A Creative Visualization:
In the Orchard of Hope
Notice your breath as you settle into a safe, secure spot. With each inhalation, breathe in the fullness of life. With each exhalation, release, relaxing more completely. Breathe In.Release. Allow the belly to soften. As you relax, imagine your heart is opening. You will, in your imagination, be finding a path that takes you to the Orchard of Hope. Remember that it is not necessary to be able to “see” inner pictures to take an imaginary journey. Your mind’s eye will assist you, and you may also imagine your path through intuitive feelings, words or an inner knowing. Your efforts earn the right to gain access to deep wisdom.
The path to Hope begins at a hole in the ground at the base of a mountain. With resolve, step into the passageway. You enter a timeless and dreamlike reality. As you look in, you see a long tunnel. It may head down into the earth or up a mountain. With confidence, you step into the passageway. You are not troubled by the suspension of other ordinary laws of physics regarding your size, speed, gravity or the presence of light. Your are alone, aware of your own vulnerability, need and hope. Without knowing how, you move forward until you come to a stone tablet inscribed with beliefs you have rarely challenged. Take time to consider them. These have been the commandments by which you have lived.
Gather your courage and move on till you come to a stone landmark overlooking a valley representing the past. Your sight and hearing are strong, and you feel compassion as you survey the emotional world of your childhood. Without faltering, consider the terrors, disappointments, confusions and blessings of earlier years. Do not flinch, judge, or condemn. Your task is to affirm your stamina in having survived. You have entered a tunnel dimly lit, a place of lost illusions and challenges that make you worthy of the guidance you seek.
The tunnel opens into a clearing that takes you into an extraordinary ancient forest, You begin to explore the trees, sky, and lush undergrowth. You follow a path. You feel completely calm and at peace. Ahead of you, the branches of two large trees form an archway. You are now standing in the Orchard of Hope, where you have access to ancient wisdom and compassion. Ask yourself the question: What hopes or habits are causing me problems in my life or are harming me? You will receive an answer to your question—through words, movement or image, the way you learn best. Remember the laws of physics do not apply in this place. Stand in the glory of this beautiful place and receive the answer from the Orchard of Hope.
When you are ready, you will find your way back, visualizing the route by which you came or finding a different path. Be mindful as you prepare to leave this ancient forest. You understand that the forest and lush green plants in the Orchard of Hope exist with you. Savor its spirit and know that you can return to this place if you choose.
Prepare to return to ordinary waking consciousness. You will be able to remember all you need of this experience. Gently start to wiggle your fingers and toes, neck and facial muscles. Take a deep breath. Open your eyes refreshed and write about your experience.
By Sherry Reiter, Inspired by the work of David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner’s book The Mythic Path (N.Y.: Tarcher/Putnam, 1997)