Some years ago I started making a vision board each January. I’ve made them at home alone, with friends at my house, in a church, in a healing center and this year at a yoga studio. It’s simple. All that is needed is a stack of magazines, glue, a cardboard poster board, and a vision, an imagination, for the coming year. In the past, I took a couple hours to do my vision board, browsing through magazines and stopping to read the articles. This year required quick thinking. First was an hour of yoga and then an hour of cut, paste, add a few flourishes, and completion. No ruminating, pondering or second guessing. I added some fake rhinestones and a few rose stickers, for fun. We all need fun in our lives. Might sound silly, but a vision board always gives me hope for the coming year.
That day the women with me at the yoga studio were talking about goals and dreams. No one said that dreaded word. Impossible. One woman wanted to move to New Orleans, another planned to lead a yoga retreat to Peru. Another woman hoped to retire. As I listened to the background music of their voices, I found inspiration to think beyond my own limited awareness and dream big for 2017. I wanted to ask the women about their dreams, but I had a deadline and needed to focus.
Two weeks ago at the Writer’s Inspiration Group we did yearly writing goals. Each writer put his or her goals on paper and then sealed them in these envelopes. This year I’m responsible for keeping safe the envelopes which we will open at the end of 2017. I look at the stack of envelopes and feel as if I am the keeper of purpose and possibilities. I keep a copy of my goals near me so I don’t forget what is sealed in my envelope though if I don’t meet my writing goals I could say I forgot which at my age is allowed. Saying I forgot. We are never allowed to give up believing in dreams. That’s just too sad.
A few days before Christmas I had people over for a tea leaf reading. Whether or not the tea leaves can predict the future, I’m uncertain. I’m not a gypsy though there were times in my life I moved so often I just kept boxes packed. I like to think though that there is power in sharing with friends our yearnings and desires.
As we sat with cups of hot tea we listened as one woman wanted to buy a home, another have a baby, another a new job. We read the tea leaves and laughed and talked and I think when my friends left they at least had the opportunity to voice what so often gets shoved in the background of our busy lives. Before we know it, 2017 is over and hello 2018. It’s good to stop and map out what we’d like happen in the coming year, make space to voice what we hold dear to our hearts.
So you might be asking…do vision boards work? One of the first vision board classes I took the teacher said what you hoped for in the coming year might take another year to happen. Patience. And the images may not come out exactly as expected…but there is something metaphorical that happens. If that makes sense. I keep the last year’s vision board in a closet and sometimes it does take awhile to make sense. This was last year’s board and the saying STAND UP really was significant for me. How did my subconscious know that would be? That’s the mystery. There was also a photo of white water rafting. I have no desire to white water raft, but the year really was filled with many personal, and sometimes, scary rapids that I had to navigate. And yes there have been images I selected, of landscapes and objects, that have materialized in my world.
Finally, I am contributing to the American Writer’s Museum blog. The museum will open in my home town of Chicago in 2017. I wrote a blog recently about Erma Bombeck. Remember her? I came across a column she wrote just a few years before she died of kidney failure. I will end this blog for 2017 with words she wrote in 1991 but are still as relevant today.
Erma wrote, “I have a friend who lives by a three word philosophy. Seize the Moment. Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven’t thought about it, don’t have it on their schedule, didn’t know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.”
What moment do you want to seize for yourself in 2017? Keep the vision.