“Every heroic adventure
begins with a vision,
a deep-rooted current experience
of what the future holds.”
Blood and Ethos*
You are glimpsing the beginning of my vision for last year.
In the cold and cozy days of January, I reacquainted myself with the idea of a vision board. This was a bold move on my part because I have had many visions for my life, I have pursued those visions fervently and many of those visions have come to fruition. It surprised me that many of those pursuits were not actually what I wanted, they were what I thought I was supposed to want and why I have to be so intentional about my consumption of social media. It is humbling to realize that those two things are easily confused in my heart. From years (a lifetime, actually) my pursuit of a vision for my life has mostly taught me what I did not want and even more importantly, what I did not need.
That would be a depressing collage to make.
Thanks to the world wide web, I was introduced to the lovely Rachel at Project Breathe and her post, Vision Boards: the right and wrong way to do them: http://projectbreathe.com.au/vision-boards/
In this article she shares the story of her marriage falling apart and realizing that she had nothing about her marriage on her vision board. As I look to the picture above (cut from the pages of a fantasy life) it is clear that there are some things I was wanting more of: dancing, romance, new places, water, travels, being unapologetic about my choices, realizing I had choices.
That’s some good stuff. I really did and do want that.
What this vision board did not capture is what was already in my life.
Of the many lessons on this journey, I must highlight this one: I can have almost anything I want. It sounds crazy and privileged to say it-and this girl who remembers the day my only pair of shoes broke and I had no shoes to wear to church so I stayed outside because I was so embarrassed, can hardly believe it- but it is true.
What is also true is that when I am holding one thing, I am not holding something else.
After accepting Rachel’s challenge, I began to look at what was in my life that I wanted to keep in my life and what was in my life that is only passing through for this season. Instead of looking at magazines, I looked at my real life and instead of cutting and pasting fantasy pictures on a page, I created a mural on a big blank wall in our apartment.
Included in the mural was an almost full-length mirror, a chalk board, artwork of a lamp with no shade, a winter wreath, a picture of our family dancing like freaks and our family’s motto for last year (We’re never going to survive unless we get a little crazy. -Seal). Each item was full of meaning and symbolism but the mirror was intended to reflect our reality.
The things I saw reflected in that mirror took my breath away. Watching my kids practice for speeches or assess their changing appearance, seeing the impressive number of kids that could cram into that one room and play video games into the early morning, even reflecting what we were watching on TV and the way we treated each other. It was all a powerful resource for seeing what we already have and choosing our next steps based in what is real today.
A true vision for our future is only possible when we allow our reality to teach us, humble us, give to us and guide us.
Otherwise, we simply create a fantasy life in our heads that not only makes our reality disappoint and separates us from new choices we have the power to make, but it also keeps us from the beauty, fun and richness that can only be discovered when we are deeply grounded in our reality.
*Blood & Ethos: I am asking every one I know to read this little e-book. My brother-in-law was kind enough to share it with me. If you would like a copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you along with some questions that I am asking myself based on the reading.