I once lived and worked at a hot springs retreat center deep in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, where I experienced tremendous personal growth and learning in the context of being in service to the guests, to the business, and to the community of which I was a member. I use one sentence from the credo of that magnificent place as the inspiration for my daily practices:
“We structure our lives such that we can experience daily the rewards of success, peacefulness, and joy.”
Cascade Sky by Cheryl Plotner
Three of the most powerful tools I use to support that intention are Meditation, Guided Imagery and Affirmations. While life has certainly sent me many curve balls and at times I’ve felt the pull of gravity on a slippery slope, I’ve found that when I use these three tools, I can more easily experience the rewards I treasure. The value of Guided Imagery in my personal and professional life is immeasurable. I listen to Guided Imagery myself, I share it with my friends and family, and as a life coach I use it with clients to support them in achieving their desired outcomes.
Five years ago, I began using Guided Imagery daily when I was faced with stressful changes in my business and in my relationship with my mate. I asked my hypnotherapist to recommend audios to help me with that, and she pointed me to Belleruth Naparstek, who I found online at www.healthjourneys.com/. I felt resonance and comfort in her voice, so I bought Bellleruth’s audios for stress as well as for headache (I was having migraines several times a month). I used the Guided Imagery and Affirmation tracks at least two or three times a day, feeling deep peace during the listening, and I found myself feeling more resourceful and resilient during the process of changing my business and separating from my life partner. I eventually bought several more products from Health Journeys, including the Successful Surgery audios; I’ve loaned them to friends to assist them in getting the best results from surgery, and they’ve all felt great benefit from the audios. Although I didn’t know it when I bought them, having the Successful Surgery audios would be extremely important to my daughter and to myself.
One year after becoming a single mother, my daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis. It seemed to have happened overnight, and the reality of it hit me like a boulder. Once again, I began listening to the audios for stress several times daily as I navigated through the learning journey and the path of trying non-surgical treatments for my daughter’s spine. After two years of using several modalities, including: acupuncture, Bowen therapy, chiropractic treatments, hypnosis, massage, Rolfing, Schroth exercises and yoga, and witnessing the two curves advance aggressively, it became painfully clear that surgery was going to be necessary to correct and stabilize her spine. Three weeks before her surgery date, I began playing the Guided Imagery track for my daughter, listening with her just before she went to sleep at night. I also played the music only track in the car and at home as background to whatever quiet activity was happening. In addition, I continued to use the stress audios as I processed the reality that my daughter would undergo a long, arduous surgery and intense recovery.
After more than twelve hours of surgery, my daughter did emerge safely, and during the ten days we spent in hospital and for a few weeks at home, I played the music only track continuously. In the hospital, the doctors, nurses and staff would often take deep breaths and pause after entering the room, saying how much they loved the soothing music. When friends came to visit our home, they also commented on how relaxed the music made them feel. My daughter had zero complications from surgery and recovery, and now attends high school, living life as most any teenager would. In three months she’ll be cleared to run, jump and recreate freely, even though a large part of her spine is fused. She’s grateful for her stable, straight spine and rarely thinks of lost flexibility in her back. It is truly remarkable to me now, as I reflect on the past year, that I was able to move through the intensity of preparing myself for the trauma of my daughter’s surgery with such grace, faith and trust that I could handle whatever the outcome would be. I know that using Guided Imagery in general, and specifically the voice of Belleruth Naparstek, has been a tremendous help.
One thought on “Guided Imagery As A Daily Practice”
What a powerful story, Cheryl. I love how the music affected the doctors/nurses. Beautiful artwork, too (ah, the Cascades!) xo