Another Word for Joy: Lesson 4 – Vision

No Ideas for Creative Endeavors (NICE) presents:

Another Word for Joy: Lesson 4

I need a new vision board. I made one some time ago, and I thought it covered the many things I wanted, but now when I look at it, I see the flaws. It included “planning a trip”, but then we only planned it and didn’t take it. It included some phrases and images that were merely a reflection of what was going on in my life, not what I wanted to happen.

I am ready to imagine something better. I am ready to visualize a dream. I am ready to take the first step toward making it happen.

When we “see” a goal or dream in our mind, we are more likely to achieve it. When we put it onto paper or into a vision board, we are anchoring the images more solidly.

This is one way that Joy is linked to vision. The magical workings of the eye and brain are another part of the story.

Welcome to Lesson 4: Vision.

What an amazing gift we have in vision. Our eyes take reflected images and flip them around and send signals to our brains that make it possible for us to move through a busy and complicated world with ease.

We take this for granted until something causes the images to blur: we might now need glasses to see clearly.

But there is also another dimension to vision: time. We can see what is happening right now in front of us. We can see something that happened years ago. We can see into the future. You might call these memory and imagination, in an attempt to make them appear less “real”, but the impact these visions have on our lives is very real, and very important to what we do in the present.

Why do we keep pictures of people we’ve known and places we’ve been? Why are we fascinated by sunsets? Why does a grey sky make people gloomy?

When we are looking for Joy, we can find the answers in what we see, with our eyes or in our mind.

Homework #1: What we see

Carry a pen and paper or a smart phone with you as you go about your day. Try to be aware of the images you are experiencing as your day progresses. Some of them will be in the physical world, in the present. Other images might be of the past or a dreamed of (or feared) future. When an image causes you to react with a feeling, make a note of the image and the kind of reaction you have to it. What images cause positive feelings?

In this lesson, your goal is to learn how vision can enhance your experiences of joy. Whether the vision is “real” or in your mind, images have great power in our lives.

How do we reach our goals? We imagine ourselves doing it, and then we follow through. We teach ourselves through vision how something will look when we have finished, and then we work toward that image.

If you’ve even taken a brief look at this blog, you’ll know that it isn’t as easy as that. Sometimes there is a lot of struggle that goes on in between. But when we are striving for Joy, it is worth the effort.

Homework #2: What we imagine

It’s getting close to the new year. Many people see this as a time to start new things, reach for new goals. For this exercise, go farther than picturing yourself starting something new – picture yourself at the moment you complete your goal. This can be any goal you have, even if it is not a New Year resolution. Try to imagine as much detail as possible. Write down any details that surprise you as you think of them.

Back to the eyeballs and nerves and the stuff that goes on in our heads. I have a very specific belief about vision: that there is a link between vision and life itself. Why? Because when my dad was dying, he didn’t want to wear his glasses.

This was a guy who couldn’t see anything clearly without them. I can’t imagine not wanting to see things clearly. I look forward to getting new glasses that bring everything into focus. This is one of the best parts of life. To me, not wanting the glasses was a sign. A sign that he was letting go of the joys of life.

Maybe he was just tired, but I gave it that meaning and I’ve kept that with me for a quarter of a century. And if I ever don’t want to see things and I don’t smile when you put a camera in my hand, you should start getting my headstone ready.

I just realized that this might give the name of the link in the Bonus section a different meaning… but it has nothing to do with this sad story of mine.

Bonus #1

How about a link to a site on Vision for Life?

For Lesson 4 credit, you must either post your Homework answers as a comment or send them to me in an e-mail.

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2 Responses to Another Word for Joy: Lesson 4 – Vision

  1. Margot says:

    I didn’t know that about dad. Interesting. So I bought a camera. Yes the one on my phone is great, but usually I’m doing something else and then use that to snap a photo of where we are or friends or the traditional photos. The camera is for the things that bring me joy.
    Homework #1 – I guess you could say we don’t watch the news anymore because of the images and our reactions. We don’t want to feel scared or depressed, seeing people hurt or hurting one another. We have decided to control those images and our feelings.
    Back to the camera. I was going on a trip to a friends house about an hour away on a road I don’t usually travel. So I brought the camera in case I saw something worth taking a photo of. I was searching for that joy, that image that makes me pull over and take the time to take a photo. And I found it. Just a little old abandoned gas station with broken windows. But so beautiful in how it reminds me of a different time. The front posts holding up the covering were built from stacked stone. The iron scroll-work sign post out front still stood, and you could picture the sign swinging from it, welcoming travelers down that long highway. Stopping and taking those pictures made me late, but it was worth it. I have other photos, of sunsets and the ocean, things that make me feel peaceful and somehow connected. Even renewed or refreshed. And sunrises, like the very beginning of a day of possibilities. And then I have photos of old barns, grey barns and red barns, some with equipment still rusting away in the open sliding doors. I don’t know why but I find them so interesting. On the way back from my trip there was the most amazing sunset over my left shoulder. It went on and on, with reds and oranges and purples and blues. And when you looked at it with trees in front, the trees have no light since it is all behind them so they are all black, all the same color, just a row of black trees with no leaves framed against that amazing sunset. I didn’t stop. I knew I couldn’t get all that into a photo that would do it justice. Sometime you just have to look and remember.

  2. Margot says:

    One more thought. The trip I took was to visit a friend and do scrapbooking. So there I was cutting photos and maps, adding stickers and colored paper, trying to get the good memories and some not as good into a book. These were from my trip to Europe in college. Um, 28 years ago? Something like that. And they brought back some interesting memories and stories, things that you wouldn’t guess from the photos. I am missing some of that trip in photos so thanks to the wonder of Google, which wasn’t around when I took the trip, I have printed out similar views to what I saw. And thanks to others posting their photos with searchable descriptions, I have identified some of the statues and towers and historic sites I visited on that trip. I got 8 pages done. It is a slow process but I hope to finish in the next 28 years.

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