Once Upon a Time

“It is my conviction that slight shifts in imagination have more impact on living than major efforts at change…deep changes in life follow movements in imagination.” ~ Sir Thomas Moore

This blog came about as the result of some of life’s adventures, namely a potential job loss and my attempts to live through this initial period of uncertainty after the Pronouncement and before the coalescing of the details. Writing about life, working with it as “story” and as “performance space” creates a little buffer between events and my own reactions. It helps me go back through what’s already happened and reminds me that, even though I can’t read ahead, I can remember that the story didn’t end in those dark times in previous chapters. Sometimes, when all the lights have gone out around me and I am plunged into the darkness of Not Knowing, remembering my before-story is a real comfort.

I suppose I could just try willing myself to be calm and rational in the face of losing my job but I think Sir Thomas Moore is right: the best place to work with fear and uncertainty and to move through it is not in the realm of the intellect but in the realm of the imagination. Why do you think that fairy tales keep weaving and reweaving through literature, movies, and popular culture, timeless and fresh at the same time? Children get this liminal, enchanted space but as adults we think we are beyond it.

Not true- we never outgrow our need for the enchanted, immersed, imaginative life.

In his book “The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life” another Thomas Moore, this one a current day poet and former monk, says “…we can’t survive without enchantment…the loss of it is killing us.” In the space of the story we can not only be reminded of the adventures that led us to our own present moment, we can engage with our own mortality and vulnerability in a space that is safe, one that is outside the “real” world. We can step away from “dis-enchantment”- from bitterness, cynicism, defeatism- and re-embrace the magic of our own imagination, of love, of possibilities. In the world of the story we can re-engage with Hope and imagine the reality of a happy ending, even if that happy ending might not be the one we expected at the beginning of our story.

I remind myself, as one who has stood in the face of the destruction of all I held dear more than once, that it is in the imagination that the seeds of new beginnings are sprouted, not in the intellect.

Pass through the gates of Once Upon a Time…and let the adventure begin.


(All content © Karen Opp. All rights reserved.)






About Karen

I am a fifty-something anthropology student, an artist, dancer, photographer, healer, mother, grandmother and perennial seeker. I am distracted by shiny things and infused with a sense of wonder at the world around me and people in general. I am a “journey” person who often wishes that I could have a “destination” day at least every now and then…
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