A lot of us love our vision boards. That fun and powerful process of gathering inspiring images that speak to your soul and put your wishes into the shopping cart of the universe.
The colors, the gluesticks…the intention. It’s all good.
But last year as I gathered piles of magazines to tear up for my annual New Year’s Intentionfest, I realized that all the lovely vision boards I’d made in years past had lost their luster in a couple of months.
Even though I enjoyed the ritual of making the boards, hanging them where I could see them every day and sincerely wanting to “manifest” what the dreamy images were showing, somehow those boards felt stale pretty quickly.
Being a lover of self-inquiry, I paused to ask some questions?
Questions like, “what’s up with that?”
“If these are inspiring images for me, why am I not being energized by them for very long?
The other problem
I’m a dreamer. A big dreamer–which is not the problem–but here’s what is. I actually lasso a lot of those dreams and build them even when it takes a long time. I daresay we could use the word “visionary” here. Which means that I have dozens of ideas and projects that I’m tracking and a LOT of plans and goals that span from days all the way to decades. How do you make things that don’t exist yet? That’s a great question and one I’ve been playing at for a long time.
They’ve kind of worked. In a way that feels like getting a few brownie points from the great day-planner in the sky, but none of them have really felt good or like they actually fit me. And they’re certainly not inspiring to look at. I mean, really? A wildly creative goddess like me hatching magic from plain poster paper and square sticky notes?
Fun? Not so much.
And definitely not pretty enough to hang on my wall!
Time to pause for more questions:
So what would I want to hang on my wall?
How can I keep track of my visions and priorities in a more inspiring way?
Could I combine the best parts of several tools somehow?
Yes! The inspiration struck.
And here’s what I did in a joyful, creative surge:
• Cut 2 circles of different sizes out of posterboard.
Since time doesn’t happen in straight lines and boxes, even though for a few hundred years we’ve been pretending it does (our standard calendar), I decided to go with the closest thing to a spiral that I could make with paper. That immediately felt better. Yes! Life moves in cycles.
• I divided the inner circle into quarters (to mark the solstices and equinoxes, which I love to celebrate), then divided each quarter into 3 sections (to mark the months)
• Then I was ready for pretty pictures!
Based on the impressions I’d gotten in my New Year’s meditation, I collected images that resonated with my big themes and desires for the year and put them around the edge of the large circle.
For the inner circle, I wanted to capture the feel of each season.
And to represent my projects and goals, I printed some small, circular images to use as icons (like my product logos and images from my courses). I glued these onto a background paper, and added a blob of removable sticky putty to the back (the kind you get at office supply stores). These dots get put on the inner wheel for the month where they’ll get my focused attention.
There’s a nice, natural limit to this because only 3 of the project dots will fit in the space of a month, which keeps me from trying to cram too much into my life. Of course, I’ll give attention to many things during a month, but I’ll only allow myself 3 priority areas to focus on.
• I cut a small hole in the middle of the collage circles and used a metal fastener to connect the pieces. As time passes, I turn the inner wheel so that the current month is at the top of the outer circle (in the12 o’clock position).
• Each month as I rotate the wheel, I get to reflect on that season of my life, to reevaluate what the priorities are and move the icons around in a way that feels organic and true to the way life really unfolds–with surprises and gifts and challenges. With illnesses and accidents and opportunities.
The turn of time
As the year ended and I moved into the annual pause I love so much to reflect and plan, I thought maybe I’d scrap this thing and start fresh. After all, I made it a whole year ago. But as I felt into creating this year, I realized that almost all of the images I’d been looking at through a whole cycle of seasons still felt alive and inspiring to me.
Quite a surprise after years of dusty vision boards.
So, I refreshed the outer circle with symbols and images that I’d discovered in my recent New Year’s meditation. Just some simple additions of a few new themes and phrases and this vision-board-calendar-piece-of-art is ready to serve me for a second year. I’m learning that what inspires me is quite perennial.
Now when I look at it every day by my side, I smile and know that what it really is, is a lovely object that holds space for the very best magic. The moments of people and purpose and the kind of creation that doesn’t fit in a box…or even a pretty collage, but turns us around and around in this precious dance of life.
What kind of tools would help you hold those visions and stay inspired as you work towards them?
Please share what you come up with, so we can all learn!