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Jamie2Vision-Map“People who know what they want and who they are, people who have goals & can identify the path in front of them because they have put it there on their own, GET THINGS DONE. Michelle Dawnn knows this. She’s a  Jacksonville  life coach who offers an amazing workshop on mapping not just your visions, but your actual self.

Here’s how I fell into this awesome garden of enlightenment, self-realization, fun, good company, and good food. (An aside, but still…macaroni and cheese and Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes? Yet more visions!)

My friend Valerie signed up for a workshop on “vision mapping,” where you design an aid that serves to remind you not just of your dreams and goals, but your strengths, your character, and your individualism. Valerie takes this class once a year, and it was interesting to see how her map changed from last year to now. Even more interesting was how many of her goals she had achieved and how truly her maps characterize the very best parts of her.

So Valerie being Valerie—a most generous person--she invited me to join her for this year’s workshop, and I jumped at the chance for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is I adore her. She looks like my sister, and apparently I look like her sister, and when I met one of her other sisters last year, it felt like we were all family. That’s beside the point. Also off-topic is that yesterday I got to meet Valerie’s boyfriend Marcus. While waiting for Valerie to get ready for the workshop, I sat at the breakfast bar, talked and laughed with him, and watched him bake cupcakes. For Valerie. A man baking cupcakes for his girlfriend, for no other reason than that he loves her. *thud*  By the way, I’ve never heard Valerie refer to Marcus as Marcus. On their first date, he charged into her house on his white horse, wielding a shining sword of masculine courage, and killed a giant spider that  was blocking the path between her and the front door. Henceforth he has been dubbed something even cooler than “Marcus”…


Spidey is SO AMAZING.

Back to the workshop. When we arrived at Michelle’s office/giant craft room, we chatted with the other students, got to know Michelle, who was a terrific hostess, and then we had dinner. I’m trying not to talk more about those Harvey Wallbanger cupcakes except to say that I’m putting a photo of them on my next vision map.

Michelle spoke to us about the project and showed us her own most recent map. Then out came magazines, scissors, glue sticks. It took about three hours (partly because I was running my mouth about  Washington   DC  with some girls at the next table) to bring my vision map to life. I found myself throwing away a lot of phrases, words and pictures I had clipped because they didn’t quite fit on the board. Physcially, theoretically. They didn’t belong. When I was done, it looked like a collage from fifth grade.

Don't laugh--everything on this holds incredible weight! I was happy at the thought of hanging it in my office. I like to be reminded of my dreams, and I can always use a tool to remind me of my own value. We all can. I like the idea of staring at it when I hit the proverbial wall with writing.jamie-VisionMap

However, there was a trick to this project I didn’t see coming. As it turns out, sections of the map correlate to sections of ourselves, like what we’re trying to do in this life, the center of our focus, what grounds us. It astonished me how I inadvertently made each section blend into the other so that it became a map of my dreams, and maybe some of my soul. One of my favorite parts was learning how negative words and phrases are a no-no—and Michelle has been known to swing by your table and blithely rip the offending word off your poster before it can ruin the magic. It made me realize I’m not as much a glass-half-full princess as I initially thought. It made me determined to be happier and more positive.

I was facing a two-hour drive to get home and a migraine rumbling on the horizon as I finished my map, so I had to slip out of the workshop early. Before I left, though, Michelle explained to me what each part of my map meant, and what touched me most was how she validated dreams I’ve never discussed with anyone. In those three fun, throwback-to-fifth-grade-art-class hours, I really worked through some inner “stuff.” I went home feeling loved and inspired. The migraine hurt, but I was better than fine when I left the company of my beautiful friend Valerie, my new friend Michelle, and the other wonderful students busy mapping their souls. It wasn’t an exercise in locating lost ones. It was an exercise in recognition, appreciation of yourself, and spreading your wings.”

You can read this and other blogs from Jamie here!

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