treasure, meet map.

if i were very very techie, i’d create an app, and i’d call it “the treasure app.” (if i find that as an app later, we’re going to have a problem.) and what it would be is a way, on your phone, to create a phone treasure map. do you know about these? i do one every year about this time – some people call them vision boards, some visual prayers, but i like “treasure map” because…i guess secretly i’d like to be a pirate?

basically, it’s a storyboard for the things you’d like to bring into your life in the coming year. or month…i suppose you could do one each month if you want to be really intense about it. to make one, you get a bunch of magazines (i usually head for fitness and writing magazines, magazines featuring homes and gardens or travel, and also oprah’s O magazine is always chockablock full of a blend of spirit and advice, lovely colors, inspiring pictures, and high end items no one but oprah can afford.)

you comb through the magazines, finding pictures/phrases/words of things you’d like to draw into your life in the coming year. When you see something, don’t even think about it – if it speaks to you in any way, cut it out, even if you have no idea why you’re drawn to something – sometimes your soul knows what you need before your brain does.

then lay it all out in front of you. get a piece of poster board (or paper, or cardboard, or box, or whatever), and begin assembling a collage, but don’t glue anything down just yet. lay it on the material you’re using as a background, and see what develops. and typically, i end up not using every piece i cut out – sometimes as i start laying things out i see patterns emerging and so i go with whatever starts to develop. if it works better for you, you can be very specific and intense about your visual prayer, but i like to let the universe be in charge and not do too much thinking – this is a feeling/sensing activity for me. for example, when i was creating my treasure map last night, i was drawn to words about writing – that was something i really sucked at in 2015 (other than blogging), and i specifically chose to cut up a poets & writers magazine to draw that into 2016. but as i looked through other magazines, i was drawn to words and pictures and i didn’t really understand why, but i didn’t think about it; just cut them out. words like decadence and delicious and the phrases simply beautiful and sinners and angels. i dunno why. but i was compelled to cut them out, and in the end they made it to the collage.

once it feels done, you glue all of these things down as the final collage…but leave spaces in between the pictures/phrases/words so God, or the Universe, or the giant invisible spaghetti monster in the sky or whatever can get in. it’s going to manifest your creation with you. all year long.

notice i used the word “with.” because you’re not alone in this; there is something – star matter, a spirit, a consciousness, SOMETHING – moving through us and within us, helping us manifest our best of intentions. and i know, i’m sure, some atheist out there is reading this right now and smirking at all my new age-y, hippie-ish ridiculousness, going: ha, amy! you are soooo going to be surprised when you die and end up just a piece of dirt!

and i know, i’m sure, some very very fundamentalist christian or whatever person is reading this right now and fuming at my new age-y, hippie-ish ridiculousness, going: ha, amy! you are soooo going to be surprised when you die and end up BURNING IN HELL TORTURED ETERNALLY BY SATAN YOU HEATHEN, YOU SINFUL HEDONIST, YOU WHORE OF BABYLON!!!!!!!!!!!

(dear internet: if i ever have to choose one or the other to hang out with for all eternity, i shall always pick the atheists, and happily to turn into planetary, soul-less dirt with them. that feels less angry, and far less stressful.)

and finally, if you’re going to do a treasure map, you need to actually believe it. otherwise, you’re just cutting and pasting like a 1st grader. which isn’t a totally horrible way to spend your time on a quiet and dark winter evening, but it’s certainly not going to help you get that new car or peace of mind or engagement ring from gerard butler. you have to trust in the stardust magic that makes up all of us, and be willing to entertain the possibility that we are all the manifestation of our very best intentions and desires.

at any rate. here is my 2016 treasure map, my visual prayer:



some years i find a lot of pictures, some years it’s all about the words. for me, this year was the year of words…who knows why (maybe because i consciously sat down with magazines and went: i want to write more). and, oddly, there’s a picture of a man and the word “cuba.” don’t know why; i was drawn to both and went with it. i think, more than anything else, this is my favorite part: when mapping out my innermost heart’s desires, if something pulls me, i cut it out. i cut it out, i slap it on the collage, and i say: okay, universe. do with me as you will.

it appears, for 2016, what my soul wants is a year of writing…and decadence…and empathy…and inspiration…and deadlines…and loving more. and cuba. with a man who wears glasses and likes books. etc and so forth. if you ask for it, it will come. (just be prepared for whatever shows up.)

my favorite rumi quote of all time is “what you seek is seeking you,” because i think the way the universe works is this: if you seek it (whatever “it” is), it’s because it’s also seeking you. what are you seeking this year? are you seeking good health? the love of your life? happiness for someone who’s lost their way? a really amazing, new friend? better connections? a better career? all your debts paid? a 2 week vacation with gerard butler in bali in one of those over-the-water huts with the see-through glass floors?

whatever you’re seeking this year, i hope you it comes to you. whatever your heart and soul need the most, i hope it becomes yours. and i’d love to see pictures of what you make, if you make a treasure map/storyboard/visual prayer. there are no rules – i used poster board this year, but last year i tried a visual prayer journal. you can use cardboard, pizza boxes, notebook paper, whatever you have. and if you can’t afford magazines, draw and write what you want. but make it you, because if it comes from you, then it’s already manifesting. i promise.

and just because i think she rocks, this is my 7 year old’s 2016 treasure map:

this is miss m's 2016 treasure map: she wants to manifest (more) make up and conversation. with some fireworks. my favorite part is the quote she found: "sooner or later we have to face who we are in the world around us. we have to respond. eventually, we hae to speak from the truest parts of ourselves." damn, wish i'd seen that; it'd be on my map for this year.
she wants to manifest (more) make up and (more) conversation and (more) bang for her beauty buck. my favorite part is the quote she found:
“sooner or later we have to face who we are in the world around us. we have to respond. eventually, we have to speak from the truest parts of ourselves.”

i really heart that quote, and had i seen it first, dammit it’d be on my map. because speaking from the truest parts of ourselves seems to be a most excellent way to handle 2016, doesn’t it? and i also really like oprah’s outfit. after 2015’s intense stress, comfy clothes all through 2016 seem like a super great idea.


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