Monday, August 31, 2009

Visioning® for the Empty Nest

Visioning® by a Couple Facing the Empty Nest Syndrome

Claudia Jean Hill is a graduate of both my Creative Journal Expressive Arts Certification Program and a recently certified Visioning® Coach. Claudia practices what she preaches at home and in her work. She contributed an earlier blog about Visioning® with her family. This latest story is about Visioning® with her husband Vern as they face their empty nest after raising their large family.

Here's Claudia's report on what happened:

Vern and I celebrated our 36th anniversary this past week, and I asked him if we could do a joint collage about what we wanted for our marriage in this next phase of life. He said, yes!

We put on some relaxing music we both liked while we scribbled our non-dominant hand warm-ups with some rich, creamy pastels. We each wrote our heart's desire with ND hand. Then we each collected a pile of images from magazines.

We each selected 5 of our personal favorites, including a "heart piece". We shared our focus phrases. Then we each selected 5 more pictures from the other person's pile, to fit in as possible.

We each put our "heart piece" at the center of the paper and put them in a compatible relationship to one another. I thought we might take turns adding a piece, but we got into a nice "flow" of selecting a picture and proposing a place. We didn't talk a lot, but we weren't stone silent. It was, "how about here?" or "yes, I like that." It ended up feeling like a dance. It was a lot of fun, and we were both very pleased.

"New Paths, a Colorful Dawn, Together in Love." I've hung it in our bedroom.

There were no kids in this collage, except the 2 of us!

Thank you, Claudia and Vern

For more info on Visioning® Coaching and certified coaches, please visit

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lifelong Dreams Do Come True

The Koffee Klatch that Turned into an Art Gallery

One of the most exciting Visioning® experiences I have had personally just happened in the last two months. I've told my story about Visioning® my home here in an earlier blog. What I didn't say in that story is that my earliest dream upon visiting Cambria the first time in the mid 80s was to have a gallery here. I'd recently started painting and doing collages again after 20 years as an art therapist.

I fell in love at first sight with the quaint old village of Cambria nestled among pine forests and rolling hills by the sea. But just as important was the fact that this breathtakingly beautiful coastline south of the craggy Big Sur coast is populated by creative people: musicians, composers, writers, artists, actors, etc. Cambria is known for its galleries, little theaters and live music in various venues in town. When I finally moved here, I joined a co-op gallery for awhile. For many reasons, it didn't last. Some dreams have a time-table of their own. I've learned to surrender to the right time and the right place.

As the co-op gallery was ending, my career as an author and workshop leader was really taking off, with international travel, book projects and workshops. I stayed in the flow of that career and put the gallery idea way on the back burner. That was the mid 90s.

Fast forward to April 2009. One of our local galleries was closing at the end of the month. It was located next to my favorite coffee house, Lily's, which has become an unofficial community center. It is a hang out for many locals and an attraction for tourists as well. I went there for coffee one Sunday afternoon in late April looking forward to visiting with friends under the umbrellas on the outdoor deck. Walking through the soon-to-be-vacated gallery which connected to Lily's, I began chatting with a friend, Charles. "Wouldn't this make a great co-op gallery?" he declared. I agreed.

"Well, you're an artist," he continued. "Is that something you'd be interested indoing?" Three other artists I knew immediately popped into my mind. "Yes," I replied. So I joined him and some others in the coffee shop. One of the artists I had in mind, Tim Mayer (cards, calligraphics and whimsical gifts) happened to be sitting there having coffee. I asked him if he was interested. He said, Yes, immediately. Then my neighbor Tess arrived. A retired mediator, she works in a nearby shop part time and has a background in art history. She offered to help in any way she could to support the gallery. Tess called another neighbor, Lydia, who also wanted to help us get started. Another retiree, she'd volunteered in museums and had bookkeeping experience.

Mary Anderson, a retired school teacher who is one of our best-known portrait artists, had been on my mind as we hatched the gallery idea. Within a half hour, she walked into the coffee house. I could see that this project was definitely supposed to happen. The fourth artist, photographer and retired jewelry designer, Sheila Hollingshead, was at home. I called her and shared the plan. She agreed to join us and exhibit her photographs of flowers, landscapes and seascapes. On May 8 - after two meetings and within less than 3 weeks from the day we got the idea - we opened for business. Our gallery is called The Painted Lily. We are on Main Street in Cambria, CA.

It took 21 years, but my gallery in Cambria finally manifested! This one was destined to be. The three of us who are seniors invested our Obama rebate from social security into the gallery start-up fund. Yes, we are investing in Main Street, Mr. Presdient!

I am selling my art work - collages and paintings - and my life-long collection of rare vintage and antique kimono from Japan, as well as jewelry collected on my travels. And of course, the books and CDs I authored are also for sale. Welcome to another dream come true. Come visit us.

For more on the Visioning® process go to: and

Friday, April 24, 2009

Windows on the Future: Samantha's Visioning® Story

I Love to Vision!

I made my first Visioning® Board at an all-day workshop with Lucia in Cambria, California about 8 years ago. Wow, my life has changed so much since then. It's so beautiful, the process of creating your life with intention, love and art. My life has truly been a series of miraculously aligned events, opportunities, mentors, and friends. I know its from honoring my desires and boldly asking for what I truly want.

The tools I have learned from Lucia I share with my own clients now in my Spiritual Health Coaching work. From non-dominant hand journaling to cutting out the things you love and creating artistic visual aids to keep us connected to our goals.

These photos are of my latest board. I call it a Vision Window.

Its quite large, from a huge cardboard box that ended up in an arch. I love it so much. It lives in my bedroom where I can see it from the bed everyday.
I talk to it, do yoga with it and look at it with love and gratitude.

Thanks, Lucia!
Samantha Huston

*my blogs:

Thank you, Samantha. It's been a joy to watch you over the years as you created the life and career of your dreams.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Visioning® in the Community

Putting it All Together: Team building for Community Organizations

In recent months, I've had the opportunity to speak to many organizations in my community (San Luis Obispo County, California) about the wonders of Visioning®. Among these groups have been: Cambria Unity Church, Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce and Rotary, Central Coast Women's Network anniversary conference (business women supporting each other's success), and Templeton Women in Business luncheon.

Each group responded creatively with ideas for applying Visioning® in their organizations. As a result I've been invited to conduct workshops for groups such as the Natural History Museum in Morro Bay (Board of Directors and staff) and Templeton Community Services (Parks and Recreation summer camp staff). You can see from the diversity of groups listed above that Visioning® can literally go anywhere.

Dr. Marsha Nelson, my business partner and field supervisor of our Visioning® Coach Certification Training has done Visioning® in schools in south Texas (Mc Allen area). In the same area, our certified Visioning® Coach, Elva Villarreal, is doing Visioning® with teen moms in classes for the Pharr/San Juan/Alamo School district. This region, on the border of Mexico, has many high risk youth and is one of the poorest urban areas in the U.S. Visioning® has been received by these young people with great enthusiasm. They are seeing a future they never imagined before. They are dreaming it and doing it!

See the whole process in action at:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Visioning@ Your Bucket List

Re-Creating Yourself Later in Life

Beverly Staley is a therapist and graduate of the Creative Journal Expressive Arts Training Program in which we certify professionals to teach and counsel using my methods, including Visioning®. Here is a report from Beverly about a recent Visioning® workshop she conducted for life planning. Beverly writes:

"I did a small Visioning workshop with five of my networking group, two of whom were high achieving, very accomplished men in their fifties. They had very different reasons for attending the workshop.

One man had just been laid off from a very lucrative position. His collage showed the path he had been on (very small area of the collage) and a potential path for him. With the inner critic journaling he realized how much fear he had because his critic kept telling him he was too old (53) to do these things. But, in the sharing afterwards, he got support from three of us who spoke about how we started careers in our 50’s. The sharing turned out to be very helpful to him.

The second man continues to be extremely successful and told me he wanted his focus phrase to be ‘my bucket list.’ I loved that idea and so in the sharing he talked about how he had lived and taught all over the world, Africa, Europe, South America, etc. and now wanted to return to some of his favorite places and take his wife of 20-some years. I could tell he was excited to share his collage with her (he already knows that she is very interested in traveling to some of these places).

Something else that came out of sharing that was surprising was an elegant woman in her 60’s with a vision of working with gang members. When asked about that by one of the participants, she said she was a former gang member and wanted to get across the message that they could be like her. We were all very surprised.

For this little group, a lot came out in the sharing which is always my favorite part."

Beverly Staley, M.F.T., C.J.E.A. (California)

For more about Creative Journal Expressive Arts certification go to my website:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Visioning® in Business

Learning from the Masters

My original career was in art and design (Mattel, Hallmark were my clients). In my second and third careers as art therapist and author, I worked for Disney as a corporate consultant. While doing management training and talent development with theme park designers at Disney Imagineering for ten years, I stood back and observed the design process in a way I never did while actually designing products. It was the opportunity of a lifetime: watching the Imagineers work their magic. We introduced Visioning® collage work for personal and team goal-setting, a technique I was already using with my private art therapy clients. The Imagineers ate it up with a spoon. Working with one of my co-authors, the late Peggy Van Pelt, we saw the staff's creativity and skills in innovation increase many times over. It was a privilege and honor to be around this amazing brain trust of world-class talent. Some of the Imagineers I knew actually worked directly with Walt and what stories they told!.

One of the most enjoyable experiences I had was sitting in on "blue sky" design sessions when Imagineers were brainstorming new theme park ideas. I felt very much at home because they did the same thing we do in Visioning®: putting images and words onto the walls without editing or critiquing the ideas. "The sky's the limit", was their attitude in these sessions. That's why they called it Blue Sky. In Visioning® that's the "grab what grabs you" phase of collecting images and words from magazines. Without worrying about practicality, feasibility, or affordability, we open our minds to think outside the box. The famous "box" we are trying to get outside of, the one we are trapped in, is really our old ways of doing of defining ourselves and of doing business.

If there ever was a time when we needed to get outside the old business box it is right now. There's not a moment to waste, collectively or individually. And change starts with each one of us. Innovation is no longer a luxury, something to think about or take a seminar in. These days, innovation spells the difference between surviving or capsizing.

In my book Visioning, I often quote the Imagineers and Disney himself. In fact, I live by his golden words: If you can dream it, you can do it! Walt should know. He innovated so many "impossible dreams," such as Snow White, the first feature length animated film (released in 1937). That was towards end of the Great Depression of the 30s. Things had been improving slowly yet steadily during the New Deal when Roosevelt put millions back to work on government funded projects (just as President Obama is doing). However, in 1937 the economy took a sudden downturn again. People got scared. Was the country headed for another total collapse?

From a rational, left-brain point of view, that would not have seemed a good time to introduce a new film genre. There were those who thought no one would sit through a long "cartoon" and that Walt was crazy. Well, "they" were wrong, and the rest is history. Snow White was a blockbuster, became a classic and paved the way for a whole new kind of film which became Walt Disney's gift to the world.

Another leap forward into a new form of entertainment was the first Disneyland, and all the theme parks that spun out of it. Walt's "focus phrase" (as we call it in Visioning®) was "to create a place where the whole family could have fun together." Financiers thought Walt was "madder than a hatter" when he approached them about investing in his new scheme. But he listened to his heart and forged ahead. With Herbie Ryman (art director of Fantasia) creating full color renderings of Main Street and other attractions in Walt's mind, they made their Vision boards. Then, in another stroke of genius, Walt borrowed the idea of "commercial sponsorship" used in television. Walt got Carnation, Dow Chemical and other companies to put up the money for sections of Disneyland. They used these stores and attractions as advertising for their firms. Now that is creativity in business.

I take tips from the masters of innovation. They all say the same thing. Listen to your heart! (Step 1 of Visioning®). Think outside the box (Step 2 of Visioning®) and the way will be clear, the clouds will move aside and the sun of your own inner and outer resources will shine through. And there will be wonderful surprises.

Change is what is needed now. And it starts with you. Visioning® your way to a new job, career or business is within your reach. All it takes is scissors and glue, some magazines and paper. Go for it!

For more on the process, go to:
Or read Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams. You will want to check out the chapters that have to do with finding work, abundance and a career path that is right for you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Visioning® Your Career Goals

Visioning® at Work

Media news about the economy, millions of job losses and a collapsing real estate market have thrown many people into panic. It would be easy to sink into a personal depression watching the global economy sink into a financial depression. But it doesn't have to be that way. What better time to do Visioning® for career, business and job goals than now? These are not times for the faint of heart and Visioning® relies on listening to the heart. As they say: When the going gets touch, the tough get going.

It takes courage (a word that is rooted in the French word for heart) to face big challenges. When huge changes are happening all around us, we are called upon to change within. Using the Visioning® process, I personally jump started myself into new directions during our last big recession in the early 90s. The tanking economy served as a catalyst for me to listen to my heart. That's when I Visioned and bought my dream house (shown in a previous blog) for a savings of $133,000 from the original asking price. It was at the bottom of the real estate market in early 1993. Since I work at home, finding this house really altered my work and income producing ability. I now had a beautiful light-filled studio (shown here) for resuming work as an artist and outlets for exhibiting my art right here in Cambria (known worldwide for its galleries, shops and restaurants exhibiting photos and paintings).

In my dream house I also had room to conduct a private practice and small workshops in my home. I used hotels and meeting rooms nearby for larger conferences and training programs. All this within a few minutes of where I live. Through my Visioning® collages done after I moved into my dream house, I received guidance on new book and audio projects and innovative business enterprises that greatly expanded my work.

Visioning® has led to many exciting business enterprises for me: conducting workshops in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, taking groups to Italy, conference and book tours in the English countryside in Glastonbury, trainings in old farm houses in the English Lake District near Beatrix Potters' house, afternoon tea in quaint thatch-roofed houses in the Cottswolds. The list goes on and on. They all showed up in my collages (made in the studio shown above) before they became a reality. Half the time I was incredulous as I created my collage. How is this ever going to happen? I would think. But if I was clear, the opportunities just knocked at my door and I let them in. And I got paid for all of that fun.

You can engage in Visioning® work that fulfills you and supports you. It's an inside job. For more information, go to To buy my book, Visioning, go to:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Visioning® For Families

One of our Visioning® Coach Training Program trainees, Claudia Jean Hill of Maryland (lower left in family photo), has been using the Visioning® process with her family for the past three years. She was also Certified by me several years ago as a Creative Journal Expressive Arts instructor. Here is how she describes her experience with familyVisioning®.

Our family of children, including married kids with spouses, have met to create collages of our "Hopes and Dreams for the Coming Year". At first when several family members were reluctant, I made it my birthday party -- they felt a little obligation. But they loved it, and now it is an annual tradition.

Now we have a family (adult) collage session usually on New Year's Day. (The winter holiday makes it easier to include students home on break.) I have work spaces and "mood music" set up ahead of time.

We start with a non-dominant hand scribble/coloring, out of which I ask them to create a phrase that defines, "What is the desire of my heart for the coming year?" We go through the 10-steps of the Visioning® process, including right & left hand dialog with the Inner Critic. Then we have a sharing time before people split up to go home. It's wonderful to share with the people you love so deeply in this very different and personal way. It has brought us a lot closer, to understand what each is seeking in his/her life, along with what each struggles with.

Now that we have done this for 3 years, we have added some sharing time at the beginning, to review or tell what happened with our last year's collage. Last year my son in law had some very dramatic lifestyle and job changes that were right there in his collage long before they began to precipitate in his work! I invite the family to journal with the images on the collage with the non-dominant hand, which they sometimes do on their own or later with me. They all hang the collages somewhere they will see every day. Some of them simply let the collage incubate in their minds and others actively journal with it for the year. We have been amazed at how it affirms and guides our personal and family progress!

In my book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams there
is a chapter entitled "Visioning & Relationship." There you can read more stories about how people found their mates, planned their weddings and honeymoons, adopted children, and planned their empty nest years in later life.
For more information on the process go to:
Books and audios are available at

The family that plays together, stays together. Family Visioning® is just plain fun, and it works!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Visioning® Coaching: Support for Dreams Coming True

One-on-One: The Visioning® Coach Process

Rooted in my 30 plus years of work with private clients as well corporate and job outplacement consulting, I've developed a method of one-on-one coaching based on my book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams. Few things are more exciting than being mid-wife to other people's dreams coming true. Some clients work with me in person. They get to see the fruits of my own personal Visioning®: the very environment I live and work in. Clients who work with me on the phone, use my book which includes the illustrated story of how I Visioned my home and studio and the nearby coastline (see previous blogs). I also have a consortium of Certified Visioning® Coaches I have trained (listed on

One-on-one Visioning® Coaching always starts with the client making a collage, either at home or in the first double (2 hour) session. Again, coaching is done in person or by phone. Afterward, the client is guided through a simple interview during each session and given assignments to be done during the week between. Sessions are usually a half hour in length in a 13 week series. In these sessions, a certified Visioning® Coach also leads the client through journaling activities, Voice Dialogue, Embodiment exercises, and much more. There is "homework", such as journaling and regular viewing of the collage-as-visual-affirmation for keeping the momentum going. Clients move through the 10 steps described in the book with support and a sense of accountability to themselves.

Tobey Crockett, an artist living in the Cambria area, worked privately with me a couple of years back. As is so common with one-on-one clients, she discovered wonderful surprises and new talents as she engaged in the Visioning® coaching process. Starting with collage-making on her own, she did movement and Voice Dialogue in sessions with me based on images in the collages. This helps to make the dream more physical and open up personality traits and aspects longing to come out in relation to the dream.

At home Tobey did art and writing in her journal with the content of her collages, which led to a delightful series of paintings of her Inner Brat. She has gone on to create 3-D versions of this character as well. The energy and immense outpouring of Tobey's innate creativity was really something to behold. Once she got started, there was no holding her back. This was a whole new direction for Tobey as she discovered her Inner Brat, an aspect of our personalities which we all have but which we often squelch in the name of propriety and convention.

Tobey's celebration of her Inner Brat grew out of my Inner Child Work, which is part of the Visioning® process. The Inner Child work was presented in my bestseller, Recovery of Your Inner Child and brings a playful and creative dimension to Visioning®. And that is the richness and uniqueness of this process: it incorporates so many expressive arts techniques, like the Creative Journal, Voice Dialogue with art, embodiment through role-laying and more. See for more on the full array of methods. These methods all blend together naturally in the Visioning® coach process. That's why certified Visioning® Coaches are first trained in my Creative Journal Expressive Arts program. In order to help client's find hidden talents and new ideas and directions from the deepest well of creativity and innovation, the coach uses many expressive arts techniques. And this works for everyone. Not just artists and so-called creative people. We are all creative. We just need to tap into what is already there.

When Tobey (in gray in the photo here) joined me in sharing one of her fabulous Brat paintings at a Visioning® Coach Training Intensive, the group was so inspired by her story of discovery and deeper creative expression. For more about Tobey and her work, go to

There is an enthusiasm in the air when people tell about how their fondest dreams came true. You can experience this for yourself. Why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose but the blues. Get more inspiration from the dozens of career change, job and business stories in my book Visioning. (

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Visioning® in Community

Creating Group Collage Mandalas

One of the most exciting and fun ways to do Visioning® is with your friends, family, club, class members or co-workers. It is being used in church groups, at conferences, with school children, and in business for team building. Any kind of community can create a shared Vision and empower their dream. There is strength in numbers.

The photo at the right was taken at one of my Creative Journal Expressive Arts Certification Training intensives. We first walked a labyrinth on the grounds of our El Rocio Retreat Center in Mission, Texas ( then went into the studio to make 2 mandalas (8 pieces each) with the focus phrase: "Visioning® my year of CJEA field work." For more information on CJEA training which includes group mandala work, go to and click on "professional training". There are also guidelines in my book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams, for couples and groups wishing to "dream together."

Visioning® Peace

A few years ago a group of us in Cambria got together, under the leadership of veteran Visioning® artist, Jennifer Star, a graduate of my Creative Journal Expressive Art Training Program. We were given pie shaped pieces of art paper and, after journaling on the five senses of peace (sight, smell, taste, touch, sound), each woman was asked to create a visual interpretation of what peace looks like. From the combining of these pie shaped collages we created a Peace Pie Mandala. In fact, we created two of them, and mounted them for display.

Jennifer took the mandala out into the community of Cambria and spoke at a Rotary Club meeting where she displayed the mounted mandalas (back to back). Her website, features a kit that can be purchased for $25 (including shipping in the U.S.) consisting of:

• 8 pieces of white drawing paper
• 1 template for an eight-piece 4 foot diameter mandala (like the one shown below)
• 1 sample invitation to participate in a Peace Pie Mandala Workshop
• instructions and list of materials needed for putting on a workshop
• templates for a variety of mandala sizes and numbers of pieces are also included

In the summer of 2007 Jennifer was invited to be a presenter at the Third International Women's Peace Conference held in Dallas, Texas. She presented "Peace and the Divine Feminine" to a group of 20 women from around the world. The group created 5 finished mandalas of 4 pieces each. One of the conference coordinators, Jo, bought Jennifer's Peace Pie Mandala kit and produced a mandala with other conference coordinators which was on display at the event. Many women reported feeling very moved by the experience, especially family members who were there creating mandalas together.

You can see the mandalas from the Peace Conference at the mandala gallery on For more information about creating collage mandalas with groups of any kind, contact Jennifer Star at

If you would like to bring a certified Visioning® Coach to your community to lead a workshop, contact us at:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Turning thoughts into things and experiences

Visioning® is magic. It is a process for turning thoughts and dreams into things and experiences. The photo collage tells the story of how I created my dream house. I did it without having to buy the land, hire an architect, draw up blueprints, find a contractor, and so on. The house already existed. All I had to do was picture it, find it, buy it and move in.

This collage is one of three panels (18 x 24 inches each) portraying the home of my dreams. Here I pictured living and dining rooms and a studio with gothic ceiling, and much more. I eventually found the house 5 months later, and have lived here for almost 16 years. Notice the photos of French doors with a view of tree tops (lower right and upper left). Then look even closer and see the skylight above the French doors in the upper left photo.

Now take a look at the real thing: my dining room. The only major difference between the door, windows and sky light in my real home are the natural wood trim (which I actually prefer to the all white ones in the collage).

If you visit my website,, you'll see the other rooms in my house: studio with gothic ceiling, living room adjacent to this dining room (with a picture window view of a pine forest), a master bath with a jacuzzi tub under windows. Every room in my home is just like the one in the collage. When I entered my house for the first time I knew this was it! I'd come home.

Visioning® takes the guess work out of the big decisions in life. When you look at your collage every day - many times a day - the dream becomes more and more real. I had walked through the rooms of my collage so often, had strolled along the nearby coastline pictured in there so many times, that the reality was more like a memory than something new. I didn't have to think twice when I told the realtor, "I'll buy it."

Wake up to your dream life! Do it now. Your fondest heart's desire is waiting for you to claim it. (

Don't take my word for it alone, visit the website of Dorothy Segovia, a veteran of Visioning®: On her website, go to the Writings page and click on her blog.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes you can! Visioning® Renewal

The New Year - 2009 - is a great time to start Visioning®. We have a new President and are beginning a new era in our country. Sure, we have lots of challenges, but in America you can feel change in the air. And apparently this has spread around the globe. At my website, I've received lots of good wishes from readers in different countries representing many nationalities, races and religions. They are excited and hopeful about America turning over a new leaf. But hope is not enough. Bringing about renewal is something each individual must do. That's where the Visioning® process of life design comes in.

As Walt Disney said: If you can dream it, you can do it! So let's start with you. And let's start now!

What you will need:

Visioning® begins with finding your true heart's desire and creating a photo collage to illustrate your dream. You'll need art paper or poster board (18 x 24 inches or larger), scissors, glue, magazines (and other sources of photo images and words). You will also need a bound blank book (unlined pages) for keeping a Creative Journal (preferably 9 x12 inches). I recommend a set of felt pens in 8 or more colors for writing. If you are serious about making your dreams come true, get a copy of my book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams (Tarcher/ Putnam). It describes the process in detail, complete with photo illustrations. Set the mood for each step in the process with the musical CD, Visioning (music by recording artist, Jessie Allen Cooper (available only at and

You might be wondering: What's unique about Visioning®? What sets it apart from from all that other stuff like The Secret, visualization, life planning, affirmations, treasure maps, and so on? First, the 10 steps of Visioning® follow the stages that all designers, inventors, architects pass through when they create in the material world. These are the folks who designed the computer you are using, the chair you are sitting in, the desk, the floor, the room, etc., that surrounds you. Why not learn from them? These creative people are trained, skilled and experienced at taking thoughts and turning them into things? That's exactly what you do in Visioning®.You apply tried and true design principles to your life and work. Believe me, they work!

When a designer gets an idea she puts that inspiration, idea or mental picture into physical form immediately (sketches, blueprints, renderings, etc.) In Visioning® we do this by fashioning a collage - a sort of storyboard - similar to the ones filmmakers use in mapping out their story. We don't use the cartoon strip format of linear pictures, rather it's an all-at-once impression, a collage that conveys our dream. It might have words in it, too. The goal is to illustrate the heart's desire, what it would look like and feel like. It's a preview of coming attractions, how we want to feel once the dream is realized. That all shows in the Visioning® collage board. This is not about accuuilating things. It's about how we want to grow and who we want to become.

Visioning® can be done by individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, work teams, and companies. We've used it in public schools systems (team teaching groups), corporations, hospitals, non-profit organizations, church groups, and more. Collages can be done as individual boards or posters or in group applications as a combined mural. They can also be created as individual boards all fitting together to create a shared Vision. Shared Visioning® boards are photographed and each member of the group gets a picture of the whole while keeping their own collage. Sometimes shared collage murals are displayed, as in the case of one elementary school in Texas. The teachers doing team teaching posted their group collage of the "goals for the year" on the walls outside their classrooms for themselves and their students to see. The school had high scores and great morale.

Secondly, Visioning® provides psychological tools for clearing obstacles. Creating the Visioning® board is only the beginning. Big dreams always bring out big inner blocks. It's part of the game. Inevitably, when we start reaching for new goals, the Inner Critic or Judge jumps out and chatters away in our brains. "This is stupid. How ugly. What a waste of time. You'll only be disappointed. This is a pipe dream and will never happen. Who do you think you are with these grandiose ideas? And anyway, you have more important things to do right now, like paying bills or laundry or mowing the lawn or doing your taxes or......."(you fill in the blanks)

One of the keys to success with Visioning® is the time tested technique for dealing with this universal voice of self-criticism and self doubt within. I've written whole books about this, most notably, The Power of Your Other Hand (Career Press). The Visioning® process provides journal activities for writing your way through these internal blocks of self-judgment and skepticism about the Visioning® process. If I hadn't developed this technique I would never have written 13 books. Here's how I did it.

While attempting to start my first book, The Creative Journal (Career Press/New Page), I was plagued with a crippling writer's block. I spent two to three days a week staring at white paper in the typewriter. Finally I practiced what I was teaching in my Creative Journal classes (which was the topic of the book, ironically enough). In one journal session, I cleared the block in two pages of writing. I wrote what the Inner Critic said with my dominant hand (the one I normally write with), and answered back with my non-dominant hand (the one I don't usually write with). Within two pages I was done, felt utterly liberated and energized. I rose from my journal, went to my studio and completed the book within three months by writing two or three days a week. I had a "real job" as a college instructor and art therapist while becoming an author on my own so that's all the time I could afford.

But wait, that's not all. Breaking through my block also gave me the courage to put the word out to friends (step 9 of Visioning®), get a support system around me, and find a mentor who referred me to his publisher. They said yes right away. Better yet, the book needed no editing. In spite of what my Inner Critic had said, I'd written a perfectly acceptable manuscript! Over the years, The Creative Journal has become a best seller, been published in three different editions and formed the basis of an entire method of journal therapy being used all over the world.(

Dream it and do it. I've done it, and I know you can, too. See more on

Friday, January 9, 2009

Visioning® the New Year

Welcome to the new year with Visioning®.

My name is Lucia Capacchione, originator of the Visioning® Method for turning dreams into reality. The method appears in my book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams (Tarcher/Putnam, 2000).

Using Visioning® I have created the life, the house, the relationships and the career of MY dreams. You can do it, too! As Walt Disney said: "If you can dream it, you can do it."

In my first career as a graphic artist and designer, I worked for world-famous chair designer , Charles Eames, and later for Mattel and Hallmark. As a therapist and corporate consultant, I was retained for 10 years by Walt Disney Imagineering (theme park designers) to train managers and creative folks to maximize their potential. At Disney, I got to stand back analyze the design process. After observing in depth how "thoughts become things", I applied the design process to life in my practice as a life/career coach and art therapist.

You can find the "designer within" and learn the process that all designers use. It's simple, fun and powerful. It's hands-on and brings out your creativity. There are lots of methods for manifesting out there. None of them are based on solid design principles. Remember this: Designers never create by sitting around visualizing or repeating affirmations. Never! As soon as they get an idea, they start working with their hands. Combining collage with journaling, Visioning® applies the ten steps used by successful designers, architects, artists and inventors. Visioning® applies the design process to life. It works for all areas of life: career, relationships, home, health, hobbies, travel, you name it.

More importantly, with Visioning® you can learn to get out of your own way. That is another thing that makes this unique and sets it apart from other methods of manifestation. Imagining what you want is not enough. We all have an Inner Critic who rains on our parade. As soon as we want to venture out into new territory, push the envelope and reach for the sky, it stops us. Visioning® provides proven "block busters" (journal exercises) for confronting your own "inner saboteur" who prevents you from realizing the life of your dreams. These "block busters" came from my 35 years plus of work as a therapist. Believe me, they work! If they didn't I never would have been able to author 13 books (2 of them bestsellers), find the house of my dreams, travel all over the world, create an international training program with graduates from all over the globe. I could go on and on.

Using Visioning®, hundreds of people have created happy marriages, loving families, better health, weight loss, prosperity, dream houses, fulfilling careers, exciting travel and more. They have attended my workshops, used my book, and done private coaching with me or a certified Visioning® Coach. Many of these people tell their story in my book, Visioning.

In this blog, I'll share these highly effective tools for manifesting and finding your true heart's desire. I'll share my experiences as well as the stories of people who enjoyed huge success with this method. You are invited to post a question or comment. Join me in the Visioning® adventure.

Create the life of your dreams!


For more about Visioning® go to

Be sure to visit There you will find general information about my 13 books, a calendar of my workshops and training, CD's and other products for sale, as well as essays, picture gallery and more.

At purchase the book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams, and a set of 2 CDs, Visioning, by Jessie Allen Cooper (musical accompaniment for the Visioning® process).