“…Live the life you have imagined…” -Thoreau
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” -Gandhi
The second day of February is historically more than the Groundhog’s Day. On the old pastoral calendar it was the first day of spring! Now, we may have a foot of snow on the ground, but underneath the soil the seeds are stirring. When I walked out the other morning I heard the Chickadees singing “Say Phoebe” the translation of which must be something like, (among other things,) “Hey! Want to build a new life together?” Every year the hardy little birds lead us all in pushing nature’s restart button. In support of them (and breaking with tradition,) this is the time of year I am most likely to make personal resolutions or plans. This is time of year to have Vision.
For me, having Vision is an extension of being awake and aware in life. It is the simultaneous melding of accurate present circumstances with an imaginary future for the purpose of achieving my desired goals.
The first part of Vision is to periodically run reality checks on all our operations, to see things as they are in order to embrace what is really going on. To tell ourselves the absolute truth, we need some understanding of who we are, what we want and why. We don’t need to be psychic to see that when we take what has manifested around us and add our feelings and reactions to it, we project a future. It’s just like watching a movie where the leading man (or woman) has a peculiar attitude that you just know is going to propel them into certain circumstances for good or ill.
The other half of having Vision is holding onto a picture of the future as we imagine it. Where do we want to go? Picturing your life as you would like it to be means understanding who you would be in that life and that is the key to getting there. To overtake that future requires being that person right now. It is good to have some steps in mind for the journey but remember over-planning will get in the way of any unforeseen yet fortuitous happenings. We are interested in the result, not attached to the process. We must be willing to balance our idea of how we think things should happen and having faith, for the universe delights in unexpected short cuts. With that in mind have all the long range goals you want.
Now we stand back and marry both sides, asking ourselves: do they mesh? Are we headed for the future we want? Or is our Vision skewed in some way and why? What are we willing to do differently to get there?
Vision is our mooring in life, without it we drift on a tide of reaction and indifference. It’s another of those things I think is sadly lacking at the moment. We have mission statements, business models, projected sales and financial planning, but, I don’t see much Vision at work in our world, not positive vision anyway.
An example of global Vision would be for a country to have an accurate sense of the outcome on any action it may take. Governments especially, must have Vision; all good leaders should have a positive vision for what can be achieved. It’s not about who we have been but rather, what are we capable of? To be sure, always something far better than what we were. As a country called the United States: who would we like to be tomorrow? A kind-hearted people working toward peaceful coexistence? What kind of circumstances will be living with in 10 years? Prosperous and respected? Our present government never took this into account. True Vision in a governmental body organically produces responsibility for any outcome is a direct result of their viewpoint. Here, more than anywhere else we have the obligation to promote and preserve positive action at all times, preventing reckless reaction.
The ability to follow a present course of action to a thoughtful and logical conclusion is paramount. If our “leaders” could have skipped ahead to the idea that fighting, instead of working with enemies only breeds more animosity, and at the same time, held a vision of a world where countries could connect to what we have in common instead of fighting over what we don’t, well, we might all be living in a very different time.
Vision in a society or culture is seeing all the motivations that a group of people may possess in the pure light of day and then imagining, going beyond, to all possibilities of what they could be. Can they work through their fear of change, for instance, and learn to accept the variations of nature? Can they “see” a time when they are not afraid but confident and empowering to all? How will their new philosophy affect their infrastructure and their laws?
Vision in a community is being able to see how the town of Sandpoint’s present attitude can affect the way we will all live forever more. What do we want our town to look like, to feel like? We must understand how every decision we make today effects Sandpoint’s beauty, character, wealth and people for many decades to come.
At the foundation of all these though, remains Personal Vision, the most important of all. Everything begins at the individual level. To address your present attitude and circumstances with honesty and accuracy is to project a realistic result that one can study for acceptance or rejection. To then create and imagine a life experience that speaks more intensely to who you really are and what you are capable of is to see your life the way it should be and then, holding it in a stop frame use the image as a template to, like the Chickadees do, build a new life.