Who’s on your vision board? The brooding, bat-eared Christian Bale?
The generously upholstered Kim Kardashian? Cute ‘n’ saucy Katy Perry?
Sandra, single and 36, placed a picture of Chris Martin on hers. Not because she wanted a copy of the new Coldplay album, but because, she says, she has “a little crush” the Britpop singer.
Now is the perfect time to take a New Age step and envision your ideal year ahead, and the perfect person to share it with. And the best way to do that, according to the power-of-attraction gurus behind The Secret and various bloggers with a lot of time on their hands, is by constructing a vision board.
A vision board is, basically, a physical manifestation of your dreams or a visual and verbal articulation of goals. The principle is simple: by figuring out what you want most in life, and then focusing daily on your goals, you can reprogram your brain. Instead of thinking of, say, a cranberry-pecan muffin first thing in the morning, you’ll look up at your vision board, gaze upon a picture of some magazine model’s rippling abs, and reach for that apple instead.
Martha Beck, appearing on the Oprah show, said she sees two reasons the vision board works. One is something called “selective attention.”
“If you repeat the word, ‘blue, blue, blue,’ and you start looking around the room, all the blue things will start popping out.” The other reason is, uhm, quantum physics.
“We know now, scientifically, that consciousness brings matter into being where there was energy,” said Beck. “So it’s not even necessarily that it draws it toward you. The conclusion is you’re literally creating some of this stuff.”
An O Magazine columnist’s expertise on quantum physics notwithstanding, maybe there is something to this vision-board thing. At least, it doesn’t cost anything to make — although that hasn’t stopped a few people, like The Secret‘s John Assaraf, from trying to make money off the idea (with his Complete Vision Board Kit).
For your dating vision board, start by collecting a stack of magazines, catalogues or any other visual aids that stir your imagination. Don’t limit yourself to what you have lying around the living room, though, or your board, like ours, might be full of nothing but pictures of the female cast members from Battlestar Galactica. You want to stay focused, but not that focused.
Once you have your stack, cut out the pictures that most appeal to you, while keeping in mind the type of person you want to attract. Knowing the gender of your ideal partner is a good start, as is a ballpark age. And if you’re fundamentalist Mormon, before starting the project you might also want to figure out the number of life partners you want.
Then start asking yourself more specific questions. Is she a blonde, brunette or redhead? Is he tall, short, with a full head of hair and a soul patch, or does he have a tattoo of praying hands on his bald skull? Does she have her own business, or does her job involve a pole? Does he front one of the world’s most successful rock bands, or is he currently in a maximum security institution?
Getting more detailed, blogger Sherrie Hay suggests listing the four qualities your perfect mate must have, along with four qualities that would be the icing on the wedding cake. To that end, find pictures of people who embody those attributes highest on your list.
For example, this could mean a picture of a fireman for bravery, Mickey Rourke for muscles and hair extensions, and Larry King for style. Or Sarah Silverman for laughs, Michelle Obama for strength, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck for loony rightwing opinions.
Imagine your life together. Are you living in a deluxe apartment in the city, or a house in the country? Are you partying in a Hells Angels clubhouse or on your way to Burning Man in a motor home? Are you enjoying sun-drenched resorts or snow-packed mountains? Are there children, a surrogate mother? How many cats? Can your mother-in-law find you?
Once you’ve decided on the pictures that best represent your soul mate and your happily-ever-after, arrange the images on a piece of poster-board. When you have them sorted in an aesthetically pleasing manner, start gluing.
Blogger/musician/women’s retreat coordinator Christine Kane suggests putting a picture of your smiling, happy self smack dab in the middle, though this might mean moving Tricia Helfer to the sidelines.
After completion, sit back and admire your handiwork. Congratulations! You’ve just spent an afternoon avoiding housework.
But more than that, you might be on your way to meeting the man or woman of your dreams.
Place your dating vision board somewhere you’ll be reminded of your goals daily, like a workspace. (Though probably not the office, unless you want your co-workers to know about your desire to appear on Dancing with the Stars). Hopefully you’ve chosen pictures that bring you a relaxed, happy feeling rather than those that would stress you out, or make you feel like an underachieving loser.
You should feel, looking at the board, that you’re ready to go to your high school reunion, not like you’ve thrown away your early promise. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to thank the universe, er, Universe, in advance, as though you already have what you desire.
Apparently this will smooth the transition so you’re ready when the publisher of The Secret pulls up in a truck and starts dumping cash onto your lawn.
Yeah, the whole thing sounds a little flakey, even to us (and we believe Anderson Cooper is an emissary from the future). It also sounds almost criminally self-absorbed. After all, it’s easy for us, living in a part of the world where we don’t have to worry about falling bombs or blood-thirsty dictators, to cut and paste pictures of homes in Malibu and a reserved table at the French Laundry.
But, like chicken soup, it probably can’t hurt. And might it not also be used to make us contribute more to society? That is, once we’ve snagged our versions of Chris Martin and Katee Sackhoff.