Summary and book review of “The creative visualization workbook: Practical exercise manual”: The Creative Visualisation Workbook gives us the practical and tangible tools to use creative visualization on a daily basis and as a result, enables us to set our goals, aspirations and objectives and how to achieve them.
By Shakti Gawain, 2011 (Trédaniel edition), 153 pages. Note: This guest column was written by Geneviève Pétré of the blog “Mompreneurs en ligne”, the blog for entrepreneurial mothers.
Who is Shakti Gawain
“Shakti Gawain is a pioneer in personal development and awareness. Her books have sold more than ten million copies and have been translated into thirty languages. She gives seminars worldwide.”
Book review and summary of “The creative visualization workbook: a practical exercise manual”
Shakti Gawain explains that this handbook of practical exercises complements her theoretical book entitled “Creative visualization techniques”. She recommends that we read it to understand some of the concepts. However, she tells us that the handbook can be read and used effectively on its own. There are also 2 audio recordings in English entitled: Creative visualization.
This practical exercise manual allows us to take our first steps in creative visualization in a straightforward, fun, and productive way.
There are various techniques to integrate creative visualization into everyday life so that it becomes second nature.
In the first part, we will look at the basic techniques.
Second part, we will learn to set clear and concise objectives.
Third part, we will understand how to realize and cleanse our negative thoughts.
Fourth part, we will be able to use the basic techniques for all areas of life.
Fifth part, we will see how to connect with her intuition, creativity, and positivity.
Together let’s discover these techniques that I have used unwaveringly. Each day they lead me to a more fulfilled life, of my choice.
Basic techniques of creative visualization
Creative visualization is how to imagine, as clearly and precisely as possible, what we want to achieve in our lives and how we want it to happen, in order to get a sense of how life would be if it were so.
This visualization can be done at any time of the day and can become a means to create positivity in all aspects of life.
Here are the 4 basic exercises, which are easy and effective and can be put into practice immediately:
The pink bubble technique
Sit or lie down, relax and imagine that what you want in your life has already happened, visualize it clearly and the feelings associated with it.
Then place this image in a pink bubble, the color associated with the heart, and let the bubble escape and float in the universe. It symbolizes that you have let go and have confidence in the opportunities that life offers.
This can be done once or daily with the same image.
Write a positive statement about yourself and express it in the present as: “I complete the exercises in the practical exercise handbook”.
By writing this statement, be aware of the meaning of each word. Rewrite it several times a day.
If there are fears, doubts or negativity in your mind when you do this, write them all down and create positive statements to overcome them.
Here is an example of fear:
“I’m afraid I don’t have the time.”
And here is an example to neutralize this fear:
“I will make the time to complete the exercises in the practical exercise manual.”
This exercise can be done several times a day over a few days until negative thoughts are erased.
The ideal picture
©coco – Fotolia
Choose a major goal, short or long term.
On a piece of paper, write an “ideal scenario” with a very detailed description, as if you were in the process of experiencing it.
At the bottom of this page, include and say the following statement:
“This dream of mine, or something even better, is now fulfilled in the best possible way and everyone will benefit.”
You can then look at this ideal scenario, read it again, and think about it regularly.
Sometimes people even forget about their ideal scenario before they realise that it has actually come true!
Similar to a blueprint, draw or paste images that fit your objective.
Each objective or sphere of life can have a different treasure map or you can put all of it on the same treasure map.
To give it even more impact, you can add a photo or drawing of yourself.
The images must be accurate, in order to properly reflect the dreams.
Put this treasure map where you will often see it.
Don’t worry about the logistics or how you get things done, it’s the final goal that must be portrayed in a way that is both achievable and positive.
A symbol of the power of the universe, such as a sun, a Buddha or a God, can be put on the map.
Underneath your treasure map, also include and say this statement:
“This dream of mine, or something even better, is now fulfilled in the best possible way and everyone will benefit.”
At the end of this first part, there are blank pages provided for the following exercises:
- Describe “your ideal scenario”.
- Make “your treasure map”
- Write “your statements”.
- Cleanse “your negative thoughts”
This chapter of The Creative Visualisation Workbook invites us to reflect upon our short and long-term objectives and to assess them.
We all have objectives, goals, ambitions, and dreams. Even if our goal is not specific or simply to live life in the present moment, it is still a goal.
If you are inclined to want to control everything, just try to relax and go with the flow.
If you are prone to disorganization, set priorities in your objectives and act on them.
What you need to know about, when you develop objectives :
- For short-term objectives: be realistic, i.e. define objectives that are easily achievable in order to build self-confidence.
- For long-term goals: be optimistic, think big and let your imagination run wild.
- Think about the ultimate goal: not the steps in-between.
- Be relaxed and let go, let things develop at their own pace.
Bear in mind that some of your goals and aspirations may change, so be flexible.
To achieve these goals, the most important thing is to try different things, have faith in your imagination and your ability to be creative.
As with the written statements, write them in the present.
- I open a savings account and pay 100 euros into it.
- I walk outside for 1 hour a day and it relaxes me.
- And, I feel more in touch with my feelings and I can express my emotions.
- I take the trip of my dreams to Latin America.
- I buy a house with a large garden and an open fire, not far from my work.
In this second part, blank pages are provided for the following exercises:
I am more in touch with my feelings and can express my emotions.
Define “your future goals”:
- 1-month objectives
- 6-month objectives
- 1-year objectives
- 2-year objectives
- 5-year objective
- 10-year objectives
- Life objectives
What is cleansing?
One of the cornerstones of creative visualization is that the more positive our beliefs, emotions and attitudes, the closer we come to our inner self, or our true mind and soul, and the more the creative energy of the universe enables us to achieve them.
Therefore, it’s essential to purge our negative thoughts, which means you have to be aware of them, eliminate them, and turn them into positive thoughts.
©Photo-K – Fotolia
Cleansing can be done on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level.
There are different ways to do this. The different forms of psychotherapy, body therapies, such as yoga, massage, and many other forms of therapy, are all ways to purify ourselves from our negativity.
The important thing is to be fully aware of negative thoughts, in order to be able to free ourselves from them and to turn them into positive ones.
Basic cleansing method
- When I feel that a goal is difficult to achieve, I write the goal as a positive statement, in the present, as if it had already been achieved.
- I am aware of all the negative elements and thoughts that stand in the way of achieving this goal and I take note of them.
- I make positive statements called “clarifying statements” that neutralize these negative thoughts.
- And, I regularly revisit, focus, and/or meditate on these positive statements until I cleanse negative thoughts.
In this section, pages are provided for the following exercises:
- My goal
- What stops me from achieving what I want
- Clarifying statement: positive statements that counteract negative thoughts
Forgiveness and freedom
Forgive and free others
It is important to forgive others, in order to free oneself from anger, grudges, and/or resentment.
Shakti Gawain suggests that, at some point, we make a list of the people who hurt us and imagine a conversation with them, to explain how we feel, and then tell them that we forgive them.
For each person, say:
“I forgive you and set you free. Go and be happy. ”
Forgive yourself and free yourself
- To free yourself from guilt, you have to forgive yourself.
- The author suggests that we make a list of the people we have hurt and imagine that we ask them for forgiveness for what we have done.
- For each person, say:
- “I forgive myself and absolve myself of all guilt, here, now and forever! “
In this section, blank pages are provided for the following exercises:
- The people who have hurt you in your life
- Forgive yourself and free yourself
Negative thought patterns
Now that we know how to create a positive state of mind with the use of positive thoughts, there is now a desire to cleanse our negative thoughts.
However, it is important to understand that we should not suppress them, but be conscious of them in order to be able to purify them more easily.
Some negative thoughts are harder to identify. For example, there are prejudices, preconceptions or things that are just part of everyday life.
There are lots of negative thoughts in all cultures.
Shakti Gawain lists the 6 most common negative thoughts that we can change by the creation of our own written positive statements:
“I have no power. “
It’s common to feel victimized by the events of life and this is linked to the notion that we have no power over our lives. In this situation, it’s important to accept the responsibility that we create our lives.
“I don’t have enough.”
Many people believe that they will not have enough time, love, money, vitality, etc. The very thought that you don’t have enough will lead you to not have enough. Therefore, it’s necessary to affirm that we have more than enough.
“Life is a struggle. “
When we think that life is difficult, that everything is complicated and that we must earn everything we get, our thoughts become reality and lead to an unhappy life. Therefore we have to declare that we have the right to be happy, cheerful and to have a good life.
“I don’t deserve it. “
If we think that we are not intelligent, appreciative, and gifted enough and that we do not deserve to be loved, appreciated and happy, it will cause us to not love ourselves and not be loved. Therefore we need to declare that we love ourselves, are talented and that we deserve the happiness of love and being loved.
“I’m afraid of failure, of power. “
The fear of success is as common as the fear of failure. In both cases, we are afraid of rejection by others or not able to accept success or failure.
Therefore we need to state the fact that we have the right to be ourselves without fear of judgment by others.
“I don’t trust myself. I don’t trust the universe. “
Sometimes it is difficult to let go, to let our intuition guide us, and to use our inner strength. Therefore we must state that we can trust ourselves and let ourselves be guided by our inner strength, in other words, our inner soul that guides us towards the discovery of the best that is in us.
The thought pattern process
Shakti Gawain invites us to work on our thoughts, either with a partner or record them so that we can listen to them.
The exercise consists of the following questions:
- What area of your life is problematic?
- What are the related emotions? (fear, sadness, anger, guilt)
- What are the related physical sensations?
- What are the associated negative thoughts? (worries, fears, etc.)
- What would be the worst thing that could happen? And what is your biggest fear about this?
- What would be the most beautiful thing that could happen? Your dream scenario concerning this?
- What are the fears and the thoughts that hold you back on this subject?
- What positive statements can overcome these negative thoughts?
Then repeat these positive statements alone, or with a partner, until the obstacles are overcome and you are confident.
Areas of expertise
Focus on specific areas of life
©Violetkaipa – Fotolia
Shakti Gawain suggests that we practice the different techniques of creative visualization in all areas of life.
She advises to start with one or two areas of life that presently seem the most important and to focus on them for a while before proceeding to the other areas.
Here is how she breaks down the areas of life:
- The relationship I have with myself
- The relationship I have with others
- Work, creativity, financial prosperity
- Home and possessions
- Health and appearance
- Leisure and/or travel
- My environment
For each of these areas, she suggests that you complete the following exercises:
- Define goals for this area
- Imagine a dream scenario
- Devote one page to the cleansing process: list the barriers in the way of these goals
- Draw a treasure map
- Write a positive statement several times and, if there are still negative thoughts, get rid of them with positive statements
She also suggests we use the power of the pink bubble to help the process succeed.
In this last part, Shakti Gawain explains to us that it is important to feel in harmony with yourself and life. It relates to the ability to find your creative skills and share the positive energy that you have within you.
©Blinkblink – Fotolia
To achieve this, she suggests that we complete the following lists:
Recognize and appreciate all of your qualities and the positive things you possess in all areas of life.
Things I like about myself are…
List of successes
Acknowledge and appreciate all of your successes and all that you are proud of in every aspect of your life, even if it doesn’t matter to others.
The things I’ve done well are…
Recognize and appreciate everything you have in your life, all the skills, abilities, friends, family, etc.
The things for which I am grateful and which I appreciate in my life are…
Identify what you can do to improve your well-being and your happiness, either on a daily or regular basis.
The fun things I can do to enjoy myself are…
Ways to spread positive energy within your world
List all the ways by which you can help others, bring love, show friendship, affection and appreciation, share money, time, skills, etc.
How I can share my passions with others is…
Help and support list
Name the people you would like to help with their plans or recovery.
The people I would like to love and support in various ways are…
Creative ideas and thoughts
Write down all the ideas that come to mind, even the crazy ones, without worrying about it.
Keep your dreams in mind
Take note of your dreams and what each of these dreams conveys to you as a message.
Write down all the extracts from books, poems, songs, and lectures that inspire you.
Write down what you believe to be the most important positive statements that you have set out.
Book critique of “The Creative Visualisation workbook: A Practical Exercise Manual”
I have given myself one of the best gifts in my life, purely from my belief in and time taken to apply these exercises.
I discovered this book at a time in my life when I wanted to initiate changes, but I didn’t know exactly what they were, or how to achieve them.
Before this, I had traveled a lot and fulfilled many dreams, but I suddenly found myself in a situation where I had specific beliefs, about my new role as a mother, that conflicted with this lifestyle and other plans that I had in mind.
There were still many unfulfilled dreams in my mind, all very jumbled, which made me unsure of where to start.
I decided to buy the practical exercise manual, rather than the theoretical book about creative visualization techniques by the same author. In fact, I told myself that I wanted to start practicing immediately and that I had no need for the theory because I had already read similar books.
If you are of the same opinion, my suggestion is that you read this manual immediately, as you know that the theory book is available, should you want to refer to it.
I found it very clear and easy to put the exercises into practice to achieve my life goals.
I immediately put all of the exercises into practice, with surprising results.
Since I read this book, I have launched all my projects, big and small, with this method and I am so delighted with the results that I have given this book to everyone who has told me they want a change in their life.
The creation of my reality, through the implementation of my true desires, has totally changed my life, as it has led me to understand that I have so much more within myself and that my plans depend on me, not on others.
The key is to believe with all your heart, not to get overwhelmed by the negative thoughts of others, and to liberate yourself from the negative thoughts in your mind.
If you want to make your dreams come true, rather than just exist, Creative Visualisation Techniques is a book for you!
If you have heard that everything is possible but you still have doubts, just follow the exercises in this book and you will be on the road to the life of your dreams!
- This practical exercise manual is clear and easy to use.
- It is not necessary to read the theoretical book although it may be helpful to some readers for whom certain concepts, such as the higher self or the power of the positive over the mind, are completely unknown.
- There are pages provided to allow the reader to make their notes and complete the suggested exercises.
- Shakti Gawain should advise readers that although the exercises are simple, they are very helpful; some people do not use them because they think they are too obvious to be beneficial.
- The part on thought processes seems a little simplified to me, because changing thoughts, in a way that lasts, often requires the help of a therapist who is an expert in that field.
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