Today the visualization will be about the quiet city.
Before the visualization begins, I would like to start with a couple of simple self-care techniques. The first one will help release tension in the head, especially if you are experiencing headaches. Massage your temples lightly with your fingers in circular motions.
If you clench your jaw often during stress, another one to try would is place your thumbs, one on each side of your jaw, below your earlobes. Run your thumbs downwards several times along the bottom of your jawline until they meet in under your chin.
If you like, you can add this simple massage into your regular self-care routines for relaxation and stress management.
The streets are empty now. Everyone has retreated to the safety of indoors, behind the walls, the doors, the windows and the shutters.
You only have a small window of time outside for yourself.
As you walk down the canyon of the street, you are aware of the people cocooned inside-- waiting and hoping for transformation, unfolding into somewhere new and something different.
Occasionally you hear soft music, the voices of children, and you can smell bread baking.
All the cars and motorcycles are parked, and bikes lean against the walls. Some of the walls along the way have murals or graffiti with messages like "hope is stronger than fear", "Stay home, life is beautiful", "Thank you, heroes".
In a short time, the birds have returned and reclaimed the town. A chorus you haven't heard before within the city walls, but one you have heard in the countryside.
Walking along, you notice a murmuration of starlings. They are migrating on their way to somewhere else. Unfettered by passports, or stay at home orders. An inky banner of them furling and unfurling around the dome of the cathedral.
The air is clear, and the sky so blue everything stands out in sharp relief—the small details in the architecture that used to be invisible, the distant forest of pine trees miles away on the hillsides surrounding the town.
Pink and yellow wildflowers push through the pavement cracks and in between the bricks on some of the walls. And blossoms in the park you can no longer walk in are blooming like never before. The leaves on the trees seem illuminated from within, an other worldly shade of green. This spring is unlike any other.
Standing on the bridge, you notice the river has changed colour from murky grey to clear blue. Looking down, you see the water, like the air, is clear, transparent. Clear enough to see the fish have returned to the city, like the birds and the wildflowers.
A cool breeze brushes your face, bringing with it the scent of the ocean from several miles downstream.
You would like to walk further, but it is time to retrace your steps back to the safety of home.
When you arrive, you go up the stairs to your bedroom for an afternoon nap. After closing the curtains, you lie down and hear the birds singing outside your window the way they did years ago when you were a child.
ClicBefore the visualization, which will be about El Camino, I will begin with a simple yoga pose to invite tranquillity. If you like, you can add this pose as one of your self-care techniques to help with relaxation.
Sit cross-legged or in a chair with feet flat. Rest your right elbow on your right knee. Lean your right cheekbone onto the palm of your right hand. Close your eyes and relax for 1 to three minutes.
Once you have done this, complete the exercise on the opposite side. Rest your left elbow on your left knee, and your left cheekbone onto the palm of your left hand.
The white village nestled in the notch in the hillside becomes smaller the further you walk along el Camino. At one point the city seems to be floating above the mirage. The last thing you see is the tall church tower, and then it disappears in a haze of heat.
The small mule carries a pack that contains a blanket, a drink and a snack. He follows closely, willingly without any need for a rope. Occasionally the mule touches you gently with his velvety nose maybe for reassurance or camaraderie.
White granite cairns mark the route of the trail that zigzags across a high pasture of tall grass bleached by the sun. Sheep graze the area. Their bells toll gentle music.
At a turn in the path, you find a large feather with black and white stripes. You stop and pick it up. When you brush the feather against your fingers, the strands are so fine you can't feel them against your skin. You put the feather in the band of your straw hat and keep walking.
The parched fields open up to a vast patchwork of fields of brilliant yellow flowers over which butterflies find their path, and you start hearing a chorus of crickets. Swifts occasionally fly overhead.
El Camino now traverses fields of tall yellow flowers that reach up almost to your head and are taller than the donkey.
At the top of the incline, you arrive at a stand of trees and large granite rocks. Thick green velvety moss covers all the boulders. You decide to stop.
You begin to hear the sound of a stream. It seems impossible that there would be water here, but you soon discover a small blue spring.
After you unpack the mule, you take off your shoes and soak your feet into the refreshing water. The donkey drinks and wanders nearby to eat grass.
The spirit of the place is so peaceful. You lie on the blanket and look up at the sky and the clouds filtered through the juniper trees.
You feel relaxed, calm. And you close your eyes.
Before the visualisation is a tropical island escape, I would like to begin with another simple relaxation technique. However, if you are pregnant or suspect you might be, this one isn't recommended.
Sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes.
Find the pressure point in the webbing between your thumb and index finger. Stimulating this point will help reduce stress, headaches, and neck pain. Massage the pressure point for four to five seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.
With your index finger and thumb, apply firm pressure to the webbing between the thumb and index finger of your other hand. Massage the pressure point for four to five seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.
If you like, you can add this simple massage as one of your self-care techniques for relaxation.
It's been a long journey, but now you are on the last leg.
The old bus grinds gears it rounds the bend on the narrow road hugging the hillside. On the right, you see glimpses of empty sandy beaches through the palm trees.
A refreshing ocean breeze occasionally breaks the stuffy air inside the bus. The sight of the turquoise water makes you long to be in it.
Along the road, the bus passes street vendors making food. Occasionally exotic smells of cooking, spices and firewood mingled together with the sea breeze waft through the window.
The bus now passes through a village—flashes of brightly painted storefronts, and people walking on the sidewalk wearing colourful clothes.
The bus rounds a corner and begins climbing uphill, along the side of lush mountains. In places, the road is overhung by trees; the sun almost disappears as it passes through the leafy tunnels.
Finally, you reach your stop in front of a tall wall of thick scarlet hibiscus bushes.
The bus disappears in a cloud of dust.
A tall thin elderly man appears beside you, silently picks up your bag and leads you through an iron gate. You follow him into a tropical garden. Jasmine and frangipani are blooming in front of your cabin, which has a roof made of palm fronds.
Inside sunlight filters through a small window, and small chinks in the wall.
The man puts your bag down inside the door, waves, and silently walks away.
Immediately you change into your bathing suit and follow a sign that says "sea this way."
At the end of the path, you reach a volcanic cliff with wood platforms raised over the water.
The sea is deep indigo blue. You walk over to a ladder and lower yourself into the water. As you are on the ladder, the swell rushes around you as if in welcome. You let go and drift out into the warm water. You close your eyes, float on your back. The journey, the stress, the tension magically dissolve.
After a while, you float back to the ladder, climb out and lie out in the sunshine on the smooth towel. Close your eyes, and drift off to sleep with the sound of the waves.
In stressful times, it is healthy to take some time for relaxation and self-care. Before we begin the visualization today, which will be about cherry blossoms and temples, I would like you to take a few moments to practise a simple self-care technique.
Today, you will try it for a couple of minutes, but I would suggest practising this simple massage regularly during the week for about five to ten minutes.
Sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes. Touch the spot between your eyebrows with your index finger or thumb. Take slow, deep breaths and apply gentle, firm pressure in a circular motion.
You are wandering beside a stream carving its way through a dense pine forest. Here and there you see maple trees. You notice the weeping willow hanging over the water is starting to show bright green neon buds.
The air is alive with spring. The birds have returned, and you can hear the sound of tree frogs croaking somewhere.
In places on the forest floor, you notice pale mushrooms pushing up in between the tree roots in the dark earth.
Soon you reach a small wooden bridge which you cross. The bridge has been painted bright red, but the paint has long since weathered and faded to orange.
As you stand on the bridge for a few moments, the slightest scent of lilac rose, and vanilla wafts through the air.
Once you cross to the other side of the creek, you pass underneath the tall pagoda gate. Some Japanese lanterns and wind chime hangs from the massive ancient beam.
Now you are inside an orchard with ranks of cherry trees standing before you; their branches decked with pink and white blossom, and their flowers are humming with bees.
The earth appears drenched by pale confetti of petals. A gentle breeze makes them scatter around you.
Concealed behind the sakura trees is a small temple with a tile roof covered with moss.
At the moment the wooden shrine is locked and shuttered up. All the same, you sit down under the old cypress eaves of the roof.
People have attached paper prayers to the slender railings in front of you.
Some of them have fallen off and mingle with the cherry petals on the path.
It is peaceful and calm here.
A breeze brushes your face.
It begins to rain.
〰️ Clara 〰️
I am bringing my favourite outside experiences and imaginings to create visualizations that encourage peace and relaxation.