Judy Gould - Leading the Relaxation & Visualization Program
Riding the Waves of the Breath...
I have been facilitating the Relaxation and Visualization drop-in program for several years now both at Wellspring Westerkirk House and at the Women's College Hospital locations of Wellspring. My experience is that this program can be quite helpful for learning skills to cope with the many thoughts, feelings and difficult experiences that come with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Each week the complement of the group is different. Typically though, participants include men and women with a variety of cancers, some who are newly diagnosed, others who are months or years away from diagnosis. We gather for 90 minutes to share the common experience of seeking peace through 20 minutes of a guided opening relaxation exercise, where we focus on our body, thoughts and breath and where we imagine riding the waves of our breathing. We then have a half an hour to talk about what has been helpful and what has been difficult about coping with cancer and then we participate in a guided 25-30 minute visualization. Some people do not "see" in the visualization so I encourage folks to focus on what sensations in the guided scene they might hear, smell or touch.
From wherever we have just come from in our day - perhaps a medical appointment, a hurried or smooth morning with the family, a harried or gentle ride on the TTC - we have a chance to sit in a supportive circle and look inward. We have an opportunity to bring moments of calm and peace into our day and, over time, into the daily functioning of our lives.