How to organise a dream board session

I have always loved making collages, and in the last few years, I’ve started sharing this practice with family and friends by organising dream board collage sessions.  I find those few hours spent together are always very energising and inspiring.  Below I’m sharing how I organise these sessions as an inspiration to anyone who would like to do the same:)

Why create a dream board?

Browsing through the magazines, it’s a time to reflect, to switch off from our phone and computer and do something by hand.  By identifying and visualising your dreams, they are much more likely to happen.

You can create a mood board by yourself, I do so regularly.  However, it’s also really nice to do it with others. When you share your dreams with those around you, they will also be rooting for you and you’d be surprised how they will connect the dots to help you make them come true.

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What do you need?

  • Scissors and glue
  • Paper (though you can also use a page from a magazine as a backdrop)
  • Magazines (any magazine will work.  I particularly love Flow magazine, Simple things and travel magazines, but think of your own hobbies and interests)
  • Tea and coffee, and some biscuits or a good slice of cake (optional, but definitely nice!)

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How to make the dream board?

We usually start by choosing a word/words to guide you during the next year or next 3 months. Think of what you want to bring into your year and would like to focus on.

Take a magazine and look through the pages, cutting out whatever attracts your eye: photos, words, illustrations, colours, shapes… Don’t censor yourself, you can always decide not to paste it in.

When you have a pile of images and words, you can start moving them around on the page, and when you are satisfied stick them on.  The beauty is that there is no right or wrong.  You don’t need to be ‘creative’ to do this, the key is to let yourself be guided by the colours and your instincts.

Everyone’s collage will be unique (it may contain mainly words, or only photos, it may fit on one A4 page or spill out over several pages sticky-taped together into a large poster, or you can paste them into a notebook specially for your dreams, year after year).

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What next?

When you’re done, you can present your collages to each other, mentioning what word you chose and how these images inspire you.  You don’t have to, as you may prefer to keep this to yourself if it feels vulnerable. I enjoy sharing because it is very interesting to see what others are busy with and get ideas from other people’s dreams. Also you get to know each other better and it’s a lovely way to connect. Then you can put your collage in a place where it is visible in your day to day life, as a reminder of your dreams.

Human connection

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #154

I want to savour this week, which was rich in interactions of all sorts, in person, on paper and online, big and small, that made me feel I belong and warmed my heart.  I’m privileged to be surrounded by such wonderful human beings.  With their humour, questions, intelligence, struggles, ideas and imperfections, they help me to be as true a version of myself as I can be.

A chat with a colleague by the coffee machine about hair-styling and therapy; talking with my Mum on the phone about a very interesting course she attended and ideas it gave her; a semi-spontaneous catch-up after work with a dear friend over cake and tea;  discussing work decisions at 3 a.m. under our duvet; celebrating the birth of a new baby and exchanging about sustainability with my boxing-class mates after our workout; connecting with my cousin with whats’app messages; taking a walk to do the plastic recycling from the office letting the cold air revitalise us for the afternoon; reading a long awaited letter all the way from Western Australia; chatting over naan bread and delicious vegetable korma before watching a great play…

Working through different drafts

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Last Friday, another of my texts from a writing exercise was featured on the Facebook page of the International Writer’s Collective.  You can read it on this link if you are curious and let me know what you think:)  I’m really grateful that it was featured and to see people’s reactions, as had a lot of fun writing this piece. After reading a quite rambling first draft out loud to Paolo, he gave me pointed feedback to improve it which I incorporated to a certain extent (yes, I know, I could have put more dialogue!).

Hearing the feedback from my class mates about the second version was really great because they understood what I was going for and put it very beautifully in words, as well as pointing out more improvement suggestions. It’s a beautiful reminder of how I don’t write alone, even if I am by myself at the keyboard. People’s reactions and comments really help to see if I’m on the right track and get new ideas, as well as be encouraged to continue.  Several people have also asked what happens next or made suggestions on what they think will happen… so I need to take some time to move it forward some time soon;)

A poem about everyday moments

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #120

Today I’m very excited that a poem I wrote was featured on the Facebook page of the International Writers’ Collective (which organises the creative writing course I am following). If you are curious hop over to read it on this page.

The poem is inspired by my relationship with my maternal grand-ma who passed away eight years ago and who I miss dearly.  Writing this piece was very emotional for me, as it was a way to re-live some everyday moments that we shared together and try to put those memories into words. It felt therapeutic, as if expressing these feelings was helping me on my mourning of this special person in my life.

I am very grateful for the gentle critique, spot-on feedback and helpful encouragement from my class mates, teachers and friends over the last few months. It’s great to be part of such a supportive community.

Inspiring compost initiative in Amsterdam

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #108

I’m am grateful when I discover other people who are as obsessed with worms and composting as I am!  Last Friday I got to attend a great presentation, given by Peter Jan Brouwer, the founder of Stichting Buurtcompost, an organisation which is tackling this issue of food scraps/natural waste, from the ground up with the collaboration of the city of Amsterdam.

The city has committed to recycling 65% of its total waste by 2020. Though that deadline is just around the corner, we are still far from that target.  However, tackling fresh food waste could be a huge step towards reaching that goal.

So far Stichting Buurtcompost has worked extremely hard to set up 30 worm hotels , futuristic looking towers into which 5 families can dump their food scraps for worms to process, creating quality compost for them over time. The plan is to install another 50 worm hotels in 2019 all around the city.  Locals are super enthusiastic and there are already long waiting lists to be the next ‘worm-hoteliers’!

Furthermore, Stichting Buurtcompost has tested the option of an underground container to collect foodscraps from up to 150 families (identical to the containers in Amsterdam where you recycle your glass or paper)

The grass-roots initiative of this organisation are so inspiring, and the energy and passion of the presenter were contagious:)  It’s super impressive to see how a decentralised solution, created to solve one specific problem, actually leads to many other local benefits:

  • Social connection: the worm hotels create a sense of community as people tending to a worm-hotel together get to know their neighbours better (some locals even organise ‘harvesting celebrations’ when the time comes to collect the rich compost)
  • Better quality soil in the city: quality compost for local people’s gardens and balconies (they had the worm compost tested for pesticides and other contaminants, and it’s totally clean!)
  • Less transport : with the underground container, the food waste of 150 families can be accumulated and processed by the worms for 1 whole year without needing to be collected by a truck
  • Circularity: the worm hotel is made of pressed grass that was mowed close to the highway and is therefore not fit for consumption by animals (and it means the worm hotel is biodegradable in the long run)

Imagine if you could easily recycle every veggie peel and shriveled-up salad leaf just around the corner and the result could be used to feed the soil close…  In Amsterdam, today food scraps are not collected, and my lovely worm bin on the balcony is not quite big enough to process all our fruit and veggie peels (especially in the winter months). So my dream is that very soon every street corner has a worm hotel or underground container for food scraps, so we can use these precious resources to boost our plants, balconies and gardens instead of wasting them!

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There is plenty more info on their website should you be inclined to find out more:) http://buurtcompost.nl/