Reality vs. Vision

What if There’s a Huge Gap Between Current Reality
and Visions of a Richer Future?

Without vision we perish; guided by vision and effective action, we can thrive. To create a vision that works, to paraphrase Einstein, we need a different kind of thinking than that which created the challenge.

The gap between current reality and vision can cause tension, especially when we’re tired, overly busy, or unable right now to see clearly either current reality or a new vision. But tension, Robert Fritz taught, can be structured so it becomes part of the creative process.

Here’s a quote from Fritz’s book Creating: ‘I call the relationship between the vision and current reality structural tension. During the creative process, you have an eye on where you want to go, and you also have an eye on where you currently are. There will always be structural tension in the beginning of the creative process, for there will always be a discrepancy between what you want and what you have. Why? Because creators bring into being creations that do not yet exist. Structural tension is a fundamental principle in the creative process. In fact, part of your job as a creator is to form this tension.’

For more about Fritz’s insights, including a demonstration of structural tension in action, see and click on “principles.”

It can feel really crazy at first to see current reality and a vision at the same time. Here are some of my favorite exercises for working with the tension between now and the hoped-for future:

1. Create two separate pictures, using drawings, words or collage. One represents the joys and challenges of current financial reality. The other represents your vision. Post these somewhere where you can see them every day, with the current reality on the bottom and the vision on top. Be honest! If currently you don’t have a vision, your current reality picture can show your longing for clarity, while your picture of your future vision might show how it feels to be clear.

Stand back from the two pictures and look at them both at the same time. Notice your thoughts and feelings about the discrepancy between them.  Relax your eyes. Look at both pictures again. Close your eyes and relax them again. Then go about your business, and as you discover more about  either current reality or your vision, change your pictures.

2. Imagine there’s a visionary genius in the back of your heart. If you wish, give him or her a name, and ask this genius to guide you and to hold your vision for you. Then when your heart speaks, pay attention. Write down your guidance.

3. Sit or stand with your arms comfortably stretched out, palms facing up. Imagine your left hand holds the essence of your current reality and your right hand represents your vision. Move your hands to represent the current relationship between the two, e.g., going in different directions or clashing. Notice what thoughts pass through your mind and intuition as you do so. Then allow the two hands to find their balance. Notice how each hand connects to an arm, then to a shoulder, then through your neck to your head, down your chest and into your arms, your organs, your legs that carry you out into the world. If you wish, follow this with a walking meditation.

4. Read the biographies of people who have inspired you. If you can’t think of any, ask a local librarian, or just walk down the biography aisle in your local library. Better yet, ask friends and family for recommendations, and get a dialogue going about the power of inspiration.

If you need help generating a vision, the article on “Finding Visions for Work and Life” in the Work Vision section at may be useful to you.

How are the daily assignments of this challenge coming? Are you being persistent yet kind to yourself so you work at a rate that is true to you? (For more about the assignment, see “About the Challenge” under Pages on the sidebar.)

As always, a blessing that hopefully inspires you: May I dare again to dream with all my creative faculties.  May my dream be anchored in the wisdom of now and guided by the courage to fulfill the purpose that brought me to earth.

Come back real soon with your own insights and inspiration,
Pat McHenry Sullivan