For exclusive offers and advance notice of my favorite discoveries and latest adventures!
Whether it's taking a daily ritual from expected to extraordinary or discovering the wonderment and beauty of anew travel destination, J.R. McCabe elevates the everyday with timeless taste and comfortable confidence.
Do you remember the collage you made in high school art class? That was a vision board and you didn’t even know it. Or maybe you did! The intuitive selection of images, arranged organically, that evolve into individual visual artistic expression is a powerful process. In short, you have the power to create the life you want and nothing invites your goals and dreams quicker or more effectively than surrounding yourself with images of that life. I’ve used vision boards for decades and each time I am amazed at how astoundingly accurate the images are when they eventually manifest — right down to the color of the dress I wore, how the sun hit the corner of a chair, or even the juxtaposition of frames on a wall. Here are my seven secrets to creating a powerful vision board:
#1 Begin with Beautiful Tools
Sure, you could tape pictures to a wall but why not dance with this gorgeous ritual by using beautiful tools to enliven and sanctify your goals and dreams. I keep my instruments simple and sophisticated: canvas boards attached to the wall with Command adhesives, and multi-colored push pins to secure the images.
#2 Follow the Visual Clues
A vision board shouldn’t be something you throw together in a hurried or haphazard fashion. Collecting your images takes time, sometimes weeks or months. I use Pinterest to curate photos and then print them when I’m ready to create my actual physical vision board. Keeping a Pinterest board private can add to the sacredness of the endeavor as your collection will only make sense to you anyway. You can also use images from magazines and websites.
The key is to not only collect images that illustrate whatever it is you want to create in your life, but also curate those that stir something in your soul and yet seem to be unrelated to anything. For example: it makes sense to save pictures of stables if you want to start horseback riding or photos of the stair runner you’ll put in the new house you’ll buy – but what does a photo of a mourning dove have to do with any of that or even an image of a woman with your features dressed in a white top and navy blue slacks? The subconscious mind has a mysterious way of drawing things into manifestation that the limited conscious mind cannot envision . . . so it may be that each time you are out riding you hear mourning doves or the outfit may be the exact one you happen to be wearing the day you close on your new house.
Follow the visual clues. If you’re drawn to it there’s a reason. I cut out more images than I end up using but that’s also the beauty of creativity. When you go to actually assemble your board some will speak to you more than others.
#3 Carve out Sweet Hours
When it comes to actually placing the images, you’ll want to carve out undisturbed, solitary time and have all the preparations in place that add to the sweetness of the ritual. Whether it be candles, your favorite music, a hot cup of coffee or freshly brewed pot of tea, perhaps even a nibble of chocolate or a cozy cashmere throw — be sure to have all the accoutrement in place prior to your special hours.
#4 Place an Anchor Image
Starting with a blank canvas can feel overwhelming. Don’t overthink it. Choosing an anchor image will help get things going. An anchor image goes to the core of what you want to create. The anchor image I selected for my most recent vision board is a picture of a courthouse because my greatest goal in the next year is to spend more time in the active practice of litigation rather than transactional law. While you may have multiple goals in one vision board, starting with an anchor image serves as an effective road map.
From your central vision other images and goals develop. Perhaps a new job will take you to a new city and/or facilitate a move to a new home, and require a new wardrobe. All of those things can be incorporated into your board.
#5 Dance with your Desires
When you’re in your space, the candles are lit, and the music is playing — remember that this entire process should be less about effort and more about ease. You’ve got all your images and pins (have tape handy too just in case you want to seal an edge with that instead) and now it’s a dance. Your desires are your dance partner and they take the lead, let them guide you on where and how they should be placed. Forcing, overthinking, questioning, and allowing for self doubt will just make you stumble. Stay in the flow and let the board evolve organically.
#6 Seal the Magic
Whereas your anchor was placed with intention, what ends up being your final image may surprise you. It’ll happen naturally. You may have twenty images left to place, but only room for one more and that one will jump out from the crowd. Mine was a seahorse. I’ve been drawn to seahorses my entire life. They also happen to be symbols of transformation and luck.
Just as your anchor is the image that will keep you steady through the storms of doubt or challenges in the coming months, your seal will be your light, guiding the way in subtle signs that you are in fact on the exact path you have dreamed of. In the days and weeks that have followed my vision board creation I have seen seahorse images everywhere! At the market, in a magazine, and even on a piece of mail.
#7 Let it Live its own Life
The biggest question everyone asks is how long do you leave it up? What happens when weeks, months, or even a year goes by and nothing is happening. Remember that a vision board is a living, breathing entity and needs attention. Just as you would water a plant, every day you should gaze at your vision board with feelings of optimism, trust, patience, and knowing. I have learned that even though it may seem like nothing is happening and your goals are no closer to being a reality this is an impossibility according to the law of quantum physics.
What is yours will always find its way to you and sometimes show up in ways better than you ever expected. Trust the process. Trust yourself.
I have a ritual that I’ve used with every vision board over the years – each time an image comes even close to coming true I remove the image and save it in an archive box. Slowly, slowly a version of the images start to appear in real life — the red dress, the gray shingled house, the blue scarf, the tennis court by the water, the summer day picking flowers, the winter day looking out the window at the snowfall. Each time one of your images comes to life in physical reality then you take it down and place it in the box. When the vision board is nearly empty that’s when it is time to start again in making all your new dreams come true. ✨