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Dale Hale is a popular cartoonist whose 1970’s syndicated funnies ran in my Long Island, New York newspaper, Newsday. Hale’s comics were creative and easy for me to grasp as a child. They made me laugh. I enjoyed imagining what his characters visioned in their mind’s eye. I wrote this artist in 1973 and, much to my surprise, received a response! Today, I am still in possession of the “stickers,” much like Green Stamps, that he sent me.

Figments got me thinking. “Ah. Here is what it looks like to dream.” “This might be what Mommy is thinking.” “I sometimes imagine that!” Now, there was much exaggeration and tongue and cheek humor. I remained grounded in reality while escaping into each character’s mind. Hale’s thought bubbles set a foundation for me that would later assist me as a clinical social worker.

Hale jumped into a character’s shoes the way a social worker jumps into the shoes of a client. This is how we learn empathy. This skill was taught in graduate school and we practiced often with classmates. To empathize is a natural and instinctive ability, yet many are untaught it from an early age. We can relearn how to empathize simply by stepping into the shoes of the person we wish to better understand. When we are in another’s shoes, we can better see, hear, know, and feel their experience. It does take practice if you have not taken time to know another in this way.

The dreams another dreams are often found right inside our own fantasy vault. The images that come through and the feelings that are experienced “over in their shoes” are often what we have personally seen and felt. I highly recommend sitting quietly and jumping over to another’s experience to know them in this way. Your heightened senses will increase your ability to empathize, which is a gift; it also raises the vibration of the person you are with.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines figment: something made up or contrived. Yes, the comics were full of exaggeration. They were very cheeky. I do believe that when we dream or envision an outcome, we sometimes go to that nonsensical place for levity and entertainment. The “what if” factor can be very useful when we stretch our imagination. For those who remember Silly Putty: We would push it over the comics, take it off, and pull the images. From reading Figments to using Silly Putty to stretch our images more, we can become quite adept at doing this simply with our minds.

Learning how to empathize is one way Figments can assist us. Another gift offered up from reading contrived comics is using one’s imagination to create a playful and satisfying reality. Ever heard of thought becoming form? The Law of Attraction is alive and well! Our minds and hearts can make up or contrive an idea that is to our liking. With fear and doubt removed from the picture, we can believe our dream, take steps towards manifesting it, and believe it will come true. Your comic-strip-of-a-good-time can be placed front and center in your mind’s eye, probably the way Dale Hale saw his comics come to life. With creativity and a whole lotta good feelings, you may see your creation come to life if it is for your highest good.

Some examples of figments, or dream work might be imagining you are loaned a bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle and you are given the week off by your boss. The beach is nearby, the weather is perfect, and you spend your time there. You can imagine that someone invites you to a reception where you learn that all the music played by the band is that of your favorite artist. Another figment that might be fun to envision is going to a fashion show where you are asked spontaneously to go on the runway to sport the latest couture. (Please note that the figments brainstormed here might be dull for some and outrageous for others. Enjoy making your own up!) Why do I encourage this? We spend so much time thinking about what we wish we had that we forget about our wildest and most frivolous dreams. They are important in order to keep us excited and alive. Esther Hicks channels the collective, Abraham, who always reminds us to have fun here. We can do this by putting ourselves in Dale Hale’s shoes and conjuring up mind-stretching dreams that can come true if we only believed…

To have empathy is magnificent. To dream big is, as well.

Thank you, Cartoonist-from-my-past, for assisting me in gaining sensitivity, wit, and the zest for life.

Now, find your Silly Putty and go!

Love and blessings,

~Joanie