Visualization is one of the most important mental exercises you can do. Olympic athletes have used it for decades to improve performance. Neuroscience shows the brain patterns activated when a weightlifter lifts heavy weights are also similarly activated when the lifter just imagined (visualized) lifting weights.
Mental practices that spend time in this sort of reflection rewire the brain and emotions revealing the neuroplasticity of the brain to accommodate the growth path you are on. Even Jesus surrendered to contemplative prayers and resets. As Thomas Keating notes, “The Divine Therapy” of contemplative prayer and awareness can bring you into a new consciousness and toward the notion of the if, the possible.
Vision boarding is a chance to bring The Divine Therapy into awareness. It can be a prayer that allows the spiritual, belief and emotional work to become physically evident through visual inspiration.
Father Richard Rohr communicates such inspiration when he writes, “If spirituality is not a very real growth in both in need and outer freedom, it’s not authentic spirituality.” Vision boarding allows personal spirituality that can feel both present and freeing.
Envisioning and visualization are practices. It is perfectly normal to require a lot of practice. I tell myself all the time, “even pro athletes need to practice.”
Your vision board should focus on how you want to feel, not just on the things you want. Material stuff is permitted but it needs to focus on how you want to feel so it comes to LIFE!
Highlights from My Personal Vision Board
I added pictures of people being on the water which immediately centers me.
I included organic greens from plants because I want to be verdant and resplendent in a manner that connects me back to the earth.
I have notes from when my boys were little along with jewelry made for mother’s days from years ago. I found them in my jewelry box and knew they needed to be a part of my vision board because it reminds me of their deep innocence and the importance of continuing to nurture that in them.
I love birds because they remind me of transcendence and freedom from the burden of hard things.
I am a huge fan of modern lines and abstract images so I have the profile of a woman at the center with a bird behind her head, which reminds me of freedom of thought, the luxury of thinking and pondering. Although I am not a fan of Picasso’s person exactly, I adore his line and form used in his peace dove, which incidentally hangs above my bed. This bird connected some of that for me. Peace is transcendence for me.
I often tell my boys that I want them to feel cozy and comfy so that vibe gets translated for me in organic greens but also in the words, hospitality, invitation, and Valentines—my favorite holiday.
However, while doing my vision board, I ran across the word “temple.” It’s actual and conceptual for me in that I am a temple, so are others and the living things of this world are all temples or places of holiness for me so there is a strong connection for me in that we are in this together because each of us matters and is irreplaceable in our gifts, talents, personalities and effect. This brought a new understanding to me that frees up my compassion.
What about your Vision Board?
Poster board can be easily replaced with cardboard that you wrap in wrapping paper. Some people use bulletin boards around their office and house to collect images, phrases, words, artifacts that are sentimental or seminal to their life force.
If you don’t have magazines, ask around to see if anyone will let you rummage through old ones. Look up google images and print those that translate the way you want to feel those are all options. Maybe you follow Pinterest boards and want to print out or draw images and then cut and paste them onto a board. Maybe you have greeting cards with images that help you feel loved and centered and you want to cut those favorite phrases or images and collage them onto a board.
Hey, I might do that one next.
I hope this activity can be a spiritual practice that moves you toward a rewired brain to accept the life giving connection within you so you can bring the life giving force that you are to this world—this world that needs you as you—no matter how small or wide your circle of influence is.