MORE THAN INTENTION, IS ACTION
AN ESSENTIAL OIL VISION BOARDING EXERCISE
This post is contributed by One Drop member – Cherie Tseng.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” —Mark Twain
The creation of vision boards was popularised years ago with the book The Secret and their main Law of Attraction thrust. It is based on the idea that your mode of thinking directly affects what the universe gives you. You receive what you manifest, it says. If you put positive mental energies into the universe, then you increase you change of being the recipient of positive outcomes.
Workshops on vision boards usually have people come together to trawl through magazines looking for pictures that best exemplifies the life that you envision: a bigger house, a fancier car, more money, success. This undoubtedly draws from psychological schools of thought like creative visualization. It would please the Descartians among us: we think therefore we are, and all that.
Over the years, reviews have been mixed; despite even an Oprah endorsement. Traditional vision boarding has lost some of its lustre with even research that suggests that such practice as publicised might have a counterintuitive reaction where practitioners purposely negate potholes and obstacles in a bid to keep negativity at bay. Other issues include practical ones: many of us don’t quite buy magazines anymore.
Still, taking stock, especially after year as unusual as 2020, can only be useful. Think of it as reorientating yourself to your True North; recalibrating, retriangulating.
This adaptation of vision-boarding, which borrows from the classic version insofar as it encourages you to, well, create a board. But sans magazines, and layering essential oils and poignant quotes over personal reflection and introspection. Focusing on action atop intention, method and manner over mere aspiration.
So, let us begin!
Step 1: The centre must hold
For most of us, we all have a central core that drives us. It is most likely our family, but it could be something or someone else. Whatever is that core, put a photo or picture of that in the centre of your vision-board. For me it’s my family.
Step 2: Find your annual anchor(s)
I like words and tend to have a few words that keep resurfacing for me. It could be a long train of thought that took root and never let go, it could be from something someone said that stuck. But we all have that nagging “thing” that becomes a central ethos of your “now”; then crystalize that into words or a few pictures.
For me, there are four words that keep resurfacing in my journaling, the things I am drawn to. They are words I find myself echoing over and over to myself, to people. So I’ve picked four: Harvest, Abide, Anchor and Create. I won’t go into details since you’d have different versions of this. I’ve laid mine out as such, you should too, with yours.
Step 3: Essentially, next, layer essential oils
I have always found essential oils to be a powerful partner in my life; in my physical, emotional and spiritual wellness journey most significantly. So, layering essential oils into your vision-board is a powerful way to add a different dimension to things. There are a few ways you can do this: first, you can research which oils fit best to your anchors. Second, you might simply, well, zen it. This, I mean, you go through your stash of oils or find the one that seems to call out to you. It may not be a direct and obvious fit but give it a go anyway.
Print photos of the oils and stick them on your board. You can even smear a bit of each over each photo like I did. It adds a distinct olfactory dimension to your board! I love it.
Step 4: Draw out your heart
One of the reasons I dislike using magazine cut-outs is that none of the pictures is really mine. They are my selection of the pictures available to me. I find it far more powerful to use personal images; either photos from your archives, stage photos you can snap instant photos of or draw (like I did.) If you feel your drawing skills might not be your strong suit, head over to sites like Pinterest and download an illustration and trace it in! Working on it by hand makes it personal and it helps you truly internalise this journey.
For Anchor, I selected a spray of Bilbo or Gingko leaves because they signify resilience and inspiration.
Step 5: Action the intention
While psychological research has shown the power of intention, Mark Twain was right to remind us that action trumps intention. We need to still put in the effort to ensure we are prepared when the opportunity comes by.
For each of your annual anchors write out some actions that you would/could/should take. These should help you flesh out how your anchor might play out.
For create, for example, I wrote specifics on what Create means to me and my year: in writing, in art, in the gifting opportunities; at work, at home and at play. Yours might be, say, Growth and you could have things like completing a course you always wanted, read a certain number of books and keeping a learning blog.
Step 6: Make Connections
After you have written all your little action points, find connections between them. More often than not, all the various parts will be interlinked in some way or other. Why do connections matter? They matter because it will help you realise how interconnected these desired outcomes are. This chain-linked effect means that you’d be doubly or triply enthused about doing something on your board knowing it has a trigger and trickle effect on your vision.
Step 7: What drives you?
Each of your anchors, its related actions and connections all help propel you towards a vision you obviously want; whether it’s towards self-improvement, financial security or better balance in life. For each anchor, consider your actions and derive what it GIVES YOU. Want to do your Phd? What does that mean for you? Want to become gold level leader? What does that give you?
The question I’m asking you to consider, really, is, what does each of your annual anchor give to you, your life, your central core?
Sidebar: Since experiencing 2020, you will find that I, now, seldom speak about work-life-balance. Rather, I simply speak of Balance. The reality is for many of us, work and life are so co-meddled and it is hard to handlined block one out of the other. It forms a fairly unhealthy zero-sum game anyway. Rather, “poor work-life balance” is really a boundary issue and someone who struggles with work-life-balance will probably see imbalance in other parts of their life too. So, it seems more tenable to see the work-life imbalance as a symptom of something deeper.
Step 8: Mantra
Well, in the strictest sense, what I am asking of you is not really a mantra. Rather, I am asking if you could find a quote, verse, saying to accompany each of your anchors. This could be an adage that resonates with you, a axiom that you came across on Instagram or something you sought out. You could even make this part removable so you have the option to update as you see fit throughout the year.
Step 9: Finish up!
I know it seems like all of these aforementioned steps happen at a single sitting. It does not. It usually takes me two to three weeks and possibly many iterations to get to my final outcome. I usually start before Christmas and settle into things only well into January. And really, who says we can only vision-board at the beginning of the year! And, of course, I know of people who mentally mull for days then sprint to completion in a single seating.
The point I make is that, there is no hard and fast rule on how this needs to be done. We are each on our own journey, so find a manner and method that works for you.
I do insist on making one push though, and it has to do with actioning our intention. Let’s try to at least do ONE thing on our action list for each anchor by month’s end. For me, I took on a writing project last week and have been conscious about doing daily devotionals—I realised the app I used now comes with a 10min version, so that works well for me.
Enjoy the process!
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