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 continue to sink down until you find yourself curled up, awakening upon a pile of soft moss. It’s very safe and comfortable upon the pile, especially after the physical labor of a few hours before. Your arms feel a bit stiff as you stretch them out before you, and you remember how vigorously you’d been digging out the dirt in the wall to uncover the hidden door. Even though your fingers are aching and horribly scraped up, you feel a sense of accomplishment. These are “battle wounds” that you sustained, and you have come out a survivor. For that, you should feel proud.
Sitting up, you dip your sore hands into the cool water of the lake beside you. It soothes the aching a bit. You splash some of the water on your face to fully refresh you before taking a long drink. The water in your belly reminds you that you haven’t eaten in quite some time. Looking down into the water, you see there the reflection of your inner heroic archetype. He/she is smiling at you, but is also urging you to get up and start moving. “Let’s move forward,” he/she seems to be saying.
Stand up and look around. The torches are still burning. The light reflected off the crystals that adorn the ceiling and walls dances off the surface of the lake. Ripples created by the falling water make the light shimmer, so that even the cavern walls seem in motion. How do you feel as you continue to watch the light?
Pick up your satchel and examine the items that you’d found in the cave before you fell asleep. What do you have? Unfortunately, none of the items are edible, and so you must go in search of food. Wrapping your garment warmly about you, begin to walk along the lake’s edge to see where it takes you. Keep your eyes open for any passages that may veer out of the cavern.
As you walk along, your footsteps make a crunching sound on the gravel of the floor. You are half tempted to wade in the water as you walk, but common sense tells you that it would probably be best to try to remain dry. Still, you are feeling adventurous and light-hearted, wanting to play as you move along. At one point, you even find yourself laughing a bit. What is it that is making you feel so jovial? Many others might feel afraid at being in an underground cavern, not knowing where to find an exit…but you do not. Your optimism truly keeps you moving forward. And so you walk. And you walk. And you continue to walk.
Having kept to the water’s edge, you are certain that you could not have taken any wrong turns. What you had originally categorized as a lake seems more like a river at this moment. A current has developed, and the water is moving rather swiftly. How odd that you hadn’t noticed it earlier. A good thing about a river, though, is that the water must be moving toward an exit somewhere. The question is, how far away is that exit? Your optimism is starting to fade a bit as it feels as if this cave has no end.
Your stomach is really beginning to growl now. How long has is been since that marvelous breakfast in your room? It feels like days have gone by.
Coming around a bend, you notice that the river branches off into two tributaries, each one eking off into a separate tunnel. One goes off toward the left while the other veers only slightly to the right. It would be easy to remain walking along this bank and continue with the right hand branch, but what if the left branch is the one that will take you where you want to go? Remember, you still have your quest to fulfill. Do you remember what it is? What is the purpose of this journey to begin with? Where are you trying to get to? Feeling a bit of frustration at your indecision, you say aloud, “Which way am I supposed to go?”
Your second lesson: Ask and it shall be given to you.
While you are standing there trying to figure out which leg of the river to follow, you hear a light splashing sound behind you. Thinking that there might be a fish jumping in the water, you look back. You don’t see anything at first because you had come from around a bend when you got to this place. But there is that sound again, and again in a rhythmic pattern. A few moments later, you are astonished to see someone punting a raft along the river. Before long, the raft comes alongside the shore right near you. Who is the person steering the raft? What does he/she look like?
Stepping onto the shore, the newcomer drags the raft out of the water so that it will not float away. He/she turns to you with a stern look at first that melts into a genuine grin. You are so astonished that you haven’t moved from your spot. He/she greets you with a slap on the shoulder as he/she walks past you to sit down on a large rock. No words as yet have been spoken, but he/she beckons you to sit down as well.
“Come. I have something for you,” the mysterious stranger says. He/she reaches into a bag slung across his/her shoulders and from within he/she brings out a loaf of bread and a block of cheese. Using a large knife hanging from an ornate belt, he/she cuts off a large wedge of cheese before tearing off the heel of the bread. Handing them to you, he/she smiles.
Cocking your head to one side, you look sidelong at the stranger, not sure if you should trust him/her or not; however, your hunger gets the best of you. Nodding to the stranger and accepting the food offered, you begin to eat, slowly at first, but with more vigor as your appetite gives in. Remembering your manners at last, you mumble your thanks under a deep blush. You didn’t realize just how hungry you were!
No other words are spoken as you both share in this meal although you look curiously at one another. What is going through your mind while you look at him/her? What do you suppose he/she is thinking about you?
Once you have finished eating, you find the courage to ask questions. “Who are you? What is your name?” What is his/her reply?
“How did you come to find me? What are you doing here?” Again, pay attention to the response.
One thing you do learn is that this person is your guide. Reaching into his/her pouch once more, he/she produces a map, which he/she hands to you. It does not look like any map you’ve ever seen before. For one thing, none of the markings are familiar. There aren’t any of the streets or towns that you know from your own world. Your destination has already been marked with a red star; however, it is not labeled with the name of a place. It is labeled with the accomplishment of your goal. In which direction does your destination lie? What does that mean to you?
In order to continue, your guide tells you that you must decide which of the two branches of the river you must take. Will it be the one that goes off to the left, or will you stay on the path that only veers slightly to the right? At least now you have transportation, for your guide has volunteered his/her raft to take you whichever way you want to go. Which do you decide to take? Why this one and not the other?
Stepping onto the raft, you remember that it was only when you asked aloud for guidance that your mentor appeared. Take to heart lesson two.
Your guide points to a soft pile of blankets in the center of the raft and tells you that it is probably best for you to rest right now. You cannot help but agree, and you lie down among the blankets after first making sure that your satchel is securely wedged among them so as not to roll off the raft. Sleep comes to you almost instantly as the rhythmic sound of the punting lulls you. Take a deep breath and feel yourself drifting away into the darkness. Soon you begin to feel yourself rising from the soft blankets upon this raft. 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 think about how your mentor appeared only after you’d asked for help. The image of his/her face and feelings you had at meeting him/her 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.