I liked her the first time I met her. Her name was Patricia, but everyone
called her Pat. I would sit in the big, stuffed chair, she in her office chair.
We would always close our eyes and keep them shut, and waited. "Force
nothing," she would say. We were doing imagery. I remember telling her
we were lying on a bed, but the bedroom was in outer-space. I had just been born. Pat was my mother. I lay on her chest. She nursed me. (I
asked my biological mother once, "Mom, did you nurse me?" She an-
swered, "Yes." I asked her for how many years. She said "I nursed you
once, just once.") Pat and I had many sessions over the following years.
In the imagery work we did, I, of course, got older. As I got bigger, Pat
put me in a stroller and pushed me around. When I got old enough, we
created a bedroom for me where I slept. During one session when I was
still in the stroller, we passed the door of the room. I told Pat I would like
to open the door, so we did. When I look outside, I was stunned. I said
to Pat, "This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!" I exclaimed.
I tried to describe to Pat what I saw. It was a garden, the most beautiful garden I had ever seen. All kinds of different, beautiful flowers! They
were iridescent, glowing. Pat asked me what I thought they meant. With-
out hesitation, I *******,"It's the rest of my life, Pat! It's the rest of my
life!" When you work with imagery as a therapy modality, most people
use the phrase "guided imagery." I didn't like that phrase, because it did
not describe correctly what Pat and I were doing. I liked the phrase "un-guided imagery," which I coined. That's exactly whar we were doing.
"Force nothing," she had said. Once Pat put me on her shoulders and we
went outside for a walk into the village nearby. (We had returned to Earth.
This is what can happen in unguided imagery.) Pat walked through a grove
of trees and eventually wound up on the sidewalk next to Main Street. We
passed a homeless man standing near the entrance of a pastry shop, which we decided to enter. Pat bought some cookies. When we went back
outside,Isaid to Pat I'd like to give a cookie to that man who was still
standing where he been standing. We went over to the man and I gave him
a cookie. He said, "Thank you." When I got a bit older, Pat and I were in
the living room that had become part of our imagery. She sat on the floor with her back against the wall. I was standing at the other end on the living room. Suddenly, I took off running toward Pat and jumped into her opem
arms. I was thrilled. The next time I did a flip in mid-air, then landed into her opem arms. Then next time I bounced off the wall and landed into her open arms. Then I did multiple flips in the air before I landed in her open arms. I was having the
time of my young life. I had never felt so happy. For the first time in my life,
I was being loved. Even though all of this was happening in unguided imagery, emotionally I was feeling, and receiving, the real thing, love--in
fact, unconditional love, the greatest gift a parent can give her/his child.
Pat and I had many, many more wonderful experiences in doing unguided imagery. I could feel Pat's love for me. Because I finally experienced unconditional love, I finally was able to love myself. A blessed man was, and am, I.
Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate od Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a port and a human-rights advocate his entir adult life.