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Seeing Is Believing: My Vision Collage

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I've had lot's of downtime lately with being sick, and being eager along with the rest of the Spark community to get into Chris Downie's new phenomenal book, The Spark, I opened my copy and thought I'd breeze through it in a few days. After reading Chris' personal story, I thought, what more could I learn that I haven't already uncovered on the website?
Well let me tell you, friends. I am STILL reading the book. I read and I reread. I'm taking notes like it is a textbook! To say that it's motivating and inspiring is simply inadequate and after all, motivation and inspiration abounds on these very pages of the Spark community. Rather he sets up the formula for life transforming success based on sound mind-body principals.
Even though I have already achieved a modicum of success in taking off my weight, I have discovered that I always thought that once my weight came off and I was at goal, my life would be perfect. I was so focused for a solid year on everything that went into my mouth, it's like I had NO other goals or aspirations. All I could "see" is the number on a scale.
The trouble is once I got there, I found that I was asking myself "Now what"? Well for starters keeping the weight off, which as I've blogged about before isn't simply a matter of "I've adopted a new lifestyle now this is a piece of cake". My husband said "Yeah but don't you feel so much better now physically and feel so much better about your appearance that you'll never go back"? How could I explain to this man who has NEVER had a weight issue in his entire life, that it doesn't work that way? I didn't "see" myself as a thin person. I will forever take my shoes off, if not more, before I step on a scale. I will always look in a dressing room mirror and ask myself "Does this make me look fat- er"?
It isn't really even a self-esteem issue. I've always felt like I'm a worthy individual regardless of my weight. My sister put it so succinctly when she said, "Fat isn't a personality disorder"!
So it was, when I started reading The Spark, that it began to dawn on me that I don't truly "see" myself as a thin person. I always kind of feel like an imposter. A fat person hiding in a thin person's body. Like a costume that can be yanked off and returned to the theatrical rental store when the party is over.
I've always been a firm believer in the mind-body connection. As a nurse, I've seen many instances where people who give up, lose their will to live, and surrender to their disease often have a much poorer outcome than those who fight back. It goes back to the power of positive thinking. Negative thinking can end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.
BUT, how many of us, myself included, just give lip-service to positive thinking without REALLY believing?
Every time I look in that dressing room mirror and "see" a fat woman, I'm leaving room for negotiation with my fat cells. After reading Chris (don't you just kind of feel like you are on a first name basis with "The Spark Guy"?), I feel for perhaps the first time ever that there will be NO negotiations because I'm beginning to BELIEVE that I'm a thin, healthy, person. Period. End of story. Right?
Wait a minute!! Like all things - whether it's a new found religious conversion or a new found belief in yourself, it often begins with a precise moment of revelation that starts gung-ho only to eventually dilute until your belief is drowning under old self-talk.
Thus enters THE VISION COLLAGE!
Just what is a vision collage and what does it mean to us? The book covers visualizing your goals in chapter 1. Chapter 6 goes a little more in depth as to the power of imagery in shaping our beliefs. I thought of all the many religious symbols and icons that reaffirm people's faith and I felt motivated to permanently change the stuck record that had been playing in my head for years.
Maybe even more so last week when I was so sick and weak feeling. My mind started to expand the possibilities. I don't just want to be at a healthy weight. I want to be healthy.
When you have a chronic disease like asthma, especially as an adult, despair is sneaky. There are proactive measures you can do to help control the symptoms, but you realize that a cure is probably not forthcoming. My attacks generally strike in earnest about 4 times a year, resulting in pneumonia and a hospital stay several times in the last three years. Luckily, I seem to have no difficulty with exercise induced asthma like some people do. My physicians encouraged me to stay as fit as possible and thought there would be no problems with running.
There was a problem with running though -- I didn't "see" myself as a runner. I asked the Ironman dr. at work when can you call yourself "a runner". He laughed and said "When you step outside your door and start to run"! But I still get that old imposter feeling.
So with all these thoughts in mind I got out magazines, scissors, glue, and a sheet of heavy bond paper I happened to have lying around being saved for the great someday. For a brief moment I felt a little like a middle schooler about to embark on an art class project! But I also felt a passion for wanting to effect positive change in my life --
I wanted it to reflect my desire for positive health, goal weight, physical fitness, strength, self love, as well as a difficult goal of mine -- more sleep.
I brewed a steaming hot cup of green tea, put in the Yanni Tribute CD and set out to make a vision collage!
I found a picture of me when I first hit goal weight and joined my daughter in Grand Rapids, MI to participate in a 5K. It was the first one she ran. I walked. We wore team shirts in a tribute to her husband's uncle who was struck down at an early age from an aneurysm, leaving a wife and young children behind. That race was a very positive moment in my life. The race atmosphere was thrilling and the seeds of desire to run a 5k were planted that day. I felt truly healthy and happy!
The picture was a must on the page. Next I googled a picture of a healthy respiratory system. Simple not graphic. That picture was next. A little article on the benefits of yoga in lessening the symptoms of asthma to help see myself doing yoga. A sleeping woman. Affirmations of love as well as a promise to me. The words jumped out of the magazine pages as the energy flowed that afternoon. Cutting, placing, gluing, BELIEVING.

The result actually brought tears to my eyes. I must have stared at it for an hour.

The words & phrases - all positive affirmation for me and my life:

The Promise . . . . . . . Success story . . . . . . . . . . Feel the Love
Slim is Simple . . . . . Oh, Yes I can! . . . . . . . . . . Make this your fitness year!
Fitness . . . . . . . . . . . Instant Energy Surge . . . . Feel good firming
Get Strong . . . . . . . . Be Confident . . . . . . . . . . Nutrition
Get good health . . . Yoga's surefire benefits . Stay healthy for the next 25 years
Self-healing . . . . . . . Picture of health . . . . . . . Sleep! It's non-negotiable
Fix your health . . . . Calm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sleep Better
In the center of the page it says: YOU...Can do anything -- this is YOUR page!

Oh yeah -- one more for me AND the mister -- Great Sex :)

I would encourage everyone to take a little time and make YOUR page!

For more information go to: http://www.sparkpeople.com/res
ource/vision_collage.asp

Mine hangs on my bathroom mirror. A picture of it is on my Spark page as well as a backdrop on my blackberry.

--- Because SEEING IS BELIEVING!




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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULIEBEAR3 3/5/2010 3:03AM

    Hey Joanne
I know we're Spark friends already, but I hadn't read this blog before and it is just wonderful that you share your thoughts so openly. You write so well too. Maybe one day you'll write a whole book that inspires others!
Keep up the good work and the willpower because believe me YOU are an inspiration:-))
Jules x


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SHELLMUNDY 2/9/2010 9:10AM

    Thank you for posting this blog. It puts into words how I feel. I've been putting off making my collage.
I appreciate you sharing about how you had to transform your way of thinking. That's one thing I'm working on right now. Just because I've lost nearly 50 pounds doesn't mean I feel 50 pounds less in my mind.
I think I'm ready to make my collage and have a bit more perspective on what I'll put on it.
emoticon

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NICKEL1331 2/7/2010 12:49AM

    I just got my copy today....I am in LOVE with emoticon

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MOLLYO55 2/6/2010 9:20PM

    I'm glad I read your blog, my next step is to buy the book and do my own collage. I have read some of your other blogs and you obviously have a talent for writing! emoticon

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GETTINGTHINNER2 2/5/2010 9:02PM

    emoticon

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SEAGLASSQUEEN 2/3/2010 8:35AM

    I love vision boards. My husband and I created one for us as a couple.Thanks for sharing. Like yourself, I too am using SP to maintain my lifestyle. Losing is the easy part...Keeping it off is the challenge.

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HEAVYREADER 1/27/2010 10:43PM

    You have spurred me on to get my own vision collage done this weekend. emoticon

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RUSTYSHAW1 1/25/2010 11:50PM

    When I have moments wondering what I am doing, I can come to your blog and reread it. Sure the SPARK is excellent. I am learning a lot but gathering strength from the thoughts and experiences of other SPARK members is very uplifting.

I know Chris Downie shares everything he went through but personally I need to listen and hear what other Spark members have gone through, are going through and when they achieve a sense of fitness, what are they now experiencing. I appreciate you remaining on the program to share that information with us.

Thank you.

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LOVELIFEBETTER 1/21/2010 11:36PM

    That was very inspiring. I saw the vision collage mentioned on the site. Thought about doing it then, now I'm pumped. Thanks for sharing.
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YEECHUANMAYHEW 1/21/2010 5:27AM

    This is the first time I have heard of a Vision Board - What a wonderful idea, we all need to remember the good things about ourselves - I wrote a blog about remembering the good things just last night and resolved to go back to treating and appreciating myself in the fun way I used to. Now perhaps I'll make a Vision Board too. Thank you for sharing.

YC

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KRITTERKEEPERS 1/21/2010 3:03AM

    Love your vision collage. I bought my poster board and I've been cutting pages out of magazines when I come across something that I think "might" be a candidate for posting. I made one years ago and found out I'm a bit OCD at making them. Thus, I also bought clear contact paper to cover all the items I put up so that I can wipe off any toothpaste splatter once it has it's place of prominence in my bathroom. When I FINALLY put it together, I will post it.
Yours is
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BRATS4 1/20/2010 11:38PM

    what a cool idea

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MARCYNA 1/20/2010 8:54AM

    Wow, I like the idea, thanks for sharing!!!! emoticon

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HAPPYBASKET 1/19/2010 6:33PM

    For a new "sparker" & reading blogs for the first time, all I can say is, YOU ARE FANTASTIC. Truly an inspiration for me to do well. Thank You emoticon

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ULTRAVIOLET75 1/19/2010 4:36PM

  Thanks for sharing! I really get what you mean when you say you feel like an imposter and just don't feel thin! A couple of years ago I went on a health kick I worked out at the gym, and swam 3 times a week did 2 fitness classes and ate really healthily! The weight dropped off me within 6 months but I just couldn't accept that the person in the mirror was me! I think I simply did it too fast to appreciate how different I really was! Now I've regained all the weight I lost and more! Now I'm doing it slowly and I sincerely hope that this time when I get to my goal- I will be proud of myself and never let it creep back on! I think the vision collage is a fantastic idea and can't wait to get started on my own! P.S. I also have a thin husband! emoticon

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ISHIIGIRL 1/19/2010 12:09PM

    I loved this blog. Thanks for sharing. I have been meaning to do a new vision board for the last month or so. I will no longer put it off for the right momment. I will start today to look for what I need. I have already written my 2010 goals blog so I just need the visual reminder. You have also inspired me to read The Spark. I have been working at this for so long I just thought it would be a recap of what I've learned in this journey. I am just now discovering that there is always little tidbits that we forget or need to be reminded of along the way.

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MAGNOLIA416 1/19/2010 11:40AM

    Great stuff! I'm a believe in vision boards, too!

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JOYINKY 1/19/2010 9:06AM

    Thanks for sharing. You are a gifted writer!

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SEVENKITTY 1/19/2010 12:27AM

  Great blog...thanks :)

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MARYLKN 1/18/2010 7:43PM

    I love your blog post. I am new here. I just signed up today. I have always like doing collages but am just learing about vision boards etc. Your blog inspires me to work on my vision collage soon too. I have many pictures and words cut out already so I will be doing my starting vision collage soon. Thank you for your inspiration!!!

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CHEYKIZOXIE 1/18/2010 6:30PM

    I really appreciate getting to see an example of a visual motivation board. I really like it!


Chey

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JOMOMMY 1/18/2010 6:06PM

    Your post really spoke to me as well. I'm at the very beginning of my journey, and I'm taking careful first steps. I'm going to start my vision collage this afternoon!

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CHANGEDIN09 1/18/2010 5:29PM

    OK I am going to make my collage. Months ato I cut everything out and it's in a file. I am going to make one...I just read the book also and it's FANTASTIC. Love your post

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LAURALIANA 1/18/2010 5:14PM

    this blog really spoke to me. i totally get what your saying. I made my collage and i have it at my desk at work and i also have 2 big ones in my room at home and they really help me stay motivated and think clearly.

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HYCAPTAINSGIRL 1/18/2010 4:11PM

    I also haven't been interested in doing a collage...but your words have inspired me to rethink the idea! emoticon

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ANNE1123 1/18/2010 3:30PM

    YOU ROCK!

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BRENFALL09 1/18/2010 3:18PM

    I completed a coolage when I joined SP in Oct. but I think you're right in that I wasn't taking in the big picture of MY wants and goals.
Thanks for sharing!

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SONIAMG 1/18/2010 2:18PM

    Great board!
Love the idea of using a picture of it as the background on the Blackberry screen!

I finally started working on mine yesterday and hope to get it done this week.

Thanks for sharing yours!

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ISOS23 1/18/2010 2:08PM

    After reading your post I decided that I could make better use of my time off today making my own collage than lurking on Sparkpeople. I think I am going to try to capture on paper the feelings of joy and euphoria that I felt after my run this morning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and inspiring all of us!

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SALLYSEAGULL1 1/18/2010 2:01PM

    Thank you. I do hope the book gets to the UK soon: I have 2 on order and cannot wait!

Your collage is fab!

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TXRMOM 1/18/2010 1:16PM

    You are so right about the a-ha moment of conversion slowly sliding away as real life intrudes. What a great idea to make a vision collage and to put it where you will see it throughout your day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your strategy; I'm going to make my own vision collage to help me stay focused.

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TSCHLAG 1/18/2010 12:41PM

    Thanks for your words!

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GAIRECARA 1/18/2010 12:38PM

    emoticon

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JOURNEYOF3 1/18/2010 11:48AM

    Thank you for taking the time to write. It really shows what making little changes or looking at something differently can do to change an outcome.

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NORTHERNMEM 1/18/2010 11:21AM

    I have not been to keen on making a collage but I think after reading your blog it is a must do this week!

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EDELWEISS33 1/18/2010 9:14AM

    wow, great perspective!

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DARKKAT 1/18/2010 3:16AM

    Where are my scissors and glue! Thank you for sharing.

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KAYBEE37 1/17/2010 8:16PM

    Wow, what a great blog. I really appreciated hearing your thoughts on how you really felt after losing weight. And thanks for the reminder about the visual collage. I know it's important, I know it, but I somehow never seem to get around to it. I know that I need to. I get very inspired by pictures, so I need to make that work for me.

Best of luck with your continued success. emoticon

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JWBRIGHTEYES 1/17/2010 6:51PM

    Today is the day I finally decided to get started on mine. Your blog is just the additional inspiration I needed!

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WANDA2010 1/17/2010 6:33PM

  Thanks for sharing.

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CAWESTY 1/17/2010 6:21PM

    What a wonderful blog! Thanks so much for the inspiration. I don't have the book yet, so this idea is new to me! I can't wait to make mine. I wish the very best to you in everything!

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Carol in Idaho

Comment edited on: 1/17/2010 6:22:33 PM

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MUDDYMUDSLINGER 1/17/2010 5:27PM

    The chapter in The Spark definitely got me going and I finally did mine too, just finished yesterday. I had five little frames that matched and I did five little collages representing; self (healthy living and a pix from last time I was at goal), home life, work, roller derby reffing (which I just started) and travel plans.

I love the ideas of taking pix of them to put on my phone or at work so that I can keep it in mind in different places.

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NWFL59 1/17/2010 5:24PM

    emoticon Excellent blog; thanks for sharing your success and your vision. I did one a little while ago but I think I'll redo and see if I can improve it.

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JULIAGULIA162 1/17/2010 4:19PM

    I made a lifeboard awhile back, similar. I should take a picture of it and post it. I used to have it on the wall but since it doesnt quite math my room i took it down.

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DFWM01 1/17/2010 3:51PM

  I have been clipping and saving things off and on for the last 2 years to make a vision quest page. Thanks for reminding me of the power it can have in my life.

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MARYELF 1/17/2010 3:08PM

  I have been wanting to do this for years and finally overcame my resistance!

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IOWADEB 1/17/2010 3:08PM

    emoticon
You did a fine job! Now I will do mine.
Thanks for sharing.IowaDeb

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CHERIBENEDICT 1/17/2010 2:26PM

  Odd, that I would come across your blog today! I just printed out the instructions for the visual last night and now I am very inspired to create my own!

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BPELLER 1/17/2010 1:48PM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing.

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ANUNCOMMONLADY 1/17/2010 1:42PM

    There is power in positive thinking!

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