My new year is off to a bumpy start. First off, I have a nasty cold (working outdoors in sub-zero windchill can do that, apparently). I had a whole bunch of plans to greet 2018 just right… and, well, they didn’t happen. But it’s only two weeks in and I feel like I’m getting back on track, even if I’m still popping Sudafed.
I finally got around to completing the Finish Strong, Start Stronger visualization exercise with meditation guru Emily Fletcher (you can get the video with just your email address). I felt so empowered by this 25-minute video that I went ahead and decided to undertake making a vision board.
What is a vision board, you may ask? Basically, it’s a way to – ha ha – visualize your goals, hopes, dreams, etc. What you look at every day impacts you. This is pretty much the entire philosophy of Feng shui when you think about it: what is in your environment will drive your mood, productivity, energy and health, among other things. I had never even tried to make a vision board, but I certainly understand the need to have talismans to guide me… I have a great quote by Gore Vidal taped above my desk, along with The 10 Commandments Courtesy of Henry Miller. Plus I have inspirational drawings my daughter has done for me.
But let me backtrack for a moment…
Where have I been? Yes, I’ve been away for the better part of a year. Some of it was losing my voice – that is, I didn’t feel I had anything to share with a world that has gotten a lot angrier and more disenfranchised – but I also decided that the best use of my energy since the 2016 election was to work on myself. In essence, I let go of so much that I couldn’t control in an attempt to address those things closer to home where I thought I might have some sway.
It turns out, I did. And while I didn’t accomplish all my 2017 New Year’s resolutions, I made a ton of progress:
- I got out of a traumatizing housing situation; my new place not only is minus the crazy (mostly, hello, still in Brooklyn), but it also has two bathrooms and an office! Yes, that was on my 2017 “to do”: get an office! I feel so much less scattered now that my work is in its own space!
- I lost about 17 pounds. My goal was 50, but I pretty much kept that weight off all year, and when it snuck up again around the holidays, I got back on a plan and dropped below my earlier plateau.
- I got out of a long-term job situation that I should I gotten out of years ago. Some of it was a lack of opportunity to move on, but when I finally was forced to make some tough choices, I was able to switch to a better job very quickly. Yay!
- I managed to shave almost $20,000 off my debt. Some of this was with help of family, but I also embraced that new job. I work pretty much 7-days/week now, but I’m not drowning in debt anymore, so it’s worth it. I finally got myself situated to take on an interest-free loan, so my hope is by the end of 2018 I will be well on my way to being debt-free.
- I joined not one, but TWO writing groups. Thanks to one of those, I’m about a third of the way through a screenplay I’ve been meaning to write for quite awhile. Again, high hopes for continuing with the group this year.
- I got back into Russian, taking a class for awhile. It didn’t really work out, but my longer goal of relearning my Russian managed to hop up to the front burner for a bit.
So here I am at 2018, and I want to build on my successes of 2017 while turning my attention towards those goals that maybe were just too far out of reach a year ago for me to visualize. Last year was very much about “lightness of being”: I wanted to lose weight, shed debt, declutter and reduce stress. I made a lot of progress on this, and even when I went off track, I stayed close enough to the path never to lose my momentum.
For this year – and at the prompting of Ziva’s visualization video – I chose a one-word theme of LOVE for 2018. Now, I don’t simply mean romantic love, but I do mean finding more compassion in general. So here is my Vision Board:
Some of these items I’d had for awhile, but most of them I found while looking through old magazines. I went ahead and bought about $20-worth of supplies (that’s where the nice L-O-V-E letters came from, plus, well, glitter glue!). I chose two sheets of bright “joyful” poster board colors for the background. I think the dark blue of the LOVE reflects nicely from this contrast.
What these images mean to me vary from whimsy to fantasy to goals to ideas. Starting from the 2018 and working my way clockwise:
- The border is mostly old greeting cards that my dad sends when he and my mom give me money (yes, early-50s, still on an allowance). I love how they look as many are French impressionists; I have been saving them for the day I would make a collage. There are more from where these came (thanks, Mom and Dad!).
- The top right corner represents me: where I’d like to be (i.e. “hotter”), where I am (working my practice; that’s France McDormand and why wouldn’t I want to model myself after her?!), where I am looking (“What’s Your Greater?” a great question!).
- Below that is a headline I clipped about baking entitled “Child’s Play.” Apparently baking brings out your inner kid; as it so happens, my son gave me the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook for Christmas. Below this are three funny photos that are there to remind me to challenge myself, even the seemingly impossible: one of the drawings is from a tip, “how to climb a coconut tree.”
- The bottom corner holds a Patek Philippe watch, which might imply future wealth but I love the fact that there are extra numbers on the watch face (it’s a 24-hour watch… yes, please!) along with names of cities and countries around the world. This both reminds me that there’s plenty of time to reach my goals but also that there are a finite number of opportunities that remain… time is there for me, so don’t waste it.
- A great white shark with a huge diamond in its mouth! It spoke to me… no idea why! Maybe it will come to me one day (the meaning, or at least the diamond… not the shark!).
- Just above the shark is a comic of a snake charmer with the cobra commenting that it just turned 40 and realized it’s much more comfortable in its skin because – at 40 – its skin is so much more comfortable! I scratched out “40” and put “51.”
- ETA – I actually missed this in the original post: Just above LOVE is “The New York Times Magazine: The Culture Issue,” which pushes several buttons for me, but one of my goals for 2018 is to be published in a major publication (i.e. not just a beer magazine), although I would happily be featured in this issue, too!
- Below the LOVE: These whimsical doors I pasted in the center and above I wrote, “What doors will open for you?” Leaving the option to go through one or more or just dream about what lies beyond the threshold(s).
- Imagine it! Pure joy here.
- Hot Black Dude. Because, well, LOVE can take many forms. 🙂 And, come on… if Franklin Leonard staring down at me doesn’t nudge me to finish my screenplay, nothing will!
- The plastic googly eyes peering from the back of a cellphone with a perfect sky behind. Sneaking in, but not quite sure of its surroundings.
- GOTTA HAVE IT. From an interview with Spike Lee. Loved the font and the colors and, well, Spike Lee is Brooklyn and a genius. I added gold glitter glue just in case there was a need for more inspiration.
- A painting with the instruction to “Be Uncool.” I’ve never been cool, so might as well own it.
- In the center below the numbers is a quote from the Lee article: “It’s always been my belief that if you’re really going to be an artiste, you really have to go after the truth.” Amen.
- Directly below this is a crown chakra symbol, because while love might center in the heart, it’s the mind and spirit that I want to guide my love: it’s far too easy to be led astray by what the heart wants.
- And finally, dead center, is a cool “A,” which stands for Astrid, of course.
I hope you find your vision in 2018! Feel free to share your goals/hopes in the comments below.