When my husband and I were planning our very first international trip together many years ago, we talked and dreamed about all the Italian wonderfulness that we would experience. We planned where we would go, how we would get there, what we would see, what we might buy, and where we would stay. And, my husband came up with a brilliant idea that has rippled into all aspects of our lives – postcard moments.
Even though Instagram and other social media have replaced the humble postcard, the idea remains the same. The postcard captures a single moment, an image of a frame in time that has importance. It declares, ‘I was here and this moment meant something to me.’
My oh so wise husband introduced postcard moments to me as we sat at our kitchen table dreaming of the adventures we would have. ‘What are those moments that feel really important to you? What are those feelings or experiences that you for sure do not want to miss?’
Now the trip planning took on a new dimension. This brought us into our own internal experience of what we wanted to create. It was more than building an itinerary, it was building a meaningful experience from the inside out.
My husband talked about sitting in a café sipping cappuccino watching the people go by and I imagined that perfect piece of pottery that I would lovingly bring home. We discovered that these postcard moments were about creating intention and helped us to know what was most important to each other.
By breaking down a large adventure into small bite sized moments, we knew how to direct ourselves.
And my husband took it a step further. We sat down with our art supplies and created the postcards that we wanted to reflect our journey. Mine were in words; brief descriptive punches that captured a feeling or experience. His were in drawing; little moments that were not to be missed. (Yes, those images above are some real postcard moments from our planning)
We have used this method in planning every trip we’ve ever been on. And, when we undertook a great adventure, rented a villa in Italy and invited all our friends and family to come, we introduced postcard moments and asked each of our guests to share. What a wonderful thing to get everyone’s intention for our own Enchanted April. When each person created their postcard moments, they became part of the intention of the experience. Our guests weren’t simply passive receivers of a spectacular vacation, they were active creators. The week in the Italian villa was one of the best experiences of our lives and we talk about it all the time. I’m quite sure that creating postcard moments was part of making it such a rich experience that lives on and on.
Carlos and I have also used postcard moments to help understand what feels important about a situation or to make decisions. When my husband’s sister was coming to visit we were having some convoluted conversations about how things would go. Did he want me to participate in everything? What activities were planned? There was a lot of circular talk and not much clarity. Then, I asked Carlos what his postcard moments of the visit were and suddenly he was able to be very clear about what he wanted to feel, what exact experiences he wanted to have, and the moments he wanted to enjoy with his sister. Great! It’s hard to get what you want unless you’re clear what it is.
Postcards moments are about creating clarity about how you want to feel, what experiences you imagine having, what snapshots you have in your head, what you don’t want to miss. They are not about rigidly creating an outcome that you can’t deviate from. When you are clear on your postcard moments, you can be flexible with the flow and either watch for or create that moment that is important to you.
Recently we’ve been going through some house and real estate decisions. They’ve been big and emotionally draining. In this tumultuous process I forgot about postcard moments. One of those terrific friends from the Italian Villa adventure inadvertently reminded me about them a few days ago. Yes!, I thought. Postcard moments! That’s what will help us in getting clarity on what exactly we each want. Already my brain sparkles and goes to those meaningful experiences and feelings that I want to create in our home. Mine will be sitting on the outdoor lanai in the evening with a glass of wine in hand talking over the day and our dreams. Mine will be sitting in a nook looking out over our amazing mountain view with my pile of books nearby. Mine will be chopping and preparing in a kitchen that has smooth counter surfaces, lots of workspace and is beautiful. Mine will be sitting with our friends eating and drinking and laughing together.
Carlos and I will do our postcard moments this weekend. We will make drawings or wordles or something that anchors and grounds us in our project of dreaming and creation. Without some kind of grounding I tend to float away into dreamy land and find myself in all kinds of possibilities which may really not be what I want, but sound good.
Do you ever do that? Do you ever find yourself at the crossroads with paths that all look good in some way, but there is no obvious single right path? I’m pretty sure that happens all the time to you. And, then do you feel like you need to wrangle a decision and choose just the right one? We can talk about decision making tools and the difference between decisions and outcomes, and these are important, but try out postcard moments first to get clarity on what you want to feel, what you want to experience, what you don’t want to miss.
I’d love to see some of your postcard moments. If you’re inspired share in the comments!