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Using the power of your imagination to cope with the death of a loved one

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Because knowledge is limited to all that we now know and understand, while imagination encompasses the entire world, and all that there will ever be to know and understand.
Albert Einstein

In Western culture, the imagination takes a beating. It is considered to be a provider of illusions and a faculty that simply maximizes anxiety and fear. Could not be farther from the truth. Surely we can imagine bad things happening. That’s not unusual and we reap the negative feelings that go along with it. However, what we fail to recognize is the power of the imagination to create images that greatly help us adapt to an environment without the physical presence of our loved one.

Think again if you were the victim of an authority figure early in life who said in response to your fear, “You’re letting your imagination get the best of you.” Is that now one of your unconscious limiting beliefs?

Great architecture, inventions, discoveries, and musical masterpieces—literally any new human creation—are in part a product of our imagination. This is a mental faculty that we have all been blessed to use as we face the changing scenes of life. You have the ability to visualize and imagine how you want to deal with any loss or build a plan to change behavior. So how do we go about developing our imagination to help us cope?

1. Begin your journey by finding out as much as you can about how other people have coped with loss. This can occur through reading tort books by professionals or individuals who have experienced a loss similar to the one you are currently experiencing. This will give you some basic ideas for building the healing images of your choice. If you know someone personally who has successfully dealt with a similar loss, be sure to have a long talk with them. Ask about their beliefs about coping well and what specifically helped them. Can you turn them into useful images?

2. Expand your knowledge base by seeking information on how some of the best-known writers and therapists have dealt with loss and how they view the grieving process. People like Carl Jung, CS Lewis, Thomas Moore, Gautama Buddha, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, J. William Worden, and many others can provide insights and ideas to consider when creating images. Don’t forget to include spiritual readings from your spiritual traditions.

3. Set an immediate achievable goal and make a plan. Start with a specific goal for the next minute, hour, or day. To do this, you’ll need to start using your imagination to create mental pictures of exactly what you’ll be doing to get through that next minute, hour, or day. Make sure you “see” and feel the end result you want to achieve and the steps you will take to achieve it. You are imagining successful coping. What you imagine will result in physiological changes within the body.

4. Go into details. Imagine yourself moving in a specific way, saying something in particular, and engaging in behavior that will help you deal with unwanted hurtful thoughts. Be alert to what comes out of your unconscious mind, seemingly out of nowhere, and appears on the scene. Your unconscious will provide you with creative ideas to reach your goal. Listen carefully to your inner voice.

5. You believe that the use of imagination is your highly individual self-healing strategy. See it as a resource that is always ready. All you have to do is call him and start creating positive images in your mind. One approach that can maximize results is, once you’ve created the image, to surround it with sparkling light or sparkling diamonds. This technique will maximize the feeling you are trying to create to change the mood. Now expect an occasional glitch at times. It happens to all of us. Just get up and start over.

6. Try exchanging images. You can imagine meeting your loved one’s old friend for the first time and shaking their hand. Then consider an image of giving him or her a hug and hearing yourself say something about how much you cared about him or her. How does one compare to the other in terms of feelings? What feels good? Maybe you want to make a call ahead of time. Again, imagine how you will start the conversation and what seems appropriate to say.

7. Use your imagination as a power to rehearse various coping responses. Locate yourself in a favorite haven where you know you can relax, a place you have visited in the past, a cherished family memory, or anything that can bring you feelings of release and calm. Now choose how you want to approach a specific change that you know needs to be made. And here’s the key: keep playing the scene. Repetition is crucial to healing because you are establishing a routine that will become a pattern of habits of thought and action. It is important to note that the repetition of vivid images influences the unconscious, creating new beliefs and ideas that help to adapt to your great loss. When you achieve success celebrate it and tell yourself that you can do it again.

8. Here are some coping responses to consider when using your creative imagination. Make pictures of a beautiful song and what the words imply; challenge a fearful thought; asking a close friend for help with a task; create one or two affirmations to deal with ongoing anxiety; go where love is; Imagine your lungs expanding and tension expelling as you use deep abdominal breathing to relax. imagine that you are with the most loving person who has helped you and saying: “Thank you. I love you”; Make a list of all the bonding relationships you still have and another list of those you need to strengthen or renew. Then build visual images of how it will be strengthened and renewed.

Finally, always be alert to focus on the good feelings generated as you find yourself adjusting. Become an expert of what you are feeling in each moment.

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