Last summer, I interviewed a woman named Gwen. I’d been given an assignment to write a story about her for a report* that Lizz and I were working on for a charity. I knew very little about Gwen when I sat down with her, and maybe that’s why the interview turned out to be one of the better ones I’ve done – because when a writer knows little, can’t research a subject to death and can’t over-prepare, the only choice is to have a conversation. I don’t like going off-script, I’m an introvert after all, but I know it is the way.
Gwen told me that she was one of the artists who collaborated on the murals in Allan Gardens, across the street from where we were talking. The mural Gwen worked on depicts the Seven Grandfather Teachings, and is remarkably beautiful. I wondered aloud how she’d gotten involved in the project. At the time, she told me, she’d just returned to Toronto from the Yukon and had written a dream list. Getting more involved in her art and doing a mural were both on the list.
I read my horoscope daily and do yoga and give credence to all kinds of hippy crap so it’s probably no surprise that all the tiny hairs raised up on my forearms as she told me this. On the tape, very true to form, I say, Ohhhhhh woooooowwwwww. Gwen encouraged me to make a visual dream board.
“It helps you manifest,” she said.
This wasn’t the first time I’d heard of a dream list/dream board, but it was the first time I met someone willing to share that they’d made one and felt it worked. I wasn’t, and I’m still not, too sure about the cosmic angle but I certainly believe in the power of setting intentions and working toward them (and also in the power of discarding goals that don’t work, which is why I never feel bad about “failing” at New Year’s Resolutions). To my mind, a vision board seemed like a new way to set goals – maybe longer-term ones – and I vowed to make one.
I never got around to it and now it’s February 1st of the following year. The Astrotwins advise me in my monthly horoscope to make a vision board to figure out what the hell I actually want in life, particularly in my career. They write that images send a signal to the brain, that the resulting energy sends waves of desire into the quantum field, magnetizing our deepest desires. Oh yeah, I remember.
“So, Gemini,” the Astrotwins ask, “how exactly WOULD you like to rule the world?”
But it’s a busy month. I have a couple writing deadlines. I have stuff to do for my editing class, and for my communications class. And it’s a short month. And it’s extra short because I have to get all this stuff done before I leave for a beach on the 22nd. So I still don’t make the vision board.
Five days later, I’m home again. In my mail I find an envelope from my cousin, Brenda. It’s an article she’s clipped from January’s Marie Claire magazine. Title: Vision Quest. Subhead: Liza Monroy was skeptical when her friends invited her to a “vision-boarding” party, but when she gave in to the New Agey pastime, magical coincidences ensued.
“Hi Leslie,” says Brenda’s tidy writing on a Post-It note, “I read this article, and for some reason thought of you.”
* The report is here. Read Gwen’s story on page 16.