Another world is not only possible,
she is on her way.
On a quiet day, if you listen carefully,
you can hear her breathing.

- Arundhati Roy -

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Power of Imagining

A couple of years ago, my family went to a "visioning potluck" where everyone present not only shared dinner but a collective imagining of the future, as if it were the past. The idea was that rather than saying, "I wish things were like this," or "I plan to do that," we were to think as if all that had already happened. What if we were at a potluck celebrating something that was 20 years old? What did it look like? What challenges had we overcome, as a group and as individuals?

When it was my turn, I talked about the garden I'd started - although I didn't have anything more than houseplants at home - and how it was thriving now, how I was "growing my own pasta sauce." Such a garden was something I'd been talking about wanting to do - really - for a number of years, but I hadn't gotten anywhere with it. I don't know if thinking of it as a done deal was transformative in any way, but I have a garden now. It didn't produce pasta sauce this year - our summer was too cool to make the tomatoes truly happy - but I have a couple of pints of green peas in the freezer, a few jars of cranberry beans in the pantry, lots of quarts of blueberries and raspberries, and upwards of 20 pounds of potatoes, all homegrown.

I suppose my point is that sometimes it's helpful to stop thinking about how something is going to get done and start thinking about it as if it were already done.

Enough with the grousing about what's wrong with the country. Enough with waiting for someone else to fix it. Let's start talking about it as if it were better, right now. Perhaps if enough of us start seeing America as we want it to be, the road to that place will become so clear that we can't help but get there.