Around six months ago, I created my second vision board ever. But the whole experience was more than just cutting up images from magazines and pasting them on a foam board. It was a little bit more involved than that. A friend of mine invited me to a vision board workshop held at her therapist's house. A few other women were there as well. There was a whole program that we had to follow. We discussed what a vision board is, what it is to be stuck in life and to find the strength to move forward. We sat at the therapist's dining room table in her gorgeous villa, telling each other what we hope to accomplish in our lives, we did an exercise where we wrote down each and every dream and desire that we harbored and we meditated for a little bit.
After lunch we got down to the business of looking through magazines (I had brought my own since I had done this before and I knew what I wanted to put on my vision board) and cutting out images, words, phrases that spoke to us on an intuitive level. After we had finished cutting out the images, we set about pasting them on our boards.
For me the experience differed from the first time I created a vision board. The first time, I was in Egypt, I was still in the clutches of postpartum depression, I had a baby at home and zero help, and I was mostly doing the exercise for an article I had to write for the magazine I was working for at the time. I had what most women aspire to, a marriage, a baby and even a job working from home, And when I created that first vision board I gave it way more thought than it deserved. I cut up images from magazines sitting in my bed while my child was napping next to me. I was worried that she would wake up any moment, and she did. I had to finish that vision board in between feeding and napping times, but I still created something that I looked at every day. I believe that, at the time, I wanted different things and whatever was foremost in my mind was represented on the vision board. I was still grappling with new motherhood, and I remember pasting a few images of mothers smiling lovingly at their young children. There was another image of an elderly lady holding a camera and I wrote the words "Never stop learning" above it. It was a time in my life when I constantly questioned my identity and what my accomplishments were, if I had any, and if it wasn't too late to accomplish more. A few months after that, I started painting, and I would always remember the image of the woman fiddling with her camera because it was one of the pictures I focused on the most when I looked at my vision board every day.
My second time creating a vision board was, I believe, a much more organic experience. I knew on a conscious level the things that I wanted out of life. They were the things borne out of the circumstances I found myself in. I believed that all I wanted was financial security and independence. I was separated from my husband and so I wanted freedom, a fresh start. But the images that I pasted on to my board were representative of things that I never really gave much thought to, or rather they were so deep in my subconscious I never even noticed they were there. Things like: physical and mental health (represented by a few images of women doing some sort of exercise or yoga), peace of mind and a quiet sense of joy (a women jumping in the air with her hands out), access to and communion with nature (a woman swimming in a forest lake), a sense of fulfillment, inner strength and teaching my daughter an independence of spirit. Of course, financial security also made it on to my board, but it wasn't as prominent as I thought it would be. It turns out I actually wanted the simple things, the meaningful things: a sense of purpose. Another image was of an old woman sitting on a rocky beach with a huge canvas on her lap, painting and looking out at the ocean. Over that image I wrote, "Fill your life with art and music." These are the things that money cannot buy, or rather the things that I can have without money. Ultimately, they are the things, the gifts that I can give myself.
As am I writing this, we are already into our second month of the COVID-19 lockdown (albeit a more relaxed lock down), and there were things that I feel I had manifested already. Peace of mind during these stressful times, for one. At the beginning of the lock down I never thought that I would survive. I thought I would be having panic attacks every single day. But other than a couple in the beginning, the last few weeks have been surprisingly calm for me. Perhaps peace of mind and patience go hand in hand. And patience is just a matter of taking it day by day, even moment to moment, keeping hope alive but also not looking too far into the future, because you never know what is in store for you. That may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your interpretation and outlook on life. So peace of mind, in the end, is really just being present in the here and now, in your breath, and in the things that are within your reach.
Every time I look at my vision board I am reminded by how much my goals have evolved, how much I've evolved and how ultimately the subconscious works in mysterious ways. You may think you want certain things, the material things, but what your subconscious manifests through your actions are the things you can't touch, the invaluable, simple things, the things that are not really things at all, but what they signify: a sense of purpose.