Isn’t it amazing how at any age you can learn something about yourself? I've volunteered at a divorce and separation support group in Manhattan Beach for the last 7.5 years. I was asked to volunteer because my divorce was extremely amicable and my family unit has remained very cohesive throughout and after our divorce. They wanted the group to have at least one example of a positive outcome. Well as life often does, it gave me vast rewards for giving of myself. Little did I know that during the time I volunteered I would be in —and end— a long term relationship that was not serving me. I was able to use all of the tools and strength from the program to get me through that challenge in a way I couldn’t have imagined before. I saw my part in choosing and staying in the situation and what it was doing to me and my family. I noticed how I was so focused on fixing others that I lost sight of how to work on and grow myself.
While that experience is far in the rear view mirror now, I had the opportunity to see it very clearly last month. Our support group was meeting and one particular week we had quite a few new members who were really deep in suffering as their own relationships were ending. They were asking me how I was able to get from deep despair to where I am now and how I could prepare myself to find a new, healthy and loving relationship. There is so much that went into it, a lot of deep work in therapy, through Al-Anon, going to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on a healing retreat and more. Then we spoke about Vision Boards… several of the leaders of the group (including me) discussed how Vision Boards have helped us move from focusing on past (pain) to future (hope/dreams) and that many of the items on those boards have come true for us. The new members were so intrigued that we scheduled a night to do Vision Boards as a group—something we had never done before. We all brought poster boards and magazines and scissors and glue. I brought my last three boards to show as examples. It was incredible and heart warming to see our members who were legitimately suffering in their lives laugh and get excited about imagining their futures full of fun events and trips and foods and nature and relationships… what a gift for all of us.
As I looked back at the 2 past boards I created and the one I made that night last month, I noticed an interesting trend. That first board from 3 years ago when I was personally suffering is very involved. Lots of pictures and wishes and ideas. As the other two boards came into focus, they each had progressively less items. In my healing I realized I didn’t need much. The things that I longed for were few and minor and that the real meaningful items are inside me or in the people around me.
Have you ever done a Vision Board? Have you thought of doing one? Now is the perfect time to imagine your 2024…