Sunday, December 28, 2014 Tevet 6, 5775

If You Dream It

November 25, 2009 By:
Rachel Levy Lesser, JE Feature
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Betting on their boards (from left) are Rene Smith, Rena Frank and Sherri Feinberg.

 Oprah has one and now 30 members of Congregation Adath Jeshurun's Sisterhood have one, too -- a "vision board," a collage made of the things that you want to have, be or do in your life.

These boards were created as part of an interactive workshop held recently at A.J. led by Jill Magerman, co-founder of Atrio Professional Life Coaches.

The workshop, "Meet Your Magnificent Self," was targeted at women who want "to connect with other Jewish women and experience the possibilities of life."

The event began when participants ranging in ages from early 30s to mid-80s shared their life dreams with other attendees -- some of them complete strangers. Sisterhood's co-president Amy Blum was not surprised at the way these women enthusiastically embraced the workshop. "This is not your grandmother's Sisterhood," noted Blum, referring to the somewhat non-traditional activities that the group sponsors.

Magerman explained the reasoning behind the vision board, passing on the teachings of Oprah and Rhonda Byrne, author of the popular and somewhat controversial book, The Secret. She cited her own story of buying her dream home after taking the time to visualize it and walk by the house on a regular basis.

Eventually housing prices came down, her husband got a better job and her dream became a reality.

"You can have the things you want in life," said Magerman. She helps her clients who are spread out all over the country realize this -- often meeting with them over the phone or via Skype.

Magerman grew up in Dresher, graduated from Penn State University and earned her master's in psycho-educational processes from Temple University. She served as a social worker for Jeanes Hospital and as a director in area synagogues before attending Coaches Training Institute to become a life coach and lead workshops like this one.

Before attendees could begin their vision board, Magerman instructed them to put together both group and individual lists of limiting factors that could hold them back from reaching their goals. Some factors included money, fear of failure, long-held beliefs, age, health and lack of support. The women promptly ripped up these lists as directed by Magerman, closed their eyes and visualized their dreams.

Scissors, Glue Stick ... Hope
The vision boards could then be created: Magerman came prepared with poster boards, scissors, glue sticks, pens, as well as countless magazines and catalogs.

Arts and crafts were in full force as Sisterhood members put together images that represented their dreams.

Some focused on family, cutting out pictures of grandmothers and babies; others looked towards new careers with photographs of office settings. Many kept it simple expressing their goals of becoming more organized with pictures of uncluttered closets.

It doesn't matter what the goal is, noted Magerman, as long as you are true to it. "No goal is too small or too big."

By the end of the evening, the women were proudly showing off their boards to friends, acquaintances and strangers. Magerman instructed everyone to take their vision boards home, put them in a place where they will see them every day and focus on turning them into reality.

The controversy surrounding workshops like these are rooted in the beliefs that you can't just wish for things and make them come true. Magerman understands this: "With vision boards, or visioning exercises, this needs to be an active process. It is not enough to visualize your desires or write about them or make a collage.

"Those tools help you get the goals in focus and help you to have something to look at and remind you of your goals as you move forward. The individual needs to do the work and surround themselves with a strong support network."

On the flip side, bad things don't happen to people because they were not positive enough. Magerman understands this as well. She noted that individuals will get sick, disasters will happen and life can get difficult, but "these tools can be used to get through the rough times."

To learn more visit: www.atriolifecoaches.com.

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