Before we begin our visualization, which will be a celebration of spring from Holland this week, I will start with a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh.
"We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being. We think that when we are not doing anything we are wasting our time. But that is not true. Our time is first of all for us to be. To be what? To be alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving. And that is what the world needs most."
The grey city fades away behind you, and the bumpy cobblestone street ends by the outskirts of the village.
The landscape is completely flat in a surreal sort of way, crisscrossed by straight canals and dirt roads.
The lane on top of the embankment stretches before you disappearing over the horizon into the vast Dutch sky.
Lining the narrow dykes are thick, tall reeds and bullrushes which sway and sigh gently in the light breeze.
You startle a swan, and it runs clumsily away on the water before taking off.
After a while, the road begins to border vast tulip fields. Neat, full beds of them stretch away—deep purple, pale purple, brilliant red, dazzling yellow. A kaleidoscope of colour, the intensity of which is heightened even more by the heady scent of the flowers.
You stop beside a section orange tulips and pick a bunch. While you are putting the flowers into your bicycle basket, you notice a windmill in the distance.
You decide to bicycle over to it, and before long you arrive.
The black windmill towers overhead. The sails are covered by beige sailcloth and move purposefully, rhythmically in the slight breeze.
You walk around to the front of the windmill and discover a herb garden, a path, and steps leading up to the front door.
You have to time when to walk up the steps to avoid the sails.
The door is slightly ajar. When you push it open, you enter a circular light-filled room. The room is whitewashed and empty apart from a staircase leading upstairs, a window seat and a pair of ordinary wooden clogs hanging on the wall by the side of the door.
You walk over and sit down on the window seat. At one time, it must have been somebody's bed. The window overlooks the flat landscape, that looks like a canvas framed by the road and the reeds with the fields of tulips as the broad, colourful brushstrokes.
The sails outside hypnotically break your perspective. There is a lull in the breeze, and soon the sails stop. The empty room becomes tranquil and quiet—the afternoon sunshine floods through the window. You open it, lean back, close your eyes and listen to the birds outside.
The podcast this week is based on visualising Frida Kahlo's garden.
First, I will begin with a quote by Frida Kahlo.
I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you."
You are pedalling down a wide dusty street during siesta time.
It is almost as if the whole town is asleep behind the colourful shuttered windows. Even the birds seem to be resting. The village is hushed. Suspended in time.
At the very end of the leafy tree-lined street, you see the bright blue house La Casa Azul.
When you get there, you lean the bike against the high stucco wall and walk over to the tall, green door. You knock, but no one answers.
As you are expected, you turn the handle and push the door open.
Immediately you leave the hot, dusty street behind. You are enveloped by the cool shaded garden courtyard. A refuge filled by a riot of exotic tropical plants. Jacaranda, oleander, philodendron, roses, sunflowers, fuchsia, marigolds, palms, ferns, fruit trees, and many kinds of cacti and succulents. The roof is covered by a cloud of blazing red bougainvillaea.
The fragrance of flowers in the air mingles with the coolness of water from a fountain.
Although the exterior of the house is painted cobalt blue, the inner walls are natural grey lava rock into which someone has embedded conch shells and pottery pots into the walls where birds have made their nests.
Butterflies, hummingbirds, and other colourful birds flutter around in the thick foliage.
Hanging from one of the tree limbs is a rusty open cage.
A black cat strolls lazily down the narrow rocky path in front of you, then stretches out in a patch of sunlight.
As you walk around the cat, you pass by a room with a line of greenhouse windows.
Inside an open window, you see a desk lined up with an assortment of paintbrushes and bright paint in perfume bottles, and more pottery pots.
Next to it is a wooden easel with a still life painting of a watermelon, some oranges and a green parrot.
Turning away, you follow the path back into the garden. Under a mango tree, you see two deck chairs and a small table.
The table is set for tea. Hibiscus tea.
You sit down in one of the chairs and quietly wait for Frida to appear.
The visualization this week is about the lazy river. But first I would like to begin with a quote from ― Osho When the Shoe Fits: Stories of the Taoist Mystic Chuang Tzu.
“Meaning comes from the unknown, from the stranger, from the unpredictable that suddenly knocks at your door — a flower that suddenly blooms and you never expected it; a friend that suddenly happens to be on the street you were not waiting for; a love that blooms suddenly and you were not even aware that this was going to happen, you had not even imagined, not even dreamed. Then life has meaning. Then life has a dance. Then every step is happy because it is not a step filled with duty; it is a step moving into the unknown. The river is going towards the sea.”
The white-haired man driving the rusty truck drops you off by the dirt road.
You know the way. You have been here before.
He waves goodbye out of the window, and the truck disappears in a cloud of dust.
As the noise of the engine fades into the distance, the sounds of nature begin to envelop you like long lost friends.
How you have missed the sounds of the natural world. First, the insects, then the birds, the rustle of animals in the undergrowth and lastly the subtle sigh of a summer breeze.
It occurs to you how the birds have chirped the same song for months, years, decades, centuries, millennia. Just as you hear their song today, so have the others who have walked this way over time.
You take your shoes off and begin walking along the soft dirt track dappled by sunlight through the oak trees vaulted protectively over your head.
You start to hear the sound of the water, and soon you arrive at the boat launch where a yellow canoe waits to carry you a couple of miles downstream to the small town.
The colour of the water is out of this world—bright azure shimmering in the sun.
The summer sun heats the trees on the shore, and the foliage softly sways with the summer breeze. The stream of water refreshes the air; Two breaths which mingle without opposition to one another.
You step into the canoe and push effortlessly away from the bank and glide out into the stream.
The river is slow, lazy. It seems like the boat is flying because the water is transparent—a flood of fluid crystal,water of molten diamond, current of liquid light.
You can see the sandy bottom several feet underneath. In places, patches of long reeds sway to and fro on the broad river bed.
Large fish glide lazily around in the landscape below. Occasionally you notice small turtles among them. The turtles surface to breath before returning to the depths.
The lazy river slips through the open country.
A large heron standing on a fallen tree is startled by the yellow boat. It takes off, and gracefully flies away around a bend in the river.
The river has hypnotized you. Rather than going any further, you decide to stop.
Around the next bend, a swath of sandy beach appears. You steer the kayak over, and then pull it out of the river.
The sand is very soft. You walk over to a place under a large shaded tree. Here the ground is bare, and some of the tree roots poke through it like mahogany knuckles.
You sit down, enjoying the feeling of stillness-- of not being in motion. You notice the dappled sunlight falling across your legs. The combination of the low afternoon sunlight and the sound of the lazy river is hypnotic. You close your eyes and slowly drift off into a deep sleep.
〰️ Clara 〰️
I am bringing my favourite outside experiences and imaginings to create visualizations that encourage peace and relaxation.