Slow your breathing down, park the stress, feel the rumblings of transformation: Connect to a cool tool ritual called Visioning
27 years ago, I stumbled upon a practice that helped me in a very dark time of my life. I didn’t know back then anything about mood boards or vision books, we’re talking the 90’s, nobody talked about stuff like that!
Here I was, stuck in bed, dealing with a long term disabling health problem called M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). I was 22 and had been ill for 2 years, my life was on hold, in storage, locked up, paused. I didn’t know how long this was going to continue but it ended up lasting a further 7 years. My self-esteem was in the pan and my confidence … well, let’s put it this way, I had none. Being ill was robbing me of everything. I was desperate to find a way out of this shitty space, but energy wise, I had limited reserves. Having a shower or washing my hair took every ounce of me. I was itching to look forward to a life that oozed wellness, I longed for a career that made me jump for joy and a relationship that shook my world, fulfilling and loving and all that jazz. I ached for travel and yearned for my own space again, because I was living back with my parents having had a 2-year independence-break, working in the world of commerce in a different city. There were dreams, but I just couldn’t see them properly. I was tired all the damn time, the dreams, well, they were fuzzy and deep, deep inside.
I had always been a rock steady journaller, head stuck in a notebook where possible and pen in hand, I had written tonnes of pages on finding my way through these health troubles and scratched out some desires and goals but I was completely stuck.
I couldn’t see a way through.
I wanted to feel less anxious about the way my life was going. Looking around me, I saw other sufferers ill for 20 + years and I cried myself to sleep, hoping this was not going to be me. I was stressed out about the recovery statistics, I was flapping about which way to turn and my gut instinct and intuition were taking a real beating.
Somewhere along the way, an idea popped into my mind, it could have been from Oprah’s ‘remembering your spirit’ segment right at the end of her show, which I devoured, it was the only positive thing I was seeing on TV at that time,
in spite of it being ridiculed in the press, or I may have just been sent a direct message in dream time. What and how, the ideas all merge into one.
This idea kept growing inside of me that instead of writing my dreams in my journal, I would find a new blank notebook and rip out images and words from the magazines that I had piling up in my room. Images that inspired and motivated me. This became my little go-to task of the day, nothing fancy or ‘the secret-like’ but just little-old-ill-me, ripping images with glue stick in hand. I didn’t make big collages back then, it was just small and simple. I would rip and paste an image that my insides loved, a colour, a phrase, a word. If my gut instinct loved it, I’d rip it out.
I recognised after a few months that this little practice was boosting my inner spirit, it gave me a lift.
I felt hopeful.
I began to see similar images popping out, animals featured a lot, dogs in particular, craft, art, making, design, bright colours, scenes from nature, travel, words that were big and bold, things like ‘do it, lush, loving, boss’ I felt a sense of warmth growing deep in my belly, not sure what it was but it felt like – knowing - knowing that I was finding my heart again, somewhere amongst the pages. I could play in here, it was safe, fun and non-judgmental.
This very early visual notebook turned into a cool tool that let me hear whispers of my intuition, it showed me that I could give myself some space to dream. It soothed me when I felt exhausted drained and lifeless. I felt small nudges of what’s next. I got to see a visual cue of my soul and what I was desiring.
Like I said.
I felt Hope Full.
Fast forward to the present day and this has become a crucial part of my creative healing toolkit that helps to rebalance me and also my clients.
Five years ago, I began designing Muse Mantras and I discovered that each card I was designing could be a prompt for a vision page, a little question to help with the focus of the page: for example, how my body wants to feel relaxed, or how my heart wants to feel joy, or imagining the possibilities. It gave me another way to vision and I loved it. So I decided to pull it together and ran it as a course and offered it out there in cyber land, such a gorgeous group of women joined me to sample this programme.
“This course increased my confidence and positive outlook, such a great idea.” Kerry
“It’s so inspiring to look at my visions, I so wish I had done this earlier.” Rachael.
“As I went through the magazines, I felt images and words jumped out at me, they made me feel really positive, happy and warm, I love that this is ‘being the me I want to be’ and I feel I’m entering a transition process, this course is helping me.” Kerry
“I have just had the most wonderful hour – I started to select images and words last night and then this morning I felt I just had to vision first, before anything else. I am so glad I did. Gaining visual clarity around where I find joy feels like it has opened a doorway to the next steps of my life.” Mary
“I’m doing this on my kitchen table and loving it. I’m going to reflect on my whispers but I think my right to enjoy the good life is a theme and I also believe my page is giving me permission to be myself. Loving the course.” Jan.
I knew then it wasn’t just me.
Now when I turn to magazines, glue stick and vision book, I truly recognise that this is a beautiful mindfulness practice and choosing a muse mantra card sends my inner traveller ‘bon voyage’, as she navigates her way through, listening to the whispers of her soul.
I find my breathing slows down, I begin to feel differently about where I’m at and where I want to be. I feel braver. I feel calmer. I feel less stressed about what’s happening around me and I can feel the rumblings of transformation.
My body, mind and spirit reconnects and rebalances.
As I create these empowering spirit loving vision books, I can see the map of my inner world emerging.
I can choose to follow these maps and be guided by the imagery and words, or I can just experience the beautiful process I have just had, allowing the imagery and words to connect to my intuitive know-how.
I was one of the lucky ones, I emerged from that ill health tunnel when I was 29, it was a long slog to wellness, pretty much the whole of my 20s – a HUGE crisis but one that taught me many things about health, wellbeing and healing. I learnt that our health experiences are vast and deeply connected, one can’t be separated from the other. I found my way out because I became my own private investigator, I became my own healer. I researched and read so much around complementary therapies and western medicine, I studied an honours degree in Health to explore it from all modalities and the routes to wellness and qualified as a Counsellor and gaining my adult education teaching qualification I taught Health & Holistic Wellness within colleges and university.
I found my way back.
Most of the time I felt alone in a bubble of illness, I didn’t have anyone to turn to who had overcome a crisis in this way, I had to fathom it all out and this was pre-Google. I had to resort to libraries and the yellow pages! Yet, I developed and created some fundamental practices, my Seven Ways to Wellness, which are the bedrock for my life and for living. ‘Create’ is the 5th Way to Wellness and Visioning is contained within there. As a mindfulness practice, I truly believe it is one path to help with managing and mastering stress and anxiety and coming back to a centre point of balance.
I really don’t want people to feel alone like I did, so I took all that I experienced and now help people to rebalance.
I have felt well for the past 20 years, I have had ups and downs but never returned back to that dark place. As I step into my fifth decade this year, I intend to embrace this new age and deal with new life-changes that are presenting themselves daily, using my '7 Ways to Wellness', because they are just as important to me now as they were 29 years ago.
Visioning is definitely one of the keys that helped me.
Give it a go : )
I am putting the finishing touches to Vision with the Muse a self paced e-course to take you through creating 7 Vision Pages in a Book based on 7 Muse Mantra Cards from The Deck, so stay tuned.
In the meantime if you're in the Oxfordshire area, I'm running a workshop called Vision with the Moon, Sunday Jan 28 at The Wychwood Inn. All the details are here.
Hope to see you then