On vision boards (and romantic, sexy love)

There are two segments here. First an exceptional dissection of the way dreams are created by John Assaraf  and then a quick tale of a vision quest for romantic, sexy, enduring love . . . .


One reason so many people fail to achieve the things they genuinely want in life is that they get bogged down in worrying about the ‘how.’ As a child, when you would think of something you really wanted  a bike, a trip to Disneyland, to become an astronaut, anything  the first thing you probably heard was something like this: ‘How are you going to do that?’ 

Most of us have been taught to pursue goals by mapping out a logical series of steps to take us there. Start at the beginning. One step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

So we take our big, beautiful dream, set it to the side, and ask ourselves, ‘Where do I start?’ Pretty soon we say, ‘Oh, get your head out of the clouds! Get realistic!’ And just like that, millions of dreams are snuffed out every day. 

Creating a vision board takes the opposite approach. Instead of fussing about the ‘how,’ it focuses all your attention on the destination  the ‘what.’ Rome may have not been built in a day, but it could very well be dreamt in a day. I’m not saying it isn’t good to plan or to consider a logical sequence of steps. It’s just that this is not usually the most effective way to make a dream come true.  

. . . . 

Think about a pivotal event in your life  an event that completely changed the course of your life in a positive way. Then ask yourself: did that event happen as a result of your careful, logical planning? 

Creating a vision board focuses your mind on the destination. If it’s something you want strongly enough, and the image is burned into your mind and heart deeply enough, then in the influence of that powerful, magnetic, gravitational attraction, you’ll find the how. But you can’t start with the how. The what must come first.

John Assaraf,  The Vision Board Book.


Sixteen years ago I came off of a tornado-y three-month romantic misadventure that left me disoriented (et tu, at one time?) . . . . I’d just quit a charging career in New York City, so I hit the road seeking to fashion a new life in a new locale. I traveled by van across the country and back, the southern reaches, hopscotching from art town to art town, looking for where I might settle down and create the next phase of my life.

In Topanga Canyon, north of LA, east of Malibu, hiking with friends we came upon a large rocky overlook, um, overlooking the mountain range. If you scrambled down the other side you found a cave!  . . . that was not at all visible from the rocky setting above. 

It was small, you had to scrunch down to enter, with two portal-like openings, a very cool spot. Maybe two or three people could squeeze in there. It was a private space with a wide-open view.

I vowed to return later in the week on Thanksgiving Day, when I would be fasting  and figuring out what the hell was to come in my life.

So there I was Thanksgiving Day, having mountain biked up there, sitting in the cave for hours (hungry) while hikers occasionally perched above unaware of my presence not too many feet below. 

I was meditating. I was churning. I was thinking.

I was seething with possibility and pissed-offness at the same time for my predicament. I was casting about for I didn’t know what . . . . 

The vista was as mountain majestic as you could ever aspire to. At one point two butterflies flitted around outside the cave openings  a surprise to me at that altitude, though probably not to a biologist, because I’d been watching birds of prey soaring up there all day. Who knew they could fly this high? (Sure, a biologist, but who else . . . )

When I saw them I didn’t leap to the conclusion these flirting butterflies — circling each other repeatedly, batting their wings against one another  were a sign of the long-lasting love I wanted to find. 

No, it was this way: I decided to make them a sign. I decided I would keep those butterflies tangling in flight in my mind as a symbol of my own enduring, sexy love to come. It was very clear to me that I was deciding my future. 

Sometimes you have an experience and you’re overcome by the feeling you’ve been shown an extraordinary signpost by the Universe. In this instance it was the opposite, I was overwhelmed by a tsunami feeling that I’d just created something meaningful where it hadn’t existed. 

There in that small cave space wide open to the mountain sky I was overcome by this feeling that I had just decided my future. No more profligate abandon, no more ephemeral entanglements.

Four weeks later I connected with Ann, my now lover-wife-woman-companion, and it has been sexier and more meaningful and more creative and more fulfilling and more crazy adventurous than I could ever have imagined a life-long partnership could be.

Who knew you could get this high from a long-term love affair . . . sure, maybe a biologist, but really, who knew? Certainly not my younger, antsy, leap-from-thing-to-thing-to-thing self . . . .

If this wasn’t sufficient, there’s more you insatiable beast

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