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How Magazines, Scissors, and a bit of Courage changed my Life

Dream Boards

Two years ago, at the urging of my wonderful husband, I made one of the best decisions and chose to invest in myself by attending The Destiny Project – a life-changing course led by Sarah Sherwood that helps you identify your true identity and life mission. At the time, I was struggling with some PPD as a result of caring for my third child, Hallie, who cried the first several months of her life. Without stopping. If she was awake, she was crying. And most of the time she should have been sleeping (and we should have been sleeping), she was crying. There were many times I had to step outside my house so that I would not harm her. I wish I were kidding. It was scary and horrible. We were also under financial duress with a business that was growing, but not at the pace of our family. That December it became obvious that I needed to seek help. Though my mid-wife recommended that I see a psychologist who specializes in PPD, the thought of spending my “time off” in an office talking about how sad I was that my baby cried all the time sounded even more depressing. I sensed that I needed something that would go deeper. Something that would speak to my innermost being. Something that would blow on my barely flickering spirit and fan hope, purpose, and vision into flame. We took money we didn’t have and put it towards my 8-week adventure with The Destiny Project. Little did we know that this little investment would turn our family upside down in all the right ways.

I’m not going to go through all of the exercises we did as part of the course on this post. You have to sign up for the course and do it yourself for that! I do want to share one thing we did that has been life-changing for me, my husband, and our little family. Dream boards. (Vision boards/dream maps/etc). Yes, Oprah has touted them for years now and new-agers love them, too. That’s because they WORK – if you really let them. Here’s what you do:

1. Get a bunch of magazines/catalogs that appeal to you
2. Go through and tear out/cut out every image, word, phrase that stirs you (you don’t have to understand why it appeals to you, just go with it and try not to judge it)
3. Create your board on poster board/a large piece of sturdy paper. Make it as big as you want if you have lots to put on there! Make it obnoxiously big if you need. Again, don’t judge yourself.
4. Hang it up in a place you see everyday. Ours hang in plain view at our breakfast/dinner table. It looks kinda tacky, but it’s worth it to be in touch with your heart every day. You become what you behold.

I know that doesn’t seem that life-changing. But here’s the thing. I did mine and there were several very clear themes that emerged, making it clear what my heart was saying at the time. For one thing, there were about 50 pictures of me SITTING DOWN by a beach, lake, or other body of water, and even a few pictures of actual beds. I WAS TIRED and my heart was trying to communicate with me since I was obviously ignoring my body and my mind. It wasn’t just about needing sleep. It showed me that I deeply value REST. And I love for others to enter into a place of rest as well. It is actually one of our family’s values. Another value that emerged for me was ACHIEVEMENT. It became clear that something was missing in my life at that point. It was something that I had judged so harshly in myself (and in others, if I am honest), and that was – the need/desire/longing to accomplish things – outside of the home. I had tried to be the perfect pour-everything-you-have-into-your-children-and-home kind of woman, but at the end of the day, I really missed connecting in the marketplace. It was like a well of life and creativity was stopped up and contributing to the sadness I felt in my heart. I admit, I felt like I was less of a woman or mother for having that desire. It was such a relief to give myself permission to sit with this value of mine, and instead of judging it, to nurture it and consider ways to engage it. Just taking the judgment away brought so much peace and hope! Many of the other images on my board did not make sense at the time and would take a year or more to begin to manifest (new ager term!). I was hooked though. I suddenly felt like I was a part of life. I felt like I had choices and could live the life my heart wanted to live. Because my husband is an INFP also, he’s all about these kind of touchy feely exercises and readily created his own dream board. We posted them on the wall by our breakfast/dinner table and discussed our boards every day. At breakfast every morning we asked each other, “What do you see today on your dream board?” Pretty soon these images, words, and phrases weren’t just something we were discussing. They began to take root and we began to live them out. I can’t explain it. I just know that at some point I really believed what I was seeing was possible, and that it was going to happen and that was that. When the first dream boards felt stale, we made new ones. And we continued to ask each other every day, “What do you see on your dream board today?” And our kids asked, too. And Preston even made his own dream board (full of Legos). We encouraged him to put whatever he wanted on it. Just get in the habit of knowing what is in your heart and putting it out there to see – without judgment. Little did we know that those dream boards would lead my hubby not only to a career change, but to a whole new life half-way across the country! Though much on our second dream boards is still “in process” and hasn’t fully “manifested,” it feels like it’s time for the third. And I can’t wait! I love seeing what there is to pursue, discover, choose, and become. You never know what will emerge…though I hope it does not involve any drastic changes anytime soon!

This simple exercise was an instrumental part of my turn-around from depression and hopelessness. It began a new journey of greater self-discovery, self-compassion, and endless possibilities that has been more life-giving than the countless groups I have been a part of in the past. It was what my husband and I held on to when none of our circumstances made sense. We believed that what we could see on those boards was possible and that it was worth clinging to and fighting for. Who knew? Magazines + scissors + tape + an open heart + courage = ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES and LOTS OF HOPE.

Disclaimer: Just because I chose to go this route rather than the counseling route does NOT mean that it is right for everyone. Sometimes professional help is critical. This was what was right for ME after my husband and I spent time talking through and praying about the options. Be led forth with peace and joy if you find yourself in a similar situation.

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