Last year, I was in a frantic state of anxiety when I arrived at my friend’s home. Running late, I actually tripped on Megan’s stairs just as she opened the door.
We both had a good laugh over my clumsiness, and once inside she could sense my angst. Apparently, it was written all over my face.
My first book, "A Widow’s Guide to Healing," was due to be published later that year, and I was wondering aloud how I could pull everything together.
I told Megan I had just gotten off the phone with the publishing house, and although everything seemed to be coming together on their end, I felt a tremendous responsibility to make this launch successful. I confided in her that I felt like I was going to be landing a fully loaded 747 plane with only one flying lesson.
Megan is in her mid-fifties, and was widowed a decade ago. She nodded, opened her arms and gave me a maternal hug.
Walking into her home, one immediately feels at peace. Although she is not a yoga teacher, her presence radiates an inner calm that I usually sense from yoga instructors. And while she has not authored a book, Megan has achieved some remarkable things and has successfully changed career paths a few different times.
Leaving the competitive advertising industry, she said, was done out of necessity to maintain her sanity. She went back to college at age forty.
I knew of the outward career shifts she had made, but I wasn’t aware of the inner process she went through to make the changes manifest. I took this opportunity to ask her about how she managed to make the transitions. Then, my friend leaned in, literally, and lowered her voice as if she was about to reveal the secret of it all.
She said something I never expected to hear— "Vision boards."
I caught myself laughing and then apologizing for laughing and being rude. I actually couldn’t believe what she was telling me.
After all, I had witnessed the long hours she spent at the library and local coffee shops studying and writing papers. I knew she worked various part-time jobs along the way to pay for her tuition, and even moved in with a family member for a year to save on rent.
In other words, never did I think her path included vision boards. Megan explained that at first she was skeptical, as well, when her cousin introduced the concept to her, but Megan felt she had nothing to lose.
She explained that creating a vision board is a process, and not just the act of cutting out photos from magazines and pasting something on a board. She said the process is just as important as the actual outcome — in this case, the board.
Sensing my hesitation, Megan strongly encouraged me to go through my magazines and begin to look for words and images of the life that I want to create for myself. She said to be aware of the things that I am drawn to, and begin to dream.
Weeks later, I began to create the board. In all honesty, it was somewhat prompted by the fact that I knew Megan would be asking me about doing it. In the meantime, however, I found myself drawn to images of beauty — of flowers, the outdoors, mountains — and to people — like Katie Couric — and words such as grace, golden opportunities, seeker, new.
Just to be clear — this doesn't mean that you create the board and then wait for things to happen. Trust me, I put in long hours to get my book launched, and made countless connections to ensure my project was placed in the best possible light.
That being said, the vision board did help me by reminding me of my focus. It is easy to become distracted, and having this board provided gentle reminders of what I sought. It served as a type of blueprint.
And what followed after creating the board was amazing, to say the least. Some things happened before the book was released, and others occurred post-book launch.
I found myself accepting invitations that I'd never even dreamt about receiving. For example, I was invited to London to attend a special event. I found myself having dinner at a friend’s house with the very wise Sadhguru. We had never met prior to this. Further, my book was released as the number one ranking in two categories on Amazon.
This time was not without bumps in the road. In the summer, I broke my foot, which was painful, and caused some of my plans to go sideways. However, after my foot healed, I was able to miraculously connect with Katie Couric. I directly reached out to her via Twitter. We began to exchange email messages, and it led to her doing this interview with me.
Inwardly, I began to understand what "being" really means. For myself, it was important to stop doing things all the time. When I began to let go of the need to constantly be in motion, golden opportunities began to present themselves to me.
Creating the board takes time. The tendency with this type of task is to treat it like something else to accomplish and check off, but it is not something that you rush through.
And my friend is correct — the process is just as important as completing the board itself. This particular project also gives you a time to examine your insecurities. The process cultivates creativity and new beginnings.
When you look at magazine pages, what words do are you drawn to? Hope? Beauty? Truth? Recovery? Healing? Balance? Passion?
These are some questions you can ask of yourself when creating the board:
- What do you pursue?
- What do you invite into your life?
- What do you want to make visible for yourself?
- What do you wish to create for yourself?
Creating a vision board doesn’t negate humility. In fact, when you are truly connected with this process, not only does it open you up to receive more, it underscores humility and welcomes gratitude. Arrogance repels, and is distasteful.
The board reminds you to be open, to create with the purpose not only of fulfillment, but of inner growth. Listen to your inner voice, because it serves a clear understanding of what you value and wish to manifest.
Kristin Meekhof is a master’s level licensed social worker, a speaker, writer and author of the book, "A Widow’s Guide to Healing: Gentle Support and Advice for the First 5 Years."
Edited by Jody Smith