Every time I came across instructions for manifestation, I’d feel a little queasy. I was certainly interested, but the idea just didn’t sit right with me. What’s going on with me? I’d wonder. It wasn’t until I actually had an IRL conversation about manifesting that I realized why the concept made me a little uncomfortable.
First, a lot of the literature on manifesting urges us to ask the universe for what we desire. While I’m an optimistic, positive person, I’m also not sure if the universe has my back. Camus’ “benign indifference” has always rung truer for me. It’s not that I think the universe cruelly refuses to listen. I just don’t think it can hear. Hitherto, I’ve tried to find my own meaning and joy among life’s randomness and ambiguities.
Also, I wondered if manifesting was a concept largely for the privileged. This concern relates to the element of manifesting that depends on individual agency—someone taking action to design their own life. I’m well aware that many people in the world have painfully little control over their lives, and I worried that if I, someone in the seat of white, middle-class privilege, participated in a manifesting exercise, I would be assuming we all have the ability and accessibility to manifest.
I realize that that logic doesn’t quite follow. Can’t one try manifesting while also remaining aware of disparity in privilege? And can’t one channel her manifesting efforts for the greater good, i.e., using her privilege to take action? Maybe I was overthinking things.
Finally, when a colleague of mine who is making her living with multiple demanding jobs talked about the positive role manifesting played in her outlook and her professional output, I was inspired to be more open to manifesting and figured that it actually wouldn’t hurt to try.
And thus, my vision board was born.
How I Made It
I started very generally. I began journaling about three general pillars that guide my daydreams, desires, purchases, and hobbies: creativity, beauty, and kindness. Then, I listed all of the things I wanted to manifest in relation to those things—from being more involved in my city’s poetry community to learning the names of the native flora and fauna around me to creating a relaxing afternoon self-care ritual for myself.
I got specific. With each image I added (on my computer), I created a text overlay stating what that image represented. I used a gerund for each phrase, meaning I began each phrase with a verb in the form of a noun—like being present, cultivating relationships, sharing small joys. I like the way the gerund embodies thing-ness and action.
I tried to be critical during my image selection process. I needed to make sure each image represented something I wanted to cultivate in my life—not just something that was cute or interesting.
I didn’t put anything that made me uncomfortable. Among the handful of things that put me off of the manifesting trend was that most of the manifesting goals I read about didn’t align with my own. I’ve seen a good bit on manifesting one’s own company, manifesting a high-paying, high-level job, etc. It’s not that I would necessarily be against those, but they’re not my deepest dreams, and I don’t want to feel like something is wrong with me if they’re not.
I gravitated toward things that aligned with the greater good. I stuck with ideas that would help me bring about my best self so I can serve my family, colleagues, clients, friends, and local community while feeling fulfilled myself.
I considered little baby boards. It was hard not to get too Pinterest-y and create multiple boards off-shooting from the OG. For example, I was tempted to make a style board and a food board and a makeup board—cause we all want to manifest the perfect smoky eye paired with an adorable slouchy sweater-skinny jean combo while sipping a green smoothie, right?! But I reigned things in a bit for my first go around. Didn’t want this vision board virgin to get too overwhelmed!
Of course, it had to be arty. Because beauty of all kinds is so important in my life, I made an effort to create a beautiful board—and it’s so inspiring!
I realized what I already had. Creating my collage helped me realize that I was already on my way to creating the things I desired in life. One of my biggest dreams to manifest is being present where I live/blooming where I’m planted. Articulating this to myself through my images helped me see that I was already making efforts toward that end—from taking an interest in the unique seasons of South Texas to spending more time outside and introducing my daughter to the native plants.
A change started happening instantly. One of the most compelling aspects of the general advice for manifesting is that one should try to “act as if,” meaning act as if they’ve already found success with their manifesting goals. The purpose of acting as if is to show yourself that you don’t need to accomplish x, y, and z to be happy or feel inspired. I noticed this internal shift and immediately felt more empowered to have a positive impact and a more active role in my life and the lives of those around me.
Incongruent ideas came together in harmony. Something that I’ve struggled with for years is feeling like I’m made up of disparate parts/interests/experiences that don’t, on the surface at least, appear to go together. For example, I love natural beauty products—but I also love fine perfume (which is almost always on the no-no list for natural beauty enthusiasts). Also, I’m a vegan who loves wellness and trendy health things, but I also live and work in a community that, for the most part, does not share those interests. The beauty of the board was that it put all of these loves and desires together—literally right on top of each other—and it was beautiful. I was reminded that the multitudes of me can exist together in a unique and wonderful way.
Have you ever made a vision board or tried manifesting?
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Photo: Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash, Andy Art on Unsplash