Among the many treasures that awaited discovery as I emptied three rooms over the past two days? Images drawn by both of the girls. Their words. Photos and awards. Discarded homework. Storybooks.
As for Chris and I? Our wedding album. More photos of us as a young couple. Mementos from birthdays in a different house in a different decade. Textbooks and roadmaps. ID cards from our roles as guardians in the hospital, paperwork from different jobs (for me anyway), plastic membership cards for shops and services that are defunct, certifications from Rotary over the past few years, and so many other odds and ends.
Quite revealing was the personal Vision Board that I found. I made it. It was created during a workshop led by Lauren DiBiase a few years ago.
You know what a Vision Board is, yes? It’s a poster board or sheet of paper on which you paste images of what you hope and desire for yourself. It can be created with pictures of objects that represent the lifestyle you hope to live (houses, boats, cars, stacks of money), or it could be self-images (activities like cycling or kayaking, silhouettes, healthy food, closeups of body parts, fitness gear) or spiritual symbols (ocean, forest, stones, desert, sky, fire), or educational representations (language, books, tools) or image of destinations (maps, special landmarks, transportation like ships or planes) and whatever else you wish to set as goals for yourself.
Then, presumably, you hang it up somewhere useful, as a reminder of your target – your vision – for your own life. It’s an incentive. An in-your-face prompt to aim for what you desire.
As my husband Chris says to our daughter Sarah, “Every decision brings you further or closer to where you want to be.”
The funny thing about my Vision Board? It’s full of words, not pictures.
Not surprising, in many ways. Yes, I’m a visual person. I paint and sketch. Essentially, I’m also a word person. I read and write insatiably.
During Lauren’s workshop a few years ago, once I starting finding phrases and words that spoke to me, clipped from magazines, I glued together a very large composition: a wish list and extensive imagined biography on the board. It took shape as language, instead of a pictorial snapshot. Yet it embodied what I aimed to achieve in my future.
Happily, her workshop isn’t about judging or editing. There aren’t any rules, except to fill the page if possible. To learn about yourself, through the process of seeing what images (or words, as in my case) call to you, and wind up on your Vision Board. No one advised me to limit myself to pictures and leave off the words. Or to re-do my composition.
Ironically, until this week, I had that Vision Board safely tucked away in an envelope. For years. It wasn’t hanging up where it would be visible all the time. Huh.
When I put it aside, hidden from view, was I ignoring my own wishes? Or was the exercise of naming and acknowledging my own wishes sufficient? Can I believe that I have acted on them ever since, regardless of whether I had the Vision Board to inspire me? Perhaps.
Well, the answer probably depends on what I see now on the board, and compare it to where I am in my life. How much of what I pasted on that board is now present in my life?
Lots. Some of those expectations for myself come and go. For instance, I’ve resumed the daily morning yoga routine with my teacher Ingrid, so I’m feeling good about self-care (two days after starting the sessions, I’m virtuous, don’t you think?). Attending graduate school wasn’t on this board, and yet it fulfills many parts of what I pasted there. Relationships? I am deeply connected to my family and friends, and we are always a work in progress, don’t you think?
Maybe I’ve let go of other desires. Or come to a more balanced place in connection with them.
The Vision Board is a touchstone. It’s a snapshot, a way to measure where I was, and the distance I have traveled.
It’s okay if some of the things on that board aren’t what I’d wish for now. And it’s great that there are things I’d paste onto a Vision Board now, that I didn’t imagine for myself a few years ago.
The other items I found as I cleared the rooms … an unfinished story by Jessie, a game board invented by Sarah, a textbook from Chris’s college days, a thesaurus I received for my own high school graduation, a rubbing of our family’s handprints and our dog’s footprints cast into concrete in our former driveway … are also touchstones. We all have them.
Our lives are mostly moments lived in transition, between stepping stone and stepping stone, as we respond to one experience, shift balance and then move toward the next. The Vision Board, and all of those other artifacts I discovered in the past few days? Each one is like a stepping stone where we once paused. Either I, or some other member of my family left a footprint behind – an impression with toes pointed in the direction where each of us expected to go – heel already lifted and the ball of the foot dug deep as we each leapt toward the next point.
Now I’m landing on the next stone, and the next, leaving more tracks along the way.