When you were a child, did anyone ask you “what do you want to be when you grow up?” If so, what did you answer? Most of us had grand visions for our future—we did not set limits on what we could accomplish. Our imagination was free to roam wild, unburdened by what Mike Dooley calls “the cursed how’s.”
As children, we did not focus on the hard work and training it might take to get us from point A to B when we dreamed of our future. We envisioned ourselves dancing on the stage, flying to the moon, performing life-saving surgery, receiving applause, or even an Academy Award.
When did we stop dreaming? At some point along the way, life’s responsibilities and burdens, or losses and disappointments, turn off the dream machine. We put our nose to the grind stone and simply hope to make it through one more day.
If we do envision the future as adults, it is not with a focus on the end result—as we did when we were children. Instead, we focus more on how we are going to achieve our dreams. Overwhelmed by all the perceived roadblocks (time, money, resources) we give our dreams less and less attention, until eventually they fade away.
Nothing can interrupt a dream like the death of a loved one. Our life’s narrative not only takes an unexpected turn, but it can feel as if our story has ended. In reality, our story does continue, albeit not as we expected. We know as people who have loved and lost (and from contemporary grief research) that the relationship with our beloved does not end, and continuing bonds not only bring us comfort, but also help us adjust to life after loss.
At some point—maybe it is today—we will raise our head up and look towards our future. Once we have learned to cope with our life after loss, we choose to create the life we desire. So go ahead. Dream for yourself once more, while carrying your dear one close to your heart.
How To Make Your Vision Board For Life After Loss
- Cardstock or Poster Board (11×17 or larger)
- Glue Stick
- Stacks of Magazines from many genres (home, fashion, health, travel, hobbies, etc.)
- Printed Photos from the Internet (optional)
Step 1: Meditate – Take a few moments to reset your mind and body by focusing on your breath. This clears the way for creativity. Now imagine, what do you want to create in your life? Use the free guided Crafting Your Vision meditation at http://mindfulnessandgrief.com/vision-board-meditation/
Step 2: Browse & Clip – Look through the magazines and clip out the images and words that attract you, and set them off to the side. Some images and words will have a clear meaning to you, while others may have no direct correlation to what you desire. Cut them out anyway!
Step 3: Arrange & Paste – Arrange all of your images on your card stock or poster board and glue them in place.
Step 4: Reflect – Take a look at your completed vision board. Now that you know where you want to go, what is one very small action you can take towards creating the life of your dream? When can you take that step? How will it impact your life?
Step 5: View – Hang your vision board where you will see it at least once a day, such as in the bathroom where you brush your teeth, or in your office or bedroom. Let your vision board work for you by constantly reminding you of what you want to create in your life.
Heather’s Vision Board Tips
I “retire” a vision board once two “visions” have manifested. I then create a new vision board, and may carry visions from one board to the next, or let them go. This method helps prevent the vision board from becoming stale, and keeps my mind fresh and alert. Balance your energy: Spend time dwelling on the images without worrying how to make them come true–AND take tiny symbolic baby steps towards your desired goals—such as ordering a course catalog from school you want to attend, or visit an open house in a neighborhood in which you desire to live. Beware of the “cursed how’s” and keep on dreaming!
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