Imagine yourself re-imagined

I made a grab for the scarf as it fluttered through the air, but wasn’t quick enough. The gentleman seated before me snatched it and then promptly draped it around his neck.

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.” — Robert Fulghum, American author, Unitarian minister, artist and teacher

I made a grab for the scarf as it fluttered through the air, but wasn’t quick enough. The gentleman seated before me snatched it and then promptly draped it around his neck.

“Damn,” I said. “I wasn’t quick enough.” I said it loud enough that the gentleman could hear me. I thought perhaps, seeing as his wife had also managed to snag one of the scarves, he might choose to pass his along to me.

No such luck. My wife just smiled and patted me on the arm. Hundreds of red scarves had just fluttered down from the ceiling of the Elvis auditorium at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was the grand finale to Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis ­— the high-flying musical production based on the life, career and music of the King of Rock ’n Roll, Elvis Presley. Cirque du Soleil promises a dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment and Viva Elvis delivers in spades.

The production was awe-inspiring ­­— at least for a longtime Elvis fan like me.

I particularly enjoyed how the Cirque du Soleil team had re-mastered a number of Elvis songs especially for the show; even old standards like That’s Alright, Mama and Blue Suede Shoes were given a fresh, new sound. Elvis never sounded better.

Some purists might claim it sacrilegious to tamper with the music of the King, but I thought the remixes were done with respect and immense creativity.

George Klein, broadcaster, author and longtime friend of Elvis, put it well when he said, “They’ve re-imagined Elvis’s music for a whole new generation.”

I like the term “re-imagined.” As with the re-imagined Viva Elvis music soundtrack, the King is still at the core of the music, belting out the lyrics with all the power and passion of the original.

The difference lies in the interpretation of the music and the result is fresh and captivating.

Imagine yourself re-imagined: an authentic you at the core but presented in a fresh, new way. When we choose to grow in our self-awareness and self-esteem, we’re actually re-imagining ourselves.

“Re-imagined” means to create something anew or to recreate something in a fundamentally different way.

To re-imagine yourself means to create a new and improved image or lifestyle for yourself. The key to initiating this transformation is to imagine. Every great invention or innovation first came into being as an idea in someone’s imagination. If you were to imagine the ideal life for yourself, what would it look like? What changes could you envision?

Perhaps you’d imagine yourself being more assertive and courageous or maybe you’d see yourself as gentler — more flexible, caring, kind and compassionate.

In order to imagine a new you, you must first allow for the possibility of such a transformation to happen.

If you believe that change is possible and beneficial, then you’ve already made great strides toward re-imagining yourself. That said, here are a few things to consider.

The first step in re-imaging yourself is determining what you want to be, do and have. Toss aside vague assertions — I’ll be happy, I’ll be wealthy, I’ll have the perfect relationship — and get down to business.

Get clear about what you want and don’t want as components of your new life. This will require self-awareness and a good amount of time spent in reflection.

Remember the age-old definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different outcome. Without fundamental change, your new life will simply be a redressed version of the old.

For permanent change to occur, you’ll need a new strategy.

Find out who you really are by unpacking the storehouse of beliefs and perceptions you’ve acquired. Once laid bare, you can begin to challenge each, deciding if it serves your best interests or not. Even though the arrangements for Viva Elvis are fresh and new, the powerful voice of Elvis is at its core. Re-imagining is about building a new life around the core of your true and authentic self.

The idea that we alone create our life experience can be overwhelming, particularly if you associate self-responsibility with guilt, blame and shame. Certainly, other people and events influence our lives, but to what extent that influence extends is entirely up to us.

Without awareness, that influence can appear all-encompassing and beyond our control.

However, by enhancing our self-esteem and expanding our awareness, we begin to take responsibility for our beliefs, thoughts, feeling, actions and behaviours and become willing to take ownership of them. Remember, taking ownership is not about judging the past and then stamping our life with a passing or failing grade; it’s about seeing what’s truly there and acknowledging our part in it.

Henry David Thoreau, American writer and social critic once wrote, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

As for the scarf, it would simply have been a memento – a tangible reminder of my experience in Vegas. Something left to hang on a closet door. Nice but unnecessary.

Hearing the re-imagined music of the King got me thinking about our music, if you will — the thoughts and values that comprise the melody of our lives. Growing our self-esteem is really about creating a life that is in keeping with our true and best nature; one filled with hope, love and possibilities. Re-imagine a life for yourself that is worthy of celebration: joyous and awe-inspiring.

Murray Fuhrer is a local self-esteem expert and facilitator. His new book is entitled Extreme Esteem: The Four Factors. For more information on self-esteem, check the Extreme Esteem website at www.extremeesteem.ca