The Experience of Creating One's Life Vision
A Heuristic and Organic Approach
Creating a life vision for oneself is something that can have a significant and profound impact in one's life. It can influence and direct choices, environments, and occupations. Very little has been written in occupational therapy literature about this important aspect of life. In this paper, a heuristic and organic new paradigm research approach is used to uncover in-depth the implicit and explicit qualities, processes, and themes. The study includes life vision narratives from the researcher and seven participants, as well as a group process and a creative synthesis. Findings indicate that there are two journeys that participants go on- an outer journey that is more worldly and linear, and an inner journey that comes from an intuitive place within and speaks to existential, spiritual, and transpersonal domains of concerns- but that both of these experiences of learning are needed to create an integrated and deep sense of purpose and life vision.
In particular, participants described the potency and significance of certain events that held particular meaning. Often these were intangible, non-rational, internal, and mysterious or came from other ways of knowing, such as dreams or near-death experience. These were the experiences that provided clarity and understanding in participants' lives and informed their own journey of visioning. Participants used these ways of knowing as affirmation and confirmation that they were being true to their own soul's journey.
The implications for occupational therapists and social health and occupational science are profound. We must not only be open and willing to stand beside the person on that journey of discovery, but if we truly want to be a guide along that journey, we must be willing to experience our own journey of discovery, to create our own life visions, and to live our own dreams. Like a spiritual guide, we cannot guide by theory and academic "evidence" alone. We ourselves must stand as a guide through our own being, our own darkness, and ultimately, our own light. Occupational therapy is an art and a science, and the art of living starts with us and within us.
About the Author
Angela Louie is an occupational therapist and works as the Coordinator for Community Rehabilitation Services at Burnaby Mental Health. She has worked in the mental health field for 20 years. She also has an interest in public speaking and won the silver medal at the World Championship of Public Speaking. Her interests are in the areas of spirituality, meaning, and dreaming.