The Designer Within
THINKING WITH YOUR HEART
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.
WHAT IS DESIGN?
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.
DESIDERATUMsomething 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
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
THINKING IN PICTURES
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 realityhas 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.
VISUAL IMAGERY: HOW IT WORKS
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.
VISUALIZATION: THE MIND'S EYE
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?
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.