Imagine living a life you consider ideal and balanced. Sink into the desirable details of your job, your relationships and the hobbies you pursue. Revel in the fulfillment of your experience. What are you doing to make this exciting life happen? How is your future self different from you today? Paint a picture of all that you notice – colors, people, actions, places, feelings etc.
The process you just engaged in above is called visioning. This involves playing with our right brain to invoke creativity and imagination. It’s a process that often helps us get to the heart of what we desire, what holds value for us, and then prompts us into action from a space of aliveness and alignment.
Does it work for real? Of course!
Quoting a study from Psychology Today, “Mental imagery impacts many crucial cognitive processes in the brain… The brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization. It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow.” Famous athletes like Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, and Jack Nicklaus are known to have employed visioning for their success.
A practice for making visioning more real is creating vision boards, which are representations of our goals and dreams. At their core, these boards are a collage of images, words, and phrases that capture your dreams. The intent of this collage is to make you feel truly giddy, inspiring you into focused action.
Vision boards that are created from the space of receptivity form when we are open to messages that come when we ask for what is waiting to take shape. These visions can be in the form of colors, feelings, words, or sensations. Such vision boards are highly spontaneous and intuitive. The second kind of vision boards are created from the space of intention, where we look into our deepest longings and actively engage in exploring, expressing, and representing these desires through different means. This is a form of manifestation.
Let’s look at what we can put on our vision boards that capture our dreams.
- Words have a mysterious way of impacting us. Whether the words describe feelings or echo states of being, they all evoke experiences we have had or wish to have. Look at magazines to cut out words which describe how you want to be or what you want to feel. You can even write them in big, bold, colorful letters. My favorites are ‘curiosity’, ‘flourishing’ and ‘gratitude.’
- Quotes are great sources of mindset formation and effectively express an idea or experience in its entirety. No matter what the context in which the words were originally said, the impact of a good quote is timeless. The readers make it their own. Choose quotes which give rise to intense and accurate thoughts that match the state/experience you wish to arrive at or those which encapsulate your journey. These can be from your role models, favorite authors, teachers, or even something out of a song! You can even add poems.
- Self-Affirmations are different from quotes since you write these on your own, for yourself. They are aimed at changing one’s worldview and undoing limiting beliefs. Research suggests that they can minimize anxiety, stress, and defensiveness associated with threats to our sense of self, while having positive neuro-psychological effects and keeping us open to improvement. Create affirmations which start with “I am..” and challenge beliefs about money, success, ability, and skill. Write affirmations which go beyond what you think is possible and change the ‘cannot’ to ‘can’. Here are some affirmations you might find useful.
- Art or Doodles created by you are one of the best ways to strengthen your desired states. Since it is you who is representing your vision through imagery, there is no better way of owning it. You don’t have to be skilled in art to create doodles. You just have to be willing to play! You can doodle your life map, or just use colors to intuitively express your feelings without form. Draw your future successful self, in your dream job or taking your dream vacation. And if you are game for a creative risk, doodle your favorite quote or your own affirmation.
- Pictures are a wonderful alternative to the doodles, since they can snap you out of any hesitancy you might feel towards drawing. Depending on the vision you are working at fulfilling, you can put up images of associated people who are successful and images which evoke feelings you wish to experience (gratitude, joy, love, celebration, etc.). You can also find pictures which are exactly similar to those you see in your imagination. If you wish to increase the challenge, you can have pictures representing different actions you will take.
- Souvenirs,as sources of inspiration, are highly potent. They can serve as reminders of your strengths, uniqueness, achievements, successful relationships, and positive associations. If there are souvenirs which you associate with the birth of a specific vision, those are the ones that must go on the board. You can have anything from name tags, appreciation notes, trinkets, key-chains, dry leaves, buttons, magnets, string lights, etc. The possibilities are endless. Just pick souvenirs which are pertinent.
- Goals and intentions form the basis of our visions. Put up the goals and intentions attached to your vision in creative ways. You can make an intention tree with the roots being the vision, the bark being your strengths, and the leaves being all the intentions you have to achieve the vision. You can also create a mixed media sun, with the large goal as the core and all possible actions as the rays.
- Lists can be fun if you make them so. Vision boards can include lists of gratitude, your bucket lists, motivational song lists, support system lists, and books to read for achieving the vision. List core practices or ideas, which help you step into the reality of your vision. Play with color, fonts, printing, or writing. The more vibrant you make it, the more appealing it will be.
Vision boards are a work in progress and will evolve with your changing visions and dreams. But the best thing about this practice is that there is no wrong way to create a vision board. Remember, your vision board is a gift to you from your best self. So, it has the potential of being a deeply meditative experience as well. Filter out distractions, put on some calming music, and dive into the magic of visioning.
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