Winter Dreaming

snow flakeLike tulip bulbs that use the cold, dormant months to store energy for a vibrant display of spring color, you can think of winter as a fruitful time to plan, dream and envision the goals you want to bloom in the coming year.
“Active dreaming” involves keeping a visual record of your ideas. Giving goals a visual form makes them feel more tangible and within reach, allowing them to make the leap from your imagination into everyday life.
Here are some tools for active dreaming you can enlist right now. Even lofty goals can start to come to fruition when you treat them as if they are already beginning to take shape. While these ideas apply to goals like finding a satisfying job, learning a new skill or traveling to a foreign country, we’ll focus on home-centered goals here.
1. Choose a format for active dreaming that works for you. Basically, it will serve as your image “storage unit.” You might have a collection of file folders that serve a different purpose. Some people function well in a completely digital format, storing images on a computer or hand held device. But there is some advantage to an old-fashioned bulletin board, hung in a place that you see it every day. With a bulletin board your dream will begin to collage itself into a tangible, recognizable form in front of your eyes.
2. If your dream is a more beautiful and functional kitchen, for example, use the bulletin board (or other form of image storage) to post pictures of kitchens you admire. Magazines, the Internet and in-store product brochures are all sources of inspiration. Go beyond the general picture and explore specifics. Pin up paint chips, small floor and countertop samples, and photos of details like cabinet knobs, sink fixtures, and oven exhaust hoods. Picture pull-out pantry cupboards and spice racks, small and large appliances, drawers for pots and pans, a broom closet, a desk for organizing bills and household paper work. Decorative towels and window treatments lend character; include them in the big picture. Look at layouts: would you put the kitchen sink below a window if you could? Could the microwave be built into an island instead of taking up counter space?
3. Combine the practical with the aesthetic. Store articles you’ve researched or helpful web sites that offer ways to make your space work as beautifully as it looks. What are the surfaces easiest to maintain for your lifestyle? How can you keep your dream kitchen clean with minimal fuss? What gives you the best overall value?
Over time, your ideas will gel enough that you can take the project to the next level. Whether you are a DYI enthusiast or hiring professionals, your image collection will serve as an invaluable tool for communicating your vision, not only saving you time and money, but ensuring that you will be delighted with the end results.

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