Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Autumn/Winter 2006. Copyright 2006. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.
Winding down after a demanding day often means turning on the television, pouring a drink, or breaking into a pint of ice cream. A more productive, healthy way to chase away tension, anxiety, and the daily blahs is meditation. Here's a meditation designed to help you quiet mind chatter, focus inward, and explore the limitless realm of your heart and soul.
You're outside for a walk, going nowhere in particular, just walking for exercise and enjoyment and to get your thoughts clear on changes you're making in your life. Perhaps you feel a bit disconnected, as if you've outgrown something and you're searching for a new sense of direction, a new way to grow. It's a beautiful autumn day, and the changing leaves on the trees are colorful and vibrant.
You notice a little leaf that has fallen to the ground. It calls to you, asking to be noticed, wanting to share its essence with you. It's beautifully unusual, and has hues of orange, red, and yellow.
Picking it up--perhaps feeling a bit sad at first that it has lost its connection to the tree--you soon begin to realize that it is following its course of direction and purpose, beginning a new journey that ultimately leads to renewal and growth. You compare this leaf to yourself and to the changing seasons--to the changes in life. Perhaps you are going through changes in your life, perhaps feeling a little sad and lost yourself as you make changes, let go of connections, and prepare for new directions. Perhaps you've outgrown something; now it is time to move on and explore new options.
Perhaps you're unsure of your direction. You look at the leaf and notice it is ready to move forward in its life cycle--saying goodbye, letting go with love. You admire its courage, knowing you must find that same courage within yourself to move on.
You relate to this leaf and feel a deep inner sense of kinship and familiarity with it. Like you, the leaf has outgrown this particular connection. You look at the tree it has fallen from and feel a sincere gratefulness and appreciation for the growth this leaf has experienced, for the growth you've experienced, for the connection that enabled you to grow and flourish and now to move on to a new direction in your life--a new course of exploration and growth.
You begin to explore your inner essence, going within yourself to see the changes you're contemplating in your life. You're ready to revitalize yourself, allowing the budding and blossoming of your soul as it renews itself from deep within. Gloria Chadwick is a writer and meditation teacher with more than thirty years of experience. This meditation is from her text
Inner Journeys (Llewellyn Publications, 2006).