Developing the inner landscape of my imagination has been, and continues to be, the number one thing that helps me to overcome challenges and grow in everything that I do.
Whether you’re bursting with dreams and desires yet to be fulfilled, or are happy to take each day as it comes and rarely think of the future, you can use the power of your imagination to bring more joy into your life now.
I do not claim to be an expert on the inner workings of the mind, but I do have a LOT of experience with bringing myself from an uninspired, tired or agitated state, into one of peace, clarity and creativity.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking too logically when it comes to making dreams a reality. I talk myself out of things on a daily basis because I try to predict the future, and plan an exact sequence of action. When I’m able to let go of the outcome, everything flows so much more smoothly.
Step 1: Discovering inspiration
It’s important during this step to understand that inspiration isn’t just something for artists and inventors. Finding the things that light us up is crucial in providing motivation for reaching our goals in life, as well as bringing us joy and an abundance of energy.
The view from Poon Hill in the Himalayas at sunrise.
If you have visions that seem totally unrealistic, all the better. Imagining flying during my yoga practice led to some of the freest movement and floatiest handstands I’ve ever experienced. Visualizing myself as a magical being with an ability to create enchanting music has allowed melodies to pour out of me when I’m playing my guitar and singing, even though I’m not an experienced musician.
You may already know what inspires you, or you may need to work on finding out. When I first started making jewellery I knew I liked doing it, and was mainly trying to re-create things I’d seen on my travels. I later realised it was the peace, beauty and freedom of expression the bohemian jewellery represented, that I resonated with. That led me to find my own unique style, and start making my dreams a reality.
One of a kind black onyx macrame necklace from my Etsy shop.
Pinterest can be a great place to start your search for inspiration. By collecting images that inspire you, your visions evolve, and you can revisit them whenever you need to. Look at images that you love and figure out what it is about them that you love. What emotions do they stir in you?
Think about things that have brought you joy in the past, and things that you find yourself daydreaming about doing, having and being in the future. What feelings do these evoke?
Step 2: Finding your unifying theme
This may be a word, a collection of words, a grand vision, or a feeling, that links everything together. I struggled for so long because I had no idea where to focus my energy. I had so many different dreams and goals, and felt completely overwhelmed when I thought about how to attain them. (I attempted to put this into words in one of my earlier blog posts ‘Living Your Passion’.) I still have all these dreams and goals, plus new ones now, but I feel much calmer and happier on a day to day basis.
Initially, I was unable to see how my passions for travel, music, making jewellery, yoga and massage were related. It seemed completely infeasible to pursue them all, and I felt I had to pick one. Now I can see the underlying feelings that inspire my interests are very similar. Peace and freedom are words that come close to representing my unifying theme.
Beach on Sentosa island, Singapore.
Visualize yourself doing all the things you love, or that inspire you, in your own version of heaven. What overall quality does it have? Try to describe it in words, images or whatever comes most naturally to you. This should help you to see the whole picture of how your dreams and goals could work together, rather than being in competition with each other.
Desert in Peru. I felt my freest during the time I was away travelling in South America.
Travel plays a big part in my vision, but it is the feeling of freedom and expansiveness I feel when travelling that appeals to me. For others it may be a fascination with different lifestyles and cultures. There is no ‘right’ answer, since our motivation is a personal thing.
If you dream of wealth and luxury, as many people do, why is it these things inspire you? Is it the feeling of safety and comfort that wealth can bring? Or would you enjoy the freedom, the confidence, and just the feeling of general awesomeness?!
Step 3: Creating your ‘heaven’
Once you’ve got some kind of overall vision which represents your passions and sources of inspiration, you can start to move into that reality. It doesn’t matter if it’s not clear yet, or if there are still some bits which don’t seem to fit together. It’s a lifelong process and your visions will grow with you.
A vision of heaven: Ayutthaya, Thailand.
The secret to getting this step right is to let go of the final outcome and live your dreams NOW. There is absolutely no point in putting all your energy into achieving goals in the future if doing so makes you unhappy in the now. But, on the other hand, there is immense value in fulfilling your dreams, so ignoring them isn’t the optimum thing to do either.
But with such grand dreams, how do you begin to live those now??
This is where your unifying theme or vision comes in, or at least the feeling behind it. There may be no practical way to be travelling the world indefinitely right now, or to become a millionaire overnight, but there are certainly many ways to give yourself the feelings that motivate these dreams.
Simply spending time in a park or a beautiful garden, immersed in nature, brings me a great sense of peace.
If, like me, freedom is very important to you, try to find ways to bring more freedom to your day to day life. For me, this looked like starting my own business, allowing me to decide how I spend my time. For you it may be booking a trip, or opening a savings account.
A piece of my freedom: starting my own business doing what I love, my Etsy shop.
It’s not about what you do, it’s about how it makes you feel. Prioritize your core desires. If you want to be filthy rich because it would make you feel awesome, special and amazing, do everything within your power to feel awesome, special and amazing NOW! Take pride in your appearance, constantly remind yourself of your skills and positive qualities, and expect the best from yourself and others.
If you crave comfort and luxury but are flat broke, prioritize self care. Enjoy taking long luxurious baths, learn some self-massage techniques, or take extra care to make your living space feel heavenly.
Prioritizing how you feel NOW doesn’t mean giving up on your goals. Quite the opposite, in fact. When you get into the zone of feeling good NOW, you’ll find it much easier to work towards achieving the things you desire for your future.
In my opinion, dreams are to be lived. If you use your dreams as an indication of what to bring more of into your life NOW, you can begin to enjoy them immediately!
Walking around Warmley Forest Park near home (Bristol, UK) is a great way to re-connect with my inner peace.