The Secret Garden in the Woods
One morning while sitting on my yoga mat beside my pond, while breathing deeply, completely relaxed with my eyes closed and mind clear, I decided to go for a walk in the woods. I wanted to create a magical place where I was free do something I loved – gardening – but I wanted to make it a very, very personal place, a place just for me!
Read below and transport yourself there now with me as we go to the garden in the woods.
You Walk down a path that leads through the forest. As you walk along this path you look straight ahead and see an opening a green field, then you look to your left and see a wall of thick pine trees with an almost unnoticeable path leading to it.
(Start this meditation by breathing deep and slow. This is a familiar place, a place you have been before. Picture yourself walking down this path through the woods, towards the opening to the green field. Fully go there, take your time and enjoy the walk and when you ready, turn to your left and see the wall of pine trees.)
As you walk closer to the path, you notice that this is an illusion. This is a secret path through the pine trees, a secret passage through to a hidden place beyond.
(Imagine walking on this path and it slowly exposes itself to you. This is a path to a secret place, see and make this as real as you can.)
There is a zigzag cut out of the tree limbs, and as you entered you could smell the fresh sharp scent of pine. You make a turn to the left, then right, then left again. There is an arch way just up ahead of you made up of twisted vine and covered with yellow and white flowers. You walk towards this arch way and you can see nothing past the entrance; it is like a liquid mirror, and you only see yourself in the mirror.
(As you walk towards the entrance, what to you smell, how do you feel? Are you excited, or scared? Feel every emotion, think about how you would feel and then allow yourself to feel everything as if you were there.)
You take a deep breath and walk through the archway, and you are amazed at what is waiting on the other side. You are transported to a magical place! Straight in front of you is a massive pond, a 20 foot circle with a wall of rock framing the edges. There are five water spouts shooting water high into the air. At the back of the pond there is a slow running waterfall, the water gently running down and passing through the slick and mossy stones, landing with a calming splash in the water below.
(See this pond and use everything you have learned about bringing in all your senses to really travel to this hidden place. What do you see, hear, smell, feel? Use every tool you have and see this magical place.)
There are yellow water lilies floating in the pond. As you walk closer, stop to watch the goldfish swimming under the cover of large lily pads. The goldfish are fast and they race each other through the water. The fish are not too big, only about 5 to 6 inches long, but they are the most vibrant orange you have ever seen.
There is a path around the pond on both sides, and each side is framed by a larger stone wall covered with honeysuckle vine, yellow and white flowers in full bloom. You can smell the sweet scent as you walk around the pond.
The path around the pond is paved with well worn cobblestone and covered with green moss that almost seems to glow. You walk to the left of the pond and noticed that there is a large garden behind the waterfall.
(Now as you walk past the pond, see all the detail, smell the honeysuckle vine, feel the mossy rocks under your feet as you walk around the pond.)
There are raised planter boxes, rows and rows of them as far as your eyes can see. You walk forward into the garden and off to your right side you see there are watering cans, gardening gloves, waste paper bags, garden tools and a hand pump for water just up against the wall.
(What does this little work station look like? Is there a shed there, maybe a work bench? See this and make it real.)
You move forward and see that five of the planters have been weeded and well cared for. You walk over to the work station and take some gloves, a paper bag for waste, a hand cultivator and a small shovel. You walk over to a planter box that has not yet been weeded.
(See this planter box, the wood it is made from, and the plants that are within it – they can be any type you’d like.)
As you stand in front of the planter box, you pull the gloves on. (Alternatively, you could leave the gloves off and get a feel for the dirt and weeds you are now going to touch with your hands.) You then start pulling out weeds that are intertwined between the plants which are just starting to take bloom.
(What do the flowers look like on the plants you are weeding around? See them and stop the work to bend over and smell them, make this experience a slow and enjoyable task.
Take the time as you pull out each weed to think about your actions, and feel good about freeing the plants from the weeds castrates. You are now freeing yourself at the same time, letting go of your stresses and being proactive as you do so. You are pulling out these weeds and freeing the plants to grow and flower.)
The soil is rich and black, and you carefully pull the weeds out. You can smell the dampness of the soil and it is soft to the touch. You work your way around the one side of the planter and place the weeds into the paper bag.
(Feel the freedom of placing the unwanted weeds in the trash.)
You work your way to the other side and start pulling out the weeds. (Concentrate on the job at hand, nothing else; each weed is special and needs your full attention.) Work your way to the end of the planter and again place the waste in the paper bag.
Take a walk around the planter now and have a good look, making sure you have got all the weeds that were growing and taking up the space that plants are now free to grow in. Once you are satisfied with your work, take the bag back to the place where you first got it from.
Now take the hand cultivator and gently fluff up the soil surrounding the plant. Work your way around the box, taking your time and making sure all the soil is turned over.
(Take your time and really see the fruits of your labour, picture the rich soil and maybe take some and hold it in your hand, breathe in the scent of the damp earth and enjoy this moment.)
Walk over to where the water pump is and take a watering can and place it under the pump. Grab the handle and begin to pump the handle up and down. After about the fifth pump the water explodes out of the end of the pump and fills the steel watering can. You carry the watering can over to the planter box and slowly tip the can. The water cascades out through the many holes and waters the rich soil below.
(See the water now, smell rich dirt as the water hits the soil and intensifies the scent.)
Take the time and work your way around the planter box, making sure that each plant gets it’s fair share of water before walking back and placing the watering can back where it came from.
You stand and look at the planter box and feel good about the job you did weeding and caring for it. You turn and walk back towards the hand pump to wash your hands.
(You feel proud of yourself, your planter box looks amazing and you feel amazing as well!)
You turn and start walking back towards the pond and as you walk you breathe in deeply, exhale slowly letting the air just pass out smoothly from your lungs. You look at the wall of honeysuckle vine and make sure to once again take a massive inhale as deep as you can to experience the rich, sweet smell and enjoy it fully. You reach the side of the pond and stop. You watch the fish swim, listen to the stream of water calmly falling, then hitting the pond with a soft splash.
(You are in no hurry to leave this place, empty your mind by truly seeing, hearing and smelling everything. Breathe deep and long, living in the moment you have created in your own mind.)
After a while (when you are ready) slowly walk past the pond, through the magic vine arch way. Once again you are now walking through the wall of pine trees. You walk through the zigzag path cut out of those trees which keeps this place hidden from the world. You continue on down the path which lead you there. As you walk on the path, it eventually rejoins the original path that leads you in to the forest. You turn and although the wall of pine trees is there, the path leading to it slowly disappears before your eyes.
(See the pines, and the path slowly disappears.)
What a wonderful place the secret garden is, and you will be able to go there anytime you’d like as the path will always appear when you walk by it. You continue to walk to the end of the path where you had entered. When you are ready, open your eyes and end this meditation.
Throughout my day after doing this meditation I will occasionally just close my eyes and breath deep and remember how I felt while I was in the secret garden. I will try to remember scents and images and get lost in the moment again. Sometimes a good meditation like this one will give me days of peace while I am at work, or if a stressful situation happens and I feel that I have to care for myself I will bring back the feelings, the imagery all of it! The wonderful thing about guided meditation is that you can go back to these places any time you’d like.
The way in which you use this meditation can be very healing. You can imagine that the planter is your life and that clearing out the weeds is clearing out the bad things in your life, you give the situations the time they need and then pull them out. You free up that now open space for positive growth, and not only that but then you care for yourself. You cultivate the dirt and prepare it for new growth, you take the water and you feed the plant (yourself) giving it the life-giving gift of water. When the water hits the dirt, new things start to happen!
When you start to care for yourself and invest in your own healing and growth amazing things happen and soon you will flower and grow big and strong! Soon you will fill the new, empty space that was left when the bad weeds were cleared out with new growth. I love using physical examples of growth when healing and investing in my own health and well-being. We are all alive, just like a tree or a plant, and we all need to grow to become who we are meant to be.
Practice this secret garden meditation and make it your own, truly go there and cultivate new growth for yourself!