Starting in 2016, I began a ritual of setting time aside to really think and sit with my intentions for the year; imagining what the following 365 days could bring, and what next steps would lead to a more fulfilling life.
2015 was a personally challenging time for me. It was a year of transitions. I transitioned from being a full time graduate student to being back in the work force. This new job was a transition from a registered nurse to a nurse practitioner, one which encompassed more autonomy and responsibility. There were daily inner pep talks while walking to the office to quell the anxious thoughts of not being prepared, good, or ready enough or the job. I had post-work worries whether I made the right diagnosis or if I overlooked something important. Every day I had to conquer my self-doubts, not to mention battle a language barrier serving a predominately Chinese population. I moved away from roommates(read: beloved friends), some of whom I had been with for 5 years. I moved into a new apartment with a roommate who did not see eye to eye. It was 2 years filled with clashes about our boundaries. Occasionally I would even try to date during this time, but modern dating brought me more misery than pleasure, but that's to be discussed another time.
It was emotionally tough in the sense that I was constantly adjusting to a new situation and I have to admit, my self esteem was at a low point. Friends around me seemed to be looking forward to the future, and I should have too, but I was unhappy.
New Years Day of 2016, I did 2 hours of yoga and had a tarot card reading. The tarot card reader gave me a piece of advice to create a vision board for what I wanted for the year. The year ahead would be a bit of a self-journey with intensity, chaos, and at times I would feel alone so the vision board would help me get clear.
First of all, I was like what the hell is a vision board? I didn't say this to her since I got the gist of what it was suppose to be. A board of a vision or visions, right?!
I went home to google 'how to make a vision board' and looked at images of it. It felt weird, woo-woo, and a hassle. I was also skeptical, but I had nothing to lose except a few hours. Over the month of January through February, I created a vision board. When 2016 was coming to an end, I began to think of my vision board for 2017.
Why? Because it worked.
What I imagined for myself came true in 2016. It also came true in 2017. It felt like a miracle. By the middle of 2017 and after listening to Rachel Brathen's (yogagirl) podcast re: manifesting abundance, I was convinced there was magic to it.
So how to make a vision board?
1. get supplies: paper, writing or drawing utensils, magazines, picture print outs (I found that for me, I preferred to draw since i felt i wasted more time looking through and cutting out magazine pictures), markers/crayons, gluestick
2. sit down with yourself and reflect on what you want in your life. This can be a concrete goal (being good at a sport, starting a business, etc...) or something more vague (I wanted more inner peace and self-discovery). Imagine how you want to feel or what you want to accomplish by the end of the year, 5 years, or month. Get clear about what you want/see!
- You don't have to limit yourself to only visualizing what you want for the year. A year is a good amount of time to have and see change occur though.
3. Get to filling up the board with images, imagery, words that represent what you imagined in step 2. I personally prefer to draw since it gets closer to the vision I have in my head.
So how does it work?
Often we set resolutions bucket lists, and goals. Lists upon lists that rarely get accomplished. Be honest with yourself about how many things you wanted to do something, go somewhere, or have something change in your life. And before you know it, months or years has gone by and everything (life, bucket list, goals) has remained the same. (There is also something to be said that not every thing on a list should be accomplished.)
Time passes so quickly with so many obligations, events, and just life to tend to. Life is messy and busy and navigating through that requires some tools. The vision board is one of these tools. It serves as a visual map of what you intend for your life. When you see your vision board, it cues you in the present moment to remind you why you're doing what you're doing, what's at the end of the road, or to reflect if your current situation will lead you to this vision.
I often look at my vision board when life gets disappointing, hard, and emotional, because when I do it at those times, I remember what greater path I am on. The path of self-improvement is NOT sunshine and rainbows, often its wrought with a lot of challenging emotions. My vision board is my compass when things get a little stormy and crazy. It reminds of whats after that storm: some sunshine and rainbows
I'll be sharing my vision boards with their stories in another post. :)