I was at my very first rave in Hawaii with gemstones attached to my face, wearing a dinosaur print hoodie.
A mixed version of TLC’s song Waterfalls was playing when we arrived at the nature preserve late on a February evening. I danced and talked to strangers about their necklaces and felt quite divine.
Eventually the police arrived — as police sometimes do at raves — to deal with an altercation in the parking lot. During this disturbance I sat with a new cosmic friend in the grass behind a line of bushes and felt my heart beat with fear.
He said, “A golden circle of silver light surrounds us.” I repeated the words until I memorized them, the volume of the music rose again, and word went around that the police were gone.
For years now, I carry that incantation wherever I go — in fear, in love, in anxiety, in travel, in rest. Each word feels carefully selected, simple, and correct to me. When I say, “A golden circle of silver light surrounds us,” I feel wrapped in love, bound to my body, and tied to the present moment.
Many years before that prayer found me, I went to an all girls, Jewish sleep away summer camp were I met all of the people I would first fall in love with. There was a wonderful place called Outpost at the top of the hill on our campground where once a session our counselors could sign our bunk up for a campfire and campout under a tent instead of in our regular cabins.
All of my memories of the nights at Outpost ended with a counselor leading us through a light scan meditation before sleep. On Outpost nights I could count on ‘smores (which I enjoyed cooking for other people but did not eat myself), extra mosquito bites, and a dreamy descent into sleep. I loved hearing each counselors’ voice as the years passed, weaving their own variation on these words, inviting me to relax, notice my body, and fall asleep quietly.
A few summers ago I was in Maine with family and the three of us were having restless falling asleep experiences. At that time I couldn’t sleep for more than two hours at a go. My inner world was inundated with phantoms of my own making, constant panic attacks, and a disturbing fear that I would never feel better again.
That was the first time I practiced my own version of the light scan meditation for bedtime, and it helped! The next few nights that became our routine — climb into our side-by-side sleeping bags, light scan together with my narration, and sleep surprisingly soundly. This old light scan meditation treat from my past became a practical tool in the dark night of my soul.
Guided meditations are now some of my best friends. When the prospect of sitting quietly and following my breathing for 5 minutes sounds absolutely daunting to me, guided meditations hold my hand through the initial terror of being alone with myself.
This combo of the Light Scan Meditation and the Silver Golden Light incantation recorded here can be used in your bedtime routine or in the middle of a hectic day when you want to get centered in your body.
If you’d like to listen to the recording offline, you can download this free guided meditation by sharing your email address with me at that link.
After you try this out, please leave a comment here to let me know how it went! If you’d like me to record a guided meditation on a specific subject, the best way to make that happen is to ask : )
Love + Light,