“When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are.
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.”
“When You Wish Upon a Star” is a song written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney’s 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio.
Over the past few years a relatively new tool has changed how people manage their own destinies. The tool, called a vision board, is created to represent in a visual manner what a person wants in life. The practice suggests that visualization can lead to the realization of goals. This is a helpful and therapeutic technique for people as they work on goal-oriented outcomes.
Vision boards are collages of images, photographs, and phrases glued or taped to a surface like a poster board. Your selection of items on your board typically represents the dreams you want to materialize in your life. The idea behind the board stems from the reasonable hypothesis that positive thinking leads to a positive outcome. Positive thinking is one result, but the process of creating an inspiring vision and working toward it creates the energetic vibration to manifest it.
We all can agree that a positive outlook is a precursor to positive results in one’s life, but how exactly can the imagery you choose on your board make things happen? The premise of this increasingly popular tool suggests that if you glue a picture of your favorite house from a magazine onto your vision board, you will enable the dream or fantasy to become a future reality. Your vision can be anything from a house to a new car, or something of a more personal nature like fostering a new relationship. All things on the board are what you want or what you are passionate about.
The vision board speaks to the fundamental principles of the Law of Attraction. The basic tenet offered by the Law of Attraction is that a person can attract anything into their lives by “being” more of the emotional vibration they wish to have. By choosing images or phrases the person can begin igniting their emotions with a passion that will lead inevitably to the manifestation of those things they desire.Emotional Freedom Technique is one such method for working with resistance within the Law of Attraction principles.
The vision board has been popularized in recent years by the enormously successful publication of the book The Secret. The Secret, a best seller from 2006, is a self-help book written by Rhonda Byrne. The book is based on a film of the same name. Both the book and the film promote the Law of Attraction and the power of positive thinking. As the official website of The Secret states on its home page, “Everything is possible, nothing is impossible.” In the actual film, success expert John Assaraf tells his story of using vision boards to realize his dreams.
Its proponents from the self-help field have embraced the tool. Christine Bagley-Jones, a psychologist from Brisbane, sees vision boards as a motivational tool. “It’s not like the vision board itself has some magical properties. But it helps to create a platform for the individual to identify and conceptualize what they most want in life, and through their actions they can then manifest it.”
The tool has been adopted by a variety of disciplines in the self-help field, including art therapy. Advocates insist vision boards can help people build self-esteem, teach goal setting and prioritizing, and make individuals more proactive.
Carolyn Mehlomakulu, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Art Therapist, states on her Creativity in Therapy blog, “Through the process of choosing my images, I was able to clarify my goals and hopes, think about what I consider truly important in my life, open my mind to the possibility of having the life and business that I want, and inspire myself to keep moving forward.”
I also have a vision board that I’m always working on. It supports what I believe in, what I want to manifest in my life, and primarily how I want to feel. I also notice that my vision board has things on it that I don’t want on it—things I’m not interested in attracting: reminders, a phone list, a business card, etc. Note to self: keep your vision board clean of distractions! As you grow so will your vision board change and grow with you.
Not everyone is into the joy of creating their own vision boards. There are detractors who see the practice of using boards as counterproductive. Some argue that people who use vision boards spend too much time in the fantasy and not enough time establishing a realistic plan to achieve them. Troubled by the reliance on the cultural forced feedings of positivity, some thinkers see the energy in this area of thought as a waste of time.
Barbara Ehrenreich, a much respected writer, states, “Besides, the constant effort of maintaining optimism in the face of considerable counterevidence is just too damn much work. Optimism training, affirmations, and related forms of self-hypnosis are a burden that we can finally, in good conscience, set down. They won’t make you richer or healthier, and, as we should have learned by now, they can easily put you in harm’s way. The threats that we face, individually and collectively, won’t be solved by wishful thinking but by a clear-eyed commitment to taking action in the world.” Hard work has to be an integral part of the vision. Accepting the possibility of failure is equally important as it teaches significant life lessons.
It is how you use the board that matters. Working with resistances, enjoying the dream, and taking action are all part of the vision board process. It is clear that vision boards are valid tools with therapeutic value to a great many people. Equally apparent are the critics who claim users are only setting themselves up for failure if their vision boards become wallpaper.
The real answer lies more likely somewhere in between the opposing arguments. No one should ever tell anyone not to dream. Just remember there’s always some sweat and tears. The vision board is an expressive tool to support your “being” attractive in attracting the things you most desire.
I’ll leave you with this final quote from Bob Doyle:
“The sooner you can move from ‘trying to be’ to actually ‘being,’ the sooner you will see your desire fulfilled.”
- Loo, Tristan.How to Use a Vision Board to Activate the Law of Attraction. Retrieved from: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/How_to_Use_a_Vision_Board_to_Activate_the_Law_of_Attraction.html. Retrieved on: 19/04/2014.
- Byrne, Rhonda. The Secret. Retrieved from: http://thesecret.tv/. Retrieved on: 22/04/2014.
- Doyle, B. (2011). “Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power.” Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company.
- Body and Soul website. Why You Need a Vision Board. http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health+news/why+you+need+a+vision+board,29981. Retrieved on: 22/04/2014.
- Mehlomakulu, Carolyn. Realizing the Future—Creating a Vision Board. Retrieved from: http://creativityintherapy.blogspot.ca/2013/02/realizing-future-creating-vision-board.html. Retrieved on: 21/04/2014.
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