The practice of imagery is nothing new. Most of us are using imagery all the time. One of my teachers would always start her talk on imagery with “do you know how to worry?”
How vivid are the pictures you make in your mind when you worry? When you have been worrying, do you feel it in your shoulders, your neck, your head? Do you have trouble sleeping? If imagery is that powerful when turned against ourselves, how powerful can it be when it used in a positive way, to help ourselves instead?
It is very, very powerful and effective. I know this from experience. There is imagery for just about anything you can imagine happening in your body. I have used it to calm myself, to sleep, to get myself motivated to do something important or difficult, to enhance my immune system, increase my white and red blood cell counts and to enhance the effectiveness of the chemotherapy I received to fight an aggressive cancer.
There are a number of different ways to use imagery. You can use a CD and just listen, which I call passive imagery. At the very least it is relaxing, and a really good CD will do much more than calm you. I have used many CD’s from Health Journeys to relax deeply and facilitate healing.
Interactive imagery, or guided imagery, is something that can be done with the help of a guide, someone who is certified in Guided Imagery. Having someone to assist and witness can be very helpful to allow your own most powerful images to surface.
What I used a lot was active imagery. I don’t know if that’s a real term. It just seems like the most logical thing to call what I do. I have a very vivid imagination, and I put it to work to get well. I made up images for white blood cells, I sent little mining carts into the earth (my bones) to retrieve hemoglobin, and I saw an army of Ewoks and Wookies tearing down the slag heaps that I envisioned as my tumors. When I had radiation, an image came to me of a little village of grass huts, and blasts of light flashing every time I heard the buzz of the radiation beam. The inhabitants of the village figured out that the light was to destroy the interlopers, not them, so any renegade stowaways were kicked out of the huts into the main square so they could get blasted. The image made me laugh. I thought of it each time I heard that obnoxious noise! What worked especially well about that image was that it factored in a way to spare my healthy cells, while decimating the ones that were behaving badly. Having a laugh about it couldn’t hurt either!
I am very mindful of how I use my brain. I imagine anything I want to have happen, using images that come to life for me. My lymph system is a series of waterways, and when the main waterfall was dammed up (my lymph nodes went away) I envisioned little tributaries getting wider and wider and navigating around where the waterfall used to be.
It’s worth experimenting with, and it won’t harm you. It can only help. Twice during my chemotherapy I was on the verge of low blood counts (white and red) and I used imagery to bring them back.
Nowadays I try to make time to imagine my body doing it’s cancer surveillance, and all the other functions moving right along like clockwork. I don’t always find the time. I’m busy living, and doing what I love every day is a powerful message to my body as well!
Passion is a great motivator. Some of the Imagery resources I used during my illness helped me rediscover my passion for life, which sent a powerful message to my body to heal.
Daydreaming is not a waste of time after all…