Last New Year’s Day, I sat with a pile of old magazines, clipping random photos, slogans and words, which I stuffed into a manila folder. It was a version of a self-discovery activity that I had done with my high school students decades ago. What seems like a mindless exercise, actually can be quite revealing as the sub conscious points to what is important. From those random bits and pieces of paper, a theme often emerges; deep-rooted dreams and lofty goals are revealed. I guess it is almost Socratic in nature as you skim each glossy page determining if it is significant enough to be included in the mix. In other words, as you continue to ask the pressing question, eventually, you will arrive at the truth.
And, of course, then the obvious next step is to decide what to do with all of it it once you have finished. For me, it was the creation of a vision board, something I had heard of, but had dismissed as an indulgent new-age craft project. I have learned to open my heart and mind to the possibilities of life, and so, I carefully glued each one to a small poster board. By the time we had finished eating the black-eyed peas and cabbage, and the football games were a distant memory, I had mine completed and hanging in my closet in a place where I would see it on a daily basis.
It is interesting how those positive images and encouraging slogans, stayed with me. Much like a song that remains in your mind, playing over and over again, I repeated the hopeful phrases of good health and complete healing each morning, and then, throughout the day. Maybe in some small way, the exercise helped me to remain optimistic, but like any regular workout, it had benefits I could see compounding with each passing month.
As this new year approached, I began to collect the supplies I would need for making another one. I was anxious to see what would stand out this time, what insight I might gain from the messages. And interestingly enough, I seem much more enthusiastic about my life, more hopeful about the year to come. I focused on words like “strength” and “confidence.” And “hair.” I made a collage of one powerful sentence: “I do not have cancer.” Ah, what a difference twelve months makes.
The Bible says that as a man thinketh, so is he. Certainly the mind is a powerful tool for change, reflection and self-care. I have often considered that idea over the past year, carefully maneuvering my thoughts into a more positive mode, even when I am inclined to feel disheartened or down. I have learned to set my sights on what brings me joy and peace, which begins with how I think about my life circumstances. So far, I think it has worked, and the vision board has helped.
I didn’t get my beach house, by the way, so it is going to be a carryover. I guess losing those last ten pounds are, too. Some goals take a little longer than others.