Maple Tree

Guided Visualization: The Falling Leaves

Place yourself in a relaxed posture. Be aware of sensations in your body, particularly of any physical discomfort you might have. Allow peacefulness to enter that part of your being. . . .

Do the same with your spirit. Let go of any tension you might be holding inside of yourself. . . . Gently bring to rest the busy things in your mind. . . . Allow your whole self to slow down and become still. . . . Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Do this three times. . . . Gradually sink into a quiet place of gentle comfort and ease.

Imagine you are entering into the season of Autumn. You are sitting on an old swing of a cottage porch which is nestled in a forest. As you sit there, you feel the slant of the autumn sun warming you. . . . A calm mellowness fills the spirit of the place. . . . You look around and your eyes take in a vast array of color. The wide-branched oaks display their rust and wine leaves. . . . The sugar maples are bedecked with brilliant orange and red. . . . The cottonwoods and elms show forth their creamy yellow. . . . The autumn scene before you looks like a huge bouquet of flowers. . . .

As you breathe in the invigorating air, you rock back and forth easily in the old swing, content to be within this serene space. . . . Now you focus on a magnificent maple tree. Notice how the leaves have changed from summer green into vibrant autumn shades. . . . See how the breeze tumbles them in ones and twos and threes, sailing them to the forest floor. . . . Watch them for awhile as they depart from the tree. Follow their journey from the branch to the ground. . . . Imagine what it is like to be one of those orange or red maple leaves, falling from the tree, leaving its home on the branch, drifting into the empty air, falling to the hard ground below. . . . What must it be like for the leaf to stop moving in the breeze and to no longer feel life pulsating within it?. . . .

As you sit on the swing, you begin to daydream. You imagine how it will be for the maple leaf as winter comes with its harsh breath. . . . the colder air. . . . the long, dark nights. . . . fewer strong rays of sunlight. . . . You envision the vast amount of waiting, the uncertainty of what is happening. . . . You sense how the leaf begins to fall apart as it lays on the ground, perhaps hidden under a layer of snow. . . . you see how it slowly disintegrates and becomes a part of the ground on which it fell. . . . You can actually feel the surrendered stillness of the leaf as it loses its leaf-ness and unites with the earth. . . .

Winter finally fades away and spring steps in. . . . You join with the changed leaf and receive the fresh rains. . . . You feel the delicious, warm rays of sunshine moving through the soil. . . . And now the leaf that has become part of the enriched earth senses something stirring. . . . A tan maple seed in the soil of the disintegrated leaf is breaking open. It is beginning to stretch itself upward toward the light. . . . This tiny shoot of new life moves steadily in the direction of the light above the soil. . . . and a thin root from the seed starts its journey downward. . . . You have become so much a part of the seed’s journey, it is as if you have died and are also experiencing the stretching new life coming from the maple seed. . . .

You leave your reverie and become aware of yourself again, sitting on the porch swing, observing the autumn splendor. . . . You remember the journey the leaf took in your daydream as it fell from its secure place on the branch. You recall how the leaf became one with the soil, how it brought its goodness to blend with the richness of the earth, and from this, came new life. . . . You ponder your own life’s journey through the seasons and recall an experience that caused you to let go. . . . What was the new life that came from your own dying process? . . .

Is there anything now that keeps you from fuller life? . . . Pray to have the courage to let go of whatever might be holding you back from becoming more fully the person God longs for you to be. . . . Give yourself in trust once again to the divine Giver of Life. . . . Now gradually leave the porch swing and come back to this time and place.