Imagination Before Resolution

 

It's resolution time of year, artist friends. I'm fascinated by resolutions. Have you noticed, they are so often framed as a willpower phenomena?

Welp. I guess I did/didn't have the willpower.

(Can you relate?)

I suppose when I look at my life, that feels like the truth. However, in this framework even if I succeed, I'm set up to have less power in the long run. 

I think achieving resolutions is not about the presence of will. I think it's about the presence of imagination. 

This isn't an idea commonly thought about, but bear with me. People don't realize it, but they mention this phenomena casually all the time. Perhaps you've heard someone say: "I just can't imagine {insert willpower thing here.}

I can't imagine leaving my relationship with him/ her.
I can't imagine being out of debt after school.
I can't imagine letting go of sugar.

I can't imagine a solution to the climate crisis.

There, hiding in the language lies the truth....

We can't will into being what we can't imagine. Imagination is the fuel for will.

The culture doesn't teach this. We are told WE are the fuel for will. How often have you beat yourself up for lack of willpower this year? This month? This past hour? The truth is, you are an immensely powerful creature. Even the most powerful truck in the world cannot run without fuel. That doesn't make it any less powerful. The same is true for you. Do you believe you are weak? What if in fact, you're a badass truck waiting for an imagination fuel pump?

Without imagination we fall back on grit. Modern society uses grit often. It is absolutely praised in our culture, and of course there is a place and time for it. Sometimes we are bone dry on anything else, and we must dig deep to get things done. The challenge becomes when a culture glorifies grit, it is also glorifying a much harder way.

Grit is unsustainable over the long haul. Repeat challenges are always too much for it. You can grit you way through a few classes, but a whole semester? You can grit your way through a month of treadmill at the gym, but a whole year? You can grit your way though oatmeal breakfasts for a few weeks, but by February resume daily donuts. Resolutions failed. Self-shaming ensues.

Welp. I guess I didn't have enough willpower. Welp. I guess I'm weak. Sound familiar?

Rather than bulldoze with grit, why not dip a ladle into imagination? There you can drink the sweet flavors of vision. Like fuel in a truck, vision powers you to your goal. You get to enjoy the ride!

In 2012 I ran my first (and only) Half Marathon. I trained with my friend Kris. A former semi-pro soccer player, personal trainer, real estate agent and artist... she is a true renaissance woman. (Check her here.) One day I noticed the top of her left running shoe said "RUN" and the top of her right said "HAPPY."

"I learned it running with my dad," she said. "If you're not to going to run happy, what's the point?"

I was 32 years old. It had literally never occurred to me anyone who ran did it happy. I was a truck deeply lacking imagination. Kris had a fuel pump.

After that workout, I began to (try) and imagine what happy Becca looked like running. I imagined how she would carry herself, what music she would listen to, where she would choose to run, what colors she would wear. All the things. Eerily, overnight my running changed. I began to enjoy it. Over time, I enjoyed it without having to imagine it. Imagination became reality.

Pablo Picasso famously said: "Everything you imagine is real." Some people think it's a metaphor. Pablo meant it literally.

Powerful people are Artistic people.

Will has nothing on imagination. Grit has nothing on artistry.

What if you don't have to push yourself forward with all of your will anymore? What if you you simply need to fill yourself up and get out of way? How does this take the pressure off? What are ways you can fill yourself up in 2022?

If I'm being partial, the Art as a Threshold Vision Boarding workshop in January might be an excellent way... Or maybe it's cooking classes! Hip Hop! Piano lesson! Volunteering, hairstyling, tinkering on a motorcycle, hiking in nature, yoga, improv, storytelling, or activism. How can you use the things you love to fill your imagination tank? How does a full imagination tank remind you are an artist? Probably in the same way gas reminds a truck it can in fact... drive!

You can let go of resolve when you have imagination. This idea gives me tremendous hope for the new year, and I hope it can serve you too.


The Museletter Drawing is available for the rest of the month at a gift rate from our standard fine art prints.
Much Love,


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