Our visualization will begin with a quote from the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thích Nhất Hạnh.
"Around us, life bursts with miracles--a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colours, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life's daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there."
You find yourself deep in the European countryside. You are walking through a vast grassy meadow. The wind pushes the grasses one way and then another. The field undulates downwards and upwards. It flows and looks like water. In the distance, you notice some of the grass has been cut for hay, and large circular bales lie strewn about randomly on the hillside.
In places, the swaths of bright crimson poppies swaying in the breeze give an impression the fields have flares. You also notice blue cornflowers, clover, teasels and high purple thistles.
Soon the path takes you through a field of sunflowers. They are taller than you are, and their flowers are all facing away from you toward the east. The big blooms are busy with life- not just bees, but butterflies and emerald-toned beetles. You can see the swifts flying overhead. The sun warmed sweet haze of the yellow flowers fills the air.
After a while, the field of sunflowers ends, and you are walking through a vineyard. The vines are knarled and stretch out for acres in lines of trellises. The clusters of grapes are budding green. A grasshopper jumps on your arm and then hops off.
You come to an ancient, crumbling wall with an archway and a thick oak door. When you push, the door opens easily, and you find yourself in the courtyard of a monastery with lemon trees and a small fountain in the centre.
Some white turtle doves are drinking from the fountain, and when you approach, they fly up and land on the terracotta tiled roof of the monastery.
An elderly monk in a black habit walks over and greets you in broken English. He has silver hair, and his deep-set eyes are kind. He explains that the monastery is also a retreat, and you are welcome to stay overnight.
You accept his kind invitation, and he leads you through the courtyard to a vaulted covered walkway overgrown with roses. When you look up at the monastery, you notice a couple of gargoyles crouching under the rooftop. They look weathered from centuries of being exposed to the elements, one has the face of a lion, and another resembles a monkey with a wide mouth.
The monk leads you through a large kitchen. A group of people are sitting together at a long table, having lunch. They smile at you as you pass through. You follow the monk down a wide corridor to your bedroom.
The room is whitewashed, with oak floors and a simple wooden bed, desk and chairs. You walk over to the window; the view overlooks the places you have just walked. It is dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over the sunflower fields and the long grass pastures the sun the colour of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red. On the horizon you see a small village nestled in the between the faraway hillsides.
You turn around and see the monk has left. You walk over to the door and close it then you lie down on the soft linen quilt. The room is peaceful. And quiet. A balanced inner calmness radiates from your heart. You breathe slowly and deeply. Your eyes are still under your eyelids, your mind is still, and soon, sleep.
The visualization today will begin with a quote from the philosopher and poet Suzy Kassem. Then we will explore a ponderosa pine forest before walking up to the hidden, hot springs waterfall.
"Everybody has a little bit of the sun and moon in them. Everybody has a little bit of man, woman, and animal in them. Darks and lights in them. Everyone is part of a connected cosmic system. Part earth and sea, wind and fire, with some salt and dust swimming in them. We have a universe within ourselves that mimics the universe outside. None of us are just black or white, or never wrong and always right. No one. No one exists without polarities. Everybody has good and bad forces working with them, against them, and within them."
You find yourself walking through a ponderosa pine forest on the Eastern Edge of the Great Basin.
A soft wind whispers through the trees, and the stillness of the place is broken only by the sound of crickets and a few birds in the distance. The breeze carries with it a hint of butterscotch aroma, which is unique to the ponderosa forest.
The footpath is well travelled.
The pine trees tower overhead. Growing in between their tall, straight trunks are brushwood and quaking aspen with lush spring growth.
Among the wild grasses that line the sandy pathway, you see purple woolly loco-weed, musk thistle, vermillion Indian paintbrush and sunflowers.
After a while, the trail begins to curve tightly through a slot canyon beside a swiftly running creek strewn with massive granite boulders. Here and there the rocks hinder the flow, and the rapids drop down into small pools.
Above the noise of the water, you hear a soft rustling in the trees overlooking the trail. You glance upwards and notice a porcupine quietly watching you from the branches of a ponderosa tree. The porcupine has gentle, soft eyes, and even though it looks kind enough, you understand how dangerous those quills could be if you were to upset it.
The deeper into the canyon you go, the steeper the walls of the canyon become, and the wilder the terrain. You can almost feel the canyon breathe with pockets of warm air in the sun and cold air in the shade.
The canyon walls are smooth and soft red. In places you see small grasses and other plants pushing the possibilities of life, growing out of the sheer rock face.
The canyon ends at a spring cascading jewel-blue water gently into several deep rocky pools. You walk over to feel the water with your hand, and to your surprise, the water is perfectly warm. You realize you have found some hot springs. You take off your clothes and step into the pool, and then float on your back. You gaze up at the puffy white bank of clouds. A feeling of tranquillity engulfs you.
You relax like this for a long time. Breathing in and out-- Weightless.
After some time has passed, you see another smaller pool you decide to try. It isn't as hot or as deep as the pool you were in before. The color of the water is a bright shade of blue. You wade in and then stretch out on the flat cobblestones lining the base of the pool. You can support your head and neck with a smooth rock. Here you decide to relax until it is time to return down the trail.
This week's visualization will begin with a quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Then we will walk through an ancient olive grove before ending up in a vast purple field of lavender.
Lavender flowers are known to symbolize purity, silence, devotion serenity, grace and calmness. Lavender essential oil is the most commonly used essential oil today. Also, it is well known for its soothing, calming and antidepressive properties. Lavender oil has been used for over 3,000 years. The Egyptians used lavender for mummification and as a perfume. When King Tut's tomb was discovered and opened in 1923, the air inside was said to possess the faint scent of lavender.
**For additional relaxation, listen to the visualization with a diffuser of lavender oil, or a lavender pillow
The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much, you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”
You find yourself in an ancient Olive Grove in the south of France. The sun is glowing, and a faint aroma of earth and thyme float on the soft, salty breeze that has been carried inland from the nearby Mediterranean Sea.
The cicadas have recently surfaced from deep within the limestone soil after two years of dormancy. Their collective song permeates the air like a primitive concerto interspersed with the collective bells of sheep or goats grazing in the scrub oak hills surrounding the olive grove.
The olive trees have been standing together in this grove for years. They have witnessed civilizations rise and collapse. Their ancient trunks are broad, and their gnarled branches twist and reach for each other overhead. The small green fruits on the branches are ripening for the harvest time as they have for numerous seasons before
The ground is dry with patchy tufts of coarse grass. The branches of the olive trees provide relief from the afternoon sun by the road maps of shadows they spill onto the ground. The leaves and twigs they have shed crunch and snap under your feet.
As you walk along, you notice the herd of sheep are strolling through the olive grove too. The sheep have thick, ridged perfectly curved horns. They are followed closely by a couple of large white sheepdogs who pay no attention to you.
Your path ends at an ancient stone wall with wrought iron and wooden gate. When you turn the handle and open the gate, the landscape opens up into fields upon fields of purple lavender. Rows upon rows stretch as far as your eyes can see rolling into the distant hills. The perfume of the lavender is suddenly all around you; curling and diffused in the air with a sweet warmth and subtlety. You begin to walk through the field.
The lavender bushes are alive with bees and white butterflies. You pick one of the lavender stalks and touched the tiny violet-blue blossoms, and bring your scented fingertips to your throat.
You decide to slowly wander over to a small stone barn with a tiled roof you can see in the distance.
When you reach it, you can see the swifts flying overhead. They dip and dance around the barn. Some of them are soaring high up on the thermals. You notice a nest under the eaves by the doorway.
The door is ajar and creaks when you gently push it open. The interior is whitewashed and light-filled — bunches of harvested lavender hang from wooden beams across the ceiling.
In the corner are some huge burlap sacks filled with the dried lavender. You walk over to them and sit down beside them, cross-legged on the floor. You close your eyes, and breath deeply in and out, and with each breath, a more profound sense of peace and calm overwhelm you. You appreciate your tranquil mood until you almost feel as if you could fall asleep.
We will begin our visualization with a quote from ― Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”
You are standing barefoot in the sand on a deserted beach in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean.
The night sky is an inky shade of indigo, and yet dense with gems of glittering light.
Draped beyond, and arched above are myriads of stars, galaxies and constellations offering you a rare perspective of the night sky free from any human-made light.
The Starlight that has travelled thousands and thousands of light years to reach you at this moment pulses and twinkles. You wonder what the Earth was like when the sources of the light you see began. Did it even exist?
The silhouettes of the tall palm trees that line the beach are etched into the night sky like an illustration from a book.
You walk down to the waves and stand and watch the pale surf appear all down the shore and roll and crash and darken again.
A meteor blazes across the night sky, and you make a wish.
Out of the darkness appears a small light moving toward you. As the light nears, you begin to hear the sound of oars, and then you see the stern of a yellow boat. At the helm is a woman with long, black hair. The dress she is wearing black like the night.
When she reaches the shore, she invites you to join her for a cup of tea on her ship, which you can dimly see in the distance. You climb on board the yellow boat, and the woman with the long hair rows carefully away from the shore.
The sea beneath her lantern glimmers and the jade green water surrounding it teems with life attracted by the light. As she carefully steers around colourful canyons of coral, you notice parrot fish, a school of yellow goatfish, and later on a giant nurse shark fast asleep.
You reach her large boat and climb aboard. The woman with the black hair goes below to make you a cup of tea.
The wood on the deck is smooth and weather-worn. You sit down and lean back. The water is tranquil. An occasional light breeze gently disturbs the rigging and your ruffles hair. Out here on the water, the starry sky is mirrored in the sea, and you feel almost like a star yourself floating in space.
The woman returns with two cups of tea, and you sit together, silently watching the night.
〰️ Clara 〰️
I am bringing my favourite outside experiences and imaginings to create visualizations that encourage peace and relaxation.