A Visionary is defined as one who can envision the future; thinking about or planning the future with imagination or wisdom.
In each new year, many people set out to make resolutions for the new year in order to “improve”, finally break patterns to “change” or reach goals in items like finances or weight. The intention is wonderful, but when I look back at lists I have created in the past, sometimes as early as February the list becomes a “to do” list of sorts and either gets buried or I simply become disenchanted with what seems to have transformed into a daunting list of goals. I understand there are many ways to structure goals to have more likeliness in achieving them, such as S.M.A.R.T. goals (you can google those as I will not be elaborating in this post). However, perhaps it's just the format (words, no color, no excitement, no VISUAL) that is most disenchanting to me. My life is full of so much color – perhaps the rich influences of my Indian heritage or perhaps my days of living in LA or all the tropical places in the world I am drawn to – the bottom line is life in color stimulates and MOTIVATES me. I even have a pair of orange tinted sunglasses I wear when it gets too grey for my liking in NYC. Even the keyboard I type with is rainbow colored.
Enter the Vision Board.
I get excited just mentioning it. I was first introduced to the concept of creating what wellness author Jane Alexander called “treasure maps” (even more exciting – and a bit more descriptive) when I was a late teen. A few short years later, without feeling like I knew exactly what I was doing, I flipped through magazines, taking out visuals which moved me at an emotional level (they made me happy and they were pictures of things I wanted...basically my heart screamed “YES!!”) and eventually finished with a board full of flowers, a fountain, beautiful bench and a bunch of romantic phrases. I was 22 at the time and little did I know that I put together the visuals of the place that I would be proposed to (which just happened a few weeks ago at age 35). Seriously – and its crazy because as the proposal was happening I had no idea it was going to happen then (perhaps it was because of my haziness from having taken a red eye from California to Florida just a few hours prior...perhaps its because I didn't take my phone out with me....or more honestly because I didn't see any photographer anywhere AND definitely because I didn't have the right outfit; it’s the most casual I have ever been in a flower garden...yes, I can be superficial at times - I do believe there is a time, place and dress code for everything). Thus, I honestly thought I could not possibly be being proposed to because I was in a tank top in shorts, forget the absolutely stunning setting I was in with the man of my dreams. That night after I really absorbed the monumental and very happy event, I had a dream which brought the visual of my very first vision board to mind and it just solidified what was happening even more. Since making that vision board 13 years ago, I have been so blessed to have seen some gorgeous flower gardens in my life – from India to France to Bali to Costa Rica and California. And, the one that the vision board most looked like was the beautiful rose garden in Florida that I was proposed to in - not the most exotic destination in the world yet something I envisioned as a totally romantic place to me! It may sound a bit too good to be true or that perhaps I am "looking" to connect my vision boards to my reality, but I myself only feel confident about sharing this article with you after so many years of using vision boards; So many visions and phrases I have put on past vision boards have come true to such SPECIFICITY (and every time I am surprised/shocked....and then not).
Yes, I am going to provide guidance, broken down into a few easy steps of how you too can create a vision board and literally watch your dreams become your reality.
But first, to indulge in a few more inspiring shares in order to emphasize the magic of vision boards: A few years ago, running my businesses of my organic skincare line (Shaffali) and cultivating my private yoga + meditation teaching practice to VIPs in NYC and LA (no website as I take referrals only), I was feeling confused about what else I wanted to DO or HAVE in my life. And, believe me, I get that true peace and happiness are only found in the present moment - this is part of what I teach my clients. But I also believe we are all put on this earth with special gifts to contribute in our own way to make the world a better place. It is not that I was ungrateful for already having a dream life - I am so thankful for both of my businesses but I knew there was more I wanted – so I turned to a vision board – and it was a pivotal time. I had just gone through yet another break up of someone who had been in my life the past few years and then, at 33, I wanted to take stock of a few things, so I made 3 large vision boards:
1. The first vision board was for my SELF (WHO AM I IN MY IDEAL LIFE?) - I felt like I wasn't utilizing my special gifts to their potential and there was still so much more to do in my contribution to the world. But first, I needed to put out there what was important to me. After making the board, I realized my self expression was dying to come out. Notice there is no woman in a suit running a business on this board - or any images of busy city life (though ironically I live in NYC). This led to me owning the fact that I love that I am an artist far more than I am a business woman - and it is my creativity that fuels the business woman in me. Hence, I now wear my DVF dresses a lot less these days...and am on a path of sharing so much more of myself without worrying that I am "supposed" to be a certain way - and it is what makes Shaffali Skincare so different - it is authentically rooted in holistic healing and rituals for beauty + wellness.
2. The second vision board was for LOVE (WHAT DOES MY DREAM LOVE LOOK LIKE?). I could not stand creating another list of what "qualities that I am looking for in a partner for my love life". I have dated enough very different individuals (British scientist, French artist, Los Angeles healer, South African designer, NYC banker to name a few) to be so open minded to varying qualities yet I knew there were some things things I envisioned in my dream love life. So, there you have it universe. It is apparent that I am a romantic, I love to travel, dance and cuddle.
Some REALLY EXCITING THINGS THAT HAPPENED:
1. OUT of the BLUE (meaning I was not actively looking and an old contact reached out), I got to live in paradise teaching yoga for a month - it was well timed and the perfect opportunity for me given that I also run Shaffali Skincare.
2. I also found love, and slowly, over the time we have been together, our moments could be pasted right on top of identical pictures on my love vision board (perhaps to be shared in a future post). Yes, I am finally with the man of my dreams (who again proposed to me in a rose garden that looks like the very first vision board I made). Yes, I say it all the time and I mean it: my reality is MY dream and my dream is my reality.
Ideally after seeing and reading the examples above, you may be ready to create your own vision board - just make sure it suits you (meaning it may be digital or have a very different look such as being made with paints or drawings - yes, you could even make it on pinterest, though I have yet to use the site myself - which may change very soon). Most importantly ensure that the dreams are coming from within you and not what others expect.
My Tips for making the most-authentic-for-you vision board:
1. Sit in a meditation so that your mind is clear, calm and centered - so that you can come from the higher self within you (your spirit, not your ego). For a guided meditation, specifically for creativity, feel free to join me here. For convenience, here it is in the post:
2. Set an intention for what it is you are making a vision board for....or not (if you want to completely plug into your subconscious). In the article above I give examples of both a vision board that was from my subconscious (the flower garden) or the intentioned ones (myself, my love life and my businesses).
3. Collect magazines that would most likely have the visuals you are looking for (some of mine came from my mind/body wellness magazines as well as my spa magazines). If you are making a board for your dream home or wedding, you may want to get magazines specific to those items.
4. PLAY - select images and words WITHOUT overthinking (let your heart scream "YES!"), cut them out and paste. Watch your dreams unfold.*
*This is not an automatic thing.
First off, be careful of what you ask for - the universe will listen; In the past, I made some sort of reference to multiple loves without realizing it and alas, I was a serial dater for a while.
Second, ensure that other areas of your life are in line to allow for the beauty of your dreams to unfold. If you are not being true to your path in life, you may not get from point A to point B. I highly recommend yoga and meditation for this. As well as rituals to take care of yourself, such as the Shaffali Facial :) Please see the videos below - they are a great example of the content creation and sharing I refer to above.
In any case, my wish is that through this post you have found some sort of INSPIRATION to DREAM and VISUALIZE - now go and live the life of your dreams! Turn YOUR DREAMS INTO YOUR REALITY!
Lots of Love + Light to you!
Founder, Shaffali Beauty + Wellness