For a few weeks I've been aware that my vision board is feeling dated. I've been putting it off until my birthday, my personal 'new year' (which almost coincides with the Celtic new year of Samhain), which doesn't remotely coincide with the autumnal equinox although one thinks it should…
The current board was done at the Winter Solstice: another 'turning of the year' moment.
I'm not sure why I feel the need for a pivot-point. Should I not just create a new vision now, purely because now feels like a good time, because my instincts are telling me it needs to be done.
My board lives where I see it every day, and it's on my phone for when I'm not home, but I haven't consciously looked at it for over a month. It has served its purpose and obviously needs to be dismantled, refreshed, re-created. Tying that exercise to the calendar is absurd. It's like putting off a new job or a date or a whole new life for weeks just because of the number on the calendar page in the hall. It doesn't make any sense.
My current board was focussed on myself as a law student, on my neglected need for adventure and travel, and on the possibility of becoming a writer, making money from my scribblings. It was a surprise that even that one had nothing day-job related on it.
I've finished the degree course insofar as I can influence the outcome of it. The work is done; the results will be what they are to be. As for the rest…I have been feeling listless of late. I take my journal and quickly list all of the things achieved in the last few months and find it doesn't help.
Looking at the Board, and at what I'm doing day to day, I realise that the reason I'm feeling as though I am not "doing", feeling that I am not meeting my commitments to myself, even though the evidence is there that I clearly am, is because I am just drifting.
I am drifting in the right direction as it happens, but it's still not a very energetic state. I have been allowing myself my recovery time, which is great, but I have then just been ambling along. Strolling aimlessly rather than stepping out, running, leaping, dancing. Ambling and strolling have their place – but just writing those words in my morning pages…running, leaping, dancing…made me smile. So there was a whopping great clue right there!
I'm in a low energy state and it is not serving me well.
I'm experimenting with de-listing my life, getting away from the tyranny of "To Do", so planning and focus are, shall we say, being treated with caution at the moment. I know they are not the enemy…but they're not the most trust-worthy of allies either.
I consciously constrain them to the short-term issues and remind myself that the vision board is about the long-term and the expanse. It's not a list. It's an outline, a sketch, a fluid design. Words and pictures. Soul-speak. It's a playful tool.
Clearly this was something that couldn't wait. So on a dark wet Saturday with no plans when even the neighbours were being quiet, I accepted that I needed to make a start.
My next question was whether I needed to leave the board to breathe. Once I've taken it apart, do I leave it empty for a few days, before I come back to it?
I wonder if that's an odd and overly romantic notion. It could be symbolic of cleansing, of clearing the decks. On the other hand, this is about continuance. I have no radical changes to make. I am growing, but my life is very good. I am getting clarity on who I am and gaining the confidence to be her.
My journal then reads ''but the major shifts – I was going to say 'have been made' – but my higher self is telling me that I don't know that. I can't know that. And if I hold to that notion I am creating resistance.''
I remind myself of how many of my recent photographs feature doorways – of cottages and castles and everything in between – if that is not indicative of a need for or at least an acceptance of the possibility of change, then what is it? It is certainly a knowing that there are doors and gateways and a wondering of what is on the other side of them. Surely if the vision board is anything, it is about figuring out which doors to open and finding the courage to step through them.
So... Working on instinct as one should, the old board was dismantled.
I felt that there was some kind of honouring the achievements (or at least the efforts to achieve) and the support received in my endeavours, by taking my time over taking the thing apart. Every piece was taken down with a conscious remembering of what it had symbolised at the outset and how far I had come (or not) in that regard during the intervening time. Some pieces I kept and placed back in my prompt box. Others I scrunched and dumped.
I poured a glass of something and settled down with that prompt box and started to rummage.
I'm never sure how much intention one should bring to this exercise. Is it about fixing the vision of what you desire, a reminder to create it, another "to do" list of a kind? Or is it a prayer to the universe: these are my dreams; please support me where you can? Or is it the answer to a prayer to the self: what indeed are my dreams?
I brought no intention. I simply sifted through months' worth of cuttings, quotes, pictures, self-made labels and the like, gradually filtering in the ones that called to me most clearly, and grouping them as they clearly belonged.
What emerged is a much softer vision than the previous board. There are no representations of money or work or success or achievement. There's a lot of blue, which according to one snippet is the colour of wisdom, but which in my personal rainbow is the colour of freedom…though to be fair as it shades into indigo and violet it deepens into wisdom and peace. There's greenery for health and vitality. And a mystical sunset orange corner, a fiery feminine corner with echoes of an India that I have not yet visited.
The thoughtful pre-Raphaelite "Beatrice" oversees it all, in her sumptuous mediaeval gown, in her bookish ivory tower.
There's a rain-splashed Buddha, gardens and beach-huts and hammocks. Flowers and butterflies.
There are injunctions to ''Remember why you started'', ''Be you, Bravely'' and ''Make it happen''.
The question to keep coming back to is ''What sets your soul on fire?'' and hidden behind the lonesome figure on a sodden London park bench is Dolly Parton's reminder that ''if you want rainbows you gotta put up with the rain.''
So to answer my own question, your vision board will be whatever you want it to be, but I don't think mine is a statement of intent or a prayer or the answer to one. Maybe it's a combination of all three. It's a signpost. A guide.
Having quietened my monkey mind to listen to my higher self, this is where she tells me we want to go…
…to live in shades of blue and green, seeking wisdom and freedom and spirituality: even the fun and frolics are blue and white, a call to Love and Bubbles and a pleasure-boat-lifebuoy welcoming us aboard…
…to explore the exotic and dance at sunset
…to drink of fresh raindrops
…to read and to think, and then
…to wander and to rest.
A new ribbon plait has joined my decade-old rainbow bunch. It is in white, for clarity, green, for health, and a rich rust shade that I am equating to carnelian and amber and tiger's eye and which I claim is for courage and creativity.
The whole is soft and seeking…and there is nothing of the everyday about it.
I suspect therefore that there are more changes ahead, more doors to open and to step bravely through. It is a peaceful board, so very different from its energetic and energising predecessor, and that's how I feel having completed it.
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