Ten Steps of Visioning
by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D., A.T.R.
Step 1: Make a Wish
The Visionary begins by deciding to explore new
possibilities in some area of life, choosing a theme on
which to focus. This is like the designerís first step
of getting an idea. The first step of Visioning poses
the question: What do I want? What is my true heartís
desire? It might be: "A new career direction,"
or "Finding a place to live," or Finding a
mate," or "Making more money," or
"Getting healthier," or "Making a
film." Some Visionaries choose a broader playing
field, such as, "A projection of the year
ahead," or "What areas of my life need
attention?" or "What does a balance between
professional and personal life look life?" Other
Visionaries want to resolve a specific problem or
situation and do a "before" and
"after" collage titled "How it looks
now" and "How Iíd like it to look."
Step 2: Search for Images and Words
This is the designers research phase. The task here
is to gather pictures, captions, and phrases from
magazines, newspapers, catalogs, or other visual
sources. Oneís personal collection of snapshots,
postcards, or greeting cards can also be used. In this
phase, the Visionary is tearing, cutting, amassing a
heartís-desire image bank. The emphasis is on what
experience she wants to create in her life rather than
simply picturing stuff to be acquired. It is a way of
exploring quality of life, living by choice instead of
default. The only rule during the research phase is to
collect photos and phrases that depict oneís deepest
wishes. The mantra is: Grab what grabs you. Dreaming is
in, practicality is out. This is about going for it, the
skyís the limit. This is a time to be inclusive and
expand oneís horizons, keeping an open mind while
gathering as many relevant images and words as possible.
If other great pictures surface that are unrelated to
the theme, they are set aside in a separate file to be
used in other collages.
Step 3: Focus on the Vision
In the design process, this is when the research is
connected more specifically to the designerís idea or
problem to be solved. Here the Visionary sorts through
the mass of torn or cut-out raw material that has been
gathered. The question is asked of each image, word, or
phrase: Does this express my innermost wishes, my
fondest dreams? If it relates to the theme itís in. If
not, itís out or put in the "save" file for
possible use in the future. This phase is about
discrimination, selectivity, choice-making, but always
from the heart.
Step 4: Compose the Design
Visioning collage-making is a new language, a
language of symbols and images, of color and words
blended together to form a unique montage of creative
possibilities. Like any designer assembling the elements
of a design, the Visionary starts building the visible
expression of her dreams by putting the pieces together,
almost as if assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Laying the
pictures out on the art paper, she tentatively arranges
them in relationships to each other. Mixing and
matching, she tries ideas out for size and placement,
using a sixth sense about how to accurately portray the
dream. There is no right way to do it, only the
particular Visionaryís way. This is the time to be
completely authentic and original, true to oneself and
oneís vision. It is at this point that a great deal of
inner doubt often arises, leading us to the next step.
Step 5: Explore and Find Order in Creative Chaos
Chaos is a natural part of any creative or design
process. If it doesnít happen, it usually means that
nothing new is being learned, nothing original is being
created. This step isnít one that is done consciously
or by choice. Something within the Visionary just starts
questioning the whole enterprise. For designers, this
often occurs during the mix-and-match phase when
mock-ups are being created. For the Visionary, itís
getting closer to the time when pictures will be glued
down, a commitment will be made, the collage will be
made permanent. The self talk usually starts with
questions like, "Why am I doing this? Or statements
like, "I donít know how to do this" (as if
there were a set way such collages should look, which
there isnít). Perhaps an inner art critic starts in:
"This is ugly and stupid. People will really laugh
when they see this stuff." Worse yet, is the voice
that says the entire activity is a waste of time.
"This wish will never come true. This is all just
pie-in-the-sky dreaming. Youíre doomed to
disappointment." This phase holds the biggest
challenge but also the greatest learning. It is where
the leap forward takes place and where the Visionary is
tested for faith in the dream and courage to express it.
This is the time for perseverance in the face of
self-doubt. The warring factions in the mind are dealt
with through journal work.
Step 6: Create the Collage
After the mock-up stage, a designer must develop his
design with an eye toward the end product. In Visioning,
this is the step of integration, of putting all the
pieces together on the paper to create a Vision collage.
Gradually, the images and words that speak for the dream
are being committed to paper and glued down for good. It
is an experience of surrender to some inner knowing, to
the creative self (which has a vision) and the creative
conscience (which speaks from the heart). By combining
photos and phrases in new ways, new connections are made
and personal meaning is revealed.
Step 7: Articulate the Vision
As visual as the design process is, eventually the
designer must translate his design and communicate it in
words to others. Drawings, blueprints, diagrams must be
explained to production specialists, manufacturers, and
builders. In Visioning, it isnít quite enough to
simply make a collage. It is the act of gaining deeper
insight. Looking at these picture/word collages after
they are completed is like reading poetry or deciphering
symbols. We see all kinds of things we didnít notice
while we were in the heat of creative chaos. The first
part of articulation is to quietly sit and contemplate
the collage. What does it say? What surprises does it
hold? What is the resistance, if any, to taking this
Vision collage seriously and believing that it will come
true? One question to be avoided is, "How am I
going to make this dream happen?" Visionaries are
asked to relax and surrender to a higher order of
creativity and allow the dream to materialize
rather than force it. Anxiety and fear only block
energy. Following the guided contemplation,
journal-writing activities are used for more deeply
exploring meaning in the pictures and phrases. As the
visual right brain has its say (in art) and the verbal
left brain gets to talk (through the written word), both
hemispheres of the brain are activated and integrated.
Step 8: Reinforce the Dream
It is now time for the production process. Since it
is the creative self who works the magic and makes the
dream a reality, the Visionaryís task is to turn the
design over to this higher power within. The artwork
that results from collage-making is a visual
affirmation. As with verbal affirmations, which are
positive self-talk messages, the Vision collage
establishes and reinforces a desired goal or experience.
The Visionary exercises her visual right brain (which
sees the pictures) by using the visual affirmations on a
daily basis. By looking at the collage repeatedly, the
images are reinforced in the imagination and memory.
Practicing the art and science of building wishes and
dreams in the world of physical reality develops
The clearer the collage image, the more receptive we
can be when it shows up in real life. The very
concreteness of the photo collage makes it the perfect
vehicle for reinforcingóthrough the eyesóthe inner
vision of the heart. We take it out of the realm of
imagination and bring it down to earth. Before long, as
if by magic, the Visionaryís dream appears in three
dimensions. There may still be some final hurdles,
however, and thatís where we enter the next step.
Step 9: Embrace the Reality
In order to make their designs a reality, designers
get help. After sharpening their own skills, they enlist
the support and expertise of others. Step 9 is both an
internal process of enhanced perception and an external
one of working with others. First, it involves the
ability to recognize the embodiment of oneís desire
when it comes along. Fortunately, the specific and
realistic nature of the photo collage makes this easy.
The guesswork has been removed. The collage and the
physical reality look and feel the same. There may even
be captions that are specific. However, it is not
unusual for resistance to arise at this point. We start
questioning: "Can I afford it? Do I have time for
it? Does my life situation permit me to have this? Do I
deserve it? Will it really happen? Will I get it and
then lose it? Will I be disappointed in the long run?
More journal work, the gathering a support system,
experts, or mentors who can provide coaching are all
encouraged. Once we say, "Yes, this is it, and Iím
going for it!" the decision to embrace the reality
is made. We reach out to others for help, and then
simply live out the actions that take us to our
destination: the dream come true.
Step 10: Celebrate the Dream Come True
Architects, designers, artists, authors, theater
companies, filmmakers, and so on announce the unveiling
of their dream-come-true with receptions, grand
openings, book signings, and other kinds of festivities.
Celebrations are just as important for the Visionary.
This step may seem obvious, but it canít be
overemphasized. Acknowledging ourselves for a job well
done builds self-confidence. When we celebrate we also
express gratitude to others, starting with a prayer or
other ritual of thanksgiving to God, the creative self,
or whatever higher power the Visionary recognizes. It is
also time to thank all the members of oneís
personal support team as well. The process has been
brought to completion, the traveler has reached her
destination. Itís time to party!
©Lucia Capacchione. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpted by Permission from "Visioning: Ten Steps
to Designing the Life of Your Dreams" Published by
Comments on the distinguishing characteristics of the
1. The Way of the
In manifesting dream
in the material world, I use the method that artists,
designers and architects do. They are experts at turning
dreams into reality, so why not follow their example.
When they want to realize a vision, they create actual
visual mock-ups of what they want to manifest in the
physical world. Artists and designers DO NOT SIT AROUND
VISUALIZING in their minds. Once they get an idea, they
make it physical immediately. I know because art and
design were my first career and I was blessed to work or
be mentored by some of the greatest designers in the
world: furniture design giant, Charles Eames; geodesic
dome inventor, Buckminster Fuller, and the Walt Disney
Imagineers who design and build theme parks.
2. Inner Obstacles
are Our Biggest Hurdle
Our biggest obstacles
are internal. The Visioning process of collage-making
(starting with right brain non-verbal intuition and
feeling from one's heart's desire), goes on to teach
people how to deal with self-doubt, inner criticism and
skeptical thoughts and beliefs. My method of dialoguing
with both hands and both sides of the brain has proven
itself for years to be a great way to make internal
breakthroughs. It really moves people through those
3. Support is the
Getting support for
your dream, with a "Dream team" can spell the
difference between success and failure, realization or
disappointment. Calling only on positive, supportive
people to help as mentors, information resources,
assistants, etc. is critical.
This is it in a
nutshell, and by the looks of the mail I have been
receiving about Visioning since it was first published
in January of 2000, people are really getting results.
The key factor here is that it is a spiritual practice.
The Vision comes from the heart's desire, from the
Creative Self (or higher Self) and speaks through an
inner voice I call the Creative Conscience. It is a
voice to be trusted and followed, for it contains all
the wisdom we will ever need.
Lucia's Newest Book:
Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D, A.T.R, is an internationally known art therapist,
corporate consultant, trainer and best-selling author of 12 books including,
Recovery of Your Inner Child, The Creative Journal, and The Power of Your
Other Hand and her new title, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of
Your Dreams (Tarcher/Putnam).
Dr. Capacchione conducts public workshops and trains professionals
internationally through her Creative Journal Expressive Arts Certification
Program. Her books have been translated into several languages and her work
has been endorsed by such experts in the health field as Joan
Borysenko, Bernie Siegel, Louise Hay, Gerald Jampolsky and Norman Cousins.
Recognized for her ground-breaking discovery of the healing power of
writing and drawing with the non-dominant hand, Dr. Capacchione is a pioneer
in healing and recovery through expressive arts. She has been the subject of
many magazine and newspaper articles and frequent guest on radio and
television. She is director of the Creative Journal Expressive Arts
certification training program for professionals.
An inspiring speaker, workshop leader and director of spiritual retreats,
Dr. Capacchione engages audiences with playful, hands-on experiences. Widely
acclaimed for her ability to catalyze innate creativity and inner wisdom, her
methods are being applied in education, medicine, mental
health, the arts and the entertainment industry.
Website address: www.luciac.com
P.O. Box 1355, Cambria, CA 93428 USA
Phone: (805) 546-1424
Some of Lucia's Other