Friday, February 20, 2015

Visualization Gone Wrong

Some people use visualization techniques to help them relax and not be anxious.

(Peaceful, new-age music is playing in the background): “Picture yourself standing in a field of vibrant green grass. In your mind’s eye, look up at the blue sky and billowy white clouds. Now cast your eyes below at the shimmering lake of water, mirroring the sky. Hear the burbles and gurgles of the nearby brook, etc.”
I have found this type of visualization to be helpful, but sometimes it doesn’t work so well for me. I can experience a visualization gone wrong, very wrong. It can happen something like this:

“Imagine yourself on a yellow rubber raft in the ocean. Feel the undulating motion as the waves lap at the sides of the raft…” 

Good so far, but then I start thinking, I am out in the open ocean being lulled into a state of torpor and unawareness of my surroundings. What if I mindlessly float out too far and no one knows where I am? Will a helicopter notice me dotting yellowy upon the limitless sea?

Okay, in my mind I will rope off an area that keeps me safely close to shore. Back to my visualization:

“Now…imagine yourself on a yellow rubber raft on the edges of the ocean…bobbing safely up and down, up and down, up and down…”

Wait a minute, now I am assured that I will not be carried out to sea, but what about sharks? They could swim under my rope, get me in their sights, and munch my toes off. What can I do to safeguard myself so I can truly relax? I know. I will put up a filtering fence that goes from three feet above the surface all the way down to the ocean floor.

Done! Now finally I can relax, float my anxieties away, bob blissfully.

But what is this I hear?... “Mommy, look at that swimming pool over in the ocean there. See, where that lady on the yellow raft is. Can we swim there too?’”

They coming running—all seven of them—invading my placidity, my place, my privacy.

“Sorry, lady, I didn’t mean to splash you in the face.” “Uh oh! Sorry I kicked you, lady. It was an accident.” Then they play volley beach ball, using me for the net.

I slither off the raft, pack up my anxieties and swim slowly toward the shore. Maybe next time I will go to the mountains.


I am thankful that Paul tells us not to “be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present [our] requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus.”

When my attempts at peaceful visualizations go wrong, I am glad to know that my Father is the God of peace. Through his Spirit living within me, he can quiet my fears and calm my anxieties—with or without background music.

1 comment:

  1. Sheila....thank you so very much for allowing us to be a part of your spiritual insightful and in sync with my you so much!!