Sunday, 29 October 2017

‘The universe will sort it out for you’


-Brian Mendonça

When a vision board workshop was announced recently, I was curious.  The only board I knew was the Ouija board.

The intense workshop was an exploration into the recesses of the mind. It invited you to confront your fears and install a more positive approach to life. I walked in to see the participants about to embark on their inward journey.

We were provided sheets of paper. ‘Fold it in half,’ Jessica was saying. ‘Now on the left side write a few things about your life beginning with the words, ‘I don’t want . . . .’  As I was staring at my paper, I heard the voices of people sharing their lives, their hopes, their fears, their longings. How could people be so incredible frank with strangers?

As the participants reached into layers of their life and discussed them I thought that I too must be honest about my feelings. I wrote two sentences. The first one was, ‘I don’t want to be on a guilt trip about dad,’ and the second, ‘I don’t like being evaluated.’

Having filled in the left-hand column under the heading ‘Don’t Want’ we now were asked to insert the word ‘Want’ at the top of the right hand column.  In this column we were asked to rephrase the sentence on the left, but now we had to start the sentence with ‘I want.’ So I wrote, ‘I want to be happy and fulfilled that we did the best for dad.’ Underneath it I wrote, ‘I want to be open to evaluation.’ Jessica mediated our articulations. ‘The universe will sort it out for you,’ she said, matter-of-factly.

‘Now tear off the left, “Don’t want” side,’ was the next intriguing instruction. ‘We usually burn these papers, instead you can tear up yours  into tiny bits and place them in this waste bag.’ The annihilation of the ‘Don’t want’ scripts excoriated a lot of the negativity. Just rephrasing the language made us feel empowered. We were taking control of our own lives. The voices moved from tremulous to more confident. ‘I want a Jag,’ said one. Owing a Jaguar starting at 35 lakhs was a far more attractive option than moaning over the wheels you currently had.

After this we were asked to take a chart paper each and fill it up with pictures that we cut up from magazines. The pictures needed to somehow strike a chord in us and represent how we feel about life. The periodicals included Vogue, Caravan, Elle, and Readers Digest.

After we made our charts each of us was invited to present it to the group.  The caption of my chart was, ‘My life is of many colours. Let me be me.’ Jessica gently rephrased the last sentence using the active voice. It now read, ‘I am me.’ I often look at my vision board. It speaks to me in unseen ways.
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The vision board workshop was conducted by Jessica Faleiro at Chickoo Tree Project, Margao, Goa on Saturday, 28 October 2017. Pix by Brian Mendonca. Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 19th November 2017.

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