What If Creativity Is the Cure?
The most interesting thing that’s happening in my life right now is that a hairless cat is about to move into my house. It has sweaters.
The second most interesting thing is that I got to have a RIM (regenerating images in memory) session where I got to be the client and my fellow practitioner facilitated the process. RIM is a process that utilizes the imagination to re-generate, neurologically, a new memory. According to Dr. Deb Sandella, the creator of RIM, “Since your nervous system imprints an imagined experience similar to an actual experience, you can re-generate emotional body memory to create neurological-rooted positive endings to old hurt and pain.”
In the session I imagined sitting at the bottom of a very tall, very wide wall of concrete. It was so wide and tall, and I was so close to it, I couldn’t see the top or to the end of it. There was no way to get over or around or through it. I was stumped. So in my imagination, there I sat in the dirt with my head in my hands, thinking, “I don’t know how to get over it or what to do. It’s impossible.”
Fortunately, the Flying Nun (yes, the Sally Field version) showed up and suggested I take a few steps back. As I backed away from the wall, I realized, “Wait. Who said I had to climb this dumb wall, anyway?” And I turned to look at where I had been backing up, and it had turned into a lush meadow with all sorts of flowers and smells and birds and animals. It was teeming with life.
The Flying Nun offered me a magic carpet to ride and said, “Now we can get over that wall.” So, even though that meadow looked pretty inviting, I thought, well, now that I can get over the wall, I guess I’ll go.”
We flew over the wall and on the other side was nothing but rubble and bombed out buildings. There NOTHING I wanted or needed on the other side of the wall. Trying to get over it was a pointless challenge. And here I’d been beating my head against a wall thinking I HAD to figure it out. All I needed to do was take a few steps backward and the entire landscape changed.
After that session, something lifted. It dislodged this concrete block that had been weighing down my heart and my head. It was freeing.
But here’s the weirdest part … since that session, I haven’t been feeling the urge to overeat. I’ve been able to be reasonable about my eating. Now that I don’t have any impossible walls to climb, it seems like that impulse to numb out has dissipated.
The imagination is so powerful. Our brains are capable of so much more than we even know how to ask them to do.
In her book, Trauma and Expressive Arts Therapy: Brain, Body, and Imagination in the Healing Process, Dr. Cathy Malchiodi says, “Our brains are very malleable ... Our brain can believe something imaginative as much as it can believe something that’s right there in reality.”
If our brains believe something imaginative, it means we can imagine a new ending, a different way of seeing things. It means we can create a new story. It’s one of the things that I love about the RIM process.
By expressing what’s inside of us and allowing our imagination to give voice to something that has not been expressed or to create a new ending, we can release what festers inside us.
In the 2017 documentary, Heal, director Kelly Noonan explored the connection between the brain and the body, finding that:
“The latest science reveals that we are not victims of unchangeable genes, nor should we buy into a scary prognosis. The fact is we have more control over our health and life than we have been taught to believe.”
I highly recommend the documentary and I also highly recommend learning more about RIM. You can also book a RIM session with me.