  That’s where meditating comes in.  It provides the quiet.

After months of meditating I can’t imagine ever stopping.  When all of me is quiet, wonderful ideas, exciting ideas burst onto my mindscape, sometimes as thoughts, sometimes as images. I get goosebumps all over my body.  I highly recommend it.

And, so, the thing I’ve learned and the thing I want to share with you is that meditating is fun.  After meditating, I feel more relaxed, happier, more clear about what I want and full of exciting and satisfying ideas.  What a blast!

What Is Research?


Generally, research is looking for facts, collecting them, discussing them and coming to conclusions.   I’m not talking about scientific discovery here, just gathering all of the information I can and talking endlessly with my friends and family about it. We talk about it, we think about it and come to lots of conclusions.  It’s a whole lot of fun!

I’m reading a biography of Albert Einstein.  I’m reading about this foremost researcher because I’m doing research on him.  I want to put the many quotes that I love that are attributed to him in context.  He’s quoted as saying “I never said half the crap people said I did.”  So it would be interesting to document where and when these things were said although considering the passage of time and the premise that facts really are just people’s opinions, perhaps I’m chasing the elusive butterfly.  In any event, I intend to have a good time doing it.

I’ve read that he didn’t thrive in school.  Apparently he didn’t even complain about what he saw as a lack of nurturing learning in schools until he was out of school and much older.  When his father asked what vocational training would be best for him, he was told it didn’t matter because he wouldn’t do well no matter what he did.  But, he was curious.  In fact, he said “I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.”

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“I believe in intuition and inspiration. … At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. When the eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised. In fact, I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.”

This quote is well-documented.  It was first published in the Saturday Evening Post Oct. 26, 1929.  It appears in an interview with George Sylvester Viereck entitled “What Life Means To Einstein.”

I’d like to sit down with Mr. Einstein and ask him to talk about intuition, inspiration, imagination, evolution and expansion.  I get the feeling when I read about him, his attitude about his work and the many quotes attributed to him that he viewed them all as one process wrapped up all together.  And I think he must have had a wonderful sense of humor, not in a way over my head intelligent sort of way, but in a very simple, down-to-earth way.  Anyway, I love those ideas!

The True Sign of Intelligence

I was walking down the concourse in Tocumen International Airport in Panama and there on the wall in 6″ high letters was a quote by Albert Einstein:  “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

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I’m a big fan of Albert Einstein.  I’m reading a biography of him by Ronald W. Clark.  The more I think about him, the more I see evidence of him all around me.  He died 60 years ago but he is still a major influence in our world.    Science is forever changed because of his contributions.

He said, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.”

I think it’s so interesting that he said so much about imagination and about knowledge.  He left us a very clear message.  “Imagination is everything.  It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”  And…..”The true sign of intelligence  is not knowledge but imagination.”

Is it just me or is that an encouragement and even a challenge to let loose and be whatever you imagine yourself to be…..and discover and create your life, your future.



Picasso On Imagination

Pablo Picasso said “Others have seen what is and asked why.  I have seen what could be and asked why not”.

In my imagination, I see a group of artists lounging around Gertrude Stein’s salon in Paris discussing what is real…..what is reality…..what is imagination and creation.  I see Pablo Picasso, George Braque, Salvador Dali, Maurice Princet and Ernest Hemingway with Gertrude and her brother.  I see them pouring over Henri Poincare’s book, Science and Hypothesis looking for details about the fourth dimension.

I imagine a lot of standing up and pacing and arm flinging with emotion as these subjects are analyzed, scrutinized and thoroughly discussed.  I can imagine Picasso saying “Everything you can imagine is real”.  I love this visualization.  And, then Braque says “Real discoveries are made beyond the limits of knowledge”.  Gosh, doesn’t that sound like something Albert Einstein or Nikola Tesla would say?

In their cubist paintings, Picasso, Braque and Chagall created images that on first glance look fragmented;  but as we look closely, they have actually shown ALL of the subject, from all angles.  The painting above, Le Reve, shows the woman full face and in profile.   Picasso said he was painting not what he saw but what he knew was there.  At that point, the rest is left to the viewers imagination.

Chagall said “I upset in order to find another reality”.  Did he mean for him to find another reality or to challenge us to do it.  I’d love to sit down with him, well with all of them, and ask “What did you think about Einstein’s Nobel Prize research and how much did the scientific discoveries of your time influence your lives and art?”

I love to read about the lives of these people who were instrumental in changing our world’s reality.  I love the idea that we, too, can use our imaginations to discover and create our own reality.

Einstein Imagination

Lizzy and I are writing a book.  We decided quite spur of the moment to do it.  I was telling her about Sophie, the black and white cat we had years ago.

When Sophie caught a mouse, we would find it on our front door mat.  When we discovered it, she was always right there to accept the credit.  We would thank her and pet her and let her know that we appreciated it.  We lived in the foothills where there were plenty of mice.  We had mouse traps under every cabinet and Sophie…..so,  we were in good shape.

The limb of a large scrub oak tree in the back yard hung over the railing of our deck.  Sophie had several litters while we lived there.  Each time, we watched her teach her kittens how to eat the food she’d caught.  The first time we watched this process, we cringed in horror.  She would climb up in that oak tree in wait for a bird.  When she caught one, she would wound it,  maneuver it onto the deck and hold a paw on it while her kittens skiddishly ripped at the birds entrails.  The bird would flop around  and cry out trying to escape.  Sophie would pounce on it again, hold it and the kittens would feast again.  Gruesome.  She taught those babies how to fend for themselves right in front of our eyes .

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So…..we are having a blast letting our imaginations take us in and out of this story line.  We’re spending many happy moments exploring how we want to illustrate it, how many illustrations it will take and what we want the cover to look like.  It’s our own creation; so, we’re the bosses.

It’s possible the book in it’s final form may not be anything like its’ origins.  But hey, it’s our imaginations, right.  Wherever it ends up, we will have loved the getting there.

Words Are…..Magic

I read J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and thoroughly enjoyed them.  I enjoyed her use of words and her imagination.  I loved all the places and scenes she created.  I enjoyed being carried along on one adventure after another.  I enjoyed the innocent and uninitiated being educated by their mentors.   I held on to my seat in fear and anticipation as they experimented with words and actions to realize their full power.

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But it was in reading The Casual Vacancy that I really came to appreciate the way she developed her characters.  There were places where I had to get up and do something else or fall asleep.  But that happened with Harry Potter too.  So…..maybe it had more to do me that her writing ability.

When she says that words are our most inexhaustible source of magic,  I agree with her.  I’ve read what she had created with her imagination and words.  She’s transported me to a magical world paralleling ours and to village life in England.

I believe the words we speak and write to each other are magic.  They can create all kinds of things.  Words can create warm fuzzy feelings.  They can create proud moments.    They can turn hard hearts to mush.

The words we speak and write to ourselves can change our day to day existence into a happy, exciting place to live.  We can be kind and gentle to ourselves.  It is all in our minds, after all.  I’m thankful that our minds can do that for us.


Retrain Your Brain

My husband put a Luminosity app on my ipad.  He showed me how to start playing the games.  He explained why he felt it would be fun and help me with my memory…..because it brain trains.  It is fun.  Wanna give it a try.  Go to luminosity.com.  It’s free.  These games were designed by neuroscientists to help us improve memory and brain function in general.

I did a little reading and googling and discovered another great site: www. themindunleashed.org.  They’ve posted an article: Train Your Brain To Let Go Of Habits.  10 Methods For Creating New Neural Pathways.  Hummm.

I’m intrigued by the simulations below.  They illustrate (left) the neural network of a brain cell and (right) the distribution of dark matter in the universe. (Millennium Simulation)  “The pictures show a structural similarity in terms of connections and distribution of matter in the brain and in the universe.”  And…..just thinking of an expanding universe gives me hope for an expanding brain.


Well…..it’s February.  It’s freezing outside.  I’m feeling sedentary and in need of letting go of a few habits.  This article really resonated with me.  The message was to use your imagination.  Imagine how you want to be and hold that picture in your mind all day, every day.  You will begin to form new habits that are in line with that picture in your mind.  One step at a time, those old habits will give way to the new ones.  The trick is to hold onto that picture.

So the message I received and the message I share with you is:  Use your imagination, focus your mind and retrain your brain!  I’m giving it a go.  What about you?

Live With An Open Heart

Have you noticed that when you become aware of an idea that hits a nerve at a particular moment, you find that idea popping into your thoughts often?  And….. it seems the universe draws information to you that expands on it?  It’s like driving down the freeway and every other billboard has the same message for you, some right in your face and some very subtle so that it takes some time before you realize what you’ve just taken in.

I’ve been thinking so much lately about being vulnerable.

I was flipping through Instyle Magazine and saw a quote attributed to Jessica Chastain that caused me to stop and think.  She said, “You have to live with an open heart all the time–that’s how you’re going to have connections with people.”

Is that even possible?  To live with an open heart all the time.

I think of “being open” as being open to new ideas, new perspectives.  That seems like a brain function…..not a heart function.  Although there is a brain-heart connection.  The brain cannot live without the blood the heart sends to it.  I’m no scientist; but, it seems to me that our thoughts, our emotions and our imaginations are all intertwined.


Britta Wetteskind shared this on facebook.  I love it.  Try this heart opening exercise:  “Imagine that there is a light in your upper chest near your heart, growing brighter and brighter, radiating.  Breathe slowly and deeply, filling your lungs with air.  Now let the light have a nice steady glow, like the glow you see from a candle, only much larger.  Let it become more radiant and begin to surround your whole body.  That’s it, the sensation you’re getting in your chest is all right, that is your heart opening.  Now imagine sending a beam from this glowing area to someone or something you want to share love with.  There you go, that’s love.”

These thoughts may seem a bit disconnected to you;  but, the message I received and the message I share with you is that being vulnerable…..or…..living with an open heart, will allow our thoughts, emotions and imagination to enable us to experience happiness.  Think about it.

Why Keep All The Books?

I’m a book collector.  Every room in my house has a bookcase with no more room on the shelves.

Book collector sounds serious.  It’s not like that.  I’m not talking first editions, just areas of interest.  The books I’m reading are stacked on end tables, night stands and desks.  The ones I love after reading go on a shelf.  The ones I don’t go to the Salvation Army or Amazon for resale.

I can look at my books and recreate my life.  When my kids were babies, I was into parenting and health books, cake decorating and gingerbread house making.  Cookbooks are a huge section.  They include my idols:  Paul Bocuse, Julia Child, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Pollan, and Jacques Pepin.

The art and quilting section, the religion and alchemy section and the novel section have all become a reference library.  They’ve passed their active studying phase and are now waiting for the occasional use.  Then, there are the “how tos”.  How to make wine, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour dough and canning are subjects everyone is passionate about.  Right?

In the past,  if I had a question, I went to the shelves.  Today, I google.  It’s so immediate.  So the question:  why keep all the books?  The last time we moved, I got rid of stacks of books including two sets of encyclopedias.  It’s not like I’m not trying to thin the herd.

The thing is that I use them.  I love holding them in my hands, turning the pages, even smelling them.  I love paper.  I love ink.  I love the fact that like anything you’re passionate about, you can lose yourself in a book.  Your imagination is sparked by reading a book.   Your life is enriched just by reading a book.

“Books can be dangerous.  The best ones should be labeled “This could change your life.”–Helen Exley