As we enter our new year, what kind of mental pictures are you holding about it? Are you enthusiastically envisioning how well it could go, or are you worrying about what could go wrong? Do the images you focus on represent your authentic intentions, or are you adopting the thoughts, feelings, and expectations that others feed or try to impose on you?

You might be inspired by an anecdote from a Ken Burns documentary on the evolution of the radio industry. When television began to replace radio as the household entertainment medium, an interviewer asked a boy, “Which do you like better: radio or television?”

“Radio, for sure,” the boy answered.

“Why is that?” the interviewer asked.

“Because with radio, the pictures are clearer.”

We live in an age when we are bombarded with thousands of images a day via television, Internet, print media and many other forms of advertising. One social scientist determined that if you live in a city environment, you observe about 22,000 advertising impressions per day. We might do well, then, to take a lesson from the boy who preferred the clearer images of radio. When you conjure your own mental images, you build a matrix of focus and intention that strengthens your power to draw unto you the experiences that match those images. When you let others feed you images, you tend to attract the experiences selected for you by them. If you would rather live your own life than the one(s) chosen for you by others, you must draw your dreams from inside yourself, not borrowed from advertisers.

“In the beginning was the word,” we are told in the Bible. Most people interpret this beginning solely as the initiation of the universe, as if God created the world, went on vacation, and that was the only act of creation there ever was. Nothing could be further from the truth. The act of creation goes on at every moment, with every thought you think and every word you speak. Whenever you think, speak, or act, you are creating. Most people create by default. Others create consciously and deliberately. Which would you choose to do?

Now, at the beginning of the year, would be the perfect time to make choices that befit your intentions. One helpful tool you can use is a treasure map. Choose a specific goal you would like to manifest during the year to come. This might represent a career or financial objective, a happy, healthy relationship, or a state of excellent health, to name a few. Then take several magazines and cut out photos and phrases that represent your chosen goal. Make a collage of the cutouts on a piece of poster board and place your treasure map in a conspicuous place you will see often, such as over your desk or on your refrigerator. When you look at your treasure map, absorb the images as if you are ingesting a delicious meal. Try to get the feeling of already having or experiencing the object the map presents. As you align with the energy of your treasure map over time, you significantly enhance your power to bring your vision to life.

Take care, as well, to monitor and select the images you absorb through news and entertainment media. Most public broadcasts contain images of violence, conflict and drama. If you would prefer to manifest harmony, well-being and success, switch the channel to shows or movies that represent where you want to go. You will feel healthier, sleep better and amplify your power to go where you want to go in life. You are in charge of your destiny. Do not give that sacred power to anyone or anything outside you.

Once you have identified your goals and selected images to match them, the Law of Attraction will help you with the details. When you are clear on the “what,” the “how” will take care of itself. If there is something you need to do or can do to manifest your vision, you will know it. Then do it with a sense of flow and ease, and enjoy the process. If you find yourself in struggle mode, then stop, step back, and reclaim your sense of ease. Hold the big picture and don’t fret over the details or the avenue of expression. Sometimes your vision will come to life through the avenue you expect, and many times it may come through another channel. Be open and stay aligned with your vision, not any obstacles you may encounter. A strong vision will bestow the power and methods to overcome any challenges.

Great works of art, creation and invention are not limited to an elite corps of masters. Your life is a great work of art, creation and invention. No matter what you have created or not created, now is your moment of power to create. Pay no attention to the past, and little attention to the future. Pay attention to where your greatest joy lives, and act from it. Hold a clear picture in your mind of what brings you life, and stay focused on a year that is picture perfect.

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Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen is the author of A Course in Miracles Made Easy; mastering the Journey from Fear to Love. Join Alan and friends in Hawaii, February 26 – March 2, for a rare retreat: Unplugged. Put your devices aside for a few days, liberate yourself from technology, and reconnect with yourself and your life. For more information about this program, Alan’s books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses and weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com.

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