Thursday, 19 December 2013

Visioning as daily experience

VISIONING IS A DAILY EXPERIENCE

We are imaginative thinkers, with many layers of sensation, thinking and feeling. Many can only truly think and feel when they are doing something.  Others have to speak and interact. Others stay still and dream.

In the centre of our thinking, doing and feeling is our Soul, our true Self becoming clothed in deep, insightful experience.

 

'Ten Steps to Livining the LIfe of your Dreams'
by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D.

"Since it is the creative self who works the magic and makes the dream a reality, the Visionary’s task is to turn the design over to this higher power within."
-- Lucia Capacchione
 

[FINDING your heart's desire, an inspiration or your life's purpose.
The winter time of deep searching in your soul, for what is most meaningful at this time.]

Step 1: Make a Wish

The Visionary begins by deciding to explore new possibilities in some area of life, choosing a theme on which to focus. This is like the designer’s first step of getting an idea. The first step of Visioning poses the question: What do I want? What is my true heart’s desire? It might be: "A new career direction," or "Finding a place to live," or Finding a mate," or "Making more money," or "Getting healthier," or "Making a film." Some Visionaries choose a broader playing field, such as, "A projection of the year ahead," or "What areas of my life need attention?" or "What does a balance between professional and personal life look life?" Other Visionaries want to resolve a specific problem or situation and do a "before" and "after" collage titled "How it looks now" and "How I’d like it to look."

[NURTURING your Vision, seeking to give it words and images.  Make it an obsession, focus on it carefully and create an image to represent your subtle intuitive sense.  MAKE a pile of draft images and words.]
 
Step 2: Search for Images and Words

This is the designer’s research phase. The task here is to gather pictures, captions, and phrases from magazines, newspapers, catalogues, or other visual sources. One’s personal collection of snapshots, postcards, or greeting cards can also be used. In this phase, the Visionary is tearing, cutting, amassing a heart’s-desire image bank. The emphasis is on what experience she wants to create in her life rather than simply picturing stuff to be acquired. It is a way of exploring quality of life, living by choice instead of default. The only rule during the research phase is to collect photos and phrases that depict one’s deepest wishes. The mantra is: Grab what grabs you. Dreaming is in, practicality is out. This is about going for it, the sky’s the limit. This is a time to be inclusive and expand one’s horizons, keeping an open mind while gathering as many relevant images and words as possible... If other great pictures surface that are unrelated to the theme, they are set aside in a separate file to be used in other collages.
 
[START A ROUGH DESIGN BY ASKING YOURSELF how true is it to my intuition?]

Step 3: Focus on the Vision

In the design process, this is when the research is connected more specifically to the designer’s idea or problem to be solved. Here the Visionary sorts through the mass of torn or cut-out raw material that has been gathered. The question is asked of each image, word, or phrase: Does this express my innermost wishes, my fondest dreams? If it relates to the theme it’s in. If not, it’s out or put in the "save" file for possible use in the future. This phase is about discrimination, selectivity, choice-making, but always from the heart.

[ALLOW THE DESIGN TO BUILD by intuitively arranging and changing the way the images lie on the page.]

Step 4: Compose the Design

Visioning collage-making is a new language, a language of symbols and images, of color and words blended together to form a unique montage of creative possibilities. Like any designer assembling the elements of a design, the Visionary starts building the visible expression of her dreams by putting the pieces together, almost as if assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Laying the pictures out on the art paper, she tentatively arranges them in relationships to each other. Mixing and matching, she tries ideas out for size and placement, using a sixth sense about how to accurately portray the dream. There is no right way to do it, only the particular Visionary’s way. This is the time to be completely authentic and original, true to oneself and one’s vision. It is at this point that a great deal of inner doubt often arises, leading us to the next step.

[GO BACK AND FORTH IN AND OUT OF CHAOS and ADDRESS THE INNER CRITIC, while the intuitive message of your heart gets clearer.]

Step 5: Explore and Find Order in Creative Chaos

Chaos is a natural part of any creative or design process. If it doesn’t happen, it usually means that nothing new is being learned, nothing original is being created. This step isn’t one that is done consciously or by choice. Something within the Visionary just starts questioning the whole enterprise. For designers, this often occurs during the mix-and-match phase when mock-ups are being created. For the Visionary, it’s getting closer to the time when pictures will be glued down, a commitment will be made, the collage will be made permanent. The self talk usually starts with questions like, "Why am I doing this? Or statements like, "I don’t know how to do this" (as if there were a set way such collages should look, which there isn’t). Perhaps an inner art critic starts in: "This is ugly and stupid. People will really laugh when they see this stuff." Worse yet, is the voice that says the entire activity is a waste of time. "This wish will never come true. This is all just pie-in-the-sky dreaming. You’re doomed to disappointment." This phase holds the biggest challenge but also the greatest learning. It is where the leap forward takes place and where the Visionary is tested for faith in the dream and courage to express it. This is the time for perseverance in the face of self-doubt. The warring factions in the mind are dealt with through journal work.

[COMMIT TO A DESIGN WITH THE WORDS, focusing your emotions to the emerging message of your heart and soul.]

Step 6: Create the Collage

After the mock-up stage, a designer must develop his design with an eye toward the end product. In Visioning, this is the step of integration, of putting all the pieces together on the paper to create a Vision collage. Gradually, the images and words that speak for the dream are being committed to paper and glued down for good. It is an experience of surrender to some inner knowing, to the creative self (which has a vision) and the creative conscience (which speaks from the heart). By combining photos and phrases in new ways, new connections are made and personal meaning is revealed.

[SURRENDER TO A HIGH GUIDANCE and journal your inituitive feelings about the collage.]

Step 7: Articulate the Vision

As visual as the design process is, eventually the designer must translate his design and communicate it in words to others. Drawings, blueprints, diagrams must be explained to production specialists, manufacturers, and builders. In Visioning, it isn’t quite enough to simply make a collage. It is the act of gaining deeper insight. Looking at these picture/word collages after they are completed is like reading poetry or deciphering symbols. We see all kinds of things we didn’t notice while we were in the heat of creative chaos. The first part of articulation is to quietly sit and contemplate the collage. What does it say? What surprises does it hold? What is the resistance, if any, to taking this Vision collage seriously and believing that it will come true? One question to be avoided is, "How am I going to make this dream happen?" Visionaries are asked to relax and surrender to a higher order of creativity and allow the dream to materialize rather than force it. Anxiety and fear only block energy. Following the guided contemplation, journal-writing activities are used for more deeply exploring meaning in the pictures and phrases. As the visual right brain has its say (in art) and the verbal left brain gets to talk (through the written word), both hemispheres of the brain are activated and integrated.

[LET YOUR IMAGES SPEAK and tell you what lessons they have for you. Ask how you can help their message become clear.]

Step 8: Reinforce the Dream

It is now time for the production process. Since it is the creative self who works the magic and makes the dream a reality, the Visionary’s task is to turn the design over to this higher power within. The artwork that results from collage-making is a visual affirmation. As with verbal affirmations, which are positive self-talk messages, the Vision collage establishes and reinforces a desired goal or experience. The Visionary exercises her visual right brain (which sees the pictures) by using the visual affirmations on a daily basis. By looking at the collage repeatedly, the images are reinforced in the imagination and memory. Practicing the art and science of building wishes and dreams in the world of physical reality develops "practical imagination." 
 
The clearer the collage image, the more receptive we can be when it shows up in real life. The very concreteness of the photo collage makes it the perfect vehicle for reinforcing—through the eyes—the inner vision of the heart. We take it out of the realm of imagination and bring it down to earth. Before long, as if by magic, the Visionary’s dream appears in three dimensions. There may still be some final hurdles, however, and that’s where we enter the next step.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

CREATING SACRED SPACE

CREATING SACRED SPACE FOR VISIONING for 2014

The most sacred space is that of your inner self, the Creative Self, watching and mediating all experiences, and it is possible to allow its dreams and visions of a life you would love to live.     Following Lucia Capacchione's Ten Steps to Living the Life of your Dreams, CLIA Coaching offers workshops where we make pictures of our heartfelt wishes for the future around a central mandala with candles.  This way a sacred space is created in which we project our dream images and offer our goals to the good of the whole.  Here are some pictures of small groups making photo montage vision collages, bringing into focus their individual Creative Self, and celebrating a Rebirth of their hope and commitments for their personal future.



In 2014 we are visioning in Barnstaple, Devon, at the Living Tree Centre.  Go to www.cliacoaching.co.uk or www.livingtreecentre.com for more information.

SEE MY VIDEO introducing Visioning(R): http://youtu.be/oNj3pRANCHII.

THE MANDALA
This is an ancient design around which early cultures created systems of spiritual teaching such as the zodiac, the Alchemical Wheel and the Celtic Wheel of Life around which the seasons were symbolised and the growth of the seed plant depicted as a guide for inner creative initiation.

VISIONING ROUND THE WHEEL OF LIFE

Making collages for visioning can follow the creative stages of materialisation of your dream as the ancient wisdom tradition taught:
 
North/conception and rebirth; NE/ nurture and dedication;  East/challenge and promise; SE/support and consolidation; South/planning and protection; SW/pruning and fine tuning; West/decision, action; NW/surrender and dissolving the old plan ready to plant a new seed vision.

Here is an image of the collages I did last summer.  Notice that each direction has a large collage representing the solstices and equinox visioning, in between the small images represent the moon festivals of reflection and transition.  See the candle at the centre representing my Inner Sage.



Spiritual expressive arts follow the seasons, working with the Inner Parent (facets are Nurturing, Protection and Challenge) and the Inner Child (facets are Magical Child, Loving Child, Assertive Child).

The Inner Sage is created by taking conscious creative responsibility for these personae.  One of the most playful and effective ways of creating the Sage is through the Visioning(R) process and creating the Sacred Mandala/Wheel of Life with candles and symbols of the seasons, elements (earth, air, fire and water) and nature.

Find me on Facebook, or email: creativeliteracy@gmail.com for more information about making soul collages, sacred site art or Visioning(R).

We create poetry and mandala in Dartmoor's sacred centre: Wistmans Wood. Here is a sacred site collage with stone balancing sculptures from Michael Loxton:


Sacred Site collage of the Isle of Man - green lanes of Man were ritual processional routes across the whole island, linking and energising the communities, burial mounds, hermit cells and stone circles. [sculpture by a local artist represents the spirit of Man, Manannan, benevolently watching over the creative evolution of life on the island].



Learn more about Sacred Journeys at the Gatekeeper Trust website: www.gatekeeper.org.uk go to the events page.

Happy dreams for 2014!