The visualization this week is about a lost island, but first, I will begin with a quote from Roald Dahl:
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
Long ago, in a dusty nook of an antique shop under a stack of old leather-bound books, you found an ancient chartered map to a forgotten island.
Now you are following the map on a sailing a boat with weathered teak boards and a single mast. The warm sea breeze is against your back, filling the terracotta sails.
Faraway on the horizon, you see what could be the forgotten island. Or are you imagining things? Maybe it is just a mirage shimmering in the sun. It's hard to tell.
Suddenly you are surrounded by a school of fifty or so dolphins. Several breakaway to swerve around right in front of the boat. Playfully they swim alongside for a while before diving underneath the bow and leaping back to rejoin the others. Within moments they disappear, and you wonder where they went.
You look over the side of the boat, below, into the deep blue water to search for them. The dolphins have vanished. All you see are beams of gilded sunlight casting sideways into the sapphire depths.
After a while, the island appears like something carved by a giant out of clay.
You pull the sails down. The tide pushes the boat gently toward land. Soon you arrive at a pebble beach where you drag the little boat up onto the shore with the help of some gentle waves. The shallower water here is emerald green and transparent like glass.
On the cliffs above, birds are nesting. Layers of them fly around the rock face and in and out of small caves surrounding the bay.
You walk along the beach and find a natural path to follow inland through a grove of orange, olive, cypress, tamarisk and juniper trees.
The orange trees along the trail are in bloom; the scent is subtle and pleasant.
Eventually, you arrive at a small whitewashed house set on the highest point, standing like a monument to the pure remoteness of the island.
The front door is beautiful and weathered; it looks like it has been here for hundreds of years, but it is still solid and sturdy. When you turn the handle, the door opens easily.
A layer of dust on the floor suggests how long the house has been abandoned. The walls of the room are whitewashed, and when you look up, you are surprised to see a high domed ceiling covered by a mural of an astronomical map with constellations, stars and planets.
Your journey started with an old chart in an antique shop. The adventure has been one of chance. You try to imagine the person who lived here at one time on the island, communing with the earth, nature and the night sky-- what led them to this place? Where are they now?
You go outside and sit down next to the house, leaning on the stucco wall. The view of the sea and the sky fills your soul. You breathe and relax, close your eyes and focus on the landscape of sounds that surrounds you.
The visualization today is about a zen garden. But first I would like to begin with a quote from Lao Tzu.
Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear, and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions, and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream."
You are walking on a plateau of dense grass and wildflowers. Purple thistles are shedding their seeds into the breeze like a blizzard of fairy down wishes.
Here and there you see bees; their faces buried deep in the large purple flowers.
People and animals have walked this way for centuries, and their footfalls have carved a broad path through the earth. You wonder how many thousands of people have wandered this way across the centuries.
The pasture gradually gives way to a forest of pine, and the path becomes rocky and begins to turn uphill. The trees stand straight and tall with blue-green needles and orange-tinted bark. You can smell the scent of their resin mingled with rock.
A carpet of fine evergreen needles cover the trail, so it isn't very easy to trace the path through the trees here. Other hikers have placed small balanced towers of rock in places along the way to make it easier to follow. The rock cairns balance precariously at awkward angles which look like works of art.
A group of doves, startled by your presence burst apart with an applause of wings.
After you have climbed through the forest for a while, you arrive at a level clearing. The whole area is neatly arranged with rounded boulders, stunted juniper and twisted pine trees. Growing among them are jade-coloured alpine succulents, and clusters of fine grasses. In the middle is a tall rock covered with lichen. The overall impression is you have found your way to nature's zen garden.
In the middle of the clearing is a tall rock underneath which is a hollow with a shallow spring-fed pond. The water in the pool mirrors the sky like a giant eye.
When you go over to the pool and look inside, it is crystal clear. Beautiful stones are naturally in disarray on the bottom. When you put your hand in the water, it is ice cold. You have a sense you are touching the pure inside of the mountain.
You sit down on a smooth flat rock and absorb the peacefulness of the natural garden. You lie down. The surface of the stone is hard against your back but warm from the afternoon sunshine. Your cares to drift away like the clouds in the sky above. You close your eyes and breathe.
The guided visualization this week comes from a mysterious desert island.
But first, I will begin with a quote from Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.
"Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together, and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."
You are walking on the beach of a mysterious barrier island. Blond dunes stretch away in every direction. It's almost like being in a faraway lunar landscape, with all the edges rounded off and smooth.
The sea is tranquil. Little waves glide slowly over the flat sands cast through with swirls of light. Their soft sound is like breathing.
As you walk, you feel the hard-packed compact ridges of sand underneath your bare feet. It has a pattern of ripples like the surface of the sea.
Birds have started flying back to their roosts — tides of different birds. They call to each other, and occasionally some of them pass close enough for you to hear their wings flutter like pieces of paper.
The pale sun lingers on the horizon, then disappears. The sky glows red over the point where the sun has withdrawn, and a torn cloud drapes over the place where it was.
Dusk steals over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness slowly creeps over the landscape. As light seeps away from the day, night arranges itself around you. The air cools down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue-black.
Someone has piled driftwood inside a pebble and shell ringed firepit. The wood is dry, so the fire lights easily. Sparks fly up into the night sky and join the stars.
The sound of the sea and the wood hissing and crackling are calming.
After a while, the fire dissolves into embers.
You decide to take a walk down the beach again.
The sea is glimmering. You walk to the edge of it and splash your hand in the warm water. When you do, your fingers form contrails of purple, yellow and silver phosphorescence.
You take off your clothes and wade into the shallow water. The water around you burns with light.
As you float a little further and flutter your hands, long streaks of tangerine light sparkle and ripple away from you in the water.
You roll on your back and swim along the shore; kicking out rainbows of fluorescent light.
Soon you realize you cannot see yourself only the phosphorescence encircling and defining you at this moment.
You begin to swim back towards the glimmering fire on the beach.
When you get out of the sea, the light from the water trickles away and fades away into the sand.
The heat from the fire dries you off.
After a while, curl up under your blanket and slowly drift off into a deep sleep.
This visualization is an impression of the Yukon wilderness.
I will begin the visualization with a quote from the Indian musician Ravi Shankar.
" Whether you are aware of them or not, whether you recognize them as spiritual or not, you probably have had the experiences of silence or transcendence, or the Divine—a few seconds, a few minutes that seem out of time; a moment when the ordinary looks beautiful, glowing; a deep sense of being at peace, feeling happy for no reason. When these experiences come…believe in them, they reflect your true nature."
There is nothing but white as far as your eyes can see. Snow and ice cover everything for miles and miles. The trees have been stripped bare by the harsh winds of winter. They stand straight like silent sentinels lining the base of the mountain pass.
In a way, the vast, rugged landscape is intimidating. You feel insignificant in contrast. But the solitude is welcome. Your only company is the pack of grey dogs who have no difficulty pulling the sledge along the top of a frozen river. Haze from their breath mingles with your own forming a cloud that lingers around all of you.
The air is crisp, but you don't feel the cold inside the oversized coat, woollen hat, gloves and boots you are wearing.
The only sound is the sledge runners riding over the snow, and the paws of the dogs swiftly pulling it.
Mountains rise behind the treeline like broken teeth. Dense forests of dark coniferous trees cover the lower sides of their inclines.
In other times people lived and died in these mountains trying to find a pocket of gold in a seam of the rock, and here you are seeking the powerful solace from them.
The sun is beginning to set. Rosy clouds cast a blush that is intensified by the luminous reflection glowing across the vast expanse of snow.
The night is darkening the landscape. When you see the north star, you release your grip on the reins, and the dogs pick up the pace. The sense of speed is exhilarating. The landscape becomes blurred, and ice crystals from the dogs' paws lightly pelt your face.
In the distance, you see the small wooden hut nestled beside a bend of the frozen river.
The moon lights your way as you reach the door.
You take off the dogs' harnesses and give them some food. Later, you watch as they dig to make themselves small hollows and nests to keep warm during the night.
They circle a few times before curling up head to tail.
When you go inside the hut, it is almost dark. You light a hurricane lamp and see a stack of wood piled beside the pot-bellied iron stove.
In a matter of moments, you are soaking in the warmth of the fire.
You lie down on the small bench nearby and relax, watching the flames.
A wolf howls in the distance but and you feel warm, safe, secure, relaxed, watching the flames and listening to the wind outside.
〰️ Clara 〰️
I am bringing my favourite outside experiences and imaginings to create visualizations that encourage peace and relaxation.