Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams


In Visioning, acclaimed art therapist, designer, and pioneer in personal growth through creativity Lucia Capacchione reveals a road map to the creative process that can be applied to health, relationships, career, home, and other areas of life. And all you'll need to accomplish your goals are a pair of scissors and some glue!

Using the same principles and steps designers use to bring their dreams into physical reality, Capacchione shows how you can design your very own dream ...

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In Visioning, acclaimed art therapist, designer, and pioneer in personal growth through creativity Lucia Capacchione reveals a road map to the creative process that can be applied to health, relationships, career, home, and other areas of life. And all you'll need to accomplish your goals are a pair of scissors and some glue!

Using the same principles and steps designers use to bring their dreams into physical reality, Capacchione shows how you can design your very own dream life, home, work, and marriage. Learn how to use the talent you already powwess to:

  • Originate a concept or idea
  • Feed the idea
  • Assemble design elements
  • Start the production process
  • Refine and complete the design
  • Create a dream support team
  • Celebrate the final product

Lavishly illustrated with photos and collages to spark the designer within, this book will show you how to make real the notion that if you dream it, you can do it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This how-to manual for "manifesting your heart's desire" will no doubt prompt memories of kindergarten collage-making for many readers. Based on her observations of engineers, architects and designers (including toy and theme park creators), Capacchione offers a framework for shepherding an idea into reality, whether the goal is to create a company mission statement, improve one's health or build a dream home. An art therapist, corporate consultant and the author of 10 books (The Creative Journal, etc.), she instructs readers on choosing a theme, gathering images and words that "grab" one's attention, finding order in the chaos, committing one's vision to paper and glue, getting feedback from others, dwelling on one's vision, getting help to implement the plan and celebrating the final result. With a tone that's both playful and serious, Capacchione provides detailed instructions and numerous exercises for working through this process. She also encourages journal writing (using both hands to engage both sides of the brain) and addresses common internal and external obstacles. Even if some of the numerous samples and stories culled from her workshops come across as a bit schematic and glib, Capacchione provides a fun and empowering approach to creativity for those willing to roll up their sleeves and play in the rich field of their desires. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585420872
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 994,317
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D., A.T.R., is an art therapist, artist, author, popular workshop leader, and corporate consultant who has worked for Hallmark, Mattel, and the Walt Disney Company. She lives near Big Sur, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Designer Within


Visioning is purposeful daydreaming applied to everyday life. It is about thinking with your heart and allowing your true wishes to become reality. A Visionary's language is images and words from the heart. Deep within the heart we find the creative self. This creative self is home to the practical visionary within, our unlimited potential, our spiritual DNA, or life's purpose.

    This creative self is our silent partner. It is always ready and willing to help us express our true desires in the world. The lover of books who spends hours browsing in bookstores, the amateur gardener who loses herself weeding and planting, the hiking enthusiast who can't seem to get enough of nature's beauty. These are ordinary people honoring the impulse of the creative self in daily life. For although it is our silent partner, it does have a voice. It speaks in images, in daydreams and night dreams. It sends messages through the body. Sometimes the creative self expresses through music, poetry, or art. It often comes through loud and clear in meditation and prayer.

    The voice of the creative self is our creative conscience. It keeps us on track when we:

    · ignore or forget our heart's desires

    · sell out to the demands of others

    · shelve our dream in order to get someone's approval

    · get stuck in a mindless and boring rut

    Without the guidance of thecreative conscience it's easy to get overworked, addicted, exhausted, or sick (or all of the above). When that happens you know your heart and soul are starving to death. Your creative conscience must resort to pain and discomfort to get your attention. The pain is there for a reason. You need to do something about it. Veer too far off the path of the heart and you get a pebble in your soul. Life hits you over the head with one of those big lessons: illness, an auto accident, bankruptcy, the relationship that ends painfully.

    Some of life's catastrophes are preventable, some are not. Indulging in self-destructive behavior, like addictions or abusive relationships, can be reversed. But what about circumstances beyond your control? How can you predict that your company is going to downsize you out of a job? Or that an earthquake or flood will leave you homeless? Or that your spouse will die? Whether you are facing a crisis of your own making or one that was thrust upon you, Visioning works. Acquiring the habit of listening to your heart and giving voice to your creative conscience is a great survival strategy, enabling you to design and build the life you want with the pieces that life has given you.


Visioning is rooted in the idea that you can design your own life, that it is within your power to:

    · take charge of your own imagination

    · become a purposeful dreamer

    · design the life of your dreams

    · Vision your dream into reality

    Visioning begins by naming your heart's desire and translating it into pictures and words on paper. It is the same process designers, architects, and engineers use when they get an idea and create sketches, models, and blueprints. They know the alchemy of turning thoughts into things. There's nothing mysterious about it. It's the process known as design. And you can learn it, too, by designing from your heart's desires. In fact, in my dictionary, the word desideratum immediately precedes the words pertaining to design.

DESIDERATUM—something desired as essential or needed.

And the words following design are desirable, desire, and desirous.

Desire and design. Side by side in the dictionary. A perfect verbal road map for the adventure of designing your life. Knowing what you truly desire, you can create your life with intention and make it a work of art.
    My favorite definitions for design from the dictionary are:

· to conceive and plan out in the mind
in Visioning you'll do this through mental imagery
· to intend
setting the intention is the first step in Visioning
· to conceive and draw the plans for
your collage is your plan or blueprint
· a particular purpose
your heart's desire is your purpose
· an underlying scheme that governs functioning, developing, or unfolding
that's Visioning

    As a Visionary, you qualify as a designer according to the dictionary definition:

· one who creates plans for a project or structure
the project is your life, the plan is your vision collage

    Now let's explore the dictionary definitions of desirable and desire and see what they have to do with Visioning.

· a strong wish, longing
Visioning helps you know and honor your wishes
· an expressed wish
your collage and journaling are the expression of your strongest wish
· eagerly wishing
the passion you feel will create a magnet for opportunity

    The dictionary definitions of the word vision are also worth exploring.

· something seen otherwise than by ordinary sight
this is the "wish your heart makes"
· a vivid picture created by the imagination
these are the mental images you'll portray in your collage
· the act or power of imagination
you'll be developing this power through Visioning
· unusual wisdom in foreseeing what is going to happen
collages have an uncanny way of showing you things before they happen, tapping into your innate intuition


Practical visionaries in any field often say that they think in pictures. Visual thinking is second nature for artists, designers, and architects who have developed this innate ability as part of their craft. Filmmakers and theme park designers create storyboards (cartoonlike panels telling the highlights of their story in captioned pictures). Successful executives, business entrepreneurs, scientists, writers, athletes, and just plain folks use mental imagery every day to "design in the mind" what they want to accomplish in the world. This has been true in the field of competitive sports for many years, in methods such as the inner game of tennis or golf.

    Your Visioning collage will be a kind of storyboard or blueprint of the life you want to create. I say "kind of" because it won't be a linear, step-by-step representation of what's about to unfold. Rather it will serve as an intuitive impression, an all-at-a-glance preview of coming attractions coming from your intuitive creative self. And why is visual thinking and graphic representation through art so important for a Visionary? One reason is their suggestive power.

    Visualization and other techniques for creating mental pictures are being used in the field of medicine. Patients of all ages and walks of life have been taught to use their imaginations for managing pain, dealing with life-threatening or chronic disease, and for losing weight. Carl and Stephanie Simonton blazed a trail many years ago in the field of healing by using mental imagery. Cancer patients are guided in mental Pac-Man games in which they visualize the cancer cells being gobbled up. Children are especially good at playing these imaginative healing games through visualizing battle scenes, Star Wars scenarios, cops and robbers chases, and so on. These techniques have been popularized by physicians like Martin Rossman and authors Shakti Gawain and Jean Achterberg. My Creative Journal, a method of visual diary-keeping, has been used in patient support groups with great success for many years.

    What was once considered a highly esoteric pursuit-thinking things into reality—has now become quite common. The fact is, we all do it every day. You may think you don't know how to visualize, but stop and think for a minute. If I ask you to imagine a red apple, what do you do? By seeing with your mind's eye, you reproduce a mental image of a red apple, don't you? That's why we call it imagination.


The human brain's right hemisphere contains the centers that govern visual-spatial perception and the ability, to see in mental pictures. We use this ability every day, when we remember the route to work or visit a familiar restaurant or imagine a red apple (as you just did). Actually, we don't just see with our eves. We see with our brains, too. In recent years a great deal of information has been gathered about the visual centers in the brain through research in pathology and new imaging technology for scanning the brain. Observation of stroke victims and others who have suffered brain injury to the right hemisphere has contributed to our store of knowledge about how the human brain works. For instance, after suffering damage to the visual memory centers, patients cannot remember things and places they have seen many times before. This visual amnesia causes these patients to lose their way in previously familiar territory or impairs their ability to recognize people or objects they have known before.

    For those who think they cannot visualize, who don't seem to see mental pictures or have a vivid imagination, here are some simple exercises you can do.


Visual Remembering

1. Sit quietly and relax for a few seconds. Then look around and find a simple object in your environment, something that is a basic geometric shape, like a circle, ball, or square. Perhaps it's a piece of fruit, a square table top, or a rectangular door or window frame. Look at the object for a couple of minutes, observing its shape, color, and texture. Then close your eyes and remember the object in your mind's eye. In your imagination see the shape, color, texture, and any other details you can recall.

2. Recall the last meal you had. Close your eyes and picture yourself there. Where were you? What did you eat? In your mind's eye picture the food on your plate: the colors, shapes, and textures.

3. Think of a favorite room in your home or office, one where you spend lots of time. Close your eyes and imagine that you are there. In your mind, look around. What colors, objects, and textures do you notice?

Creative Imagining

4. Now imagine a meal you'd like to eat. Just make it up. Where would you be and what would you eat? Picture the plate in your imagination. What food would be on that plate? See the shapes, colors, and textures of the items you've selected in your imagination.

5. Imagine a place you've never been before but have heard about or seen in pictures. Perhaps you take a mental trip to Hawaii or Italy or Japan or some other place you have never visited. Close your eyes and see what images come to mind when you think of that country or place.

6. Using your powers of visualization, invent a place in nature that you would like to be. Perhaps it's a country meadow, a lush tropical forest, a majestic mountaintop with a breathtaking view, or a beautiful beach at sunset. Use your imagination and picture it just the way you want it.


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Table of Contents

Visioning Introduction: Life as Art, Art as Life

Part 1. The Process
Following the Pathways of the Heart

1. The Designer Within

Thinking with your Heart. What Is Design? Thinking in Pictures. Visual Imagery: How It Works. Visualization: The Mind's Eye

Dreaming the Impossible Dream. Block Busters. Thoughts Becoming Things. Visualization: Picture This

We're All Designers. Visualization: Reflecting on Past Success

The Fear of Art. Art-Making, Your Natural Birthright. Visualization: Dreams That Came True

Visioning: How It Works. Ten Principles of Design. The Ten Steps of Visioning. Techniques Used in Visioning. Two Brains, Two Hands. Journal: Warming Up—Dancing on Paper

Why Visioning Works. Pictures and Words

2. The Field of Dreams

Preparing the Inner and Outer Space. Gather the Tools. Supplies. Setting Up Your "Creativity Gym." Prepare the Space. Talismans, Totems, and Good Luck Charms. Peparation: Setting the Stage, Creating a Studio

Prepare Your Inner Space. Focus : Creating the Container. Imagery: Symbol for Your Creative Self

Unfolding from the Creative Self

Moving from the Creative Self. Movement Meditation:Inner Listening

The Silent Partner. Journal: Meet Your Creative Conscience

3. Get a Dream, Get a Life

First Design Principle: Get an Idea. Visioning Step 1: Make a Wish. The Courage to Dream. Journal: Permission to Act

Finding a Focus. Crafting a Focus Phrase. Focus Phrases: A Menu of Possible Themes. Journal: Finding My Focus Phrase. Journal: What's the Problem?

Reinforcing Your Focus Phrase. Focus: Flash Cards

4. Sorting and Sifting

Second Design Principle: Feed Your Idea with Research. Visioning Step 2: Search for Images and Words. Explore the Treasures in Your Research Bank: The Art of Gathering. Image-Finding as Meditation. Research: Grab What Grabs You.

Ad Art as Poetry in the Market Place. Poem-making: Wordplay

Third Design Principle: Connect the Research to Your Own Idea. Visioning Step 3: Focus on the Vision. The Balance Between Freedom and Structure. Following Your Heart. Focus: What's Hot and What's Not?

What's in a Word? Magazines as Chinese Fortune Cookies. Poem-making: More Wordplay

5. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Fourth Design Principle: Assemble the Design Elements. Visioning Step 4: Compose the Design. Design by Intuition. Lay Out the Elements. Focus and Contemplation: Your Symbol Here

Random Acts of Beauty: Seeing Relationships, Making Connections. Finding Your Own Style. Focus: Playing in the Land of Make-Believe

Matching Words and Pictures. Word Jazz: Ransom Notes from the Soul

6. Order Out of Chaos

Fifth Design Principle: Mix and Match in Rough Mock-up Stage. Chaos and Creativity. Visioning Step 5: Explore and Find Order in Creative Chaos. Recognizing the Inner Critic. Journal: The Inner Critic

The Mistakes Myth. Journal: Guidance from the Creative Self

7. The Design of Your Life

Sixth Design Principle: Develop the Design. The Pieces Coming Together. Visioning Step 6: Create the Collage. Collage: Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together

Turning Words on Their Heads. Zen and the Art of Cut and Paste. Collage: Word Weaving

God Is in the Details. Mixed Media: Connect the Dots

Other Formats for Visioning

Part 2: Seeing Results
Letting Your Mind See What Your Heart Already Knows

8. Talking Pictures

Seventh Design Principle: Refine and Finalize the Design. Visioning Step 7: Articulate the Vision. Journal: Image Writing

If Pictures Could Talk. Journal: Writing by Heart

The Story Inside the Collage. Journal: Telling My Story

Eighth Design Principle: Start the Production Process. Visioning Step 8: Reinforce the Dream. Visual Affirmation and Visualization: What You See Is What You Get

Dealing with Resistance. Protect Your Dream. Journal: Keeping the Faith

A Wish Your Heart Makes

9. Seeing is Believing

Ninth Design Principle: Get Help. Visioning Step 9: Embrace the Reality. Don't Just Do Something, Sit There. What's Behind the Dream. It's About Time. Journal: At the Write Time

Taking Care of Business. Journal: Thinking with Both Sides of Your Brain

As Luck Would Have It. Journal: In the Write Place

Reach Out for Help. Journal: My Personal Dream Team

10. Let's Have a Party

Tenth Design Principle: Complete and Celebrate the Final Product. Visioning Step 10: Celebrate the Dream Come True. Journal: Give Yourself a Hand

Lessons Learned, Qualities Earned. Journal: You've Got What It Takes

Saying Thanks. Journal: Thanks to the Creative Self. Letter Writing: Reach Out and Thank Someone

Celebrating the Dream. Journal: Throwing a Celebrate-the-Dream Party

Part 3: Visioning In Action
Photo Album of Success Stories; Ideas and Suggestions

11. Visioning in Work and Career

Problems on the Job: Dealing with Difficult People. Case Study: Marissa and the Manager from Hell

Job Change and Career Transition. Case Study: Hold Fast to Dreams

Affirming What You Want. Collage and Journal Applications. Illness and Work. You and Your Career. Visioning in a Support Group. Organizing a Visioning Group. Structuring a Group Session. Group Dynamics. The Power of Group Support. Collaborative Visioning for Teams, Companies, and Organizations. Visioning at Work. Visioning and Organizational Development. Activities for Organizational Visioning. Team Building and Project Development

12. Visioning and Relationships

Finding Love in All the Right Places. Case Study: Lisa's Story and Collages

Wedding Bells and Honeymoons. Case Study: Aleta's Collages

Baby Makes Three. Case Study: Christine's Story, Collage, and Baby Announcement

Suggestions and Applications. Creating a New Relationship. Improving an Ongoing Relationship. Collaborative Visioning for Families. Media for Family Collages. Case Study: Beverly and Tom Vision Together

A Collage for the Whole Family

13. Visioning for Health and Well-Being

Regaining the Self. Case Study: Gayle's Story of Inner Healing

The Creative Self Diet. Case Study: Susan's Story of Healing, Change, and Weight Loss

Money, Self-Worth, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Case Study: Mark's Story

Finding Abundance Within. Case Study: Greg's Story of Discovering True Wealth

Suggestions and Applications. Body Image, Self-Image. Illness and Pain. Abundance.

14. Visioning to Find Your Place

A Home for the Heart. Case Study: Lucia's Story of Her Dream House

Dreams for Rent. Mara Moves to Santa Fe. Case Study: Relocating to a New Area

Anna's Ranch. Case Study: Anna Finds Her Dream Ranch

In Closing.

Resource Guide



Art and Journal Supplies

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2000


    Finding Lucia's 'Visioning' in paperback this soon is a wonderful testimony to how popular this book is. Lucia outlines the steps of the design process with excellent, clear instructions for how to apply them to your life's dreams. The process works!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2000

    Wonderful process

    Tearing out words and pictures that interest you can bring surprising awareness to what is really important. You don't have to be an artist to do these collages. It isn't about art but what is inside that comes forth. Liked doing it so much I bought two more books for friends and they enjoyed the book too. Fun to do and very interesting to examine. Can be life changing. I highly recommend it.

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