I starting creating vision boards about 10 years ago when a group of friends and I would get together at the beginning of the year to make a collage to represent what we wanted to create for our year ahead. It was a social event and it was a good excuse to get together and share our dreams – whether it was a new job, new kitchen or new relationship or to let go of something we didn’t want in our lives any more.
It replaced New Years resolutions for me and I got into the habit of displaying the collage somewhere where I would see if every day and it would act as a reminder for what I wanted to have in my life. I now use vision boards for many things not just for the beginning of the year and I run workshops and use visualisation tools alongside mindfulness and meditation in my work with people.
“If you want to live a curiosity-driven life, you must commit to being vigilant about looking for what’s piquing your curiosity.” Elizabeth Gilbert.
Our perceptions of life feed into how life occurs to us. If you expect things to work out a certain way then more often than not you act in a way consistent with that which in turns leads to the expected results. Our thoughts inform our experience. When you are visualising, you are emitting a powerful message out into the Universe.
Visualisation works. Athletes and sportspeople have been using it for decades to improve performance, and Psychology Today reported that the brain patterns activated when a weightlifter lifts heavy weights are also similarly activated when the lifter just imagined (visualised) lifting weights. In the movie Rush, James Hunt visualises a race circuit and going through the motions of changing gears, reacting to whatever he encountered along the way. Vision boards are now becoming more and more understood. Creating a sacred space that displays what you want actually does bring it to life. What we focus on expands. When you create a vision board and place it in a space where you see it often, you essentially end up doing short visualisation exercises throughout the day. You can also use a ‘curiosity box’, an altar, a scrap book… whatever form inspires you.
Try this – Take a moment right now to think of a time when you were really happy…. how did it feel… look… what was around you… who were you with… was there sand between your toes, sun on your face, or were your hands curled round a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a wintery day…. Be curious about the feelings, pay attention to what you are saying to yourself about this memory. Notice what makes you happy. Really picture it in your mind’s eye, and feel how that feels in your body… what can you hear – use all the senses…. Breathe it in…
Be sure not to overthink the images and quotes that you include. The actual process of visioning what you want and accessing the sub-conscious through images is incredibly powerful in building self-awareness, tapping into the intuition, to how we want to feel, to what our heart and soul is longing for.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost”. Martha Graham.
Visioning in this way can also reveal unconscious blocks or unhelpful ways of thinking and being that get in our way. The images or words we choose to include often contain messages from our subconscious. You might notice that all the images on your board are black & white, why, what does that tell you – be curious about what you choose. Once we become aware of our limiting self beliefs, many of which can be related to a sense of needing to be perfect and therefore not allow much room for mistakes, we begin to realise that these thoughts are the enemy of creating the life we really long for.
If life is a text and you are the editor, you can make small corrections every day. Keep drafting, tinkering… editors don’t berate themselves when they spot a typo, they don’t rip up the whole manuscript and burn it. They just correct it and move on. Next draft. Self-editing is empowering. You can write your own story.