A New Way to Use Your Imagination

When recovering from skeletons in the closet — any hurtful experience — it’s important to learn how to help yourself in a gentle, accepting way. Here’s a new way to learn to be kinder to yourself, using your imagination.

Start by getting comfortable, sitting or laying down. Make sure you are truly, perfectly settled. If you are sitting, perhaps place a pillow behind your back to maintain a lumbar curve. If you are laying down, consider putting a pillow or some blankets under your legs to help your lower back to relax. Breathe deeply several times, and imagine that there is soft, calming music playing. Think of the sort of music that massage therapists or spas use: slow, gentle, perhaps slightly rhythmic.

Sit for several breaths, slowly inhaling and exhaling and becoming aware of your body as you breathe. Continue imagining the relaxing music.

Now imagine that you are going to make your own meditation/affirmation CD. Wouldn’t you use a calm, reassuring tone? What would you say to encourage someone? You might start by speaking for the breaths — “breathe in slowly through your nose, breathe out slowly… relax your body from head to toe…”

Now where does your imagination take you? Does a calming scene come to mind? Do you feel like telling your imaginary audience about something to visualize? What would you tell someone to help them feel appreciated or important? What might you say to help them relax? Now say those things in your head, as if you were trying to make a great relaxation CD, knowing that you are actually saying them to yourself.

Talk to yourself in this manner for as long as it feels natural — don’t force it or get elaborate. It is best to let ideas simply float to mind, say them, hear them, and let them float away. You shouldn’t need to use your intellect — get out of your head. Don’t worry about remembering what you said either. Just let the ideas flow. Isn’t it interesting — by picturing making a professional meditation/relaxation product, you are actually learning how to love and accept yourself.

How does that feel? I hope it feels rejuvenating and inspiring. I hope it gives you more hope! But I know that if you’ve been in the habit of judging and not liking yourself, then it may feel very uncomfortable or strange, and as soon as it was over, you may have noticed yourself thinking some negative thoughts; you may have even talked to yourself in a harsh voice, because that is what you are used to. Don’t despair! You can gradually learn to like yourself more, to judge yourself less and to be a good friend to yourself.

Try this method two or three times a week, or even as a daily meditation, and see how your life changes when you begin to speak to yourself in a more loving voice. Using your imagination in this way is a bit like tapping into your own personal soundtrack, but in this case, you direct the music rather than simply listening. I hope you will find this meditation helpful as you learn to support and love yourself more.


MLogozar-coverA childhood friend of mine, Michael Logozar, is an amazing pianist, and he’s recorded three beautiful albums, all of which I find to be very lovely and relaxing. If you’d like to try them, I’m sure you’ll agree! (I’m not getting any sort of money for recommending his music — I just had to mention it!)

Lighten Up — A Visualization to Reduce Tension

I often like to think about why I feel the way I do. When I start the day in a blah mood, how can I improve it? When I feel tired, what can I do to feel better, and have more energy? Many times, I need to change what I am thinking, but sometimes, just getting a change of scenery or distracting myself from what I was doing, is enough to make me feel better.

Our moods are definitely affected by what we do with our bodies. Sitting in one position, such as sitting at a computer or behind the wheel driving for hours, can make us stagnant. Moving around helps us think and keeps our brains active. Even a short walk, swinging my arms, makes me feel so much more alive.

Isn’t it interesting how when you are tense, it helps to stretch — which is actually putting tension on your muscles. When you feel fit, you also feel like being more active. When you smile, you feel better, and it works in reverse also: if you want to feel better, you can fake a smile. I learned that last one from Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, and it really does work.

I’ve noticed that in yoga, sometimes the instructor reminds me to relax my face muscles or soften my facial expression, so I’ve been playing around with that idea. I am working on becoming more aware of neck and face tension, and reminding myself to ease up. There’s a fun little visualization that I’ve been using that I’d like to share with you.

Visualization: Taking off the Tuque

To start off, I should explain for those of you not from Canada what a tuque is (pronounced “too-ke”). It’s a knitted hat, and can range from loose to tight, big to small, thick to thin. I believe it is a French Canadian word, which explains why people from other countries don’t usually know it. :)t

My first teddy bear, posing here with a knitted toque

My first teddy bear, posing here with a knitted toque

Now, imagine that you are wearing four or five tuques (or any type of close-fitting hat), one on top of the other. There are so many layers, they are squeezing your head all around. Gradually, imagine that you are taking them off, one by one, until you feel the tension release. Your head is no longer being squeezed, and you can feel the light of the sun and the gentle, cool breeze on your head.

Whenever you feel a bit tense, stop and imagine that you are taking the hats off — if you feel really pressured, maybe the hat is a tight swimmer’s cap! As you remove the hats, you feel lighter, your face feels brighter, your eyes feel softer and your scalp more relaxed. The top of your head feels warm and alive… and in addition to feeling more relaxed, you may also find you are better able to connect to your intuition. The seventh chakra is on the very top of your head, so this visualization is bound to help release any pent-up energy.

Hope this helps you relieve tension and feel more at-ease!

How Do Thoughts Feel?

A little while ago, I wrote a post about thinking, and how certain thoughts make me feel good and I can improve my mood by changing my thoughts. This is a grand form of self-manipulation, and I’ve been doing it a while so I’m getting pretty good at it.

But manipulating my feelings is not always a good thing to do. Sometimes, my feelings are actually my intuition trying to get through to me, to tell me that something is not right… that I need to change what I am doing… or that I’m making a bad decision. So, I have been learning to listen to my intuition better (read Part 1 here).

The other day, I had yet another realization when it comes to thoughts and feelings. I had been meditating for a while, and my mind suddenly wandered away from the happy, healthy, harmonious thoughts I had been thinking. I mean, I was feeling really good, humming along at a very high vibration, and feeling very “floaty.” And then, out of the blue, I thought “I really need to log in to the online banking and see how much money is in the account.” Woah. I distinctly felt my body react to that thought. It was a slight churny feeling in my gut. So, I made a note of it, re-centered myself, and continued meditating. A little while later, my mind wandered again, and all I thought was “I should check what time it is.” Again, I had a little “worm wiggle” in my gut — very slight, and not exactly in the same place or same way as before, but definitely in response to the thought.

I am sure you have had the experience where you talk about food with someone, your gut “hears you,” and pretty soon it’s churning away and you’re feeling very hungry. It’s happened to me many times, and the strongest when I am talking about my favourite foods! It’s like my gut is saying “give me some of that! That sounds awesome!”

Interesting, isn’t it? When I was meditating, I felt exactly what those thoughts did to me. Both were related to a lack of something — time or money — and had deep, hidden roots in worry. And here I thought I never worried! Well, I don’t worry much, but even just a little bit of worry affected me physically, so I can’t imagine what a full-blown worry-fest would do. Would it affect my digestion? Almost certainly. Would my thinking be clouded? Most likely.

My beliefs about money and time seem to be connected to my gut, and I don’t know if this is universal, or if you would find that a different part of your body responds to similar thoughts. I think it is probably different for everyone, because all our beliefs are individual. No matter what, recent research is showing more and more that we have huge numbers of neurons (brain cells) in our gut. Scientists have proven that our gut chemistry affects our moods, and we all know that thoughts affect our moods, and now I’ve put the other side on our triangle — our thoughts affect our gut. So if one of the three — gut, moods, thoughts — isn’t healthy, looking at the other two can help to fix it. For many of us, it’s the gut that shows up as unhealthy, so it’s good to know that by changing our thoughts and moods, we can have a healthy gut again.

We are energy beings, so we need to remember to take care of ourselves on all levels. Often when we are sick, it’s because our intuition has been trying to get our attention, to tell us something VERY important, and we just aren’t listening. When we get sick, we are forced to stop and take notice, reevaluate our lives and make new decisions.

If you would like to try this experiment on yourself, let me know your results! I’m sure your mind will wander naturally, so don’t feel like you have to think about money or time. Just let me know your experiences (you can leave a comment or contact me directly if you prefer). 🙂