FEATURE - January 2019
The Art of Vision
By Jamie Winter Dawson
January is a great time of year to re-evaluate personal and professional goals and reassess how your unique gifts and longings align with how you show up in the world. Try these five steps to create a vision board that can provide you with a tool for clarity as you move into the New Year.
Supplies you will need include magazines , glue (I prefer nontoxic Mod Podge or glue stick), scissors, a sheet of tagboard or watercolor paper with the dimensions of your choice. Optional supplies include decorative paper, watercolor paints, markers, and oil pastels.
Find a quiet place to work where interruptions will be minimal. Stow any devices and set them on silent. You may wish to play soft music, light a candle, or make a cup of tea. Sit on a pillow or blanket on the floor with legs crossed at the shins or ankles or sit in a comfortable chair with both feet firmly placed on the floor. Close your eyes or soften your gaze. Take three slow, smooth breaths in and out through the nose. If you wish, you can set an intention for your creative practice, such as, “I surrender to the process,” or “I am Peace, I am Love.” Open your eyes and roll shoulders up, back, and down a few times to loosen up and settle in.
Select images you are drawn to. Trust your instincts and have fun! I like to think of art-making as ‘sacred play’ where the process is as important as the product. Many people don’t realize the significance, the breadth and depth of their vision board until they’ve spent time with it in the weeks or months after creating it. This is, in part, because when we work with symbols and imagery, we activate pathways of the brain that are difficult to articulate with language.
The beauty of working in this way is that you may discover goals or directions that are surprising and easier than you could have planned using a written format . If you want more direction in selecting your images, consider asking yourself, “In this new season, what am I letting go of?” and, “What am I calling in?”
Just as important, make sure you’re using images that align with your truth and make you feel good about yourself and your goals. By contrast, images that perpetuate the beauty myth, gender, class or racial inequality or ageism can subtly chip away at self-esteem and misrepresent your values.
As you work, be mindful and pay attention to how you’re feeling while you build your board .
Secure and Embellish
Once you’ve chosen your images, begin to arrange and paste them. Again, trust your intuition on placement. This is your creative process and your vision board. You don’t ever have to show it to anyone if you don’t want to.
You can include embellishments on your vision board using watercolor, oil pastels, or markers. Consider making patterns and colors based on the emotions you want to cultivate in the upcoming weeks or months. For example, I find the color mint green to be very peaceful, and I might include this to symbolize the desire to cultivate more peace and calm in my life.
Complete Your Board
Once you’re done, take a moment to reflect on the finished product. Approach it with curiosity and compassion and notice if any inner critic voices arise. Offer yourself encouragement and gratitude for taking time for creativity and for yourself. This is also a good time to journal about your process. What did you notice as you were creating? How do you feel afterward? What steps were you most or least drawn to? Were there any surprises?
Place your vision board in a space such as your office, meditation room, studio or kitchen where you will see it regularly. You may wish to take a photo and use it as a screensaver on your phone or other device. Consider revisiting the project and making a vision board during a change in the calendar or seasons, as a new or full moon intention, or at the beginning/end of a career, birth year, or relationship. Use your vision board to inspire and encourage you, to aid you in decision-making, and to remind you that you are making choices from a creative, healthy, and growing place.
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Jamie Winter Dawson has been a practitioner of yoga, meditation & mindfulness for 13 years. She is currently completing a yearlong intensive with Psychotherapist & Master Yoga Teacher Ashley Turner and Storyteller & Master Yoga Teacher Sianna Sherman. Jamie is passionate about de-mystifying the creative process of art, yoga, and meditation to facilitate healing and inner calm.