I want to tell you a story today. From a guided imagery therapy session. (I have permission to use this story as this was not a therapy client
So are you seated comfortably?
Then I shall begin.
Once upon a time……
There was a young girl who lived just outside a wood. She was at harmony with the surrounds of nature and loved to wake up to the sound of birds, hear no traffic and be able to enjoy her life to the full. Her favourite thing to do was visit neighbours and potter around looking to see what animals she could see. She fell in love with a fox named Amber that had been rescued by a man. He kept chipmunks and had an aviary full of wild and colourful looking species. The girl used to wonder what they were all thinking when she stood looking at them. They were calm and yet bore no malice to the fact they were locked up. It was the fox however that caught the girls eye and captivated her heart. It looked so scared, so alone and yet so friendly. Over one eye it had a stunning white mark. She would remember the feeling she had when she was near the fox for a very long time. She was told by the man she could not touch the fox, but the girl longed to hold and gently caress/stroke the fox as it looked so lonely. She felt so very saddened by this fact. So she tried her best to ‘say’ to the fox it was okay and she would always come and visit through her eyes. The fox seemed to understand and often blinked very slowly and calmly towards her. Words did not need to be spoken there was a connection that felt good and caring. She often visited the fox and then one day it was gone. No reason was given by the man. She was heartbroken. She put it behind her in time and moved on.
A long time passed and the girl grew into a beautiful woman who continued her love of foxes and many other animals. She moved to a little house near to a wood with a small paved front garden which did not have a fence. The paved area, which arced outside the front of the house had a drop of about half a foot just after it. The ground below was like brown mulch and it spread about in a large arc before the woods that lay behind the house.
Every morning the woman would wake up to birds singing and flittering around the garden, picking up bits of food she would place out for them. She would come out into the sunshine and scatter bits of food for the birds, hedgehogs, mice, rats and voles, and some more substantial bits for the foxes and badgers. She would collect her wood for the roaring fire that sat inside the house and then return into the house for a while and feed her animals and children that lived inside. She would then return to sit in the sunshine in her front garden. She would sit very quietly and watch the animals come to visit her, each of them giving her a knowing nod. They would eat their fill and leave. Some of them even came up to her and seemed to tame. After a few years, the animals were not frightened and quite often the woman would talk to them in a caring way whilst she pottered around and cleared the weeds.
One evening the woman noticed a scabby looking wolf. It was scrawny and looked old beyond its years. It was grey and its hair was matted in places. It sniffed the air towards the house but stayed behind the trees. The woman waited and then slowly went to the house and brought out some food. She placed it at the edge of the garden and retreated. The wolf just stared. The woman decided to go back in the house and watch through the window. Surely enough the wolf came forward and scoffed the food down, snarling and snapping whilst eating and nearly choking on it. It was famished. The woman felt so very sad as the wolf ran back into the woods.
The following day the wolf returned and the woman again put food down and retreated inside. Again the wolf ate voraciously. The woman decided after a couple of days of this to put out so much food that when the wolf ate it would surely satisfy the wolfs hunger. She thought he must have been starved. The wolf came again and this time she connected with his smouldering green eyes, they looked at her like the fox did. She suddenly felt so sad and had a longing to take care of the wolf. As the wolf started to eat he was joined by other wolves who ran at him and bit him and snarled and took his food. He just stood there. When they had their fill and there was no food left he followed them looking forlorn and hungry. He looked back at the woman and she screamed “bastards”. She hated those wolves already. Were they his pack? Did they follow him? Why didn’t they let him eat? She was angry and vowed to take care of the wolf.
So the woman sat patiently and placed out food for the wolf daily. If she caught sight of the other wolves she would shout and scare them all away. She only wanted to feed the wolf with the green eyes. The wolf started to show up at different times and often she would leave the front door open for the wolf to see the cosy fire and hearth, soft cotton rug and old wooden furniture and she would place the food away from the edge of the paved area and nearer to the house. As time went by the wolf ventured nearer to the house and the woman would talk in a soft friendly voice and try to show the wolf that he was welcome. No matter how much food the wolf ate, he never seemed satiated.
The wolf once allowed the woman to see deep into his green eyes and let the woman stroke him before running away. Curiosity got the better of the woman and she followed him. The wolf was so hungry he was visiting other houses around the wood and stealing from any available source. He would climb into sheds and steal someone else’s food. He was so hungry. He would return to his pack and they would all be sleeping. They were all full and fat wolves. If the wolf tried to go near them they would growl in their sleep. The woman wondered why he would return to this? they dint care if he was there or not and when he was they would hurt him. He must have felt dreadful, alone and hungry most of the time. When he was scavenging it must have made his tummy feel better for a short while, but if the food wasn’t given surely it must have tasted tainted?
The woman kept the feeding routine up for a very long time in the hope she could show the wolf that her house was warm and had plenty of food. The wolf did come into the house and often would eat and then sleep in front of the fire looking cosy and relaxed. However, this could only happen if the woman had moved all of the other animals and her children out of the way as the wolf would snap and snarl at anything. The wolf then stole food from her in her own house. Yet still, the woman put food out for the wolf. He continued to eat her food, occasionally letting her stroke him and once or twice placed his head on her knee and looked at her as if she knew his pain. She felt for the wolf and wanted to look after him. He continued his pattern of stealing from other people and returning to the woman. He would never get his fill for the fear that kept him alive was also the very same fear that kept him bound to his pack.
The woman continued to feed the birds, the foxes and the rodents and she took good care of her house where her animals and children were beginning to flourish and change. She had two small elephants that she devoted her time to and loved them very much. Yet still each day she found time to put food out for the wolf and wait for his company. By now he was gaining in confidence and would snap, snarl and bear his broken yellow teeth at any of the other animals that the woman cared for. They seemed to back away when he was there, but soon returned when he had gone. The woman gained much pleasure from the calmer, sweet animals that made her feel wonderful. yet still she wanted to help the wolf. The other animals would tell her he was wicked and she needed to not feed him, but the woman saw into the deep green eyes and she knew she could feed him and care for him.
One day the wolf came and sat by the side of the woman. She was crying and had not noticed him approach. She had found a dead fox and she had realised that she was grieving from her past. She looked at the wolf and saw his misery and pain in his eyes. It matched hers. She had not known where the fox had gone to when she was very little and she was sad. Suddenly the wolf looked scared and then he bit her. She cried out in pain and she cried loudly. The wolf showed no mercy and began to back away towards the house. The woman was confused, sad, angry and felt betrayed. She shooed the wolf away who by now was looking towards the fire and the hearth. The woman screamed NO! and shut the front door. She wanted to kick the wolf hard but was in deep agony from the bite. How could the wolf do this? He ran away in the direction of the houses he used to steal from. The woman bid him good riddance.
The following morning the woman set about building a fence around her house. It was a good fence and It would keep the wolf out. The woman knew this meant that foxes would struggle to see her and she resigned herself to the fact that this may have to be how it is for now. The birds and smaller animals could still visit. The elephants could play in safety and come and go as they pleased and the woman would be safe from the voracious wolf she had trusted. She could see him from afar and feels pity and sadness for him. But she will never feed him again. He may even starve to death. The wolf chose to bite the hand that offered it the most care, love and warmth and in return had now lost that forever. The woman knew that the pack would bite and snarl and never give the wolf what it needed or wanted, yet the wolf made that choice.
I wonder what will happen to the elephants and the woman as time goes by?
As this is guided imagery, the happenings are completely within a persons imagination and from the unconscious so things may change form or name and this just goes to show how powerful this tool can be.