The first vision board I ever saw was hanging in my in-laws’ bedroom directly across from their bed. They looked at it each morning as they rose, and each evening before falling asleep. It was a simple collage, poster board covered with magazine photos of beach scenes and houses lining the ocean, but to them, it represented their dream: to retire to Monterey, California. Not only that, they wanted to live right on the beach so they could walk along the ocean whenever they felt like it.
They believed so wholeheartedly that their vision was within their grasp that I did my best to hide my skepticism. It was true that they’d both worked hard their entire lives, he was a pastor and she was a nurse, but they hadn’t accumulated a huge amount of money, not beach house money. Not Monterey wealth. Their dream was unrealistic impossibility, but sure enough, several years later, we received a call that they’d put a deposit down on a condo right along Monterey Bay. It was tiny, but just within their means. And even though there was another building in front of theirs, if you sat in the right spot at the kitchen table, you could see waves crashing against the beach. They had purchased their slice of heaven.
Needless to say, I was converted. I took to making my own vision boards several times a year–hanging my dreams where I could see them every day. Once my children got old enough, our family’s New Year’s Day activity became making a vision board for the upcoming year. It didn’t take long for the serendipitous miracles to begin to happen.
Clara, my youngest, is a vision board marvel. After making a poster covered with frogs, she became the proud owner of not one but two fire-bellied toads despite our no-reptile, no-rodent rule. (“They are amphibians, MOM!”) When we were given a Great White Pyrenees after our beloved lab died, Clara showed us a picture she’d pasted on a New Year’s vision board two years previously. The photo of the big white dog lying in the grass looked exactly like our new pet. It was eerie.
Despite these obvious vision board manifestations, my very left-brain husband was a doubter, just as I had been years before. Still, he participated in our New Year collage-making to appease me, lining up his images with careful precision. Several years ago, he taped a number of photos of Alaska on his board. It was his dream to ski the big runs in the far north before his knees gave out.
“But I doubt I’ll get there,” he told me as he hung his poster by his bed.
I shook my head. “You’ve got to believe to receive, Hon.”
Apparently he did believe just a little, because two months later he got a call from an acquaintance who works as a ski guide. Jed was heading to Alaska for some avalanche training later that spring and was planning on staying a few extra weeks to practice what he learned. He was hoping my husband would join him for a week of skiing out of Valdez. And just like that, my husband’s dream for Alaskan adventure came true.
Of course, these vision board/dream connections could be just a coincidence, but I like to think that vision boards can serve as a direct pipeline to making possibilities become reality. I believe that sometimes you have to dare to put what you want right before your eyes, announce it to yourself and the whole world, in order to give your dreams wings. I think it matters what you see each day.
That is why I love Pinterest, the newest social network comprised of shared photos and images that link back to the original Web source. If I “pin” a photo that accompanies a recipe for Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites from the website Two Tiny Kitchens onto one of my virtual food “boards,” I can access it easily at any time. Other Pinterest members can see my pin and repin it onto their boards. When they click on the photo, they are redirected to the original recipe. Currently there are 10.4 million registered users on Pinterest creating boards in different categories such as food, photography, travel, style, DIY, etc. . . . It is an idea-sharing love fest, a handy filing cabinet for bookmarking gardening tips and crafting how-to instructions, and a search engine for just about any topic. Best of all, Pinterest is an enormous vision board.
Of course, Pinterest has its critics. A friend told me she’d heard Pinterest maligned as a place where people, “pin travel destinations they will never see, home designs that are beyond their budget, and DIY projects they will never complete.”
But as my friend and fellow vision boarder concluded, “So what?”
Exactly. So what if 90 percent of pinned recipes never get made or craft projects never started. What is important is throwing a possibility out there and seeing where it will lead you. My friend Lyn is an artist and a Pinterest devotee. She has over 100 different boards and 1772 Followers who automatically see all of her pins on their Pinterest page. Last year, after pinning beautiful photos of African women, she was inspired to create a whole new line of sculptures. She says that Pinterest offers her the visual stimulation that her artistic tendencies crave and don’t always receive enough of here in our small town.
But as much as I adore Pinterest, vision boards are still my dream-making vehicle of choice. My best vision board come-true moment occurred last spring when I realized I was wearing the exact same outfit as in a magazine photo I’d taped to one of my vision boards. I ran upstairs to examine more closely the poster hanging in my bedroom. In the photo, the woman was walking with her back to the camera wearing a print skirt, boots, and a brightly colored cardigan–just like me. Her arms were stretched outward as she balanced easily on a log. You could tell she was feeling happy, confident, and carefree. As I looked at the vision board I’d made over four years earlier, I realized that not only was our outfit the same, but that our spirit matched. I had achieved that joy I’d been seeking, the sense that the world was just right. I had become what I’d put before my eyes. My vision had manifested as reality.
(If you are interested in making a vision board, check out the following online article “What the Heck’s a Vision Board–And How Can It Change Your Life” by Martha Beck, life coach, bestselling author, and queen of vision boards. If you are interested in following my Pinterest boards, please click on the red “Follow me on Pinterest” button along the right-hand side of your screen.)