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Visualizing your dreams;
Motivational author Sue Augustine uses 'dream collages' to turn the intangible into something more concrete
by Cheryl Clock

Published in Spectrum - Tuesday, February 06, 2007

 

In Sue Augustine's world, dreams begin with a pair of scissors, some glue and a piece of cardboard.

It's a visionary craft project of sorts. A project that turns the intangible and the unreal into something more concrete.

Something a little closer to reality.

The St. Catharines author and motivational speaker sifts through magazines, brochures and catalogues, looking for pictures that represent her dreams. She cuts them out, glues them on cardboard and posts it in a place where she's most likely to see it regularly.

It reminds her of what she wants out of life. It keeps her on track. And it keeps her dreams alive.

She calls it a dream collage.

She made her first one more than 20 years ago, on the cardboard from a package of nylons.

Back then she was in direct sales for a skin care company. She attended a convention in Dallas, Tex. where the speaker showed off her own dream collage, framed with fake $100 bills.

Augustine returned home and was so inspired that she made her own dream board. Not nearly as elaborate but just as powerful, the board was small with only a few pictures stuck to it. Luggage. A watch. A coffee table.

Then, a few years later, she made another one. It was bigger this time, with bigger dreams.

She wanted to travel more. And to write a book.

These days, she no longer has a dream board. She has a dream binder. It's a three-ring book, organized by dividers labelled with words like business success, travel, home decor and family and other relationships.

She flips through it ever so often. And she adds to it when so inspired.

Near the back, on some lined paper, she's written out her goals in the present tense.

I am walking for 20 minutes a day.

I now eat healthy food.

These are all strategies she recommends in her latest book, Turn Your Dreams into Realities, 101 Ways to Make it Happen, (Harvest House Publishers, $14.99).

Big dreams or small, her book is filled with strategies to take people where they want to go in life.

Maybe it's to spend more time with children or a spouse. To buy a new car. Take a vacation. Or eat dinner as a family.

Everyone has dreams, she says. But sometimes, by the time they grow up, they've forgotten how to dream, she says.

Children are natural dreamers. They do it all day. Then as we get older, the real world crashes into our lives with stuff like logic, self-doubt, rules, work, responsibility and a self-induced panic over how little time there is in a day.

We think we're incapable of realizing a dream, so we stop dreaming.

Or we simply don't think we're worth the effort, she says.

All of this pretty much snuffs out any opportunity for fantasizing.

"Dreaming gets put to the bottom of the list," she says.

Consider that dreaming is actually good for you. "It puts you back in control of where your life is headed," she says.

It gives you goals. Purpose.

In her book, Augustine recommends having a balance of dreams.

Think of dreams that fit into areas such as mental, physical and spiritual wellness, personal growth, relationships, career, education, financial, travel and leisure, material possessions and charity.

Ask yourself questions like: what's missing, what would you like to see different and what would have to happen for you to be satisfied? Don't be afraid to use your imagination. Watch children. When they play make believe, they don't just hope that one day they'll be a pilot or teacher. They actually become that person in their minds.

Picture your dream. Smell it. Breathe it. Experience it through all your senses. "Live it out in your mind, ahead of time," she says.

You want to have more dinners as a family? Hear the laughter and the conversations. Paste a picture of a happy family sitting around the kitchen table on your dream board.

As crazy as it sounds, all this will make your dream more authentic. "The more dreams become real in your mind, the more likely it is you will achieve them," says Augustine.

"Everything that's been created, was started with a thought."

So how powerful is dreaming really? Would events in your life have happened anyway, regardless?

Maybe. Or not.

Augustine believes there's something subconscious going on. "You believe it so much, you work to always put yourself in the right place at the right time."

Think of it this way. "If you focus on illness, if you focus on family and job problems all the time, that's probably what you'll get."

So, it stands to reason that if you focus on your dreams they're likely what you'll get too.

But dream boards and positive thoughts aside, let's not forget about stuff like hard work and desire, she says.

You don't just glue a picture on your dream collage and wait for it to fall into your lap.

All this planning is just to get you motivated. You're the one who ultimately has to do the work to make them reality, she says.

Too often people do the planning but forget to co-ordinate their dream boards with their day planners. In other words, they don't make room in their daily lives for the work that goes into a dream.

People need to pencil in at least one activity a day that relates to their vision, says Augustine.

And there's also cause for a dash of reality too. It's OK to have wild fantasies, but reality is dreams need to be achievable and measurable.

Achievable so you don't waste time on something that can never happen. (Although this doesn't mean you should give up at the first obstacle.)

Simply listen to yourself and someone you trust for guidance. And don't be afraid to change direction, she says.

And something that is measurable so that you'll know when you've arrived.
Beyond that, let desire be your motivator.

"How much do you want it?" she says.

"If you want it as bad as the air you breathe, you will see it through to fruition." cclock@stcatharinesstandard.ca

 

 
 

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