Danielle LaPorte makes them, the folks who sell The Secret  make them, chances are that your mom has even made one or two - I'm talking about 'vision boards'. But I was still surprised last week when I found myself attending a free vision boarding workshops at the Paper + Craft Pantry here in Austin.

Now, don't get me wrong, I put stake in more than one woo-woo manifesting practice, but for some reason vision boards always struck me as a little...cheesy? Ironic, considering I am an inherently visual person. But I have some big things that I want to call into my life this year, so I figured "What the hell?". And I showed up to the studio on Wednesday night, ridiculously early as usual.

I was greeted by Kaileen of Happy Living, the workshop's instructor. As we sipped on complimentary sangria, Kaileen explained to us her vision boarding practice. I was surprised (and relieved) to hear that it was all rooted in a sort of formula. The folks at Happy Living believe that there is a pyramid of needs or desires that add up to a happy life. It looks something like this:

And this is the secret sauce that makes Kaileen's vision-boarding so not cheesy. She encourages you to think about each of these aspects of your life as you are pulling and arranging images. So, if your board is all beaches and big stacks of money - have you really addressed the physical health you need? Or how those things are going to help you feel like you have 'significance' (i.e. purpose in your life)?

Once we got the theory down, it was time to start cutting. Mountains of magazines sat on each table and it was fascinating to see who was drawn to which magazines - the woman across the table from me, for example, leaped on the only issue of Wired, while I built as sturdy little stack of Bon Appetit, Travel + Leisure, and Anthropologie catalogs. You just never know. I wound up loving the process (albeit, begrudgingly). For the past couple months I've really felt like I'm coming into some powerful manifesting joojoo - call it a coming of age, an awakening, or just good luck - but it felt awesome to flex those manifestation muscles. I think this is why I'm so into prepping for the New Year this winter.

You can see the final product at the top of this post. I've actually hung it up in my house...where other people could see it...That's a big deal, because I'm normally extremely meticulous about how my house is decorated. Considering this collage is definitely no great work of art, I obviously like it for other reasons. So, here's how the board breaks down / corresponds to those different aspects of happy living for me:

This part of the moodboard really surprised me. As many of you know, Jack and I just moved to Austin in August, and I had been talking for years about wanting to get back to Texas. But it honestly hasn't felt the way I expected. I once heard someone say that the reason you can never go home is not because home changes, but because you change and home is the same. The pieces just don't fit together like they used to - it feels a little like that.

All of this sea/forest/mountains imagery came up in my vision board. Lots and lots of water. After I sat with it for a while it just felt really right. Somewhere rural, somewhere near the water and some trees. It's hard to admit that Texas might not be 'it' for me anymore, but looking at this gets me fired up. So we'll see how it all pans out in the next year.

Foundations of Happy Living: Mental Fitness, Spiritual Fitness, Adventure.

When I look at my vision board it's sort of a gradient - fading from outside to inside as you move from left to right. Didn't plan that, but I dig it. So smack dab in the middle are these images which I feel speak directly to my work life - the space I work in, the environment, and what I am craving to help me be more creative. Our current studio is smack dab in the middle of our living space - we literally picked the biggest room in the house and converted it to the studio. While I still like the idea of working primarily at home, I've been deeply desiring a space that is separate from the house - ideally, a little shed/bungalito surrounded by a garden. I am also still feeling disorganized in our current space, after a cross-country move and combining stuff with Jack for the first time, so the stacked/color-coordinated books spoke to that for me. And, again, I'm feeling a little less lit-up by city life than I used to be, I'm craving some solitude to get the creative juices flowing.

Foundations of Happy Living: Mental Fitness, Significance, Love (self love).


These words, "At Ease", were one of the first things that I clipped out. The past year of starting a new business, going to full-time freelance, and moving have left me feeling more than stressed. In 2016 I want to feel at ease. For me, preparing healthy, fresh food is a big part of that, and lately I've gotten back into yoga in a big way. As one of my yoga instructors said the other day, "We do yoga because we like ourselves. If we didn't like ourselves we'd be doing Crossfit." HAH! But yea...pretty much. I really liked the bit of text I found that said "Live / Work / Learn / Play" as well, getting back to that idea of balance. I want to be healthier in 2016, but I don't want it to be source of stress - and that guided the selection of these images.

Foundations of Happy Living: Physical Fitness, Mental Fitness, Love (self love).

Ok, this one might seem like a stretch, but stick with me. You probably noticed there's a lot about 'wander'ing on my board. This is definitely a catch word lately, and I don't think that wandering is really essential to everyone's spiritual wellness, but it is for me. What I'm coming to realize since our move to Texas is that while I do value family, connection, and intimacy, and while I do hate being disorganized, fear uncertainty, and sometimes struggle with change - I need change and uncertainty to thrive. I'm just not doing my best when I'm sitting still. I like the scrappy, resourceful person I become when I'm in a foreign country without a plan. Or living out of a rental car in Hawaii. Or moving to a city I've only been to once before. It's a rush, sure, but it's also the challenge of it. Maybe when I'm older I'll be in a place where I value stability, but right now I'm feeling like I have more to learn. Two things my soul is craving in 2016: new places, and some puppy love. Not sure how those will work together ("Have dog will travel"?), but I have faith the Universe can make it do.

Foundations of Happy Living: Spiritual Fitness, Mental Fitness, Adventure.

So that's it! That's my vision board for 2016. I can't wait to see how some of these things manifest over the next 12 months. I'll try to make a point of checking back in periodically - but in the meantime, I'm curious...

What are you doing to get ready for 2016? Will you be making a vision board?

You can currently hire Liberty for branding, launch strategy, or through her business Jack & Liberty. Contact her today to get the ball rolling.