The future of the world may feel overwhelming at the moment, but as individuals we can already start to make positive changes. Our social media editor discovers how tapping into your creative mind can help you to open up to a future you couldn’t imagine otherwise.
Picturing what the future might look like next week is no easy task in the current climate, let alone envisioning the shape of the global landscape this time next year. And yet, it seems to be what everyone is thinking and talking about: what will the new normal be when the Covid-19 pandemic ends?
The way we have been living is unsustainable, life coach and author Mary Nondé reminds me. “Once the mists start to clear in a few weeks’ time, it will be very evident how we have been living – both personally and collectively – is no longer acceptable on any level,” she says. A blog post she wrote almost two years ago seems particularly pertinent too: “The ‘accelerated culture’ is the accepted zeitgeist of our time. […] As we go about our daily activities, our attention is always on the task three steps ahead, which leaves us alienated from the activity in hand.”
As we adapt to alternative ways of working and existing, at times it feels as though our usual lives are simply ‘on pause’. But in those moments of pause, there is space to reflect on how we have been living and how we continue to, now that crisis is the quotidian. Governments, businesses and brands are assessing their operations and finding ways to sustain themselves through the ongoing uncertainty – so how can we, as individuals, take this moment as an opportunity to positively shape our futures?
This question has been the focal point of Nondé’s work for the past 10 years. Following a personal crisis that disrupted her entwined personal and professional lives, she trained in somatic art psychotherapy and created a unique method to help people embrace their future creatively through opening the subconscious mind up to unknown possibilities.
You may have curated something like a vision board in the past; think of a collage, Pinterest or mood board filled with pictures of items and ideals you lust after. Nondé regards this type of ‘traditional’ vision boards as “old fashioned” and even “greedy”, as they “gather preconceived ideas of what we think we want, or what we feel want to experience more of. This only engages the left side of the brain, “the logical, intellectual, rational mind,” she tells me. “It pieces things together in a sequential fashion based on information we already know. It’s not creative, it’s not innovative, and it’s not going to lead to any ‘a-ha!’ moments.”
By contrast, Nondé works with people to create intuitive vision boards. Using the creative right-side of the brain, she invites individuals to “stop thinking in the way we’re accustomed to,” and consequently opening up our available intelligence exponentially. “It’s kind of a creative meditation […] As it was for Mozart, Einstein, all the great inventors, the greatest breakthroughs occur when you aren’t looking for the answers. That’s why it’s so exciting now, because we need to start thinking differently.”
Typically, Nondé’s intuitive process is structured into a four-hour workshop. She startswith meditative exercises to clear the mind completely and then, once the right brain is engaged, under her constant guidance the creativity begins. Armed with a large white or black board (ideally A1), glue, and a stack of magazines, individuals begin to assemble images that stand out to them. “You’re absolutely not looking for anything in particular,” she says. “You just tear out anything that captures you – a particular image, something a bit edgy, or that simply stands out.” Then, remaining vigilant that the logical left brain isn’t creeping in to the process, you begin sticking down the images that connect with you in some subconscious way. It’s a time bound activity, so you retain this engaged mindframe until the board is complete.
She describes it as an energising and exciting process – “but it isn’t immediately clear exactly what’s there.” In neuroscience terms, it’s an emergent process, and the images on your board will “provide a bridge between what you know already and the subconscious, unconscious and superconscious realms of intelligence. So it’s like the picture holds that information until it is knowable and becomes materialised in that person’s life.” It’s in the months that follow that the images begin to configure tangible meaning as your right brain continues to work and unfold possibilities in your mind. It’s not a to-do list, but a way of nudging yourself into previously unknown opportunities.
“In creating a vision for your life in an intuitive way, you are making yourself available to whatever is there for you to do at this point in time,” she says. “In times of uncertainty and change, which we’re all in, that left brain can tie us up in knots. This process can say, yes I know that’s all going on, but if I park that way of thinking for a moment and come over to this right brain, I can engage with uncertainty in a way that gives me something right now – not when the virus is passed, but right now, something that I can be creating and working with to prepare me and the change of life for what is emerging,” she says.
Feeling overwhelmed, helpless or stuck at this moment of time is natural. Finding ways to open up another way of thinking and feeling, away from anxieties and rationales, seems just the antidote we need as we begin to forge more sustainable futures for ourselves, our communities, and perhaps the planet too.
So, how can you adopt the intuitive process at home? Nondé is running virtual workshops and consultations, and her book ‘Awaken Your Intuitive Vision’ guides readers through it too. To engage the creative mind, she shares a guided meditation and recommends a long walk in nature or time spent in the garden totally free of distractions too, before beginning the intuitive vision board process itself. It’s a way of thinking that might just help to unlock some energy in you at the moment, something that will help to sustain you through these very strange times we’re living in.
Read Josephine Becker‘s feature on the importance of imagination during the climate crisis.
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Discover creative activities to while away slow weekends.