After visiting my surgeon yesterday, I found out that I will have to have another procedure on my knee. A myriad of different emotions washed over me as I was briefed on the impending operation, especially because I am still newly post-operative from the total knee replacement. Self flagellating thoughts of failure, disappointment, weakness thrashed my mind, my heart as I sat in the doctor’s office. Based on my lengthy list of surgeries past, I started quantifying what I would ‘lose’ in terms of recovery time, pain level, stir craziness, athletic confidence—and it struck me that all I could measure in that moment was what I might lose as I faced the decision for change with another procedure on my knee. I was lost in the familiar weeds of my past, not in the amazing—however, unknown—potential of my future.
There was a voice in my heart that kept pointing me toward the overwhelming importance of looking beyond what was, and into what could be possible. It was reminding me to acknowledge where in life I was standing physically, emotionally and mentally in the present moment, but then ushering me beyond that in order to set my sights on that which was new, exciting, and better for me. I suddenly understood the profound magnitude attached to why we humans have the capability of imagination.
Einstein had such clarity when he declared, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Creativity is one of our greatest gifts as humans, one of our superpowers that allows us to remain at the top of the food chain, to build civilizations, to contribute to society, to construct culture.
If we extrapolate that idea and take it a step further, we realize that even though this world existed before we came into it, it is we who create our own life, experience, style—we turn ‘what we want’ multiplied by ‘what we feel we deserve’ into ‘what we do’ and ‘what we have.’ If we choose to do some internal searching, life work, and prioritize our awareness, then we can exponentially grow that equation by a factor of authenticity—by ‘who we are’—so that ‘what we want’ multiplied by ‘what we feel we deserve’ is never left in deficit.
If we really are responsible for what shows up in our lives, as Einstein professes—and we are constantly writing the scripts to our own life’s movie—then our imagination, our copious research to find out what we like, don’t like, what would light us up supremely, is our ultimate responsibility.
We cannot just sift through the postcards from our past experiences expecting to find a new destination. There is no future in the past. We must look at the entire globe, seek out other people, other ‘explorers,’ and have them recount their incredible journeys, flip through a metaphorical atlas to find new and exotic destinations that spark joy in our souls, craft our trip, then ‘book it’ by deciding on what we would like to experience next in our lives; jobs, relationships, circumstances, material manifestations, or personal evolution. If we want something different, something new, then we must change the scope of our thought and behavioral patterns. We must expand our beliefs, think a different way, do something different so that we may achieve a different result. In other words, the greatest gift we can give ourself is the commitment to keep an open mind. To continually seek out and expose ourselves to new information; the essential catalyst of creativity.
We can only measure what we will lose—because we only know the weight, the mass of what we have already experienced. But there is an entire universe we could experience—so much we could gain if we only would let go, release the fear of what we might lose, and cleave onto the faith, the belief—the knowledge—that something infinitely better, something far more suited, something much closer to what we truly want is merely in the other side of our decision.
Our life has our backs. We have spent the majority of our time on earth crafting so much of what we want to experience—that heavy lifting is done. Now it is time to open our hearts, set our spirits ablaze, and fan the flames of our imaginations to simply choose what experience would feel most exciting to be, do or have next.
Since my appointment with my surgeon, I have decided that I really want to experience what it’s like to play tennis at a competitive level. I want something new. I want to feel what it’s like to bend my knee farther than I have since injuring it on the volleyball court so many years ago. I want something beyond the limitations of what I have experienced in my past, and deep in the heart of what I have created for myself in the future. And I’m excited. Imagining myself playing on the tennis court feels good. Really, really good.
The universe has got our backs, so there is no need to look behind us. Let us focus, instead, on what would feel best, most exciting, most FUN...right now.
Polo REO Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her Great Great Grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile. Growing up, [...]