Came up with this visualization earlier this year and it’s been quite helpful, especially when used at the end or beginning of each day. It’s relatively simple and once you’ve got the basics down you can walk through it as slowly or as quickly as you’d like.
Relax however you like. Sit in a chair, on the floor crosslegged. Lay down. Stand on one foot. Whatever.
This is your time now. There are no necessities here but what you deem.
Close your eyes gently and take a few deep breaths. Then let your breath ease back into its natural rhythm.
Breathe the day in. Breathe the day out.
Breathe night in. Breathe the night out.
Let your muscles go slack. You don’t need to be at attention here. You don’t need to be vigilant.
With your next outbreath, find yourself slipping into an Other Place. No longer are there walls to hold you in. No longer lights to hurt your eyes, nor alarms to interrupt you. You’re in an Other Place now.
Slip into muscle and bone, into heart and lungs. Whether they’re yours from the world before or entirely new is up to you. Fill these lungs with your next breath, drawing in clean air from the Other Place. The hint of smoke from a small campfire nearby tickles your throat, but only slightly.
Open your eyes in the other place and see it. See dusk along a beachhead. In front of you, a large lake glimmers in the rising moonlight.
The moon is full here, tonight. She’s gone full for you, in anticipation of your task. And the lake’s gone still.
It must’ve rained a few hours ago – the trees and brush rinsed anew, refreshed, basking in clean luminescence in the quiet moment before growth. The moonlight makes jewels of each leaf, each blade of grass, and the soft wind bids them faintly dance.
The shore awaits you. Walk to it and feel the sand beneath bare feet. The small campfire crackles there, untended but healthy. And the boat sits there for you.
It’s old – unaccountably old or near enough. Wood weathered by voyages and time, carved with word and rune so that no surface is left plain. You get a sense of the boat even as ancient trees swaying along some other shoreline in some distant Other Place.
Let your toes dig into cool, moist sand as your fingers trace along the carvings. Do you not feel a weariness in the boat? It’s old enough that each knot in the wood aches, and carvings can swell and contract with warmth and chill.
In the boat is nought but more brush, sheltered from the rains earlier, dry and brittle.
Raise your right hand to find an object clutched in it from the last day, or week, or year. You brought it through without thinking but inspect it now. Take a moment to think about how it connects with the past. Then place it gently in the boat, place your foot against the hull of the boat, and push the damn thing out into the lake.
Turn back towards that low fire crackling away. There’s a bow alongside it and a quiver of arrows. Pick up the bow and inspect it – notice the freshness of the wood it’s made from. Strum the bowstring – taught, barely been used. Both took some hours to craft by some unseen helper but it’s as if they’ve been made just tonight and just for you.
Pull an arrow from the quiver, but slowly now, carefully. Each has a bundle wrapped near the steel tip that smells sharply of medicine.
You know what to do from here.
Lay the arrow tip in the campfire on the shore of this Other Place, with the moon making a smooth walkway on the lake, and watch the tip flare up like anger.
Careful of the feathers, lay the arrow on your bow and slip the bowstring into the little notch on the back of the arrow, nocking it. Raise the bow upright and slip your fingers along the string, index above, middle and ring below.
Draw the bow slowly and steadily, feeling the muscles across your back take the tension. Stare down the arrow, through the flickering flames on the end.
Find the boat.
The boat of old, tired wood and brush. The boat that carries in it that thing of yesterday, or yesteryear. Feel the string press into your fingertips. Elevate your shot a little higher than you think you need to. Yes, that’s right. And lead the shot a little bit, the boat’s still drifting.
Be present, now. To the drifting of the boat and the flickering down the arrow shaft. Be present to the slight breeze and the gentlest kiss of the arrow’s feather, the fletching, on your cheek.
Hold still. Hold still, now. Mind the arc of your arrow as it travels and see it drip dribs and drabs of fire as it goes. Watch it sink into the boat like a phoenix landing in its nest, the brush flaring in the dusk after that solid “thunk” sound from a successful strike.
Watch the flames grow even as day’s light fails entirely. The day leaves you with the moon, and the fire, and the creaking boat. See the flames creep along the bow across the railings and oar hooks. Realize that thing you brought over, that part of the past, is burning before you. Is singed, is alight, is ash.
Fire more arrows if you like. You won’t run out. Each hastens the inferno but if you just use one and savor the slow creep I won’t judge.
This is your place, after all. And there are no necessities here.
The bow was made for you, and the arrows. You know where to aim it. It’s yours now.
Each day or month or year will there be a boat and a campfire and a shore.
And a moon overhead, and a forest washed anew.
The old boat is gone, little more than swirls and eddies of ash sinking in the water. Yesterday is gone, little more than ash swirling behind your beautiful eyes.
Each time you come will there be a boat.
Use as many arrows as you like.