Acceptance / Being present / Career Change / Change / Moving On / Self-Help / Sorting it Out / Staying Positive / Transition

Show. Don’t Tell. Let the Story Board Lead the Way.

To truly know where your head is at, let the board lead the way. If you ask a Ouija Board, “Where is my head at?” you may get an answer you have not bargained for. Why not instead try a Vision Board? It still allows you to let your fingers do some walking but the source of the results will be you and not some unknown entity.


About the time I first started this blog, I made an attempt to create a Vision Board. It was meant to be a tool to help me figure out what direction I might take career-wise. To create a Vision Board, you simply thumb through a collection of magazines (best if the magazines range widely in subject matter) and you simply tear or cut out any pictures or words that you love for whatever reason. You don’t think about it; you don’t stop and read articles. If you spend more than two or three seconds looking at any one word or image, tear the word or image out and put it aside. It’s a fast process that shouldn’t take more than ten minutes or so. When you’re done, you will have a collection of items that you are drawn to. Then, you’ll arrange your items on a poster board or poster paper in a way that makes sense to you. It’s not meant to look pretty or artistic, not meant to be clever, but it is meant to lead you into the future you desire. You can then hang it up where you see it often and the frequent reinforcement of the images you love will bring those things into your life. That’s the intent anyway.


At the time I created my Vision Board, I thumbed through my magazines looking for what I loved, but in the process, I also found myself strongly drawn to other words and images that were not what I loved but what I felt. It was a time in my life when I was seeking all kinds of answers to all kinds of questions. I had just come up for air from a significantly painful period of my life. But I was changing gears. I deeply desired to move forward in a positive way.

Inasmuch as I wanted my Vision Board to be entirely positive to match my efforts to be so, it was clear my inner self still associated with the painful past. Rather than fight this fact, I simply went with it and ended up unintentionally creating a Vision Board that told a story–my story.  The writer of the story was my soul and it followed the basic rule of conveying a good story, namely: “Show. Don’t tell.” It showed where I’d been, where I was in the moment, and where I wanted to go.

Here is that Vision Board, which really is more of a Story Board; the very name of this blog “Swimming in the Mud” was born of it.

vision board story board

Vision Board or Story Board? “What’s your story?”

Even though it didn’t result in the end product I expected, the project wasn’t a complete bust. This Story Board captured a very pivotal part of my life. Although I physically hid it away for a while hoping the more serious words and images would fall off the board and be forever lost, I eventually hung up the poster to honor the process I was taking to heal and move forward. After all, as with life, it’s not all sunshine and roses and it’s also not all pain and suffering. It’s often a little bit of both–he Yin and Yang. It’s important to accept this notion and embrace it as the natural order of things.


At this point, I actually am curious to do this exercise again. I want to check-in on what my current story really is. After many, many years of my own self-help journey, I know that our individual experiences in life are a reflection of the story we tell ourselves, only sometimes we aren’t aware of the story we are telling ourselves. For instance, I know what my external story was at the time I created my first Story Board. I knew I had trouble at the time being as positive as I wanted to be. I just didn’t know how much that was true until I let my soul show me through the Story Board.


If you take a stab at doing your own Story Board, which I recommend if you are at all in a major transition, make sure you keep the process completely organic. You should have no preconceived notion of what the outcome will be. When it is done, you may want to put it away for a while, especially if it ends up clinging heavily to a negative past. Think of it as a way to get the bad stuff out of your system so you can let it go. If it is that painful, you may want to burn it ceremoniously to let go of a past that may be intruding on your future. If it is anything like mine, where there is an equal share of a difficult past and a hopeful future, you might want to hang on to it like I did and keep it out as a reminder of the healing process and the progress you are no doubt making.

One of these days, I will try to do a regular Vision Board pointing nowhere but forward, but for now, I will remember the cardinal rule: Be kind to yourself. We are only human but our souls are on a greater journey. Every moment, we are right where we need to be, taking steps towards a perfect, eternal peace in our souls that we may have only dreamed of but is definitely attainable.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang

4 thoughts on “Show. Don’t Tell. Let the Story Board Lead the Way.

    • That sounds like an interesting project, Val. I think it’s good to at least have a vague idea of where we’re heading. That way, we’ll know when we’ve gotten there!!

  1. I have never done a vision board, although I have read of others who have and have always been curious of them. I am intrigued that yours came up with the painful feelings that you were feeling at the time. This is raw honesty. I would be interested to know what your vision board now would look like (if you did a new one) as I feel reading your posts that you have come a long way in the past 12 months. When I feel glum, I sometimes look back at my journal. Then when I see how far I have come away from pain, I feel uplifted, and the glumness fades.

    • I really like the exercise of some kind of vision board, regardless of the intended purpose. If you really follow the rule of including ANY images or words that made you linger, you may end up with some things that seem out of place or you don’t quite understand. When you revisit the board after a long period of time, several times over, those oddball items may begin to make sense.

      Here’s another thought… even as you put your board together now, you may end up assembling the words and images a certain way. But, as this is your subconscious manifesting, you might realize upon revisiting it (months or years later) that you see a different “order” to those items or realize a different interpretation of what they mean. I still stare at this one and wonder about many of the images, several having multiple meanings to me.

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