Happy new year! Kel Fox here, honoured to be heralding 2020 on Sarah’s blog! I have some thoughts on vision boards that I wish to share.
When it comes to goals, there are two ways of creating the life you want to live: ‘goal setting’ and ‘goal letting’. Both are powerful. One requires your personal effort and commitment and is necessary for the big, tough things that are your life purpose and you should go after them with everything you’ve got. The others are things that perhaps aren’t in your control as much, except that you have to acknowledge what you want and make space for it.
Goal setting is fairly obvious, and you know what you need to do – for example, I wanted graduate with my degree, so I set out a timeline with the units I had to complete and did the work. I want to publish books, so I make time to write and edit. My conscious willpower and drive is going to make it happen. There’s an abundance of information out there on how to make your goal setting achievable.
Goal letting is less obvious, but no less powerful. This is the one where your subconscious directs the process, and where tools like vision boards come in so useful.
I was involved in a vision boarding exercise several years ago. I have to admit: although I believed in the power of subconscious manifestation, I didn’t really expect anything to come from something as simple as a vision board. Perhaps if I had personally drawn all the images, or spent a week finding the exact representations of what I was looking for, it would have power. A couple of hours cutting and pasting and then a short ceremony to set intention? Not enough, I thought.
Skip ahead a few years, and I was cleaning out my office and I found the vision board. I looked at it and was surprised to see my cat on it! Sure, a sceptic might say I wanted a cat, so I found a picture of a cat, and then I went and got a cat, but that is not how it went. At the time of creating the board, I was living in a rental that didn’t allow cats, with no plans to move. By the time I had moved house, for circumstances completely unrelated to prospective pet ownership, I had forgotten about the vision board entirely. When I eventually started looking for a cat, I nearly got a black one. But there was a little grey tabby that stole my heart, waited for me at the gate to her pen while I was preparing her travel cage and she came home with me. A year later, I found the vision board. There was a grey tabby cat. As I looked at the rest of the board, I realised that the cat was the only thing on it that I’d really cared about.
Another year, my partner bought me a diary for Christmas. It had a plain black cover and I happened to have a wolf sticker in my desk drawer so I stuck it on the diary. Eight months later, we got an Alaskan Malamute puppy and I thought nothing of it until I was staring at my diary one day and realised: there he was. It wasn’t planned that way.
Intrigued by that process, I put an image of a quill on the next year’s diary, with the thought that it would facilitate my publishing a book. I did a lot of writing that year, finishing two novel drafts and publishing a piece of poetry. But I didn’t publish my novel. I realise now that the quill was not specific enough. The universe doesn’t work in vague terms. Everything is precise and has a plan, right down to the tiniest details.
Does it work for bigger things than pets? I was reading through some old journals recently and I came across an entry from years before – perhaps six or seven years – where I wrote about what I was looking for in a partner. I was done with dating the wrong people and trying to make it work. I set down what I wished for. Then I forgot about it entirely. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the entry years later, twelve months into a new and important relationship, that I realised I had found exactly what I’d asked for.
That was powerful.
I have many instances of writing things down, forgetting about it and then finding it later to discover it came to be. I think the power in vision boarding comes from:
- Clarifying what you want
- Setting that intention, and
- Allowing it – whether ‘it’ is what you expected or not – to be.
All three steps are vital. I could not find the partner I wanted until I figured out exactly who that person was meant to be to me. Then I had to set my intention to find that person: I committed my dream to a medium that stored the information (a journal or vision board is such a medium). I had to stop pursuing or even considering anything that was not quite right. Finally, I had to allow it, and that was the part where I had to accept and trust the universe to get it right, even if – paradoxically – that meant my vision never came to pass.
That trust is surrender. It is accepting that I am exactly where I need to be and who I need to be right now, and there is nothing else. Once I got that, I made space for something new that I could never have imagined was truly possible. “Conscious me” wrote that intention thinking I’d probably never attain it. “Subconscious me”, or the universe, or both, have much more creative power, as long as conscious me doesn’t get in the way with my self-imposed limitations.
The thing to be mindful of when manifesting like this is that you may not like the manner in which it comes about. A friend of mine has always wanted a swimming pool. Perhaps they thought they’d buy a house with a pool, or pay a company to come in and build one over a few days. They got the pool, in the form of their partner undertaking a year-long construction project in the backyard. The universe works in its own way, and like I said, the details matter. If the how or the when is important to you, your goal may be better served as an active goal setting exercise. But it’s worth remembering that life is a bit like watercolour painting: it doesn’t always go where you planned, but it is always beautiful in its own way.
I was prompted to write this post and share my experiences with visioning and manifestation because of Sarah’s upcoming workshop, so if visioning is something that interests you, you may wish to check it out. Either way, envision yourself a joyful and prosperous 2020 and may we all share and learn and grow together.