Monday, July 1, 2013

Visioning Step 7: Articulate the Vision

“Interpreting the meaning in your collage through journal-writing is a significant part of 
Visioning®. Translating pictures into words bridges intuitive and rational thought non-verbal and verbal ways of knowing, right and left sides of the brain, and yields invaluable insight into the creative unconscious. It's a lot like interpreting dreams. Anyone who's ever deciphered the seemingly strange juxtapositions of images and scenarios that visit us in the sleep state knows the power of this non-rational world. So packed full, in fact, that it often requires some practice, skill, and time to “get the message.”
 – page 130, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams.

Congratulations! You have completed your collage. You are now ready to discover the meaning in the collage words and images. Image writing, Writing by Heart, and Telling My Story journal exercises from Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams are vital keys to unlocking the messages. However, Visioning® can also be used to interpret dreams, as well as process emotional energy This months blog is a a Q & A from CJEA practitioner and author, Claire Perkins, who used Visioning® to articulate her grief after her son Cameron died.  

How did the collage process itself help you to articulate your grief after the loss of your son?

Grief, for me, was infinitely larger and more complex than just deep sadness. It was a roller coaster of every emotion on the spectrum: anger, guilt, sadness, rage, depression, fear, love, gratitude, deep peace, laughter, joy, relief. Often it was a combination of many feelings – even conflicting feelings – all at once.

While I’ve always journaled, during the journey of grief it was sometimes difficult to find the words to express what I was feeling. I think that’s because emotions live in the right brain and language lives in the left brain, so there can be a disconnect in trying to translate feelings directly into words. But imagery and emotion are right brain neighbors; they are more similar in expression. And images tell a story, and story connects back to language. The images become a bridge from feelings to words.

With collage, I could thumb through magazines and find all kinds of imagery that resonated with whatever I was feeling. Creating a collage of my darkest feelings was a cathartic process. It gave me a way to express and move the emotions through and out of my body and energy system. Through collage, my feelings became something tangible that I could then observe more objectively. Collage allowed me to step out of the feelings, if only for a moment, and hold them at arm’s length. From that arms-length visual perspective, journaling became easier and the results were incredibly powerful and transformative.

How did collaging your dreams facilitate your healing?

The Big Wave, collage by Claire Perkins

About a week before my son died, I had a very powerful dream about a huge wave washing up the streets of a city, terrifying a little boy. The dream really stuck with me and I decided to create a collage of it. The collage contained all kinds of water images, images of children, a surfer, and two different women – one with eyes open and one with eyes closed.

After my son died, I dialogued with every image in the collage and received profoundly healing messages from each one. The answers that came were definitely from a higher realm than my waking consciousness. One of the images even spoke as my son, and I knew it was him speaking to me, telling me that he was fine, that he loved me and that I should continue to live my life to the fullest.

An in depth description of this process as well as a transcript of the thirteen dialogues that emerged can be found in my book, The Deep Water Leaf Society, Harnessing the Transformative Power of Grief, available at, and

The Big Wave collage, and the messages I received from its images, continued to speak to me for a very long time and contributed greatly to my healing process.

Claire Perkins is an Author, Artist and Evolutionary. She has been a certified CJEA practitioner since 2004. Visit her website, or connect with her at