CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I don't care how popular books like "The Secret" or "Think and Grow Rich" have become. People need to be warned.
Visualization can be a dangerous thing.
A couple weeks back, a friend was telling my husband and me about how she'd constructed a dream map to help her better visualize her goals for 2011.
For those unfamiliar with the practice, visualization is basically a "see it, be it" way of thinking. By picturing the outcomes you desire and keeping those images with you at all times, your goals will be realized.
Our friend explained how she'd assessed what was missing from her life, along with what she'd like to do more often, and then she searched the Internet and magazines for images that best represented those things. She collected the pictures and assembled them into a collage, which she placed on her refrigerator door so she would frequently be reminded to think about her goals on a regular basis.
Believers in the process claim it works because when you clarify what you want, you subconsciously steer yourself toward choices that make your goals more possible than they'd be if you kept bumping about with no direction in mind.
"Harnessing the power of visualization," she said, "enables us to synchronize the power of the universe."
I'm not sure about the universe, but Geoff's elbow was empowered to jab me in the ribs. I envisioned our buddy looking away so Geoff's ribs could experience the same.
Eventually, though, our friend's enthusiasm for the project was so contagious that Geoff and I allowed ourselves to be contaminated. Her reasoning made just enough sense that -- once we'd exhausted all possible avenues for poking fun of the practice -- we decided we'd each make a dream map of our own.
Since we ended up having several shared objectives, we combined our maps into one with pictures of what we decided was most important.
Within days, learned how dangerous the practice can be.
Last summer, our family spent a quiet weekend at a friend's camp on the Elk River just outside Sutton. We'd fall asleep listening to the water at night, float on the river for hours each day. It was something I feel an almost desperate need to experience again, so one of the pictures I chose for our dream map was a house by the water.