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 awakening in your bed in your very special place. Stretch cat-line in contentment as you look around your room. Admire your favorite possessions and embrace the familiarity of being home. It almost seems as if the long journey was a dream, and yet you know it was not. Get out of bed and go to each of your special items and remind yourself of why it holds this status for you. Who or what does each remind you of? How does the memory of each make you feel?
Everything is so familiar, and yet you can sense of difference in the air. The difference is not with the place; it is within you. How have you changed? Do these changes make you think or feel differently about being home? How does this make you feel? You realize that your return has left you with an obligation to share what you have learned with others. How do you feel about that?
While you are perusing the room, a pleasant, tantalizing scent wafts in the air. You are suddenly greeted with, “Well, I’m glad to see you’re finally back!”
Turning around, you find the one person with whom you wanted to share your experiences sitting at the table. A hearty breakfast awaits you, and the table has been set for two. Who is this person? Why is he/she the one you with which you most wish to share your tale? How do you feel upon seeing him/her? What has he/she prepared for your breakfast in honor of your return?
Greet this person with a big hug before sitting down at the table. The two of you enjoy the wonderful food, and he/she listens to the tales of your adventures. How does he/she react? What does he/she say about what you’ve learned?
“You’ve changed,” he/she observes. As you continue to talk, it is apparent that he/she approves of the changes in you. How does this make you feel? What does he/she remark about the changes?
As you continue with your meal, it is obvious that he/she is becoming more and more wistful with the description of each adventure. For a moment, you think that he/she is no longer listening and has begun daydreaming. Question him/her about it. How does this reaction make you feel?
His/her response surprises you. He/she tells you that he/she had been contemplating trying something new, but was unsure of whether or not to proceed. However, after hearing your tale, you have awakened in him/her the courage to take that step forward. How does this make you feel? What is it that he/she would like to do? How has your story impacted him/her? What can you do to help him/her get started? You can feel a change taking place in your relationship to this person. What is it? How do you feel about this change?
After finishing breakfast, you talk for a bit more before he/she arises to leave. He/she has many plans to make, and is eager to get started after listening to you. How do you feel about that? He/she gives you a big hug and says that he/she will return soon to talk with you more. Say good-bye and open the door for him/her. When you do, you discover that there is someone else on the doorstep that was just about to knock. Who is this person?
Say good-bye to one friend as you welcome your newcomer. This new person is also a good friend, and you are glad to see him/her. This person, however, does not seem to be as pleased to see you. When he/she enters, he/she barely returns your welcoming hug before taking a seat and turning to you with, “So. You’re back.” The tone carries something negative, but you can’t quite put your finger on what is wrong. You’ve been so close in the past and are puzzled by his/her reaction.
“So what did you do while you were off on your vacation?” he/she demands. Again, the tone sounds condescending and puts you on your guard. What feelings are going through you? Why might he/she be acting this way?
Try to remain pleasant with this person who obviously isn’t. Cheerfully describe your adventures just as you had earlier. Somehow, though, based on his/her stiff reaction, you begin to feel as if you’d done something wrong by going on the journey at all. Where is this feeling of guilt coming from? Why do you even feel guilty at all? You’ve done nothing wrong, although this person obviously believes you have. What do you suppose has led him/her to the conclusion that your journey was a bad thing? How does that make you feel?
As you talk, you hear yourself downplaying certain parts of the adventure. Why would you censor yourself? Which parts do you downplay? Why? How does it make you feel to know that you cannot share your entire experience with this person because it obviously makes him/her upset? What has caused this chasm in your once-close relationship? How do you begin to feel about yourself as you hear how you downplay your experiences?
His/her comments are repetitive, and all he/she seems to say is, “Oh. Uh huh. How nice for you.” How does this make you feel? Why do you suppose he/she is acting like this?
Before long, the conversation becomes too unbearable for you to stand. It seems that the only way to talk to this person is to change the subject entirely and try to talk about something you have in common. However, resentment has begun to build in you, and you find your end of the conversation as stiff as his/hers. How do you feel about this change between you two? Is there anything that can make things be the way they used to be when you were close? How do you see the relationship evolving?
As the conversation becomes more uncomfortable, your companion decides that it’s time to leave. At this point you are filled with conflicting emotions. This is someone that you care about, and yet his/her reaction to your journey has left you filled with negative emotions. What are these emotions?
After he/she leaves, the negativity still hangs in the air. While you know that you’ve done nothing wrong in following your call to adventure, your friend’s reaction has left you feeling as if you should not have gone. Ask yourself once again if there is something that can be done to heal the relationship.
You decide that the events of the day have left you tired and confused. You were so happy to share with your first visitor who actually seemed inspired to begin his/her own journey. Revisit those feelings that reinforce the positive aspects of sharing your experiences. Knowing that there is nothing you can do at the moment to change the way your second visitor views your journey, keep your focus on the positive. In your heart, you know that change involves the risk of displeasing those who do not invite change into their own lives. The change in you has changed the relationship, and the change in the relationship is uncomfortable to the person who wished to maintain the status quo. Perhaps, with time, he/she will come to accept what has changed in you and the relationship can grow. If not, are you willing to bear his/her resentment at seeking personal growth?
For the remainder of the day, pour over the extensive notes you took while on your journey. What observations do you make? Pay attention to the types of plants and trees and animals you mentioned in your journal. How were these significant at that point in the journey? Fortunately, you own a book of symbolism. It is a rather large volume that sits high upon one of your bookshelves. Bring it down and begin to look up the significance of everything you wrote in your journal. Even though you have returned, these symbols have lessons to teach you. This is an activity that will bring you much pleasure in the future as you begin to analyze your journey and its significance to your personal growth.
The activity calms your mind and alleviates the negativity you’d felt earlier. You know in your heart that this journey was the best thing for your growth and that no one has the right to negate that growth, no matter who he/she is. Feeling better, you tidy your place after your visits and prepare a simple supper for yourself. Now how do you feel about being home?
Relaxed and calm once more, you decide that it is time to go to sleep. 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 your two friends. Send them both positive thoughts and energy and know that your journey was right for your personal growth. This realization 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.