Earlier this year I made a vision board with Charise. I loved the way it looked aesthetically, but part of me felt silly and even embarrassed about some of the images I chose. I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it then, but a vision board requires ultimate vulnerability with yourself: What do you really want? Do you want it enough to even speak it out loud (let alone glue-stick it onto a piece of cardboard for the world to see)?
When I wake up every morning I roll my body down to the foot of the bed where my dog, Lillian, sleeps. As we say good morning to each other and roll around cuddling, my vision board stares me dead in the eyes–it sits only feet away from her. For the first few months, I’d look at it, feel pleased with its appearance, and think of the board as a collective manifestation of my dreams. The way I would word it in my head was, “I want my dreams to come true!”
The realization of those dreams was as distant as the specificity with which I described them. It’s not about wanting dreams to come true; it’s about which dreams. When I began to look at my vision board carefully, examining the individual pieces of the dream rather than the dream as a whole, I knew I had some work to do. Rather than “wishing,” I’d ask myself, “What will I do today in order to manifest [insert specific vision board image] today?” Then a combination of law of attraction and hard work took over.
A very reasonable critique of an over dependence on spirituality is that someone who places too much faith the energy of the universe just “waits” for things to happen, which diminishes the concept of free will and individual agency. In reality, manifestation is much more than really, really wanting it, even if you journal about it, talk about it, and think about it for hours per day. If you really, really want it, you do something about it. This is where maintenance comes in.
At many points in my life I have been guilty of painting a beautiful vision of the future and then jumping ship when the details became too hard. Lately I have proven to myself that I don’t do that anymore. Long-term projects, especially complicated ones — especially ones that I’m not initially good at — don’t scare me like they used to. Maintenance is a significant process in many arenas, from car repair, to couple’s therapy, to nutritional cleansing, to self-love days, to anything that involves an honest assessment of what has worked and what hasn’t — then changing the latter.
Could it be you who is not working?
I used to think manifestation was like flying a plane: we, as the dreamers, ascend and descend the plane, but when we’re in the sky, autopilot can take over. I am learning that the pilot needs to be involved in every state of the process because spiritual autopilots become complacent. One of my favorite spiritual truths is that humans and their spirit guides can work together to co-create human reality — a metaphysical marvel transcending space and time, a realization that still chokes me up.
I want my vision board to be my reality board, so ya boy is busting his ass at the moment. I’m tired and I drink a lot of coffee, but I’m enjoying the process of discovering important truths about myself: that I can work hard for dreams and that I have dreams I care about so much that the chaos of dream-chasing can feel as exhausting as it is exhilarating.
As I recommit myself to a specific dream every morning during puppy cuddles, I remember what my soul is on this planet to do. How can you continue to maintain dedication to the beautiful future ahead of you?