In the beginning:
When I was in my early-to-pre-teens I had a very vivid dream and I wrote it down.
I didn't want to forget any of it so I could tell my gramma everything the next time I saw her. When I finally saw her and showed her the paper I wrote my dream on she shook her head at me and told me to be careful what I put on paper. She said once it's on paper it's on there forever! Erasing it wouldn't change the fact that I already wrote it & I would never be able to fully erase it even if I tried. Nor could I control where it goes or who sees it after it's written.
She went on to tell me about our connection as beings within the universe and the power we have, as Indigenous people, because of our spiritual connections with the universe. Specifically our minds.
"Our mind is a powerful gift. The power of the mind and the power to understand it and how to use it is one of our greatest strengths. Its what makes us- as beings, different from all the other creatures on the planet", she said. Therefore, I needed to be careful because I was not only putting it out to the universe through my thoughts or words but doing it more permanently in the written form. Adding, when *Syilx people drew what was in our minds we were "making it so", because when we drew what was in our minds it was done in ocre on a rock face and it was done for a reason.
*Syilx people are the original peoples in the unceded traditional territory of the Okanagan Valley and is in BC's southern interior.
Today, whether we're doing it with pen/ paper or keyboard and screen... my gramma was right! Once we write down what's in our minds, it's done and can't be undone! So when I choose to write my thoughts on pen and paper or using my keyboard and screen I am very careful about what I put out there.
As I got older, I noticed people intentionally writing things down and putting it out to the universe- as 5 year plans or vision boards,etc... I was seeing people apply this teaching I was warned about in good ways for their lives. Something I still needed to learn. Many years later I took a life skills class and for one of my assignments I had to write down my first five-year plan. So I wrote my first five-year plan and finished everything on it three years later.
This showed me my gramma was right! BUT it also showed me that putting my ideas on paper was a good idea. This also allowed me to see how Indigenous concepts and world views when compared to similar westernized concepts can prove our methodologies are practical, biological or scientific and aren't just legends and stories or make believe. From then on, I would journal my ideas.
Seeing my ideas on paper somehow makes it real. Makes them possible and reachable. I began using my "book of ideas" as a place to put down (as a list) what I wanted to do and how I needed to make it happen.
After awhile, I needed something more. Writing it down as a list wasn't enough! I needed to SEE IT! As an Indigenous woman and a visual learner, I needed to be able to see what I was working towards, so I stopped writing my ideas and started searching for ways to write my ideas and projects in a way that made it easier for me to visualize.
My Vision Wheel:
Sometime last year, while doing research for a project, I came across a diagram that reminded me of a medicine wheel even though it wasn't one. It was just a pie chart. One I've seen 1000s of times so idk why this particular time it reminded me of a medicine wheel? But in the centre of this pie chart circle was another circle and written on that inner circle was the word PROJECT.
Written in the pieces of the pie were words like "brainstorm, make a plan, find your resources, attain funding... and underneath those words was a description. It was like a brainstorming bubble or mind map... with a purpose. Instantly my brain started to click... so I grabbed my sketch book and drew a circle and drew another circle inside it and made my own segments.
In place of drawing a circle I made a small square in the centre of the page.
I then drew lines from the corners of the small square both horizontally and vertically making 3 rows of 3 equal sized squares dividing the paper to look like a number sign (#).
I still wasn't satisfied yet!
To me, it didn't look much like the wheel anymore and I needed more segments for me to make a one year plan. So after looking at my paper, I drew lines from each of the corners diagonally until the lines reached the inner square, dividing my page into 13 segments.
There! I had it! Now I was done. 12 segments + 1 focal point.
I could make my one year plan!
But, in case I wasn't sure how I wanted to use this, I made about 5 or 6 of these papers because I knew I was going to make mistakes.
How to Use it:
On the inner square I wrote things I wanted to accomplish in the next 12 months and colored it in separating it from the other segments creating a focal point!
So within each of my segments I wrote down each of the months of the year.
Let's say I wanted to lose 60 lbs, start saving money so i could go somewhere by plane, I wanted to apply for funding for one of my personal projects and I wanted to attend an event that would help me professionally.
In each month I would write what I need to do to make the things I wanted possible.
Example: For EVERY month I wrote:
1. lose 5 lbs (5lbs a month x 12 months = 60 lbs)
Reduce fast food, take lunch to work, drink equal amounts of water as I do coffee
(Example: if I drink 2 cups of coffee I need to drink 2 cups of water) or what ever would help me lose a minimum of 5 lbs a month.
2. put $25 every week into my savings account ($25/ week x 52 weeks = $1300) to save for my vacation.
For my other Goals:
3. I would look up the application deadline for a grant I wanted to apply for (example April 1) & the submission deadline (example: June 30) for the event in October.
- In MARCH I would put "write proposal & submit by March 15"
- In APRIL I would write PROPOSAL DEADLINE
- In June i would write "submit project for event" &
- In October I would write, Attend Event.
Lets say I needed to finish writing a script to apply for funding...
In January and February I would put "Write every Weds." or "Write a minimum of 3 pages every Wednesday" if I wanted to be more specific.
When I am done I can "see" these goals I set out for myself in a visual wheel that allows me to focus on the big picture (the goal in the centre of the page) or a chance to look at my steps/ segments to see what I still need to do to make it happen.
I tape this piece of paper right above my light switch in my bedroom so every time I walked out of my room I would see my plan right in front of me as I left for the day.
Altering the Wheel:
This wheel doesn't have to be used as a calendar.
Do it however you need to- to make your steps (segments) so it works for you. Use either the circle or the square vision wheel and put what ever you want inside the segments as steps to make your "want" a goal.
This is your vision, your vision wheel! You can add as many spokes as you need or remove them if you don't need that many steps! Do what works for you in a way that works.
If you wanted to write a book, advance professionally, meet someone, make new friends, lose weight.... anything your heart desires can go inside this wheel... Just remember anything you want to focus on goes in the centre and the pieces of the pie are what you need to do or can do to to make your vision a plan!
So what are you waiting for? Use this wheel to write down your ideas to make it a plan! Put it out to the universe and don't just watch it happen, make it happen!