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    How to hold onto your dreams


    Just over seven years ago on a January morning, I sat down at my desk to write out my vision for my life ten years on. I’d been doing this exercise for some time, but I remember that year being distinctly different. I wrote out the vision in a more creative way. I described in detail that Chris and I would live out of town, preferably by the coast so he could surf more often, on a property where we’d have enough space for a veggie garden and chooks and a meditation studio where I could run workshops and one-day retreats.

    I sketched the floor plan for our new home, with space for our daughters to stay and room for grandchildren if they arrive one day. I drew a verandah on the north-west side of the house and made a note of where the sea would be. I filled the pinboard behind my desk with images of that property and other things I wanted to achieve over the years. I made a collage on the computer that I printed out and stuck to the inside of my wardrobe.

    For the next six years, I kept up this creative exercise. In between times, I didn’t always look at the pictures and if I’m honest, I held a degree of skepticism about ‘manifesting’. I kept doing it because it was fun but I often wondered if it was anything more than an indulgent form of dreaming.

    All of those thoughts changed just over a week ago. After selling our home of 25 years, we spent three months looking for where we would live next. As anyone house-hunting knows, on some days it’s a disheartening experience.

    But as a friend of mine said, when your new home is ready, it will appear. And out of the blue, it did. I knew from the moment I saw the first photograph that it was where we would live next. Before I had walked through the front door or wandered around the beautiful garden. Before I knew that the floorplan of this house is exactly as it was in my sketch.

    Now I’m starting to believe that maybe this manifesting thing really does work. In my case it took a long time and it didn’t seem to matter that I had some doubts. There were times when I worried I wanted too much and days where I put aside dreaming for feeling a great sense of gratitude for the life I already have. But I kept at it each year because in my heart, I felt a calling to a life that was different from the one that I have.

    I’m not sure that mine is the perfect approach, but I invite you to give it a try. It worked for me and I’d love it to work for you too.

    Learn more
    If you’re keen to learn more before you begin, I recommend Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Visualization. Shakti wrote this book in 1978 so she was well ahead of her time. Hers is a gentle approach and one that really resonates for me.

    Create the right environment
    Set aside at least a few hours of uninterrupted time and make the space around you beautiful. I always tidy my desk, have some fresh flowers nearby, I light a candle and make a pot (or two) of herbal tea.

    Meditate first
    It’s good to begin with a meditation to get yourself into a relaxed and positive state of mind. You might like to try my Positive Thinking track on Insight Timer.

    It’s best to do this by hand because it’ll slow you down a little. Write out your vision for either five or ten years from now and be as descriptive as possible about all of the different aspects. If you’re stuck, begin like this. “It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m at home with …”. Describe where you’ll be living, what kind of work you’ll be doing, who you’ll be sharing your life with and any creative or sporting pursuits you’ll be engaged in. Add as much detail as you possibly can.

    Gather the images
    I did two versions of my vision board. A ‘cut and paste’ version for my pinboard and and another version for printing. For the online images, I dragged photos from Pinterest into the Powerpoint document where it was easy to resize and layer them, then I saved the document as an image file and printed it out in a few different sizes that I put up around the house.

    Posted in: Life
    Kate James

    About the author

    Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher. She works with female leaders and business owners to help them clarify their values and strengths and discover a mindset that allows them to live confident, purposeful lives.