When you think about your vocation as a Celebrant, what vision comes to mind? Is there a path that seems clear? Are there obstacles to achieving your aspirations? Can you articulate how you want your business to build as the year unfolds?
Most of us have an idea about the quality and standard of service that we want provide to our clients. Getting clear on our own vision, however, is often not much more than a perspective with fuzzy edges about the future.
Back in 1991, I was introduced to the concept of creating a 'visual of images and words' which represented what I wanted to manifest in my life in the coming year. It was a new concept for me, and I was instantly intrigued. Such an opportunity sounded fascinating, and the creative aspect to it appealed to my artistic nature.
It also sounded a bit intimidating! After all, expressing creativity may have been second nature to me, personally, but it was not something I considered for my business.
I really wasn't sure at the time, but I opened to the process. The outcome was that I had a colourful, expressive image that I could hang in my home and see every day, and that meant that I would be focussing on my heart's desires. "Hmmm", I thought. "This is going to be a new adventure."
That was 27 years ago, and the annual process since then has been awe-inspiring! I was hooked instantly and I have been devoted to creating annual Vision Boards every year since.
Occasionally I look over my previous collection of nearly three decades of Vision Boards and I remain amazed at how this process clarifies our journey in life and helps us manifest what is waiting to come in to our lives. My techniques have changed over the years and the evolution shows how I have become more daring with how I express my vision. My appreciation for the value of this type of exercise has deepened, and I have become an avid believer in the process.
This right-brain creative process is a superb companion to a more left-brain written business plan - working together, both will open doors and opportunities if we believe we deserve them.
Typically known as Vision Boards or Dream Boards, I have always referred to my own creative visuals as 'Treasure Maps', each creation supporting me in charting my course for the year ahead. The idea of a treasure map is that it helps you get from one place to another, in order to ultimately discover unknown treasure, or in this case, unknown possibilities.
When we hold our dreams and aspirations inside and leave them there, unexpressed, they tend to stagnate and not manifest because we don't give them 'life' or expression. So taking your heart's desires and expressing them visually will support you in bringing the goals and results you most yearn for, more deeply and fully into your life.
I made my early Treasure Maps using a simple process: a large poster board with words, and images from magazines representing elements that I wanted to clarify in my life. Sometimes I added photographs and prose, and an occasional embellishment such as a ribbon, or charm.
Over the decades, my technique has evolved to creating a more focussed visual, sometimes just about one specific area of my life and profession, and sometimes encompassing many areas of my anticipated journey ahead. It just depends on what is getting my attention, where I need to deepen my commitments, things I need to more bravely pursue, dreams I am ready to manifest, changes I am ready to brave, behaviours I am ready to replace.
This idea of creating an annual Treasure Map is not all that different from a practice used by many successful business people. Ask them how they manifest their success and they will tell you that they visualise it happening; they draw creative mind maps in their notebooks, or they make lists with accompanying intentions for what they wish to make happen. So, visual manifestation is not a new idea, but it is one that is starting to be recognised more and more by people who wish to take focussed control with how their lives unfold.
Some like to create a dedicated board on Pinterest, others keep an art journal and illustrate their hopes and dreams for their life. Another way is to create a screensaver or background on a computer screen or mobile phone.
For me, I am a rather hands-on, artsy and creative person, so I prefer to make something that has texture and vivid colour, a creation that I moulded myself, something I can hold and a product that offers a source for contemplation.
I have made a variety of Treasure Maps besides posters, that include ideas such as:
For 2018, I used an old child's board book and up-cycled that with decoupage papers, ribbons, embellishments, paints, charms and my handwritten intentions (handwriting what we want to manifest is very powerful). I wanted something this year that I can sit with, hold and contemplate in quiet moments, while enjoying a visual journey every time I look through it ... reminding me of my heart's desires and inspiring me every day to take vibrant action to achieve those wishes.
It is a process that can be done any time, though some like to make theirs in the early months of the year such as January or February. Others don't need to follow a calendar year, instead choosing to make a Treasure Map on or around their birthday, which is the start of their own personal year. You may find that mid-year you feel an energetic burst and you're suddenly inspired to focus on your life's desires.
This blog is introducing the idea at the onset of Spring, an ideal time for new beginnings, renewal and a fresh start. A Vision Board can be made, and be effective, absolutely any time.
Before I get started on my new Treasure Map, I clear away any old thought patterns, beliefs, prejudices or fears that I may have collected over the previous year which could create obstacles to manifesting my intentions. To do this, I use my Burning Bowl, which is a small marble bowl (you can use any bowl that is heat and fire resistant). I write down all that I want to 'release' on a plain piece of paper, loosely crumble that, and then set it on fire with a lighter or a match. As it slowly burns, I thank those old beliefs, fears etc. for every way they served my life, and then I let them go as they are no longer needed for my new journey ahead. Releasing old, no longer needed attitudes and behaviours makes room for more positive, productive perspectives.
Are you carrying any limiting thoughts into the coming year? Do you want to avoid dragging them into your brand new space of possibilities?
You don't need those anymore. They are not the truth about who you are. They are just thoughts, not the truth. They’re just, simply, thoughts. Add those into the burning bowl and watch them dissipate.
It's important to understand this before you can create a visual that will support your intentions. You may want to consider what you most want to achieve in the coming months, or perhaps there is an area of your life that you want to change, enhance or redesign somehow.
Is it a dream you still want to achieve, or are you holding on to outdated desires? Is it is a dream that someone else influenced in you, possibly not a desire coming from your heart? Is it time to consider a more suitable update to your long held wish? What would that look like now?
Use any combination of those as a focus. You might choose a 'word' as your inspiration, or a phrase, or a series of words. (My word for 2018 is 'Embrace' - every opportunity, every idea, every obstacle, every blessing, and so on. I want to embrace everything that crosses my path this year without fear, concern or expected outcome. I just want to let the journey happen while welcoming every possibility.)
It is possible that this year ahead is either a time of reflection or a time of action. Being clear on this can help you determine your focus. Our lives function like the seasons; sometimes we are dormant and just need to be aware, sometimes we are vibrant and make things happen - but we equally cannot be both at the same time. Pay attention to where your are in your life so that you can be present with the right energy.
If so, identify those and include those intentions on your Treasure Map. Focusing on what we want to 'keep' in our life is just as important as what we want to change.
How creative you wish to be depends on your style and comfort level with expression.
You may prefer working with a sheet of A4 paper, or it may be a poster. Maybe you want to just keep a special journal you can write in and add illustrations or doodles when you are inspired about your life's aspirations. Perhaps you like the idea of decorating a box and using that as a special place where all of your greatest wishes are preserved. You can be as simple, as creative or as expressive as you like.
You'll want to gather some basic supplies:
Use creative websites to customise and creative visuals of your key intentions. There are many out there - I use the simplicity of www.wordart.com to generate visuals of particular words that I want to be the focus of my year ahead.
I often recommend that this process takes place on a day when you can have some time to yourself to just contemplate your life and your profession, without too many interruptions.
Take some time journaling about what was positive in the past year, what may have held you back, the behaviours that didn't serve you well, the attitudes you wish to discontinue, the perspectives you wish to create, outcomes you'd like to achieve in the year ahead, behaviours you want to bring in more regularly, habits you wish to create, habits you wish to ditch, people or relationships you wish to support you along the way (and who needs to go?). Walk through your life, chapter by chapter, room by room, and notice the 'work' that needs to be done. Does a professional relationship need repairing? Will you benefit from personal development and learning something new? Are you unintentionally shutting doors that are being shown to you? Are some outdated perspectives still preventing you from seeing your potential clearly?
You are not looking for flaws, you are looking for hidden potential and possibilities. What is getting your attention? What needs to be tended in the coming year?
Play some inspirational music in the background. Promise yourself not to be distracted by social media and phone calls or texts. Simply use the time dedicated to your own creative process, whatever that may be.
Your Treasure Map ritual can mark a new beginning, or it can define the end of a chapter of your life. This creative process can mark a profound time of change, or seal in the dreams and desires of a life you have yet to live.
When couples are married, and children are honoured in a naming ceremony, there are vows or promises that are made to support what lies ahead. What might be your 'vows' to yourself for the year ahead? What do you most want to discover? What do you most want to create as a shape for the future? What have you learned from the challenges and difficulties you endured in the past year? Why do you believe those were along your path at this time?
If you wish to fly to new heights, begin by setting your sights on small, moderate destinations you can reach a little at a time, and then create a flight plan, a creative 'map' that will be your guide.
Don't be afraid to change your intentions if something else comes to you clearly - or if one course of action just isn't feeling right, intuitively.
Today, you have the power to choose the destination of your dreams. Create your own marvellous Treasure Map. Follow the route, pay attention to the clues, gather your courage, call on your strength, be ready to honour your commitment, make adjustments along the way ... and get on board with making 2018 the most inspiring and rewarding year of your professional life!
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