As I sat on a beach in the British Virgin Islands I called my 96-year-old mom, Lucille. It was snowing in NYC and I wanted to make sure she was safe and sound in her apartment. After assuring me that I “shouldn’t worry,” I held the phone up to the sound of the gentle waves and described the bright blue sky to her. Mom had been to that same place 30 years before and she described snorkeling from that same beach. The fish were beautiful, she said. I told her she could still visit that place anytime she wants to by closing her eyes and imagining the quiet, serene scene of warmth and sunlight. I want to follow my own advice.
One of the many strengths of introverts is that they are able to get quiet and engage in an active inner life. One way to do that is through guided imagery. WEB MD says “You can achieve a relaxed state when you imagine all the details of a safe, comfortable place, such as a beach or a garden. This relaxed state may aid healing, learning, creativity, and performance. It may help you feel more in control of your emotions and thought processes, which may improve your attitude, health, and sense of well-being.”
Introverts relish being alone. Stepping away from phones, the news and the busyness of life allowed me to step into my introverted side and be present. I noticed the changing weather, the sounds of roosters, the soft breezes, the far away airplane engine and even a barracuda’s sleek lines as we passed each other under water.
Early one morning I walked to a nearby beach. I sat down and leaned against a large boulder. Except for the crashing waves and my footprints in the deep, wet sand I was totally alone. It was exhilarating and so rare an experience in today’s world.
Thanks to the brain’s ability to take me back I will conjure up that scene when I start to feel overwhelmed or anxious. I believe it will become easier the more I do it. I can return to the island and regain the power of quiet. Guided imagery is a gift we all have access to any time, in any place.