A Vision of Love

Login to Pinterest, the virtual pin board-site-turned-global obsession, and search “my future husband.” Pinned to the boards of scores of women are images of celebrity heartthrobs: Actors Idris Elba and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Ballers Cam Newton and LeBron James. Recording artists Drake and, interestingly, crunk rap’s gold-toothed king of bling, Lil Jon. Then there are the half-naked hunks. We’re talking the finest specimens of well-muscled manhood anywhere on the interwebs. Diesel deltoids. Perfect pecs. Chiseled eight-packs rippling like a river toward pants hanging provocatively low off of hard, narrow hips. Legs so strong … ahem … ladies, if you haven’t met your dream guy yet, it’s apparently because he’s been too busy at the gym to socialize.

But what’s happening here goes beyond dreaming. Single women and men, determined to “manifest” their ideal mate (home, car, business, vacation, etc.), have embraced the creation of vision boards, as have couples looking to re-energize their bond. Also called “wisdom collages,” “treasure maps” or “dream boards,” they’ve been a staple of New-Age self-help for years. But they gained mainstream interest as a Law of Attraction tool after Rhonda Byrnes’ The Secret, published in 2006, became a best-seller, and Oprah claimed her spot as the loudest cheerleader on the “consciousness can shape reality” bandwagon. Workshop groups gather with stacks of old magazines, scissors and glue to bring bright visions of their futures into focus. Now that virtual tools have eliminated the need for cutting and pasting, the same power is clicks away.

It’s the perfect way to start a new year, as motiviational speaker and author Steve Gamlin did in January 2007. His vision included a couple holding hands and being playful. Six months later, he wrote, “I am ready to fall in love.” Within days, he received an e-mail from “someone named Tina.” He was going to delete it as spam, then realized it was his high school crush. “We fell head over heels in love, sight unseen, from more than 1,300 miles away after 21 years,” says Gamlin. Now in the same city, they are planning their wedding.

Working in entertainment led Nickie E. Robinson, 29, of New York City, to attract the wrong kinds of men, she says. “The Secret DVD influenced me to start a vision board. When Barack Obama was elected, the papers featured a picture of him and Michelle that to me symbolized Black love and teamwork. Placing it on my board, I refused to settle for anything less.” She’s since met a special guy.

Lauren Hamilton, 26, of Los Angeles, went on a magazine-buying binge after ending a relationship with a woman she said “didn’t complement me” and who made her living as a stripper. For three hours, she collected images of hearts, roses, a family and home, as well as words such as “dog lover.” Over the next weeks, she realized she was in love with a platonic friend who was already involved. “When she told me over drinks that her partner had proposed, I wanted to cry,” Hamilton recalls. “How could the person meant for me be getting married?” Before long, the engagement was off, and four months after Hamilton created her board, they had their first date. “She is everything I was looking for: supportive, loving, assertive, a dog lover, family-oriented,” says Hamilton. She firmly believes that a seed planted into the universe will grow and blossom, “no matter how long it takes.”

To activate your soul’s search engine, choose images that attract you at a gut level. Experts say using generic ones (fancy clothes; tall, dark and handsome) is a mistake. Faith McKinney, 45, of Indianapolis, says she manifested her husband of nine years with a detailed list of traits. Married twice before, she sought a partner who already had children and who also had a healthy relationship with his mother. Plus, he had to throw down in the kitchen. Five months after sitting down with photos and poster board, she found him.

Vision boards cue your subconscious to steer you toward stimuli and choices in sync with your goals. Thus, they allow you to exploit those everyday opportunities, synchronicities and coincidences that support your vision. Hang yours where you can view it easily, but don’t force-feed your mind with constant study. When it comes to intention, just set it and forget it.

Casandra Roache, MPH, a relationships and lifestyle coach, hosts a vision board event each January. “We choose different … goals, from being published, to finishing school, to healthy relationships,” she says. “Last year, I made [a board] to attract love.” She keeps it in her kitchen but doesn’t focus on it. Recently, however, she paused to take it all in. “I said to myself, ‘Wow, I have everything depicted here and more. My new man dresses just like the guy in my picture. We dance,