Collective Visioning Exercise 3

Published on June 30, 2020.

Dear Friends,

Below please find Collective Visioning Exercise 3 from my book Collective Visioning: How Groups Can Work Together for a Just and Sustainable Future.  I have updated the exercises to make them friendlier for online use.  I will be sharing them over the course of the next weeks.

If you would like to receive a free copy of my book Collective Visioning, email Spirit in Action with your full name and postal address and we will send one to you, one per person or organization, while supplies last.  We are only able to send them to addresses in the United States.  Thank you.

Peace, Power and Love

Linda Stout

If we’ve never learned to vision for ourselves, it’s hard to create a collective vision that leads to change. Just like collective visioning, personal visioning has to be grounded in the reality of your current life. The vision then has to hone in on what’s realistic and doable. What are the small steps I can take tomorrow, next week, next year that will lead me to creating my vision?

What have we learned about what we can do to change our behaviors in the wake of COVID-19?

The more we share our personal vision with family, friends and co-workers, the closer we can get to our collective vision. Try using Zoom, Skype or Google Hangout to nurture hope and continue to make change by leading people to develop a personal vision for themselves.

You can do this vision exercise by yourself, but it works much better with a group. Depending how many are participating, you should allow about one and a half to two hours for everyone to share and to have adequate time for the interviewing process, which is a critical step. If you don’t have a leader to read the meditation for the group, try recording it, reading very slowly and leaving several seconds between each question. I like to use a recording even when I’m with the group so I can participate fully as well. You might want to start with playing some quiet, meditative music on your phone or other device (so you don’t have to switch back and forth with a computer monitor).

Collective Visioning: Exercise 3

Personal Visioning

Ask the people in the group to take a moment to think about a personal goal or desire they have for themselves that they can concretely articulate. Useful language is “Choose one goal you know you want to achieve and when you hope to achieve it by (as far as you can tell).”

Then ask the participants to share with each other. If people are struggling because they think their goals are too silly or small, or if they seem to have a lot of emotion around a specific choice, support them to go with the idea that comes up for them most strongly.

Here’s a script for the guided meditation.

  • Close your eyes or look down with soft focus.
  • Take three breaths, inhaling for five seconds through your nose and exhaling for five seconds through your mouth (together, if with others).
  • Be aware of your body, the weight of it, the fullness of it, the edges of it.
  • Now think of the goal you want to achieve and imagine the achievement of the goal seeping into your body starting at the head or growing up from the earth into your legs. Imagine that you have achieved it.
  • How does your body feel?
  • Has anything changed in your relationship with friends, a partner, family members, coworkers?
  • How do you feel when you go to bed at night?
  • What is different for you now that you have achieved your goal?

After about ten minutes, return to the present time. Ask the participants to draw or journal about their experience of having achieved their goal. Give them about fifteen minutes for this part. Don’t stop the process unless you’re restricted by time constraints if most people are still drawing or writing at the end of fifteen minutes. However, it’s very important to leave enough time for the interview questions below.

Have the participants get in pairs (for example, use breakout rooms on Zoom) and take turns interviewing each other as if they’re in that future time when they have accomplished their visions. (If you are by yourself, answer the questions in writing.) All the participants will be looking back, reflecting on how they succeeded. They will speak from the future about how they achieved their goals, what some of the obstacles were, and how they overcame them. Remind everyone to stay in the future time.

Ask the following questions:

  • So what have you achieved?
  • How did you do it?
  • Who helped you? How? When?
  • What were the barriers and how did you overcome them?
  • What has changed for you since you achieved this goal?
  • What else would you like to tell us?
  • What was the first thing you did after the first visioning session you have when you made this goal?
  • Who was the first person you turned to for support on your journey?

I describe my personal vision in my blog, “Artists and Environmentalists.” You can find more detailed information and exercises for working together for a just and sustainable future in my book, Collective Visioning.

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