Envisioning Your Future with a Collage and Some Friends

By , SparkPeople Blogger

When I joined SparkPeople last May, I stumbled across its One Time Challenge to Create a Vision Collage.. In the context of my personal and professional experience, I was impressed by the sophistication of a website that would include a process that might seem "out there" for some.

Fast-forward five months. During a mid-October storm, SparkGuy posted by flashlight (to The Spark Pilot Program team) a message inviting us to create a Vision Collage. I love collage! I thought, "Someone must have started a Vision Collage team." (After all, using tools to envision your future is an early building block of The Spark's 28-Day Program, right?) So, I set out to find it; I searched SparkTeams for a Vision Collage team.

...and came up empty?

SparkPeople's Vision Collage One Time Challenge was important enough to be prominently linked on everyone's SparkPoints page, yet it comparatively received little attention. The irony is that both SparkPeople.com and "The Spark" rest on the bedrock of SparkGuy Chris Downie's own Vision Collage, made in the cut-and-paste tradition shortly after he'd graduated college. Chris was sparked to make a Vision Collage--not because he knew what he wanted for his future, but because he knew what he didn't want: To become like his co-worker, older, unfit, and counting his days to retirement. Key to Chris' contentment and living a meaningful life was this awareness: "It wasn't that being an accountant in a large corporation was a dreadful future; it just didn't feel like my future." (emphasis added)

Spark's "Garden" of Vision Collages

Undeterred, I started looking for individual Vision Collages and related posts. We needed a team! A SparkPeople Vision Collage is too powerful! It's too fun! Chris Downie's own Vision Collage certainly played a catalytic role in SparkPeople history. I have similarly experienced the transformational power of collaged images.

One of the things that most impressed me in my SparkPeople Vision Collage quest was the individuality of each Vision Collage I found, in both images and choice of artistic medium. This means that there is no right or wrong way to make a Vision Collage and blows apart the best excuse you can conjure. I've seen (successful) Vision Collages so simple that a child could have cut-and-pasted them together, detailed cut-and-paste works of art, and online Vision Collages made with PowerPoint and digital collage websites.

Two patterns began to emerge:
  1. Most SparkPeople members add to or update their original Vision Collage, in step with their own self-discovery and evolving desires; and,
  2. Everyone who made one shared benefiting from the process, in ways both small and large, subtle and overt.
Even Chris, in naming and visualizing what he wanted for his (yet-to-be SparkPeople) future, said, "Some of my goals surprised even me."

Spark's "Gallery" of Vision Collages

I decided to start such a team...ideally, with SparkGuy's support.

So, I SparkMailed SparkGuy.

On Valentine's Day, I received his encouraging response.

There seemed to be enough interest to start a team and centralize as many Vision Collages as possible. In putting out feelers, the idea of a team seemed to spark others on the fence to take the next step.

The energy had been there all along, sparked by Chris Downie's inspiration. I thought I'd do what I could to brighten up this deserving corner of SparkPeople. So, I've been inviting people to join SparkPeople's Vision Collage Gallery Team. And, thankfully, many of you welcomed the idea with open arms. More than 100 people joined and 50 Vision Collages were added to our team the first month.

Starting a Vision Collage

Many SparkPeople members have been attracted to the idea of making a Vision Collage, yet lack the confidence to start. I can offer a couple of suggestions for how to get started.

One approach is to use the table of contents of "The Spark" for inspiration, since the core areas in which most of us have goals are healthy diet habits, lifestyle changes, and living out our dreams. You can find images that represent any or all of your long-term goals, medium-term milestones, and short-term action steps. These often fall in the category of one or more SparkPeople Cornerstones:

  • Focus ("Dreams with Deadlines": Values and Beliefs, Purpose and Vision, Goal-Setting)
  • Fitness for life (Exercise, Nutrition, Stress Management, Sleep)
  • Fire (Personal Leadership, Consistency and Momentum, Motivation)
  • Positive Force ("Leaving your Mark": Coaching, Public Leadership, Community Service)

Be creative!

Another way is to start with your current desires, especially if you've already achieved many of your healthy lifestyle goals. I'm fit and close to my desired weight, for example, having surpassed my "last 10 pounds" goal last year; my family is in place. While I have certain areas of my life that I'd like to revitalize, my current priority (the one that will provide the most satisfaction and inner freedom today) is learning to golf well. So, that's my next Vision Collage. I've already started leafing through magazines, preferring the cut-and-paste method, for images that draw me and embody what I want to manifest.

Finally, joining SparkPeople's Vision Collage Gallery Team will immediately surround you with like-minded friends, as well as a continuum of Vision Collage examples.

But, I Can't... I'm Not...

Be aware that resistance (often masking fear) is energy trapped in the body and mind, and depletes your life vitality. (As an example, make a fist with your hand. Continue to tighten it for as long as you can. The tension of ongoing resistance, both physical and emotional, wreaks havoc on your vital force, and causes an energetic backflow that eventually manifests as symptoms.) This homeostatic dynamic increases with age. Even Chris, contemplating his first Vision College in his mid-20's, wondered, "Why did it feel so odd, even embarrassing, to actually write down what I wanted from my life? Why hadn't I ever done this before?"

Essentially, a Vision Collage encompasses the whole of The Spark. Because the same individualized philosophy of "The Spark" applies to your Vision Collage, you decide what to include. You can start anywhere, depending on your initial goals.

No matter where you are in your progress--or your confidence--start today. Find images that represent the visual, physical and emotional embodiment and energy of what and who you want to bring into your life (think: who, what, where, when, why...even how). Unless it's an area that needs revitalizing, collage beyond what is currently right with your life. Image the future into which you want to live. This is important, especially for those of us who are older--the figurative and literal SparkGrandmothers and SparkGrandfathers, the keepers of lived wisdom. Let yourself dream!

One Spark Lighting Many Lives

The day that young Chris Downie finally sat down and focused, his Vision Collage imaged four intense personal desires. "These small but potent steps illuminated a path for me to follow and gave me a pleasurable sense of direction and purpose." Chris took mini-vacations: "I soaked my mind in the positive images hanging over my desk. I might have been a young accountant working on difficult deadlines, but in my mind I basked in the glow of love and friendship and the power of being a successful leader."

And what a community of love, friendship, and successful leadership he envisioned!


I'll close with SparkGuy's advice:

"No matter who you are, you have the key within yourself to live your own best life by simply channeling your vast potential and energy toward a goal that encompasses your own unique vision and purpose."

Now, you, go collage...to your heart's content!

Sue Gelber (SOULCOLLAGESUE) has been a healer in the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for 30 years. She is certified to practice Classical Homeopathy in North America, a trained SoulCollage facilitator, and a trained Spiritual Director, and successfully blends these modalities in a family healthcare practice in northern California. Currently on professional hiatus to care for her grandson, Sue leads several SparkTeams.

Have you made a Vision Collage? Will you?