I re-discovered last week the way in which my childhood self turned ordinary woods into fortresses, castles and other wondrous places through the spiritual power of imagination. Since then I’ve been walking Bentley through a Connecticut woods on a daily basis, continuing to get back in touch with my younger self.
I realize now that my times alone in the woods offered more than an outlet for my imagination. Those times were also my first attempts to escape from my earliest anxieties—issues at home, stress at school, confusion about my own identity. I went on to add other escapes—books first, then movies.
Escape can be a wonderful thing. I still get lost in books and movies, and in occasional TV binges (‘Game of Thrones,’ anyone?). At the same time, it’s important, I think, to see these escapes as rich enhancements of life, not attempts to hide from it. To rely on escape as a form of denial is to assume that there’s something we need to escape from. The more we recognize what a superbly friendly universe we inhabit, the more we realize that there is no need for escape. It’s all good—the challenges we face each day and the opportunities to escape into creative imaginings. We don’t escape to hide from life; we escape to deepen and enrich it.
Today I appreciate the challenges of my life for the creative spiritual opportunities they offer. And I appreciate the gift of imagination that allows me to escape into other stories, new dimensions, richer blessings.