How Do I Want To Live My Life?
By Mary Edson
I have always struggled with New Year’s resolutions. I like the idea of taking time to reflect on my goals and areas of growth but, I set myself up to fail. I do not follow through with my New Year’s resolutions for a few reasons. First, because my resolution tends to leave my mind rather quickly. After a few weeks or a month, I simply do not remember what I had intended my resolution to be. Secondly, on the rare occasion that the idea of my resolution sticks, I have already failed because I tend to choose something that I want to do everyday. For instance, last year I decided that I wanted to decrease my shoulder pain, I chose four stretches that I would do everyday. I have never, and may never be, the type of person to do anything everyday. Just as quickly as the resolution entered my mind, it escaped. It begs the question: if I want something so bad, why do I set myself with unrealistic steps to achieve my goal?
Well, here we are. The New Year welcomes us as we celebrated with friends and family, toast over a glass of Wassail, bundle up for festive cheer and perhaps, reflect on the past year and our hopes for the upcoming year. There was one year when I had not thought about any New Year’s resolutions. Not a one. My mind had been full of thought though. I had been contemplating and considering the ways in which I desired change in my life.
However, I had also been witness to and had been participating in an internal conflict between my inner guidance and inner critic. One reminding me of the work that I want to be doing, letting me know that I really could do it; while, the other was, not so politely, screaming that I am wasn’t creative enough or smart enough, that I should let go of this dream. The thing is, at the end of the day, it is my intuition that I trust most and my intuition always resides with my inner guidance, not my inner critic, hence, why and how I had found myself at Southwestern College. So, why had I been ignoring my inner guidance? I suppose because it is scary, because it takes a lot of work because in that case, it was logistically confusing. I had a lot of the basic how, what, why, and when questions for this inner guidance.
As part of stepping into the New Year assured that I need to make some very tangible changes in my life, I married my inner guidance with my inner critic through a vision board, also known as a dream or action board. Vision boards are easy and quick to create (of course, you can spend as much time as you would like on your board). They can be specific or very broad. My vision board was specifically oriented toward work and finances this year, but in the past I have created boards that included anything from the type of house I wanted to live in, to exercise goals, to my desires to be a part of a community. I highly recommend this project anytime of the year, but it seems very appropriate for stepping into a new year.
Here are some basic questions to get you started. You may want to journal a bit about each question and see which answers spark your interest.
- When do you feel the most fulfilled in your life?
- What areas of your life are not fulfilling?
- Are there any cycles or patterns in your life you see as valuable or as needing a change?
- What does a truly enjoyable day look like for you?
- What are your goals for the upcoming year?
Once you have an idea of what type of visioning you are doing, here are some basic steps:
Collect your images: You can find images in magazines, newspapers, books, etc. You may also want to include natural objects such as feathers, leaves, rocks or found objects such as household items, fabric, or recycled goods. Personal items including: photographs, journal entries, and receipts can help inform your work as well. Feel free to get even more creative and add your own drawings or paintings if you please.
Organize your images: I recommend organizing your images before gluing. You may wish to organize like images with like images or in a way that produces a story; perhaps, you prefer sporadic placement of your images. Whichever way you decide to organize your images is completely up to you. Glue images and allow to dry.
Find a home for your vision board: I believe that just the act of creating a vision board allows for movement toward what you desire. However, vision boards are meant to be looked at, not put on a shelf and forgotten about. If you are able to look at your vision board daily, it can act as a wonderful reminder and a congratulatory pat on the back as you step closer to living your life, the way you prefer.
What now? Allow your vision board to act as an affirmation about what it is you are working toward in your life. If you find that over the course of a year, you have not seen the changes you would like to see, please do not judge yourself. Change can take a long time. It may be a good time to ask yourself if your original vision board is still aligned with what you desire in your life. At any point, feel free to alter your vision board by adding or taking away something so that you more clearly identify with the board.