Manifestation and Vision Boards

Photo by Mikechie Esparagoza on

I’ve been very down and out of it recently. I don’t feel like doing anything. At the same time, I feel guilty for wasting my days away. Most days, I don’t even have the energy to get out of bed. In the last two days, I have binged on 2 entire K-drama series and countless videos on YouTube. I read somewhere that the only consistent hobby our generation has is media consumption. At times like this, it feels like the truth. I try and tell myself that I need the rest, and this is my body’s way of slowing down. But rest from what? I don’t have a job, all my time is my own. I can’t figure it out, and that only makes me feel worse.

The dip in my energy levels is accompanied by a desire to distance myself from everyone around me. Except for the people who live in my house, I haven’t really made an effort to talk to anyone else. My phone barely pings nowadays, and honestly, as I am writing this, I remember that I haven’t seen it since yesterday. This isn’t normal, but it happens sometimes. I used to love talking to people. But now, I just don’t feel like putting in a lot of effort. And communication is a two-way street isn’t it? I don’t mind being the friend who initiates conversation usually, but I’m waiting to see what happens this time around. Anyway, who needs two-sided conversations when you can listen to YouTubers talk to you all day long right?

After going down endless rabbit holes on YouTube, I landed on something that sparked my interest. I mean, it at least made me change my position on my bed. It may not sound like a lot, but it is. I came across an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. In it, Oprah declares to the interviewer that she is an “extremely powerful manifestor’. What does that mean? Apparently, Oprah doesn’t need ‘vision boards’ anymore to manifest her best / ideal life. She can do without. Or so she claims. But seeing as how she is Oprah, I’m willing to believe in her skills of manifestation. She says that the trick to manifesting whatever you want is to meet the ‘frequency / vibrations’ of your desires exactly as they are. You cannot be vibrating at a different frequency – either lower or higher. She never explained what she meant by this though. But everyone in the room agreed on this, and the clip ended. But I got curious. And so it began.

If you didn’t know, manifestation is a big thing right now. Everyone is talking about it. All the kids, all the celebrities and even all the spiritual gurus. There are debates on how best to manifest the life you want. Is it the law of attraction or the law of assumption that works better? Hmm.

I think the general idea is to have a list of things you want to achieve in life, or experience in life and then imagine with conviction that it will come true. If you look it up there are a lot of people telling you about ‘the best method’ or the ‘most powerful method’ of manifestation. And if you didn’t know, they get pretty into it with the details. I have in fact even come across someone telling me to: (1) write down exactly what I want (get as specific as I can with the details); (2) tear out the paper and put it under my pillow and (3) repeat the affirmation “I will receive everything I have asked for and more. I am loved. Abundance flows through me freely.” Good intentions yes, but oddly specific I thought. I’m not a believer in all these specifics, but I do like the idea of manifesting a life that I want, and not just passively receiving anything that comes my way. And before any of you scoff at it, keep in mind that it isn’t just the kids on YouTube or self-help gurus that talk about manifestation. There are actual quantum physicists who support this. I’ve started listening to talks by Dr. Joe Dispenza (and even bought a book of his titled ‘Becoming Supernatural’). He talks about this a lot. The idea that we can ‘reprogram our subconscious’ and ‘create the reality’ we want – given that multiverses and alternate realities exist around us all the time anyway.

Central to the idea of manifestation (at least, according to the YouTube gurus, I don’t know if scientists support this) is making a vision board for yourself. If you don’t know how to make one, don’t worry. There are, as with everything else, a lot of people online talking about how you can make both a virtual and a physical vision board. It isn’t that difficult. I think the idea is to pick a bunch of things you want to make a part of your future. For example, I love houses built in the style of tuscan villas. I would ideally, love to own a house with a garden someday. So, I picked a couple of these images and stuck them onto my board. I love the idea of travelling to Japan someday, so on it goes. You get the idea.

I made a virtual vision board and set it as the desktop image of my laptop. Since this is the thing I stare into most of the times, I figured it wouldn’t harm me to look at what I am (or what I should be) working towards once in a while. For now, the thing I’m manifesting the hardest is an end to this depressive episode, and the willingness to get out of bed.

My fashion course: Part 1

Photo by Michael Burrows on

Two months into my self-imposed sabbatical from work, I decided to get down to the real reason I took a break. I worked as a corporate lawyer for two years, straight out of university. Yet, for some reason, I could not see myself continuing down this path for much longer. It wasn’t anything dramatic. I didn’t hate my job or my boss. On the contrary, I was good at my job and my former boss is genuinely one of the best people I have encountered – both within and outside of a work setting. These things happen rarely, I know. Who gets a great job and an even better boss? Right yeah, so all those things notwithstanding, I still did quit. So, if not this, then what? Isn’t that the million-dollar question. Honestly, I had no idea (I’ve written about quitting without a plan before, so I’m not going to repeat that here).

I saw a great video by a YouTuber I love on what she did when she quit without a plan (coincidentally, she also quit her job as a corporate lawyer). She talks of how she used the double diamond method to decide what to do next – it’s a design strategy technique that helps people who are confused try and gain some perspective on the kind of life they would like. I’ll be honest, I didn’t use the design strategy diligently. But I did pick up from her video that she used her time off to try new things that she has always been interested in but never had the time for. I thought, yeah ok, this is something I can do. So armed with my free time and recently collected bonus, I set out to seriously try everything I have ever wanted to – till I landed on something I liked, or ran out of money, whichever came earlier.

I’ve always had a creative bent of mind. Regardless of whether I have the talent to back it up, this is something I enjoy doing, and I am trying to get into the habit of talking about my art unironically. I know (at least this is what I gather from all my reading online) that this is something a lot of creatives have a problem with. Talking about themselves, or their art, or even the fact that they are employed in the creative industry (if you can call it that). I’ve been painting my whole life and so I thought maybe I would kick it off with a course in fine arts. I didn’t really want to pay for any course for painting (I started with acrylic – this is the medium I work with mostly) and so I mainly learnt whatever I could (which is a lot) from YouTube. Three weeks into this, I landed on a video explaining how to use Procreate for beginners. For those of you who don’t know, Procreate is a digital art software for iOS users. I really liked the convenience of digital art so I moved on to that (I know there are upsides and downsides to the whole digital v. traditional art discussion, but I’m a little lazy so the idea that I could paint without taking out paints, mixing them, taking care of my brushes etc. really appealed to me). Digital art led me to video editing – but I abandoned this quite quickly. Not because I didn’t like it. I liked it too much. I’ve filed away video editing in my head as something I am going to learn later in the year – along with website building and designing.

By this time, I had spent a lot of time online on YouTube. Then I thought to myself, ‘if I’m going to spend so much time learning these skills, why not get some sort of official certification showing I’ve learnt them?’ I know there is a lot of pleasure to be derived from learning for the sake of it, but I let a little capitalism seep into my thinking. So, I started googling online courses / short courses I could take while I’m on my break. I landed on the Parsons’ website – and they had a host of online courses. After going through their catalogue of online masters and short courses, I decided on the ‘Fashion Industry Essentials’ Parsons teaches in partnership with Teen Vogue.

A little disclaimer here – what I have condensed into a few paragraphs took me two months to complete. I will take some time to talk about all the things I learnt in detail, but not in this post. Also, while Parsons has a great set of courses, you should know that these are quite pricey. This should in no way deter you if you actually do want to learn something. There are institutions like MIT that put up their entire course work online. There are individuals like Brandon Sanderson who teach put out their entire teaching material online for free. If you really want to learn, almost everything is available for free. I chose to pay for the certificate course because, well, I’m still a little old-school and I wanted the comfort of having a certificate to show for my time spent.

The course itself is quite nice – if a little underwhelming. It is taught in the way that most online courses are. There are instructive vides for every module, and at the end of each module, there are assignments we must complete. In addition to the compulsory assignments that all of us have to complete for a grade, we also have optional assignments we need to complete. Where the course really gets interesting is in allowing us to see the work of other students and in the kind of assignments they hand out. Coming from a non-creative background (so to speak) I was initially a little hesitant in uploading my work. I skipped a few of the optional assignments because I wanted to expose myself as little as possible. But looking at the work of others made me realise that I’m not as out of touch as I think I am. Plus it is always great to see what others are up to. In a book I love (and will never stop advertising) called ‘Show your Work’ the author talks about how no one creates in isolation. All creativity is a product of the things we see around us – all of it comes from borrowed ideas and inspired thoughts.

As part of the first assignment in the course I need to create a Pinterest mood board. The idea being that I should capture my personal style, or a style aesthetic that really resonates with me. The prompt for the assignment encourages us to look through fashion magazines and mood boards of other fashion houses to decide what aesthetic or style vibe we want to settle on. For example, if I think my style as a designer or as a chic arbitrator is ‘grunge’ then I should create a board with images from the 90s grunge era, black clothing, models with uneven hair and disoriented expressions. I haven’t completed this assignment yet. I’m leaning towards an effortless chic look. I want my mood board to be something almost everyone can resonate with. Like going into a shop and buying a classic LBD. It has been done so many times before, but if done right, it can be a whole new movement all over again. Right now, my research has brought me to the conception of Channel No.5, and the unforgettable ad campaign of the company starring Marilyn Monroe. If I haven’t done a good job of explaining the visual I am going for on my mood board, I really recommend you check out this advertisement, because it captures exactly what I am looking for and trying to show. I’m going to link my mood board once I am done with it so I can hear your thoughts on this. If you have any other suggestions in the meanwhile, I’d love to hear those too!