Picture This

Gretel's hard at work visualizing

I’ve been playing around with visualization lately. Much like my experience with wheatgrass, I became intrigued about visualization after reading Inconceivable by Julia Indichova. I’ve mentioned this book before and I’ll probably mention it again, so much so that you may begin to think I’m obsessed with it. Which I am, a little.

Here’s the idea behind visualization: even if you’re not literally doing the thing you’re imagining, it still works because your physiological response is the same as if you were. For example, when you have a nightmare, you wake up and you’re sweating and your heart is racing, even though you were in your bed the whole time. Your body’s response is the same as if you were physically in the nightmare world. So if you picture yourself lazing in a meadow and feeling at peace, you can still obtain that feeling, even though you’re nowhere near the meadow. Or if you’re imagining your body to be mega fertile, then you can make it so. Or at least help it along.

I’m using visualization for fertility, but the cool thing about it is that you can use it to help with anything: stress, depression, illnesses, whatever.

But let’s get specific. Because this would not be a complete blog post unless I made it weirdly personal. So I’m going to walk you through my favorite visualization exercise. The CD I own is called Fertile Heart Imagery (also from Julia Indichova…I should start an official fan club, no?) and the name of the exercise is Sacred Choices. In Julia’s words, “This exercise can be quite useful when you find yourself obsessing about statistics and so-called realities that might feel overwhelming.”

Obsess about stuff? I don’t know anyone who does that.

The exercise goes like this: Picture yourself walking out of your house. When you get to the street, look to the left and see a street sign that says Infertility (or any other word you want. I was using Amenorrhea when I wasn’t getting a period, but you can name your street whatever). Take note of the people walking on that street. Check out the buildings, the store windows, the weather.

When I look down that street it’s always raining. The sky is grey. The sidewalks are made of stainless steel. Doctors are walking around in white coats, generally ignoring everyone or else handing out plastic cards with stark diagnoses written on them. The stores are selling dusty baby bottles and empty boxes of diapers. The other patrons on the street are crying or wearing stunned, confused expressions.

After taking in that whole scene, you look to the right and see a street sign that says Hope. Again you notice the weather, the vendors and the buildings. On my street of Hope, there are gardens lining either side of the street, filled with rainbow-colored roses and zinnias. The weather is sunny and warm. Babies are crawling everywhere (don’t worry, no car traffic on this street) and one of them, I know, is mine. Dudes in carts are giving away wheatgrass smoothies. The people on this street are happy and they’re all making their way towards a fountain at the end of the street, which is bubbling over with cool, healing water. My favorite part about this street is that Tim is always there waiting for me with our two dogs. He’s smiling at me and the look on his face says, “What are you waiting for?”

Once you finish visualizing both streets, you choose which direction to walk in.

I did this particular exercise every day, twice a day, for two weeks straight. After I’d completed it, I was usually smiling. I felt calmer. And, yes, I felt more hopeful. Most importantly, I chose to feel that way. I didn’t let my anxiety choose for me.

This exercise is so ingrained in me now that whenever I start getting upset about the world of babymaking, I just picture my street of hope and my mind is quieted. Is it a fool-proof, cure-all technique? Of course not. But it helps.

So which direction do I choose? I’m heading straight to Hope Avenue.

I’ll see you all there.


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