20/20 Vision …Developing your Visual Acuity for 2020 and Beyond!
Well folks, another new year is almost here. But… not just any new year… this is 2020. We are turning over the digits, into a new decade.
The new year inspires many of us to take time to reflect and re-calibrate around what’s important to us. Our vision (which is in large part derived from our ever-evolving values system) is a bit of a moving target. It is worth checking in on and re-aligning to our values and larger vision, in order to ensure that we are purposeful in the way that we are investing time and energy moving forward.
This year, I am inspired by the uncanny play on words between 20/20 vision (eyesight) and visioning for 2020 (orienting towards a positive future). In North America, 20/20 vision is a term used to describe perfect eyesight – often measured using the “Snellen Chart” (a chart of large to smaller and smaller sized alphabet characters, viewed by the patient, at a distance of 20 feet).
Our “clarity of vision” or visual acuity, according to Wikipedia, is defined in this way:
Visual acuity (VA) commonly refers to optical neural factors, i.e., (i) the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye, (ii) the health and functioning of the retina, and (iii) the sensitivity of the interpretive faculty of the brain.
I’m daring to take this playful ‘vision’ metaphor a little further, because there is also a lot of neuroscience backing up the importance and power that visioning has to change our brain patterns. Ultimately brain patterning defines the way we interact with the world. Needless to say, the way we interact with the world has a direct relationship on our results in everything. Basically, the clearer our vision, the better our results.
There’s really no hocus pocus about it. Science has shown that when we visualize positive pictures of the ideal future (inner images of what we want to see happen), and the circumstances are at least partly within our control to influence, we are literally creating new neural pathways in the brain that are just as habit-forming as having had a direct experience. That is to say, a visualized experienced is as powerful as an imagined experience. Read that again.
As we approach the beginning of a fresh new decade, I’d like to invite you to take the time to evolve, clarify and strengthen your vision for 2020, and beyond. Borrowing from the 3 components of perfect eyesight (20/20 vision) according to Wikipedia (above), I suggest here my very own description of 3 key components that play into the relative power of your inner vision:
Inner Visual Acuity (IVA) is refers to the manifestation potential of one’s inner vision and takes into account several mind/body related factors, i.e. (i) the sharpness of your focus within the mind’s eye; (ii) the overall healthy ecology of one’s vision, and (iii) the sensitivity and ability of the person visioning to determine meaningfulness.
Lets look at each aspect of vision, from a broad perspective:
- (i) The sharpness of focus within the mind’s eye. When we visualize our ideal future, we are literally creating new neural links in the brain that will ultimately define how we see the world, and what opportunities show up in our awareness going forward. What we put attention on expands! For your 2020 vision to really be re-wiring your brain in the way that will lead to tangible results, make internal pictures of what you want (rather than what you do not want). The brain cannot make a negative picture – so ensure the language you are using to describe your vision creates positive pictures in the mind’s eye (eg: “I want to be more appreciative.” creates more useful neural linkages than the statement “I want to be less judgmental.”) You see, positive in this case is not a judgement around good or bad – it is ensuring the pictures you are creating in the mind’s eye are truly what you WANT to see happen in the future.
In addition to this, the sharpness of your vision will be refined by focusing your vision around the kind of person you are becoming. Amplify the positive felt qualities (value states) that these inner images inspire in you. Infuse your vision with the values you truly want to have more of – I mean really, would anything less make sense? The quality and amplitude of your BEING-ness has immense organizing power around how, what, where and when things happen – leave the details open for the universe to organize, and just be ready to say YES, when the opportunities show up in your life.
- (ii) The overall healthy ecology of the vision. Even the healthiest of plants, when placed in dry, dark or infertile conditions will fail. The same with our visions. We need to expand the context of our idealized images to include the widest, and farthest vantage point, seeing this playing out in positive ways, for all life, through all dimensions, and timeframes. Consider the communities and systems you are part of – how will your vision manifested positively benefit all these areas? How will your success positively impact other people? The planet? The most powerful and sustainable goals are ones that are in alignment with the larger flow of life, and contribute to the overall wellness of the larger and smaller systems we are a part of.
- (iii) The sensitivity and ability of the person visioning to determine meaningfulness. Maybe it goes without saying that our vision needs to be meaningful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It needs to resonate with our heart. Perhaps our most potent visions are derived from listening to the small still voice of the heart, that speaks to us. Hearing this voice is often challenging amidst the drone and noise of everyday reality. Too often we talk ourselves into something from the head-down, rather than the heart-up. I do suggest turning this around. Simply allowing what deeply wants to happen, emerge. What does your heart desire? What is waiting to be fulfilled through your life? What is the unique quality of light you are bringing to the world through your vision and way of being? Only you can bring this truth into the world, and the world NEEDS your truth. Such authenticity requires courage. It may be that your vision is not about having, doing or even being more, at all. Perhaps it is about (gasp!) less. Only you can know the truth of your soul’s message. Cultivate the ability to be still and quiet long enough to recognize and finally follow the stirring of your soul. Feel the pull of your heart in an authentic direction. Be like the magnetic needle of a compass orienting to north. In the beautiful words of spiritual teacher Joseph Campbell, “Follow your bliss.”
Well, it might seem like over-doing it, but I suggest that for 2020, you begin to envision what you want to create in the next 20 years. Go big. Visioning is subtle work, and so the bigger the chunk you decide to work with actually, the easier it will be. Does that seem like a stretch? It is supposed to! 20 years encourages us to dream big. Imagine what can be created in 20 years! Look at how far you have come in 20 years (!) in order to give you a bit of an idea what might be possible for you… Think of what you have experienced, learned, created, survived, and lived in the past 20 years.
Take a deep breath. …and another. 20 years is a lot. Step back and view your life over the past 20 years. Your family life, your relationships, your career, your accomplishments…all the up and downs…all of it. A lot of shit happens in 20 years. That’s roughly 7300 days. Does it really seem like that long? You might be noticing that on one hand it feels like a very long time, and on the other, it went by in a flash!
My grandfather used to say – “The older I get, that faster time goes.” And I am now beginning to understand this. Time is relative. Many will tell you that time doesn’t actually exist except as a construct in the mind.
If you were to vision your ideal self in 20 years, what would you want that to look like? Picture yourself. Perfectly. Who have you become? What qualities are you expressing as an evolved version of yourself? What kind of impact are you have on the other human beings around you? How are your choices and your life, making a difference? What is the ripple effect of you being your authentic self, having in the world? …Perhaps you have noticed that you are seeing that NOW. Maybe you are feeling that NOW. (AHA!) Our habit-forming brain actually can’t tell time. So what you assign as a 20 years in the future image of yourself… (Shhhhh ) …It is actually happening NOW. …You are paving the way to changing your experiences NOW. The frame of 20 years helps us dream big. Just don’t be surprised if the opportunities you are imagining in the next 20 years actually start manifesting themselves right away.
To this end, I have created a list of 20 questions to help you reflect upon the wins, learnings and purpose of the past 20 years…and 20 questions to assist you to begin visioning the next 20 years of your amazing life on this planet. Think of these as brainstorming and journaling questions to mull over and take your time with. Stretch. YES! I invite you to go within. Be still. Dream big. Relax! Time is indeed on your side…because the big cosmic joke is: Time doesn’t exist.
SO, I ask you again…what do you want to create in the next 20 years? Go ahead, I dare you. Take all the time you need to dream your wildest dreams.
As you look back on your life, and especially over the last 20 years:
- What are you most grateful for?
- What are you most proud of?
- What have been some of the biggest challenges, and what have you learned from that?
- What are the shining memories and moments that really stand out?
- What experiences stretched you to think and act in new ways?
- What foundations were laid over the last 20 years that really support you?
- What are you acknowledging having inspired in others?
- Who was most significant or influential in your life over the past 20 years?
- What aspects of yourself have seen the biggest positive changes?
- What are you appreciating about yourself having accomplished?
- What baskets of knowledge have you acquired?
- What are you appreciating having survived?
- Which moments truly inspire joyful memories?
- What remains unchanged?
- What were the definitive moments, turning points or moments of truth that stand out?
- What would be a metaphor that would best describe the past 20 years of your life?
- How would you describe the impact your life had on others over the past 20 years?
- What communities have you contributed to over the past 20 years?
- What are the best qualities you have cultivated in yourself over the past 20 years?
- If you could give your 20-year-younger self some advice, knowing all that you know now, what would that be?
As you look forward and upon the next 20 years:
- Imagine that you are floating up, up, up…way, way up and above your life…and rise up even higher…up to a point where you can really overview your whole lifeline…where you can see all of the past and future laid out before and below you….as you look at your life…gazing out to the future of that timeline…the next 20 years…knowing it is all laid out in the most ideal way…what are some of the key aspects you see there?
- What kind of person are you evolving into?
- What are some of the personal qualities you are cultivating?
- Who are the people you most want to impact in a positive way?
- How are you connecting to the people closest to you that let you know things are really ideal?
- What is the ripple effect your life is creating in the world?
- What are the communities you most want to be a part of and contributing to?
- What do you want to “stand for” or be remembered for in the next 20 years?
- What are core values that you want you carry with you into the next 20 years?
- What do you want to quit, give up or let go of that really allows you to expand over the next 20 years?
- Just suppose the next 20 years becomes more and more fulfilling, with each year that passes. What are some of the daily activities that create this sense of fulfillment? What is it about these activities that fills you up?
- What kinds of things are you learning and experiencing that really let you know that you are growing in the way that you want?
- As if you were to step into the year 2040… Where everything has gone even better than you might have imagined… What do you notice from the eyes of your older wiser self?
- What do you want to develop or further in the next 20 years?
- What memorable moments would be most satisfying to you to be creating in the next 20 years?
- What accomplishments do you want to check off your list?
- What bucket-list items do you really want to follow through with?
- How do you want to handle the unexpected challenges that come up?
- What resources and channels of support will most serve you in the next 20 years?
- What capacities do you want to open up in yourself?
What is the best question you could ask yourself right now, that would really allow yourself to make the next 20 years the most amazing and satisfying years of your life?
May 2020 bring you all the beauty, grace and magnificence that you could ever imagine.