Four Tips to get Started with Visualization in Mediation

Day dreaming is something that I think nearly all human beings do.  We often think of something better we could be doing while typing up a long email or zone out on a thought while making our morning cup of coffee.  Raise your hand if you've ever been doing something and suddenly zoned out only to realize you've been unintentionally staring over the shoulder of someone in your office and therefore freaking them out a bit.  What if we could tap into this tendency to day dream and turn it into something productive?  Spoilers - we can.
Let's talk about visualization.  Whenever we think of an idea - what to eat, what to create, what to wear - we often visualize it first.  We pass a few images through our heads to find what entices us the most.  This imagery helps us to decipher our true feelings - do we want Italian or Thai food? - and helps us feel confident in an out come - how will I look in this dress versus this pair of jeans?  But there is a way to tap into visualization to make it a powerful energetic tool to help us align our actions and become the best version of ourselves.

Visualization can help us bring certain feelings, actions, or outcomes into our awareness.  I honestly like to think of it as playing pretend, but for big kids with big kid results.  I use visualization in nearly all of my routines.  It helps us to feel our goals & sink into a certain emotional head space.  It helps us to see the benefit of small actions.  It helps us to believe we can live our best life.  Here are some of my daily visualizations :
  • When meditating I visualize myself sitting on a big rock on the bank of a large lake in the midst of many trees.  When I inhale, the lake is still.  When I exhale, ripples form across the lake.  This visualization helps me to focus on my breath and focus on the present moment. 
  • When I've had an extremely hard day and I end up taking a long shower, I imagine the water washing away the stress and baggage of the day.  When I take a warm bath I often use a bath bomb, essential oils, and/or crystals and imagine that I am soaking in all the good feels I want to absorb.  That way, when I step out of the bathroom I'm restored and ready to face the next task.
  • When I need a boost of a little something, I often choose an oil or crystal to work with & imagine its properties - grounding, uplifting, calming, opening - hitting me where I need them.  This is especially powerful when it comes to working with my chakras.  If I want to communicate better I imagine an oil like peppermint opening my air ways and a stone like sodalite supporting the message I'd like to convey.  Affirmations can help with visualization as well to encourage you to believe in yourself.
  • The first ever example of my own visualization was when I was younger and I was told to clear my mind.  I used to (well I still do) love magic tricks, mind reading tricks, etc so the guy would say 'clear your mind....so I may tap into your unconscious. wooooooo.'  You know the drill.  So I'd imagine my mind as a giant attic with hardwood floors, white walls, and one round window.  It was a huge attic with all my thoughts stored up in it....so I would imagine all the boxes & junk being pushed aside so that there is a clear space to work.  I also used to do this when I couldn't sleep.  It seems kind of silly but it's a visualization that has helped me.

Visualization is big kid pretend with

amazing, positive results.

Here's the thing though, you've got to be open to it.  It's kinda woo-woo.  It's kinda weird.  But there is one question you have to ask yourself when it comes to this stuff: if it works for you, why would you stop doing it?  You never know until you try something.  As we grow out of childhood, logic  starts to take over.  Eventually we block out all of our connection to our highest and best self.  It is only through self healing practices - like mediation - that we can find our way back to our true selves.  So let loose and let your inner child allow yourself to believe in yourself again.

Here are three tips for a beginner when it comes to using visualization

Choose a specific space to which you feel comfortable and connected

This may be your bedroom, your craft room, your sun room, or the bath tub.  Choose any place where you feel you can be completely and utterly yourself.  There is no room for judgment or embarrassment when it comes to meditation and visualization.  For me, the best place for this is our downstairs spare room.  I've sort of turned that into my self care oasis. This is separate from our bedroom which is a space I share with someone else.  But I also find that my tub during a bath is a perfect place as well.

You need a place with out distractions where you're allowed to be you with out any judgement.  Setting the mood could mean burning your favorite candle, diffusing your favorite essential oil blend, or burning incense.  You can also choose some calming music with nature sounds or singing bowls or flutes.  Dim the lights, sit comfortably.  It is easier to get in the head space for meditation & visualization when you've made a specific time and space for it.  Eventually you'll be able to slip into this head space in your car on your lunch break.  But you've got to get over yourself first.

Don't believe yourself when you tell yourself it's silly

Speaking of getting over yourself....you're gonna sit down and you're gonna get ready to visualize, and you're gonna picture something - how it feels, how it looks, how it sounds - and you're gonna suddenly feel like a noodle for being a grown ass adult pretending to be on a rock in front of a big lake.  You're going to tell yourself that this whole thing is silly.  And your going to want to believe it.  But don't.

So here's my example, it has to do with Santa Clause.  If you've ever believed in Santa you've probably felt the magic & excitement of the holidays.  The sparkle and mystery in all the Christmas movies, decorations, stories, etc.  And as you grow up you realize that there is no Santa & that the magic and sparkle lives in all of us when we come together to give, celebrate, and love.  That the spirit of Christmas isn't in this jolly character but in the hearts of us all.  If you've ever believed in the magic of anything you've got to get that innocent feeling back.  It will take practice and you've got to keep at it.  But if you believe what you're visualizing and go through your day with that belief you'll start to notice how visualization will help you keep a positive attitude, allow you to communicate or listen better, or enable you to do what ever you visualized yourself doing.  

Start with baby steps

While you can go ahead and visualize yourself on the beach sipping Mai Thais, that may not help you in your day to day existence.  I'd qualify that as daydreaming unless your visualizing the steps you need to take in order to create a life where you lay on the beach and sip Mai Thais.  So, start small.  Visualize something that will have a direct effect that day.  Start with something like envisioning yourself on a rock to calm your mind.  Once you can hold that image and hold yourself in that space, begin to visualize small actions you can take to improve your life.

You can, of course, visualize the outcome but more importantly you need to visualize yourself working through the process.  Break down the thing you'd like to improve on into smaller steps so that you can see yourself making action on them each day.  Visualization isn't magic.  You're not instantly going to get what your wishing for.  Just like affirmations, visualization is a tool to give you confidence that you can take action and make movement towards what you'd like to improve. 

Try something tangible, like a vision board

If you're not too fond of hanging out in your head, then try something more tangible like a journal or a vision board.  Making a plan is a great way to visualize an outcome.  You can layout the whole process and follow it.  You can also physically see it and edit it when needed.  If you find your imagination is lacking, find images you'd like to embody online or in magazines.  Then you can set your mood, dedicate your time, and imagine yourself in the image.

This is one reason why I use a vision planner.  I can't keep track of all the things I want to be in my life or bring into my life so a book of all of this stuff is extremely helpful to remind me of exactly what I'm aiming for.  Breaking your life into areas you'd like to improve - like in the January Journaling Jump Start - can help you create a visual plan of action.  The more these things are in front of you the more likely you'll be able to make small actions.

Visualization is a bit woo woo, but it can also be a fun tool.  It can be a serious way to help you unwind, visualize a process, or see how something new might make you feel.  There is magic when we believe in the power of ourselves!  It is a way to encourage us to respond differently to certain emotional stimuli, help us align our actions with our desires, and help us fell confident our in our abilities.  

This tool has helped me to pull out the best in myself so I can show up authentically and compassionately for myself and for others.  I struggled previously with being self depreciating and this visualization process as well as working with the emotional balancing properties of essential oils has given me the ability to respond better under stress.  It has also given me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone, sometimes, to take a chance ... and to remember how that chance feels!

Do you use visualization for self development?  How has it helped you respond better or take action in your daily life?

xoxo, Moe

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