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An Incredible Journey

I've recently started participating in Miracle Mornings, as described in the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.  It's been amazing!  Several years ago I developed a love for early mornings, and now I have a routine that transforms it from a lazy hour of solitude to a purposeful hour of rejuvenation and power.

But there is one part that I have struggled with, and that is visualizing.  Each morning, part of the routine is to be spent in visualization.  There are lots of ways to visualize.  But I've always struggled with seeing myself in real life situations that I haven't experienced yet.

Thankfully, my mind is a powerful tool, and I have discovered that it's really good at creating analogies. So while I might have a difficult time visualizing what my life will be like when I accomplish such-and-such, I can visualize a symbol of that accomplishment.  In fact, I was a little surprised to discover that I already HAD created such a visualization.  I have created a symbolic journey for my life, and it started about 11 years ago.

When my third baby was born, I decided on a natural birth.  No meds.  In preparation for this birth, I took classes that included self-hypnosis and visualization exercises. The visualization exercises included one where I was to create in my mind a peaceful place, someplace I could mentally "go" to keep my body relaxed in all stages of labor.  My peaceful place was a little stone cottage on top of a windswept cliff, overlooking the ocean.  But the focus of my visualization was the flower garden surrounding the cottage.  It was a beautiful, English style garden, filled with roses, lavender, peonies, and other floral beauties that I could never name.  Stone paths wound in and out of the flower beds, and there was an ornate iron bench in an open area of the garden.  As I prepared for the birth, I would picture myself in a flowy white dress, relaxing on the bench.  I loved visiting that garden.

My practice of visualizing didn't stop with the birth of my daughter.  I recognized through the process that there were some fears and false beliefs that I no longer wanted to be subject to.  I continued to use the visualization of my cottage to help me discover and give up these beliefs.  Instead of spending time in the cottage garden, though, I found myself in the cottage itself.

It was a dark, dusty old place, but with so much charm that I loved it in spite of its age and quirks.  The furniture was all covered with sheets, and dust bunnies and cobwebs abounded.  I set to work, cleaning up the place to make it a beautiful, cozy home.  As I cleaned up, I swept garbage and debris into boxes to take out.  These boxes of garbage were representative of all the negative, false, and limiting beliefs I was trying to rid myself of.  I imagined the Savior coming to the door and knocking, and each time He came to visit, I would give him a box (or more) of accumulated trash, which He lovingly and graciously took away from me.

After months of cleaning the little cottage out, I finally came to an inspired realization: I was trying to fix up this cute little cottage, but the Lord had far bigger plans.  In the place where my cottage stood, He had plans to raise up a palace.  That would require a lot more than just finding debris and throwing it out.  It would be a major remodeling process.

Some time later, my visualization took an unexpected turn.  I saw myself on the doorstep with two suitcases.  Instead of trying to find all of the trash and take it out, I was moving out of my cottage entirely, leaving it all behind.  I was moving out of the place where all that fear and negativity had been, moving on to something--to becoming someone--better.

After that, I didn't do much visualizing for a while.  But during a mentor certification class, I had to begin another visualization.  I was to mentally create a "workshop"--a place where I could go to think about my life's purpose and work on my goals.  I saw myself in an instrument shop--a place to build instruments.  It was L-shaped, with one section designed for artisan work, and another for technology, combining the best processes for creating beautiful instruments.  In one corner stood a grand piano that was in the process of being reconstructed.  The whole shop itself was in a mountain meadow, with a pond nearby, and a natural amphitheater to the side of the building.  I spent a bit of time in this shop, trying to figure out how best to serve with the gifts I had been given.

That year, in my real life, I had some really difficult losses.  First, the school I had been hoping to open became too much of a strain on my emotional resources.  I had to give up that dream, which was a heartbreaking loss.  Then, a few months later, I miscarried at 14 weeks.  That was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak.  I was crushed.  I didn't have it in me to try to help anyone or think positively or live by natural laws.  I didn't understand why I had been led to the school (because I really felt like I had been) only to have it taken away, and then to lose a baby on top of it all (that was my third miscarriage in a row, and the fourth overall).  It was at that point that I basically gave up.

I didn't visualize much after that.  I don't even remember why I thought about that workshop, other than I wondered sometimes (in real life) what might have been if I had done more with mentoring, or if I had opened the school.  I guess it was at these wondering times that the visualization would pop into my head.  This time, I saw myself in a back room in the instrument shop, one that I hadn't seen before.  I was lying on a cot, being cared for by nurses.  I was unwell, clearly, and needed time to heal.  It felt like I was unwell for a long time.

I don't know how much time passed, but eventually I was able to get out of that cot in the little back room.  I saw myself again in the instrument shop, but it was completely empty.  All of the instruments, all of the technology, all of the furniture was gone, and I was alone.  I still didn't understand.  I had such great plans.  Why had they all gone awry?  At that point, the thought came that I was the instrument.  I was being molded and shaped into who I needed to be to fulfill my mission, but I was not in charge of things the way I thought I had been.  It was at this point that the visualization took on a life of it's own.  Instead of being a place of my creation, it was more of a way for God to communicate with me, letting me know where I was on the journey of becoming who I was born to be.

The next time I checked in with this visualization, I was on a dirt path.  I had my suitcases with me, but I was sitting on them, crying.  I felt so lost.  I looked up to see my Savior approaching.  He held out His hand, and I took it.  He led me down the path, and I followed, leaving my baggage behind.  That was a turning point.  I was not in charge anymore, and I knew it.  My whole desire to this point had been to be what God wanted me to be, but to do it my way.  It was time to leave my way behind.

It was also at this point that I saw the different visualizations as coming together, forming one long journey rather than being separate stories.  And this story continues to write itself.  I no longer create the places I am in, but find myself in different places, with some understanding of how the story fits together.

So, what's the point of this story, especially if this particular visualization is not something I spend time in on a daily basis?  Well, first of all, I have been wanting to write out the entire story for a long time (and this is still only a part of it!).  I also want to paint it or photograph it--have it visually represented in my home.  It has been such a transformational experience, and one that has taught me so perfectly and so gently.  I love it, and I treasure it.

Second, I thought I wasn't good at visualization.  When someone tries to describe to me what something looks like, I have a really hard time picturing it, unless I have something familiar to connect it to.  I thought that meant that I didn't have vision in a leadership sense.  I have since learned that I definitely have vision--that I'm good at vision--but I connect to it more through words than pictures. Even on a vision board, my preference is for words rather than images.  I just needed better understanding about what visualization is, and about my personal strengths.

Finally, the most important part of a visualization is not the image that is created, or the fact that it is or is not symbolic.  It is the emotion that we feel and attach to it.  Thoughts that are connected to emotion--good or bad--are driven deep into our subconscious minds, into our hearts.  They become a part of us.  They influence us in seen and unseen ways.  Visualization is about connecting positive, motivating, grateful, and loving emotions to our thoughts.  When we want to become someone better or more than who we currently are, we need a way to connect those positive emotions to new and unfamiliar thoughts so that they become a part of us.  Once those thoughts are a part of us, that's when the miracle begins.

Like anything else, visualization is a skill that can be developed.  But if one person's way of visualizing isn't working for you, don't give up on the whole idea of it.  Figure out a way to connect those positive emotions to what it is you want, and work on making it a part of you.


  1. So expressive. So personal. Great imagery. I'm anxious to learn where you're lead to.


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