I have been doing imagery work for almost a year. I used as a guide the book Reversing Cancer Through Mental Imagery, by S. Benyosef. On page 118-121 is an exercise called Knight of Armor.
By now I had done the exercise many times. And many different thoughts and feelings were experienced and some I noted in the margins of the book. But this time was very different and Ken insisted I go write it down.
“Close your eyes.”
“Imagine that you are carrying the weight of your sickness on you like a metallic armor.”
In earlier readings I saw my sickness as cancer. This time it occurred to me that it was really all the issues, problems, behaviors (mine & theirs) that have hurt me; a whole life history of stuff that I carry around like heavy armor.
“Nothing can rid you of it”
Indeed, only I can, as we shall see. Even though I am on a trek to find the “lake that cleanses everything” that sits in the Garden of Eden. But, clearly, it is not the cancer sickness that will be cleansed.
I trudge along into a valley an on a path with a cliff on one side and the other a view of the ocean.
I have always seen the cliff as rising on my left, not dropping down. Today, for no apparent reason—just to see if I could, I switched direction, with the cliff to my right. This is my life’s journey: hard places to climb or passages that are difficult to travel, but always at a distance is the ocean view, representing peaceful goals or possibilities.
Then, I am “walking on a very narrow path bordered by a wall.” Everytime I assumed the walls were on both sides of the path…of me. Over the walls sweet scents come from the trees. This time I focussed on a fact that I had noticed other times but dismissed. The walled path is piercing into a larger enclosed space, like driving through a circle on its diameter. An image comes to me of a kidney shaped garden. And then I see the map of Israel with Judea and Samaria in the shape of a kidney and the inserting path eastward aiming at Jerusalem. That is where this garden is somehow. That is where I once thought I would find my new home.
As I near the gated entrance, I am increasingly tired. “…the weight of the armor is exhausting you…difficulty breathing” (asthma). I discard my helmet. (The head of family; my father) and then my arms and chest (Larry, the first husband); and then the knees followed by the legs (the rest of my burdens: return to US, finances, 2nd marriage; Rachel’s changes and hospitalizations; pre-normal empty nest, hardships in Western MA, etc); and the boots are removed when I take hold of my life a bit and lose the extra 60 pounds I had accumulated, go into therapy with Ken.The arrival of the ovarian cancer seems to be a culmination, perhaps a call to arms (armor) or perhaps a call to stop and do some serious reckoning.
When I throw all these pieces of armor over my shoulder, as instructed, They form a body of armor on the ground behind me. The gate ahead is hard to open, like the rest of life. But, as I write this, I realize that cancer may be the gate and “if the door opens on its own (for me), go through and say ‘thank you’.” Gratitude and humility is what I prepared for through the FA program and what cancer further impressed on me.
“Describe what you see.”
Other times I saw a collage of many famous paintings of the Garden of Eden in every style, from every time. Later, I saw a blurr of green, all out of focus. This time I see a small hillock with one tree on it (like an illustration from The Little Prince by St.Exupery). Unclear vegetation of no importance at a distance.
“You are now walking on a very smooth path, looking for a body of water.”
Makes me smile, at the obvious: I went from my discarded body of armor to searching for my body of water. And the path is not smooth, but very smooth. Is that “very smooth” sailing from now on? The path circles around the little hill. On the other side I find the lake at the “junction of four rivers.” This time, they do not form an X or a cross, as I had imagined before. They come from the other side toward the center of the lake. They are facing me in a fan shape. Streams of influences perhaps?
“Dive down into the water, staying down as long as you can hold your breath.”
Three times I must descend like that. Four rivers fanned out in front of me; this delineates three spaces between them. Each river corresponds with each intake of air before the underwater descents. The last time, I go down I must “find something that is there for you. Take it and keep it.”
Each time I did the exercise I found different things. The first time it was a fountain pen (to write my story, perhaps). Then I found a water logged piece of paper; a small black spiral notebook; light weight slippers (for the next journey); and once I found nothing at all. The message that time was there is no tool outside of myself. This time, I found a shadow. I took it up with me.
“Ascend…what are you wearing now?”Always something thin and white. Once or twice, it was obviously a shroud.
“…choose a tree that appeals and sit underneath.”
There is only that one tree so I climb up and see under it. I observe all the living beings around me and then look at the object I “have brought up from the depths.” It is my shadow, in the shape of a body. Yes, it is the body of a shadow. A body of armor. A body of water. A shadow of a body. “What is the message it is telling me?” The heavy armor is gone and has left just a shadow of my past experiences. A shadow is light and I can carry that to the end. But not the heavy destructive armor; that body is important to let go of.
“Leave the garden…rest at the edge of the sea…look at the beauty of the ocean and the infinite sky.”
The garden is the sanctuary at The Center (Jerusalem). We cannot live there. Neither could Adam and Eve. The edge I go sit at is on that same road I took earlier: the cliff behind me, but the ocean view before me. And the vastness of beauty and infinity are my present “journey” which leads toward my peaceful future. This journey is not heavy nor treacherous.
Unburdened, the past hardships are only a shadow of their former selves.