“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
Its been a long winter. There has been a steady stream of ice and snow storms making the ordinary day take three times the usual effort. Its been unusually cold, too, which has caused frozen pipes, roads that are difficult to treat and high heating bills. Children have been off from school for many days, power outages have caused people to camp in their own living rooms and getting to and from work can be traumatic.
I usually like winter. I grew up in New Hampshire where I have fond memories of snow. People knew how to handle it there. We would ski, make snow forts in the yard and sled for hours. I still love winter for its hot chocolate, cozy fireplaces and warm fuzzy socks. But, even I am tired of this winter and there is some time to go before its over. Everyone I have spoken to complains of being “over it” and feeling “exhausted” and “frustrated.” This winter has caused an epidemic of winter “blahs.”
However, there is a season for everything, right? And, a reason for everything, right? So, what if this winter is really an opportunity? Instead of resisting what is, I like to think of this winter as the universe’s way of forcing me to reflect, review and reassess. Embrace this season’s opportunity to envision what renewal you want to take place in the springtime and get excited about what you can look forward to next.
Visioning is not an escape but a method of getting out of the way of our intellect and rational mind to find our inner spring again. It is just a grown-up word for daydreaming but daydreaming is a very creative, natural and healthy behavior. Somewhere along the way, adults got the notion that daydreaming was irresponsible or childish. It is not! It is exciting and enjoyable and it reminds us about what we really want, what really works for us and what really makes us happy. So, what can you envision that will bring a spring back to your step?
Consider any area of your life. Perhaps you want to be healthier, live in a nicer environment or resolve a relationship issue. Maybe you want to figure out what you really want to do with your life or figure out how to finally travel to some far off places. Maybe you want to feel better about another person, your work, your home or yourself. Whatever you may have in mind, take some time to do visioning in order to get on the path to making that vision a reality.
Lately, I have been drawn to daydreaming about spring flowers and planting a vegetable garden. I have always wanted to explore my inner “Laura Ingalls Wilder” and grow my own food. I may even want to try canning and preserving – and some chickens in the back yard would really be exciting! With wind chills at below zero, I clearly will not be growing anything for quite a while. The ground is frozen solid, buried under a thick layer of snow, with a layer of ice on top of that. But, somehow, poring over seed catalogs and reading about gardening is keeping me excited about Spring. Feeding a vision really does make it happen eventually.
It can help to write out your vision as well. Describe what you saw in your vision and again, try to avoid the intellectual details. Also, be sure to write as if the vision is happening right now. Instead of writing out “I want a new house”, for instance, focus on how you are feeling in that house right now and your vision changes to, “I’m enjoying the space I feel in my house.” The exact house you picture in your mind may not be what your new home will look like but if you can match the feelings your vision evokes with the house when you find it, then you have found the right home.
I also like to add other senses to visioning which is why I look for photos or sounds to reflect my vision. I have been streaming nature sounds, like birds chirping, off of the internet and I have downloaded a set of new screensavers that depict flowers and gorgeous landscaping. If you want a new house, then cut out pictures of houses and put them up where you can see them every day. Watch television shows about new homes and try to find a podcast so that you can hear about them too.
During the visioning process your intellect may have a few limiting things to say. Observe and note these thoughts, because these are the obstacles to achieving your vision. For instance, when envisioning your new home as spacious, your intellect may say “I can’t afford that.” Negative beliefs will work against achieving your vision so when you observe them, go back to the vision of what you do want not what you do not want. Leave the nitty gritty details to the universe and it will show you the way eventually.
I once had an advisor tell me that I had too negative of a view of men in romantic relationships and that it was clouding my vision for finding a partner. She suggested that I watch television shows and movies depicting positive and uplifting relationships and to avoid those images of negative and dysfunctional ones. In a departure from my usual militant feminist tendencies, I actually made a list of “Positive Romantic Movies/Television” to watch. I allowed images of happy partners in my space and kept the negative ones out. I felt a little silly about trying it, but it worked. Eventually my outlook shifted and I was open to the idea that a positive, mature and independent partner really was out there for me. And now, he is in my life!
Visioning can make a wonderful daily practice that you can look forward to every day. Its so much fun to dwell in your imagination for just a few minutes every day in order to invent the life that you want. It may be just the practice that gets you out of the winter doldrums and puts the spring back into your step!
“I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” – Albert Einstein