I used to dislike guided meditation. Why? Because at the end of it, everyone else would have these amazing stories of the powerful beings they encountered, the deep wisdom they received, the texture and sight and sound they dove into like cool water. And there I’d be, having seen only the pink backs of my eyelids and the essential oils I needed to order for next week.
But one morning, in the sweet space of a woman’s circle led by Honeybee Henderson, I was invited into a guided meditation that was very different. Perhaps I had grown more open, or perhaps I felt safe with these women. Whatever the cause, I found myself in a forest of thick-trunked trees, dappled with sunlight and deep shadow. I approached a little earthen cottage, thatched and sculpted in the manner of cob. Within it were wooden pews, and stained glass, and air perfumed with sweetgrass smoke. A creature approached me, upright and tall as a man yet with the features of a lizard. The lizard creature handed me a golden box. I lifted the lid and found a pendant in the shape of a perfect snowflake. The lizard creature took my hand and told me that this snowflake symbolized boundaries, the idea that I do not have to give my warm heart to all comers, that by remaining centered in myself I retain my unique and spectacular beauty.
When I opened my eyes and returned to the women’s circle, Honeybee was drawing a card for us from her Goddess Guidance deck. She read it out to us: Beautiful doors are opening for you. Walk through them.
I hugged everyone and left, feeling centered and strong, but I found myself quite distracted the rest of the morning. I had set up many appointments and tasks for the day, but one by one they fell through. An advertisement for the Getty Museum caught my eye, the word beauty.
“beautiful doors,” I thought. I cancelled the rest of my plans and boarded a bus for the Getty.
I did not have any money, but as I walked past the museum’s coffee cart thinking how good a cappucino would taste, a woman thrust one into my hand, saying “do you want this? I ordered mocha.” Laughing, I accepted it and sat in the courtyard, sketching the surrounding mountains and marveling. I soaked up art and sunshine, feeling utterly replete with beauty. When I grew hungry, a man approached me and bought me lunch. A museum guard noticed my interest in a particular artist and invited me back to the private rooms to view a recently-acquired painting. Every sense was on high alert. The world was vibrating around me.
On the bus ride back, I grew absorbed in my reflections and missed my stop. When I came back to consciousness I was utterly lost. The driver told me where to make a connection and I stepped off the bus into the darkening evening.
It had grown very cold. I had a sweater in my bag, but even after I put it on I was shaking. A nearby store appeared still to be open, and I stepped into it to get warm while I figured out where I was going.
It turned out to be a new age bookstore, filled with crystals and tibetan bowls. In the back I noticed a display of the Goddess Guidance cards that Honeybee had read from that morning. Smiling, I lifted the deck and selected a card. I turned it over it and read: beautiful doors are opening for you. Walk through them.
Wow. I did not have any money, but I wanted those cards. Unthinkingly I reached into my sweater pocket–there was something there. Sixty dollars in cash.
Laughing out loud, I approached the woman behind the sales counter. She smiled at me as I handed her the cards. “You know,” she mentioned, “our jewelry is 20 percent off right now.” I gazed over at the jewelry display, and there it was: my snowflake. I must have gasped, because she started laughing too as she lifted it from the case.
The saleswoman put my snowflake into a golden box. She handed it to me across the counter. There on her arm, from wrist to elbow, stretched a beautiful tattoo of a lizard.
The sale rang up to exactly $60.
And I no longer dislike guided meditation.