Iris Mini: Visual Imagery

Visual imagery can be used in many ways to help cope with cancer. It can help you prepare for conversations or procedures, relax if you are anxious, or modulate the impact of cancer in your mind. Most widely it is used in the form of a movie you create in your mind. You are the director and can create whatever imagery will help transport you to a soothing place.

Transport yourself. Guided visualizations are widely available on YouTube and smart phone applications. Here is one example:

A Walk Through the Forest: This script will take you down a path through a forest. You can close your eyes and let your imagination fill in the details as you are guided down the path. The path may look familiar to you, or it may be somewhere you have never been.

Close your eyes and imagine that you are standing at the edge of a green field. You see a tree line where a forest begins only a few yards away. Just on the other side of the tree line, you see a trail, so you walk towards the path and enter the woods. The light in the forest cascades down through the leaves in a soft spray of light. The layers of forest have various textures. The lower undergrowth is soft and green. You notice ferns, moss, and small growths reaching towards the light. The upper canopy of the trees covers you like a stained-glass roof overhead. The light green leaves against the light blue and white sky create a soft, glowing, ambient light. The light is gentle and soothing.

The path winds down a slight hill and curves. It's well-trodden, and you continue to follow it. The path is a combination of soil, roots, and small plants, and it is easy to walk upon. Once you round the corner, you see a stream. You continue toward it, admiring the large trees and the different types of bark on each tree trunk - some with rough bark, others smooth bark; some have light bark, and others dark. As you near the stream, you can hear rippling water sounds getting louder in a constant rhythm. You see the rocks just under the surface of the water; the water swirls around some and pours over others. You sit on a large tree that has fallen over, and you slip off your shoes and dip your bare feet in the stream. The water is cold, but it instantly soothes your feet. As you adjust to the cold, you notice that the water is swirling around and over your feet. As the water massages your feet, you can hear birds chirping, and notice several different bird sounds. You also hear the breeze fluttering through the leaves on the trees. You close your eyes and enjoy the sounds.

After you rest awhile, enjoying your surroundings, you decide that you are ready to leave. You grab your shoes, put each one on, and step to the dry bank of the stream. You return to the path that brought you here and start back up the hill and around the bend. As you walk back, many of the trees seem familiar. You see the bright entrance to your path up ahead. As you approach the entrance, you stop and linger. You turn around and look down the path, taking note of what you see and hear. You can visit this special place any time you'd like in your mind. Finally, you exit the forest, and find yourself in a bright field. You open your eyes and return to your awareness.

Guided Meditation for Cancer Patients and Survivors (Health Journeys - resources for purchase)

Script adapted from: Remedy Grove Forest Script