When we were little, it was so easy to let our imagination run wild and free.
In seconds we could be transported from our bedroom to a faraway land and in our minds, our backyard could be instantly transformed to a magical place where we saw, felt and heard anything we could fantasize.
As adults, it’s harder to imagine. Our ego gets in the way. Our responsibilities nag at us, interrupting our thoughts. We feel guilty for having our mind wander for too long. We know we have things to do, things to get back to!
Worse? We feel silly or childish for daydreaming and imagining so we shut off that side of our brain entirely.
But our imagination is our greatest gift when it comes to envisioning, creating and manifesting our dreams and future blessings.
I think that setting clear intentions every morning for how you want your day to transpire is a great practice (one of my go-to, all time favorites), but this activity is more in depth and can be great to do every few months or more often if you feel called to it. It can provide a more long-term outlook.
Step One: Set the mood: Pick a quiet, peaceful time of day and settle into a space you can easily relax in. In my house I love to light some candles or incense in my zen den, settle in on the couch with a cozy blanket, a journal and a pen. I usually have a glass of water or maybe some tea by my side. My point is to create an atmosphere that feels comforting and inspiring.
Step Two: Quiet your mind: Before you begin writing, I highly recommend a few minutes of sitting with your eyes closed as a way to clear your mind. If it helps to ground you, you can play some gentle meditation music, but if you would prefer the quiet, that’s fine too. You might want to hold your favorite crystal or just place your palms facing up. Do whatever works for you! In these few minutes try not to think of anything. Simply focus on taking some deep cleansing breaths in and out.
Step Three: Begin to visualize: When you feel ready to, open your eyes and reach for your journal. Write out what your perfect day would be. And here’s the key! You must be specific in this. I want you to start from the moment you wake up (where are you?) to the first thing you’ll do (make coffee, shower, exercise?) to what you’ll have for breakfast (are you cooking it, is someone making it for you, or are you out somewhere?) to what you are wearing, what the weather is, what you will do for your day… You get the idea. Hear all the sounds, smell all the smells, taste all the tastes and feel all the feels. If it helps, write out your visualization hour by hour. Do this for your entire day until the moment it’s time for you to sleep.
Being as specific as possible is the key for visualization. For instance, it’s not enough to simply say, “I’ll be at the beach.” Instead you want to say what beach you are at, what time of year it is, if anyone is with you, how the breeze or the sun feels on your skin, what you will do when you are the at the beach, what the ocean looks like that day, how the air smells… all of it.
By creating as detailed of an experience as possible, the more it will feel real to you. The more it feels real to you, the more likely it can become your reality.
Step Four: Reflect on what you’ve written: After you are done writing, take some time to read what you have. What surprises you about this perfect day? Does it seem farfetched or easily attainable? Does any part of it resemble your life today? Take some time to take it all in and process what you came up with.
Step Five: Take an action step: Here comes the most important part! Ironically, it’s the part that often gets forgotten. We’ve been somehow led to think that visualization=manifestation. And while sometimes it can feel and be that easy, the truth is that most of the time you have to actively participate in the manifestation of your blessings!
For instance, one of my students once said that in her perfect day visualization she woke up at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. While it wasn’t something that was easily attainable (she couldn’t book one for the next week), it was something that was doable. She thought of what action steps she could take to make this dream a reality.
One was to research retreats and their costs. Another was to start putting money aside to make this happen. And another was to recommit to her yoga practice so that when she got to the retreat, she would get even more out of the experience.
One thing I realized in listening to what people list as their perfect day is that most of the time, what we want is not that far out of reach. Some of the perfect days were actually filled with moments we so easily take for granted—a cup of coffee in bed, time with loved ones, dinner at a favorite restaurant, time to be in nature.
But even if it feels out of reach, the chances are you can still make it happen. By reverse engineering a particular goal or dream, you can discover what steps you need to take to make it happen and decide if you are ready to go for it!