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Coming Home: Crossing that Return Threshold

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 continue to sink down until you find yourself awakening after a satisfying rest.  Stretch and look upwards.  The crystals are twinkling a morning hello and it fills you with cheer, for you realize that you are almost home.  Anticipation fills you because you are anxious to share what you have experienced and learned in your absence.  Who in particular are you anxious to see again?  With whom is it you most wish to share your experiences?  Pondering the changes that have taken place in you, how do you imagine that you will be received by this person?  By others?  How does this make you feel?

Rise from your soft bed of moss and stretch your limbs as far as you can.  You search for the source of the sound that acted as a lullaby for you the previous night and soon discover that the gentle waterfall spilling into the underground lake is not far off.  Smiling, you remember this place as where you’d found many of the treasures that have helped you in your journey.  You remember wondering how these items happened to be lying in an underground cavern and now the answer comes to you.  They were purposely left by a previous traveler for the next person to find.  Not knowing who the former traveler was, you offer a few words of thanks to this benefactor.  It is certain that he/she did not know who would discover the gifts, but he/she made the choice to be of assistance to the next one to find him/her self in the cavern.  How does it make you feel to realize that someone left these tools with no thought of reward or thanks, but just the inclination to aid another?

Open your satchel and remove any contents that you believe could be of use to another in the future.  Arrange them thoughtfully and resist the urge to leave a note.  Leave them for someone else to use just as you did.  How do you feel knowing that you are providing for future travelers?  How does it make you feel to do this anonymously, without the possibility of any reward or thanks for your actions?

The only things you take with you are your initial gift, your water bottle, your notebook, and your boon.  Your load has been lightened tremendously, and the feelings in your heart reflect that.  You are truly ready to leave this place.  However, you are not quite sure of how to get out. Remembering that the previous passageway you’d taken leads to the deep pit, you know that you must find another way out.  You decide to cleanse yourself in the spray of the waterfall before tackling the business of finding an exit.  The sound of the water falling is soothing and you long to feel it splash over your head.

Enter the water and swim toward the falls.  Surprisingly, it is a very refreshing temperature and not the chill you initially expected.  Play for a bit in the water as you approach the falls.  How do you feel at this moment?  Tread water for a moment and look around you.  What do you see?  Describe the place in detail, remembering so that you may write it down when you emerge from your bath.

Coming closer to the falls, dive down below the surface and come up with the water cascading over you.  There is a large rock just beneath the surface for you to stand upon so that you may experience the full benefits of the falling water.  Let it pulsate against your scalp, invigorating you.  It soothingly pelts against the skin to massage out any remnants of weariness from the return journey.  You can feel your circulation moving freely through your body, creating new vigor and energy for this last portion of the return.  Diving off the rock and into the pooled water, swim around for a few more minutes.  Look up at the wonderful waterfall.  How do you feel?

As you are looking at it, you notice something you hadn’t seen before.   At first you cannot believe your eyes, but looking again, you are certain that it is not a mirage.  On the right-hand side of the waterfall, there appears to be a formation of crystals that looks like a ladder.  Swimming over to the edge, you look up and discover that the ladder leads to where the waterfall emerges into the cavern.  You quickly dress and retrieve your satchel.  Although you must swim back to get to the foot of the ladder, you do not mind so long as you remember to keep your satchel dry by holding it above the water.

Look up.  How high must you climb?  What is going though your mind as you gaze upwards?  How do you feel about climbing the crystal ladder?  Begin your ascent, being sure to gauge your footing along the way.  The crystals form secure hand and footholds in the wall of the cavern, so there is no fear of them dislodging.  How do you feel as you are climbing?  Are you strong enough to gaze behind you as you proceed?  Or might the height frighten you into being frozen to the spot, unable to move?  Decide whether you wish to look behind you at this point or not.  If you do look back, what do you see from this vantage point?  How does it make you feel?

The opening from which the water emerges is only a few more feet away.  Climb carefully and bring yourself atop the ledge.  The water comes from a large creek pouring into a small opening in the side of a hill.  You can see daylight at the end of the short tunnel, and you quickly scramble along the edge of the creek to avoid being caught in the current and pulled over the falls.  Emerge into the sunlight, feeling its warmth on your face upon your exit from the cavern.

Looking around, you are surprised to discover where you are.  Just across the creek is the place from which you exited at the beginning of the journey.  This is the place that had mysteriously disappeared as soon as you crossed the threshold, but here it is, waiting for your return.  How do you feel as you see this familiar place?

Quickly crossing the creek, hurry to the door and enter your special place.  You are home.  Once inside, you see that everything is as you had left it.  The one thing you had missed the most was your comfortable bed.  Lie down upon it, thankful to be home.  Gaze up at the ceiling to see the familiar compass painted there, and smile in the familiarity of home.  As you lie there, you begin to drift off into the most comfortable sleep you’ve had since leaving, even more comfortable than the luxurious bed you’d slept in after your celebration.  Nothing can compare to the comfort of home.

Curl into a comfortable position, and take a deep breath.  Feel yourself drifting away into the darkness.  Soon you begin to feel yourself rising from your very own bed in your special place.  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 wonderful it is to have such a place as home to return to.  This feeling of satisfaction for the completion of a long journey will remain in your memory 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.

Homeward Bound: The Return Journey

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 continue to sink down until you find yourself relaxing with a stream of hot water running over your head.  The shower is still running, and all the muscles of your body are completely warm and loose.  Although the body is relaxed, the spirit is energized for the journey home.

Step out of the shower and wrap yourself in a warm, fluffy towel.  Enjoy the feeling of cleanliness in preparation for the return.  The pain of all your struggles is washed away, even though you know the journey home will have its own challenges.  Helpful things that you now posses, which you’d lacked earlier, are your newly gained experience and knowledge, as well as your Ultimate Boon.  While you dress in your freshly laundered clothes, in particular your garment of protection, think about how much different you are than when you first began the journey so long ago.  What have you learned?  How have you changed?  How can these changes be helpful in your return trip?  Be prepared to be tested at some point along the way.  How can your boon help you?

Look at yourself full length in a mirror.  At first, you see yourself as you appear to the rest of the world, but upon closer examination, you notice something more.  Your reflection has looked like your inner archetype for so long, that you don’t see the subtle changes at first glance.  How have you changed physically?  Look carefully at your entire body and note specific differences.  In particular, spend quite a bit of time looking at your face.  There is something new in your expression and in your eyes.  What is it?  Describe the changes.  How do you feel about this?  Take the time to look yourself square in the eye.  Do you like what you see?  Why or why not?

After going through the self-evaluation, it is time to prepare to leave.  Pack up your satchel, being sure to include your Ultimate Boon.  Take a deep breath and look around once more before departing.  How do you feel?

Once you are ready to go, you turn to find your mentor is waiting by the door.  What advice does he/she give?  What seems to be his/her feelings regarding the upcoming journey?  He/she informs you that he/she will not be traveling with you, but if needed, he/she will come to your aid.  How does that make you feel?

After walking you to the door and leading you to your path, your guide disappears.  Face the appropriate direction.  Which way are you headed?  What is significant about this?  Take a deep breath and breathe in the scent of the air.  What smells linger?  What does the smell remind you of?  How does that make you feel?

Begin the trek homeward.  As you walk, pay attention to the countryside.  What do you see?  How is that significant?  Describe what you hear as well.  Is that the song of a lark or the caw of a crow you hear?  How might that be significant?

What is the weather like?  Is there any wind?  If so, is it a gentle breeze, or a strong gust?  What about any precipitation?  If there is any, what is happening?  How is this important?  What does it mean for your journey?

The first three days are uneventful, other than paying attention to your surroundings.  You have been keeping a log of interesting things you have noted as you’ve progressed.  Once you return home, you will revisit all your notes to look for significant patterns.  Nights have found you sleeping out of doors, but you’ve been protected.  There is food in your satchel so that you have not experienced severe hunger.  Everything has been moving along well as you head toward home.

On the fourth day, however, an unexpected challenge arises and may hinder your homeward progress.  What is it?  What stands in your way now?  What tools or knowledge do you possess to help you?  How does this obstacle make you feel?

Using everything in your power to overcome this obstacle, you still struggle.  Unfortunately, with the struggle comes the return of self-doubt.  For a brief time, you begin to doubt that you accomplished anything at all, and that the entire process was a waste of time.  How are you feeling at this moment?

The frustration of not being able to solve the problem has made you grow weary.  Perhaps if you rest for a bit, a solution to the problem will present itself.  Create a bed of leaves for yourself, and take the blanket from your satchel.  Sleep has always been good for the mind, the body, and the soul.  In the morning, perhaps an answer will arrive.  For now, it is time to let it go and try to rest your brain.

Stretch before curling into a comfortable position, then take a deep breath, feeling yourself drifting away into the darkness. Soon you begin to feel yourself rising from your bed in the outdoors. 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 the test that faces you. If you allow it to happen, the solution of the test will somehow come to 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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