Poké, garden

Single-channel HD video, sound, 22 min, 2017

1 min excerpt.


Exercises*
by Brynn Hatton

With your eyes shut, take several deep breaths, and imagine you are walking into an elevator.
Press one of the buttons and go down seven floors.
When the door opens, you will be in a beautiful garden.
Picture the trees, flowers, the grass. What color is the sky? Is it a brilliant clear blue? Or is it laced with cheerful clouds?
Feel the air’s temperature in the garden, the way the air caves in around your belly and neck.
Does the air feel light or heavy on your skin?
How are you dressed? (Does it matter?)
Is it warm or cold? (Beautiful gardens are never cold) (That’s obvious)
Take off your shoes. What is the earth like beneath your feet?
Do you see a pathway of stone or marble?
Are there waterfalls or statues?
Any animals?

Take a minute to look around in all directions and notice what else is here, where else you can go. Where can you go?

You can find all the answers you’ve ever desired in this place, if you imagine the right seat of knowledge.
Imagine a bench or a wicker chair, go into a greenhouse where there is a hammock.
Go inside your mind. Find a place.

Spend a minute exploring around this place and make a commitment to visit it often.
Return your attention to your breath and take five slow, deep breaths, taking yourself to exactly where you need to go.
Remember, this is where the answers live.

Now, from your seat, ask yourself:
What am I most afraid of?
What aspects of my life need transforming?
What am I most afraid of that someone else will find out about me?
What am I most afraid of finding out about myself?
What’s the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself?
What’s the biggest lie I’ve ever told someone else?

Now imagine yourself going back into the elevator and going down ten floors.
When the door opens, this time you will see a very dark and desecrated place.
Make it the worst place your mind can possibly conjure.
Take in all the putrid smells, the grating noises, the seeping filth, the cruel displays of torture, self-inflicted and otherwise.
It may be in a cave, or in a swamp filled with cockroaches and rotting bodies, the trunk of a car, or trapped halfway down the stuffed esophagus of a slithering, sweating beast trying to consume you.

Now look down into the deepest center of this hellscape you’ve created in your mind.
Do you see the person down there, writhing and scared?
This person is the lowest version of yourself.
Try to see and sense and feel everything about this person: how you look, how you smell, how you are, what you say.
You might take up all the space in the center of this desecrated place, or very little space.
Are you invisible – a sensation, like lurching nausea, or shooting pain?
Are you an empty, deep hole surrounded by teeming shit and noise?
Are you yourself the shit and noise, a secreting, bleeding, screaming mass, careening through an otherwise endless, blank silence?

Approach this terrible being you have created in your mind, and look at her. Don’t look away. Look right at her for at least seven, uninterrupted minutes. Don’t look away.

When you have taken her in completely,
Float back up to earth.
Open your eyes.
Take another slow, deep breath.
Take another.
Take another.
And when you’re ready, close your eyes, go back in to the elevator, and ride back up to your garden.

Find your seat where the answers are, and summon the image of your darkest self to sit there beside you.
Hold this pitiful thing in your arms.
Tell her that she is safe, and that you are going to spend time understanding and learning to love her, even though you’re scared of her, even though she is an abhorrent stranger, spilling over out of every orifice with unspeakable terrors.
Spend as much time as you need, and don’t be upset if the stranger does not want to be embraced, if she spits on you, or screams, or runs.
Go back and try every day until she does.

Here we are, shadow and light, a couple of silver spoons.

When you have visited with her enough that day, allow her to float away, knowing you can always bring her back.
If you miss her.
And when you’re ready, come back into your room.
And start your day again.
And again.
And again.

*Text adapted from the self-help classic The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford (1998)