Updated: Aug 29
“When I go to bed there’s even a whack of trash to clean up. It’s mind-trash. Accumulated throughout pretty much any given day, this mind-trash can keep one awake all night. My method of disposal involves lying quietly on my back looking up at the ceiling and going one by one through that day’s happenings. Those items mostly get tossed. Some may need an extra mulling or two but eventually “poof” and they’re toast.”
"Once that chore is complete, I’ll move onward to tomorrow’s tasks, also one by one. These tasks are filed into an easily accessible mind-slot. Where the mind-trash actually ends up is beyond me! Maybe it’s all accumulating in another part of my mind to eventually create an overflow crisis!"
"Maybe there already is a crisis . . . . . Perhaps after so many decades of simply and haphazardly “poofing” all that mind-trash, I may have inadvertently created a malfunction at the junction. Great - now I need a mind-oink.”
I read the above excerpt in an amusing book titled, “A Garbage of Guffaws, Short Stories ‘N Stuff About Serious Nonsense,” by Ron Montgomery (2008, p. 13). Ron’s method is a great example of using imagination to calm his mind.
Just so happens, I also know Ron and his wife, Violet. I called Ron to have him explain his imagination method in a bit more detail.
“I would get home after work and my mind would be all jumble and mumble. When I went to bed each night I would lie on my back and stare at the ceiling, eyes half open. I would start out with the junk. I would visualize each task or thought that seemed to be taking up too much space.”
I asked Ron what he was actually imagining in his mind. “I mentally put quite a bit of the mind trash into a filing cabinet that I sort of imagine in my mind. I never knew when I might need that piece of information for my next book, next project, or next presentation”
I tried to throw him a curve ball: “When that filing cabinet was absolutely overflowing out of the drawers and the sides of cabinet were bulging out, then where did you put the new mind-trash?" He laughed, said "That’s a hard question", and then handles the curve ball with ease: "I just started another mind-trash filing cabinet.” He told me he imagined opening the appropriate drawer in the appropriate filing cabinet in his mind, and pushing that piece of trash in.
Ron’s story is an excellent example of the power of our imagination, which resides in our emotional brain.
From my perspective of the work I do with clients, I consider “mind-trash” to fall into two broad categories:
Irrational thoughts and beliefs, some we are aware of but many we’re not.
Old habits and ways of doing things that are no longer serving us well, and in many cases, are acting as barriers to our personal growth.
Helping clients use their imagination to live fuller, more productive, and more meaningful lives is part of what I do. It is part of what draws me into my future.
Seven Things You Should Know About Your Imagination
Imagination harnesses the power of our emotional mind.
It allows us to explore the past and imagine the future.
It plays an important role in our mental health.
Our imagination can re-create memories of past experiences, many times bringing back the experiences of all five senses.
It can also help us create mental images of something we have never seen or experienced before without any immediate input from our five senses.
It is the forming of experiences of objects, sensations, ideas, images, or concepts in our mind, without any immediate input of the five senses.
Imagination, when combined with our emotions, can create powerful “emotional markers” that can pull us into our desired future.
So . . . how do we use our imagination to get rid of irrational thoughts and beliefs, to get rid of old habits, and identify new beliefs and habits that will serve us better?
Good question! It’s one of the tools you will be able to learn soon.
On Sept 12, I will be launching a breakthrough program titled: “Make Stress Your Ally!” It is designed specifically to help you identify what’s holding you back! It is definitely a counterintuitive approach to the more traditional perceptions of stress.
It is based on my personal journey with two imps that seemed to have taken up residence, one on each shoulder. One imp is anxiety and the other is mild depression. The first one still occasionally chirps in my ear until, Looney Tunes style, I tell it “Ahh, shut up.” The other imp is pretty much quiet now.