Regrets Only: Refusing the Call

Published October 16, 2011 by Susan Woodward

Close your eyes and relax.  Now take three deep breaths: one for body, one for mind, and one for spirit.  Take one last very deep breath and hold it.  Just when you think you cannot hold the breath any longer, pull in just a bit more air.  Again, when you feel as if you cannot continue holding the breath, pull in just a little more.  When you finally do release your breath, do so very slowly in a long continuous exhale until you have released all that you were holding.  Breathe slowly and deeply as you continue to relax.  Relax all the muscles of your body: your legs, your arms, your shoulders, and your jaw.  Completely relax.

Imagine that you are sinking down into the furniture, and in turn sinking through the floor.  Allow yourself to continue sinking down and down, all the while feeling completely relaxed.  You pass deep down into the earth and suddenly find yourself in a vast cavern, nestled comfortably in the bottom of a shallow boat.  This time, however, you notice that the temperature is much cooler than last time.  Fortunately, you are wrapped in warm blankets.   Pulling them close and snuggling into them, you feel comfortable, safe, and very relaxed.

The boat again begins to drift along with the current of the narrow river, once again enveloped in its white light of safety.  A stronger breeze is blowing once you emerge into the open, and even though the boat begins to rock a bit, know that you are completely safe at all times.  The motion lulls you into a deeper state of relaxation, as if you are in the arms of a loving mother who is gently rocking you.  Even though it is mid-afternoon, the skies are rather grey, and the air is chilled.   You pull the blankets even more closely about you as the boat continues to float along.  The familiar tunnel of trees begins to envelope your boat, and you notice that most of the leaves have already fallen.  The crisp smell in the air tells you that winter seems to be fast approaching.  The wind through the branches carries a mournful sound and the only birdsong today is the cawing of a crow.  You see him perched above the boat as you float by, and he seems to be looking at you.  How does this make you feel?

Floating along, the boat eventually takes shore on the same sandy bank it had on your previous journey; however, the place does not look entirely the same.  Even though it is now nearly winter, more than the season has changed since your last visit.  The very large, very old tree is gone, and in its place is a rotting stump.  Discarded leaves from the surrounding trees swirl like dervishes in the cold wind that blows through the area.  How do the changes make you feel?  What other differences do you note from your last visit?

Stepping out of the boat, you are glad to find that there is a warm coat tucked into the prow.  You slip it on and pull the collar very tightly to your chin to keep out the cold.  As you walk around the old stump, you happen to catch the late daylight reflecting off something that seems to be carelessly tossed inside the hollow.   Even though the stump is filled with decaying leaves, something seems to be sticking out from beneath the partial covering.  Reaching down, you discover that it is the mirror you left behind after your last visit.  Sadly, the mirror’s handle has dulled from being exposed to the elements, and the mirror itself is cracked.  No sound comes from the mirror this time.

When you hold the mirror up to your face, you see a reflection in the cracked glass.  It is the heroic archetype you saw once before, but he/she has aged considerably.  Looking even more closely, you notice that the gleam has gone from his/her eyes, and a slight tear trickles down his/her cheek.  As much as you would rather look away, you find that you are compelled to look at the face in the mirror.  What feelings are going through you at this moment?  A drop of water splashes onto the glass of the mirror, and you realize that a tear has fallen from your own eye.   Slowly, the splashed tear seems to spread across the glass, and the mirrored image swirls.  A faint voice, recognizable as the one from your call to adventure, whispers, “Why?  Why did you forsake me?”

Your own voice trembles as you tell the image that you’d never forgotten him/her; it’s just that there were reasons for not answering the call.  Tell him/her what your reasons were.  Was it self-doubt?  Was it fear?  The busyness of your life? Did someone else have something to do with it?  Be honest with your archetypal hero… he/she is part of you.

While you’ve been talking, the mirrored image has been swirling.  Once you are finished with your explanation, the mirror clears once again, but you notice that the crack has disappeared.  Your tears have healed the mirror.  Looking inside, you see the hero once again, and even though he/she still looks aged, there seems to be a gleam returning to his/her eyes.  Perhaps the call has not been lost forever.  Perhaps it’s not too late to answer.

This time when you get into your boat, you take the mirror with you.  Taking care to lay it gently among the blankets, you climb in, wrap yourself up, and lie down.  As you become comfortable once again in the surrounding white light, what emotions are going through you now?  Be cognizant of your feelings as the boat carries you back to the starting place.  After emerging from the tunnel of trees, you notice that once again, it has become night.  This time, though, there is a huge, full moon hanging in the sky above you.  Its light shines down on you, bathing you in its brilliance.  Imagine that you can breathe in the light of the moon.  How does it make you feel?  How can you change the image in the mirror to become that of the vibrant hero it once was?

The boat slips into the cave, and soon you begin to feel yourself rising from the soft blankets in the boat.  As you rise, you become more and more aware of your surroundings, and soon you are able to sense the furniture beneath you.  This is the room from which you began this journey not so very long ago.  As you become more and more aware of the room around you, you remember the face in the mirror, an image that will stay with you as you awaken from your rest.

Taking three deep breaths, one for body, one for mind, and one for spirit, you open your eyes to find yourself in a familiar place.

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