Leaves on A Stream

From the Mindfulness and Acceptance Workshop for Anxiety by John P.  Forsyth and George H. Elfert

Click on one of the different audio files below for a quicktime video:

Guided by Alex Prior, LICSW  2:26
Guided by Sue Morris, Psy.D.  2:38
Guided by Rachel Fish, Psy.D.  2:46
Guided by Emily Wheeler  2:33

Start by getting centered and focus on the breath as you’ve done before. Just notice the gentle rising and falling of your breath in your chest and belly. There’s no need to control your breathing in any way...simply let the breath breathe itself. Allow your eyes to close gently.

Then, after a few moment imagine that you’re sitting next to a small stream on a warm autumn day. As you gaze at the stream, you notice a number of large leaves of all colors, shapes, and sizes drifting along, each at its own pace., one by one, in the slowly moving current. Allow yourself to simply be there for a moment, watching.

When you’re ready, gradually bring your awareness to what’s going on inside you. As you do, gently notice and label each experience that shows up...thoughts, feelings, sensations, desires, and impulses. pay attention to what’s happening in your mind and body and then label what’s going on. Perhaps one of these thoughts is “I don’t have time for this.”

As each thought, feeling, memory, or impulse comes along into your mind, notice them and gently place them one by one on each leaf passing by. Observe as each leaf comes closer to you. Then watch as it slowly moves away, drifting along as it carries the contents of your mind and body out of sight downstream. Return to gazing at the stream, waiting for the next leaf to float by. Continue placing each thought, feeling, memory, or impulse on its own large leaf. Watch each one as you let them just float away downstream.

When you’re ready, widen your attention to take in the sounds around you. Open your eyes and make the intention to bring gentle allowing and self acceptance into the rest of your day.