Monday, October 12, 2009

The Power of Visualization

"If you can see it in your mind, you can have it in your life." I came across that phrase a number of years ago, in my former incarnation as a corporate training manager. I was very stressed at the time, working 60 hour weeks and doing a lot of business travel. I printed out that sentence with a picture of a tropical beach and taped it to the inside of my briefcase. I knew my life was not going as I wanted, so I needed a new vision for my life. "Success" isn't all it's cracked up to be. At least not the traditional definition of success - moving up the corporate ladder, making lots of money. There are definitely trade-offs to that lifestyle.

So, I envisioned a new life, and now, 15 years later, I am living it. But it took more than just a vision. It took a lot of planning and work on my part, along with a willingness to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that came my way. It also took a leap of faith to quit my job 10 years ago, not exactly certain how I would make my living. I believe that my ability to envision what I wanted was instrumental in my achieving it. That vision helped me remain open to change and gave me the confidence to take the actions that would lead me here.

I have used visualization throughout my life, even before I was consciously aware of it. I remember situations when I used visualization, even as a child. My first memory of doing so was in grade school. I was in the nurse's office at school because I didn't feel well. I remember being by myself in a small room, lying on a plastic covered couch. It must have been April or May, because the air conditioning was going full blast. I was freezing! I pictured a blanket at my feet, and then pictured it moving up to cover me. I know it sounds strange, but I really did feel warmer after that. I had never heard of visualization at that time, and it wasn't something I did consciously, it just came intuitively.

My most recent experience with visualization was just last week. I was thinking about the possibility of winning an award for my work. I thought it would be nice to have another award on my resume. So I pictured myself winning an award in two of the exhibitions in which I currently have work. Last week I learned I had won an award at the Celebrating Our Creative Spirit exhibit in Houston, and at the Fiber Artists of San Antonio Annual Exhibition. I was very surprised and excited at the recognition.

So, did I win those awards through my visualization? There are many people and many books that would say "Yes, you absolutely brought that to yourself through your visualization." I'm not quite ready to go there, however I do think that visualizing opens up possibilities. If you can picture something in your mind, you are better able to accept it as a possible reality. That can lead to more self-confidence and it can keep one focused on taking action to achieve that vision. So winning the awards may not have been a result of last week's visualization. Perhaps it was a result of my having a vision of myself as a successful artist and the many hours of hard work in the studio improving my skills and perfecting my technique.

P.S. If you'd like to see photos of the pieces that won awards, follow the link on my homepage,

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