This one is for you if you are sitting at life’s crossroads, wondering which direction to take with your life. Should it be the high street, the country lane or the overgrown path that few others have walked down? Maybe you are trying to decide whether to stick out your secure job until retirement, or take a chance on a new direction. You could retrain or do a further qualification. Maybe you are going through a transition (leaving school, parenthood, moving house, graduation) and you are not sure what comes next.
Whatever dilemma you face, using visualisation is a great way to get in touch with your intuition and the knowledge stored in your unconscious mind, created out of all your memories and experiences. Sometimes when we relax and empty our mind, and just stop analysing everything for a moment, an image arises which contains some kind of message about how we really feel deep down.
This happened to me recently when at at the end of a particularly busy week of working, writing, yoga, family activities and cooking for guests, I sat down and invited my unconscious mind to offer to me an image. The image that came to mind was of a blacksmith hammering something into shape. I knew that it was me hammering myself – forcing myself to achieve all the things I wanted to achieve. When I allowed the image to change to reflect how I wanted things to be, the blacksmith stood back and allowed the metal to shape itself in its own time. This felt like a clear message that what I needed was to allow things to unfold rather than drive myself so hard.
The following visualisation is has slightly different instructions and may help you to visualise several paths or options so you can explore how you feel about them. To get started you will need a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted for ten or fifteen minutes.
- Lie down on your back if this is comfortable, or on your side if it is not. You can put cushions under your knees and head if this makes you more comfortable. If it is chilly, cover yourself with a blanket. Close your eyes.
- Take a few deep breaths or sighs, and breath out any tension. Tense and relax each part of your body, including your shoulders, jaw and eyes.
- Breath into every part of your body. If any part still feels tense, send it a gentle message to relax – “relax my shoulders, let my shoulders relax”.
- Set the intention to allow whatever images arise to arise, and accept them just as they are, even if they seem strange.
- Imagine yourself at a crossroads. What kind of roads or paths are there?
- Take the road or path that seems most inviting and walk along it. What do you see? How does it feel to walk this way? What is there along the road? Is there anyone else there? Imagine you have walked five years down this road? Now how does it feel? What are you doing? Has anything changed?
- Once you have explored this road enough, go back to the crossroads and try another pathway. What is this pathway like? How do you feel? Again, walk five years into the future down this pathway and see how it feels?
- If you want to, you can come back to the crossroads and try a third road. You could also re-visit either of the first two roads.
- Once you have explored as many roads as you want to, allow your mind to relax again. Take a bit of time to focus on your breath and just see if anything else emerges. When you are ready, you can bring some movement back into your arms and legs, turn onto your side for a few minutes, and then open your eyes and get up.
You may have quite a clear sense of what each path represents, but it may not be immediately obvious. Perhaps one path feels riskier, but it’s not clear what risk you are contemplating. It may be that further insights come to you some days later, or they may not come at all – you can’t force them, but you can invite them in by making quiet time to contemplate.
If you would like to read more about working with images, I recommend Dr Dina Glouberman’s book, “Life Choices Life Changes” which has many more activities using visualisation to support your decision-making.