Getting creative: Vision boards, God boxes, and crafty things

vision board1

You are what your deepest desire is.
As your desire is, so is your intention.
As your intention is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny. Upanishads

As I got myself deeper into contemplation about the science of intention in my last post, almost convincing myself to become a physicist – just to prove my own theories – the thought occurred to me that, perhaps, I had got a little off track. Just a little.

Maybe, I thought to myself, it’s time to revisit my intentions for this blog.

You see, I had these seven intentions for these things I desired in my life, and I wondered what would happen if I tested out various ways of manifesting intentions. And I thought I might write a blog to chronicle the experiences I had along the way. That’s it. Nice and simple. No PhD in physics, chemistry, or even philosophy, required.

This post is all about making stuff: vision boards, God boxes, and the idea of creating visual representations of my intentions – which seems to be a popular practice in manifesting intentions. Maybe I should have called this post ‘Manifesting Intentions 101’.

So arts’n’crafty stuff, that should be easy, right? Especially after attempting to wrap my head around algebra in the last post.

Surprisingly, no. Being somewhat of an pseudo-intellectual, I have some resistance to the use of craft activities as a medium for manifesting. Well, I do publicly anyway. I mean there’s creating beautiful, worthy things, and then there’s making collages to attract a new car. Okay, so maybe I’m a bit of a craft snob. I think it goes back to art class in school. I never got to do the stuff I wanted, as such there was a lot of teenage girl eye-rolling at the crafts we were forced to do.

I’m afraid I haven’t improved much with the eye-rolling.

This week, at home with my hideous sore throat for two days, I set myself up in bed with a bunch of old magazines, scissors, glue, and a scrapbook. The very same scrapbook I bought at the beginning of this adventure ten weeks ago. Thus far it had remained untouched as I read, researched, and grappled with the various esoteric concepts I thought I should get clear about before I, you know, made stuff out of paper and glue.

altar vision boardsFortunately the head cold rendered me docile enough to quite enjoy a task that captured my hands without requiring too much mental exertion. Without any theoretical framework whatsoever, I happily spent several hours making my vision boards, representing my intentions of home and purpose. Then I made one entirely of picturesque scenes of Eastern temples. An intention to travel, perhaps? I think yes!

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Here’s my guilty secret. I LOVED making the vision boards – it was fun. When my son came home from school, he was elated to see me surrounded by cut-outs and glue, and apart from a break to make dinner, I continued with them until bedtime. I was hooked. And apparently having fun, generating joy around your intentions is a REALLY good thing. It sure felt good.

And the funny part is, I realised, those vision boards, they look an awful like my fridge-door. My fridge is plastered with quotes and postcards and my son’s bits from school. You see, I have been vision-boarding the heck out of my fridge door and I didn’t even realise it.

The concept of making a visual or physical object to represent a connection with the creative energy of the universe is not new to me. Many, many, many years ago when I was at a women’s rehab, we made God boxes. A God box is an actual box that you put little handwritten notes of problems, desires, or people that you want an certain outcome for. You write it down, put it in your God box as a visual representation of petitional prayer, or of letting go of something that is worrying you.

I can tell you, there was A LOT of eye rolling in that room of twenty odd women, some of whom had just got out of jail, and most of whom were crack addicts from the streets of South Minneapolis (not quite LA, but a long way from Melbourne). Yet as we sat with our plain white boxes, decorating them with feathers, sequins, and paint, something quite magical transpired. The room became light, not as in ‘let there be light’, but a lightness, a levity overtook those women. There was laughter, and banter, as our hands placed the decorations just so. There was the good-natured teasing of the heavily tattooed ex-jailbird who proudly displayed her finished box, which would have put Mardi-Gras to shame with its collision of rainbow-hued feathers and gold sequins.

I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time. Lady Gaga

Most of those women, myself included, would not have prayed if you put a gun to their heads, and yet we used those God boxes. I’m sure most of the petitions involved someone eating that last cookie or not cleaning out the ring in the tub after they took a bath. But we learned the power of letting go by writing those silly little notes and putting them in our multicoloured postboxes to God.

I kept that box until it fell apart about ten years ago. Then a few years later, after I left my marriage, and felt that every day I needed to let go of so many impossible things, I found this beautiful box at Ishka and the tradition was reborn.

god box 2

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr Seuss

As I did a Google search on vision boards, to try to find some theory behind the practice, I was somewhat put off by the plethora of commercialism accompanying the concept. I had finally watched The Secret DVD this week – I mean how can you write a blog like this and NOT watch it? I have to admit I had avoided it in the past and had it written off as a kind of twee New Age informercial – think Dan Brown meets Tony Robbins. Well, what can I say? Now I have watched it, tick, let’s leave it at that.

The reality is, people have been visually portraying their intentions since early humans mixed up a bit of dirt and berries and painted that giant buffalo, the one they intended to catch and eat for dinner, on the cave wall. Its obviously a very primal instinct to put our thoughts into a more concrete form to assist the manifesting process along. Isn’t that the whole idea of churches and temples, to create a physical space that attracts God?

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. Aristotle

I am coming to the realisation that some serious discernment is required in the quest for understanding the power of intention. There is the ancient wisdom from the Vedic texts, buddhism, mysticism, philosophy, and more recently quantum physics, and then there is the revamped interpretations of all that knowledge by a spectrum of ‘experts’ ranging from the highly educated and pragmatic, to the downright shonky.

That said, I continue to read widely, watch all sorts of things online, and basically take what I like and leave the rest.

This article on The God Box did appeal to me. Mary Lou Quinlan – women’s marketing expert and author – was inspired to write a book after finding her mother’s God box when she died. These boxes revealed her mother’s innermost thoughts, fears, and desires, through her little notes to God.

She inhaled a worry. She exhaled a prayer. Mary Lou Quinlan

This has evolved into The God Box Project which aims to empower women and girls to fulfil their dreams. She is currently performing a play, based on her book, The God Box: A Daughter’s Story and donating all the proceeds of tickets and book sales to not-for-profit organizations dedicated to women, family and educational causes. All from her mother’s quiet intentions. Pretty amazing.

Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it. Pema Chödrön

So, vision boards, God boxes, and overcoming my aversion to craftiness. It all seems so hokey. This is a real exercise in humility – I feel embarrassed to publish a post admitting that I am actually doing this stuff. It all feels very teenage girl, as if  any minute now I’ll be sticking pictures of Johnny Depp to my wall again. Actually…

Anyway, I had a serendipitous moment as I cleaned out my God box from last year in order to take some photos. It was a pretty crappy year, so I used it a lot – and I read my many petitions to God.

I asked that my brother and sister-in-law have a baby (they’re pregnant) – tick.

I asked for travel (and in spite of having very little money I went to the UK last year thanks to my lovely friends in Birmingham) – tick.

I asked to find the perfect school for my son to love and thrive in – tick.

I asked for help with my dad’s health and my mum’s difficulty caring for him – tick.

I asked for the strength to let go of a relationship that despite my best hopes and efforts, just didn’t work – tick.

There was some other ones too, but these really struck me. It may not seem much, but when I put these things in my God box, I did so because based on the circumstances at that time, a solution to these problems seemed impossible.

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. Martin Luther King Jr.

vision home

So I wrote out my seven intentions for 2014 and put them in my God box. I’m a big believer in the multi-faceted approach.

This discovery has renewed my faith in intentions – realising the idea is neither new nor unsubstantiated to me. Surely with this demonstrated success of my past intentions, I can suffer the taunts of my friends and colleagues for making and sticking up magazine collages to my wall. Especially if in a year’s time I can say, “ooh, look, I’m a paid writer and published author with a fabulous home and traveling the world as part of my work.” Who looks silly now?

And yes, I am embarrassed to put that out there too. But as my dad always says “in for a penny, in for a pound.”

To be honest, I think I would be looking pretty silly if I did expect all that to happen from a few vision boards. Obviously I realise the vision boards are only part of the process. I have to actually put in some footwork too. As such I am compiling a list of magazines I’d like to write for and I’m sending them submissions. I’m networking with other writers – in fact pretty much everywhere I go at the moment, I am meeting new writers. And as a result of stating my intention to write so publicly, people I have known for a while who never knew I wrote are offering support to me.

Maybe intentions are cosmic navigational aids, they ensure you are pointed in the right direction, for a significant amount of time, thereby increasingly the likelihood of you following through with actions, and being aware of the opportunities that lie in the direction of your dreams.

The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. Barbara Kingsolver

And on the home front, I bought some lavender seeds so I can grow lavender in my hanging baskets. I’m decluttering and rearranging my living space. My vision board showed a peaceful, uncluttered living space, so I can make that a reality right now.

In this way, I can see how vision boards help. They are very right brain, so they use your creative side to harness your imagination, intuition, and holistic way of thinking. This allows you to play with your purpose, plan, and vision, in a way that a list of goals does not. Creating a vision board requires that you focus on only a few things at a time, and really decide what resonates with you. Do I really need to live in a mansion or just somewhere with a sense of space? The use of images creates emotional connections, which according to experts on manifesting intention, such as Wayne Dyer, is fundamental to making them real. 

Vision boards are also hard to avoid – unless you hide them away – I see my mine about 100 times a day. That’s a lot of reinforcement. Unlike my God box where I write something down and then forget about it, I mean, ‘let it go’, I am constantly revisiting my intentions every time I look at my vision board. And in doing so, I see the parallels between my intentions and what I already have.

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. George Bernard Shaw

In addition to that, it is also about realising that all the materials for creating yourself are already here. You already are everything you need to be, you are not broken or damaged or sick. All the materials of the universe exist within you. Intent is not about being more, having more, doing more. It’s just about embracing being. Fully, wholly being.

And in the spirit of being all you need, today’s affirmations are from Farnoosh Brock, of Prolific Living

All that I need will come to me at the right time and place in this life.

I am deeply fulfilled with who I am.

I am a unique child of this world.

I am too big a gift to this world to feel self-pity and sadness.

I love and approve of myself. I embrace the rhythm and the flowing of my own heart.

I have every bit as much brightness to offer the world as the next person.

I matter and what I have to offer this world also matters.

I may be one in 7 billion but I am also one in 7 billion!



4 comments on “Getting creative: Vision boards, God boxes, and crafty things

  1. I made a god box when surrounded by giggling women, then hid it away on the mortifying thought that someone might find it and know I’m not nearly as cynical as I purport to be. After reading this gorgeous post I’ve dug it back out. Not quite at vision boards though, may be something for a braver, future me. Thank you for your beautiful inspiration, as always. x


  2. Pingback: The Oak Wheel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s