Have you struggled with how to create a vision board that works? Do you want to create a vision board that not only reflects your desires and goals, but also helps you identify some steps so you can start working on those goals? 

I've been making vision boards for a few years now, and recently came across a unique visioning technique that enhances the vision board, allowing us to dig even deeper than before and to follow our heart's desire. This technique is based on the work of Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D., ATR, an art therapist and author, from her book Visioning:Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams

There were 4 of us following her process to make our vision boards for 2019. While there is so much more information in her book, the highlights are below. I recommend getting a copy of her book to create your own vision board. 

It starts with journaling

You may already do some journaling when you create your vision board, and before sorting through magazines and other images. This idea isn't new. The addition of journaling helps us gain insight into our goals and clarity on the directions we wish to pursue. In this visioning process, journaling is done with specific outcomes in mind. And the key is to use the journaling technique she discusses in her book. 

The powerful technique for journaling that actually works

You'll need a notebook that will become your Creative Journal - any size or style is fine - and several coloured markers for writing. Throughout each step, you write out the question or exercise in your journal.  

The key is to then write the answers with a different coloured pen and with the non-dominant hand!

This non-dominant hand writing taps into our true inner self, our unconscious mind, feelings, intuitions, inner child and dreams, sometimes even leading us to 'aha' moments. In addition to Dr. Capacchione's observations of others using this technique, neurologists have also shown that use of the non-dominant hand accesses the right hemisphere of the brain where our creative and image centres exist. 

This style of journaling is not new to me. I had learned about and tried it several years ago while pursuing a certificate in Introduction to Expressive Arts Therapies. But I had not thought of using this technique with the vision board process.Having now tried it, I can say that, yes, this technique does facilitate the creation of a vision board that actually works! 

Yes it can be slow and awkward to write or print this way. The trick is to write the same way you would with your dominant hand, e.g. using the same fingers and gripping the pen with the same tightness or looseness. 

And it's important to not think about what you should write, but to let the words flow from the unconscious. If the words don't come easily at first, start by writing blah blah blah; the brain should then kick in and answers begin to come

The Visioning and Vision Board Process:

While Dr. Capacchione breaks down the Visioning process into 10 steps, I have grouped them differently here to focus primarily on the journaling side of the process and share the benefits our group experienced throughout this process.

- Establish a focus phrase or theme

The first step in the creation of your vision board is to journal with your non-dominant hand about what you want for the coming year, and to come up with a phrase or theme that reflects your desired direction. This phrase becomes the focus for your vision board. 

With this phrase now established (although a bit of word-smithing may happen later on), you can begin to find and cut out images and words from magazines, old books, photographs, ephemera and so on that fit your focus. Any pictures or words you are drawn to that do not seem relevant at this point should be put aside to explore later on. When you feel you have enough, look for connections between the words and pictures. You may find some words work well together, or match up well with an image. And by finding such groupings, a deeper meaning may be revealed that you had not thought of earlier.

- Silence that inner critic

That annoying inner critic can rear its head during this kind of process, telling us that we shouldn't bother pursuing our goals, that the plan will never work, we don't deserve it, yadda yadda yadda. 

Non-dominant hand journaling can be very effective at stopping that voice in its tracks, snuffing it out, telling it to get out of our way, that it is wrong.- and to provide reinforcement that we have the strengths and desire we need to achieve our goals and that we are on the right path. 

- Journal about the images

Lay out the images and words on your vision board until you are pleased with the arrangement. Then begin to journal, again with your non-dominant hand, about each image, including any you had put aside. 

I was pleasantly surprised at the meanings and metaphors that were surfacing for each image using this journaling technique. Ideas and steps I could take were coming to mind and that I had not thought of until that point. I was also able to find connections to the images I had put aside, those images I was attracted to but had thought did not fit. These were added to my board. 

And the ideas coming from the pictures covered not just steps to reach my goals, but also related to support networks, how-to's, new ideas, strengths that align with my goals, and reinforcement to be open to what was being presented to me. 

This is powerful stuff!  

- Plan some steps to meet your goals

The last journaling task, after gluing the images and words onto the board, is to pretend you are in the future, 6 months or a year from now, and that you have achieved or are well on your way to achieving your goals. Then write the story from this future time - again in your non-dominant hand - answering questions about where things happened, who provided help, what you did, how you felt, how things have changed, challenges you overcame, what you learned. Not only can you see that what you are pursuing is possible, you will also have steps laid out so you can begin your journey.

Some closing thoughts 

I came away with a clear plan for the first half of 2019. And more than a little excited as I don't think I would have been able to create this plan from my board without this journaling technique.

The others in the group also stated they were going much deeper than when creating previous vision boards. That can be a scary process at times, not always within our comfort levels. By working in a small supportive group, we offered each other encouragement and reinforcement. And there were a few 'aha' moments along the way!

While working on finding images is the fun part, taking the time to put the right pieces into place ensures we each have a vision board that works, and a much more achievable plan for this coming year.

I plan to write more about this journaling technique in a future blog post, as I continue to explore Dr. Capacchione's research and her suggested exercises and activities. Simply fascinating I think.

Related post: Annual Theme? Or Vision Board?


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