What You Need to Know about Vision Boards
Vision boards, Affirmations and Intentions. My close friends raised eyebrows when I got into all this “woo-woo” stuff years ago. Now these practices are becoming more mainstream (and sometimes even backed by research). It’s become easier to articulate and experience why they are worthwhile and actually make an impact in daily life. You may no longer be met with raised eyebrows when you want to learn how to create a vision board that really works.
In fact, my life has transformed dramatically (in good ways) since I started making vision boards for myself. I’ve been doing this along with setting intentions and writing affirmations. These techniques have supported the process of bringing my heart’s desires to life.
I have a particularly amazing and magical vision board story to share. After this, I’ll share with you some of the reasons why vision boards “work.” Take this inspiration to heart to understand how and why you might create some fun and magic in your life by making a vision board (or two or three!) for yourself.
My Vision Board Story
Back in 2012, I was ready for some life changes but I was not sure what needed to change. I was working on a “good” but unhappy marriage, raising and educating my two children, and seeking my “true calling” all at the same time. (Some might say “midlife crisis.”)
So, I made myself a vision board that included images of a happy couple driving in a car through lush tropical vegetation, smiling kids body-boarding in Hawaii, some sacred nature sites including Mayan temples in the jungle, images of women doing yoga in nature, lush green gardens, and a stone-built dream home. (I still haven’t been to Sedona’s red rocks with women doing yoga accompanied by Tibetan singing bowls, but I’ve practiced a lot of yoga with women and bowls in other locations!)
In the center of my vision board I glued a very specific image. This was an image of a Thai Buddha sculpture sitting on a wooden cabinet with candles on either side. Behind this was a beautiful hand-built stone wall with a circular opening behind the Buddha. To me, this represented the sacred space of a yoga studio where I’d like to lead a retreat.
I didn’t read the captions of the images I was pasting on my board. So I didn’t know where this studio was, or where in particular any of the other images were. They represented things I wanted to do and experience. Or feelings I wanted to experience, as well as ways of being in the world that I wanted for myself.
My Vision Board In Real Life
Fast forward three years. In the fall of 2015, I was thrilled to be the lead teacher on a yoga retreat in a five-star, gorgeous boutique hotel on the white sands of Tulum Beach in Mexico. The first day, with the sparkling Caribbean Sea and its delightful breezes at my back, I sat down to teach the opening yoga class on the retreat and was shocked at what I saw. Directly across from me, presiding over the treetop palapa yoga studio, sat the very same Thai Buddha on the very same wooden cabinet in front of the exact hand-built stone wall with the circular opening behind it. I was literally sitting in the exact before-unknown yoga studio that was the central image of my vision board!
The story gets better. Recently, when preparing to lead a Vision Board Workshop on a retreat I was offering in another part of Mexico, I decided to look for the image online to share my story. With a little lucky internet sleuthing, I found the magazine page that included the image, and, lo and behold, it was in LA Yoga Magazine. This is the very same magazine that is now publishing my writing!
There were so many magic moments that I experienced on that first dream retreat. This led to a series of now 11 retreats in the Riviera Maya. Since then, my life has taken many new and “magical” turns. In the past seven years I’ve explored many sacred Mayan temples in the jungle. I’ve taken my kids kayaking in the Caribbean and snorkeling in countless cenotes. And we’ve all enjoyed many scenic drives with the windows down through tropical landscapes. The major difference is that the happy couple now includes a new life partner. (You guessed it–that’s another story!)
Vision Boards Really Work!
Vision boards can change your life, and for the better. The trick is understanding that some of the changes that you visualize will “manifest” in different forms than you may expect. I’ve learned that “The Universe” responds to my intentions. The Universe has the best intentions for me. But this sometimes means something quite different than what I am able to dream up for myself from my current perceptions and expectations.
Quantum mechanics, ancient wisdom, mystics and modern psychology all suggest that we interact with and impact the world through our perception. Physicists observe that they change the behavior of electrons just by looking at them! We interact with and impact the outer world in intricate energetic ways. Our inner work becomes a “blueprint” for our external life and experiences.
Vision Boards as Tools for Visualization
When you create a vision board, you are literally focusing your attention on things that you want to experience and feel. When you look at it often, over a period of weeks or months, you engage in a regular practice of visualization.
Olympic and other world-champion athletes use visualization and mental practices to enhance their performance. They rehearse mentally with highly detailed images and engaging physical senses and emotions. Visualization means literally seeing and feeling that experience (and success) before it happens.
Muhammad Ali was known to enhance his performance in the boxing ring by practicing visualization and mental rehearsals along with affirmations. These mental practices, at the very least, can boost motivation and self-confidence. This directly impacts one’s performance and life experience.
If my experience counts as anecdotal evidence, visualization combined with intentions, affirmations, and an openness to synchronicities which might seem “magic,” can usher in a whole series of life-enriching experiences. These can have the potential to change the entire course of one’s life.
How to Create a Vision Board
Feeling inspired to make a vision board? It’s a wonderful, relaxing activity to enjoy alone, or with a loved one or a small group of friends.
Supplies for Creating A Vision Board
- Stack of magazines with a variety of subjects.
- Poster board or other large piece of cardstock paper.
- Glue stick or glue.
How to Create A Vision Board
- Give yourself an hour or two free of distractions.
- Pour a cup of tea, glass of wine, or beverage of your choice.
- Put on some relaxing background music.
Set the Mood for Creating a Vision Board
You can sit and contemplate or journal about some areas in your life that you want to include in your vision. Some of these can be the following: vision, career, home, relationships, travel, finances, social life, spirituality, health, and life goals. Or, you can simply start and “randomly” choose images that stand out to you.
Take Action in Creation
- Flip through a few different magazines.
- Stop to cut or tear out images (and words or phrases) that either relate to your heart’s desires and life goals, or speak to you.
- You might be surprised by what you end up being drawn to!
- Allow yourself to choose images that seem compelling to you even if you don’t know why.
- After you’ve amassed a pile of clippings, cut them more neatly and arrange them on the table in an attractive layout.
- Then start gluing them to your poster board, either overlapping or with space between them, as you prefer.
- Most likely not all of your clippings will fit, and it’s a helpful exercise to prioritize what goes on to your vision board.
The Vision Board in Progress as a Tool for Contemplation
- As you work with the images and words you’ve selected, reflect on the feelings, including emotions and senses, that the images convey.
- This “energetic” part of the vision board is just as important as the images you include.
- Imagine yourself in the images, and allow yourself to feel the joy, excitement, freedom and gratitude you would feel in the actual experience.
(Look for one of my next articles on the power of gratitude in advance!)
Complete Your Vision Board and Make it Your Vision
- Once your vision board is complete, hang it up in a place where you will look at it often.
- You can also take a photo of it and use it for your screensaver on your computer or phone.
- I keep mine hanging over my dresser.
- Try to take a moment each day to look at, smile about, imagine and feel the feelings the vision board elicits.
Ask yourself if there’s one action step you can take each day that relates to working towards or experiencing the heart’s desires that you’ve represented in your vision board.
Create Vision Boards for Different Goals and Moods
You can create just one vision board for your life in general, or create a couple that focus on different aspects of your life. I recently made one for myself envisioning a more rooted home and relationship life, and a separate one focused on the next chapter in my career. Another fun exercise with vision boards is to create one and then pack it away to be opened up like a time capsule 1, 3, or 5 years later to see what has unfolded.
To work with the vision board more directly and intentionally, you might journal about it, meditate after creating it, or even write some related affirmations, intentions, and/or goals and action steps. (Watch for another forthcoming article: The Art (and Science) of Affirmations and Intentions Done Right.)
Connecting to Our Subsconsious Mind through the Vision Board
Since our subconscious mind influences our actions and bodies in significant ways, just having the images in the “background” or in the back of our minds can have a noticeable impact. What we focus on impacts the world and our experience of it, so we might as well focus our attention on experiences that make us feel good, happy, and expansive.
You may wish to share your vision board with a loved one or trusted friend who you know will “see for you” all the good you’ve included. When self-doubt or nay-sayers try to caution you that your dreams may not come true, simply return to appreciating the feelings that the images invoke for you.
Watch and wait for the surprises and magic! When the synchronicities appear, don’t hesitate to act on your visions and dreams!
Enicia Fisher loves to hold sacred space for healing and transformative experiences by guiding people to come home to their body, breath, Nature, and Spirit. She has been curating, hosting, and offering healing retreats since 2012 in the US and Mexico. Founder of Sanadora Sanctuary Retreats and Sanadora Yoga International Teacher Training Program, Enicia has taught yoga since 2005 and has been practicing yoga personally since 2000. She loves yoga because of its mind-body approach and because of the healing power of integrating all aspects of being through the wide range of yogic practices: body, emotions, mind, soul, spirit, philosophy and mindset, and lifestyle practices.
Enicia created and leads Heart Alignment Yoga? and “heartfulness” meditation with an emphasis on Divine heart qualities and life-affirming yoga philosophy that inspires people to live with a deeper connection to their own heart, body, and spirit.
Enicia has a Master’s degree in Education, founded a small private school in Southern California, and is registered with Yoga Alliance as a highly trained and experienced teacher, E-RYT 500.
Enicia is a mother to two wonderfully creative and grounded young adults and is also an author currently preparing her first novel for publication. A Southern California native, Enicia now divides her time between her family base in Los Angeles and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Enicia began leading retreats in the Riviera Maya in 2015, and has offered ten retreats in the region since then. She lived in Akumal/Tulum for three years and continues to collaborate with local healers and ceremonialists on all of her retreats, in honor of the indigenous traditions and cultures being incorporated.
Enicia wishes to honor the Mayan guardians of the sacred lands of Tulum (Ekab), and her teachers who have shared their wisdom and practices: Leon Xochitl Coatl, Adrián Salas Xopan, and Devi Chandra Ma from Quintana Roo, and Ashley Fiala, Doreen Madison, and David Kutruff from Shraddhaa Yoga School.