The power of positive visualization

Some months ago one of my beloved yoga instructors (Jay Yogacaps) suggested that I utilize visualization as part of healing. He referenced a study in which asthmatics who engaged in guided imagery exercises were able to reduce intervention (asthma medication) even though actual pulmonary function did not change. Participants also experienced less anxiety and depression, so one can conclude that it may have been perception that was actually altered. At any rate, although Jay allowed that lung cancer was a different beast from asthma, he felt some positive (and aerobic!) visualization might be worth a shot.

I began this practice that very night, deciding that I would include two friends who are also battling lung cancer in my mental exercise. Initially I imagined the three of us, hand in hand, running along a beach, the waves lapping at our toes. But I quickly switched it up, as we sped through meadows, pebbled paths, and over branches on the forest floor. We climbed trees, dove into a mountain pool, resting for just a moment on some stone ledges. And then, we ran some more–ever faster until our feet left the ground. We were flying.

Remarkably, several days after my first visualization of this sort, I received a card (created by the folks at from my friend Ginger.  It would seem she had read my mind:













I’ve kept up this practice for several months now. It is the last thing I do before I fall asleep each night. Thao, this one’s for you:

We walked, we ran, we flew. We lay on a rock with some lions, because we were not afraid of anything. We felt the warm air, the moon on our skin, the sound of all of life around us. At some point we decided to fly away, and one lion rolled on its back to watch us go. We flew and flew, with the air washing the cancer right out of us. It fell from our noses, our ears and our mouths, and it looked like burned diamonds.


19 responses to “The power of positive visualization

  1. absolutely love this post LInnea. And I love Brian Andreas work. I have this one framed, (I admit, some days easier to remember this than others) “I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, you can start any time now, & then I asked is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.” love you dearly my friend. xxo

    • Lorraine, that is wonderful. Because his work is copyrighted, I sent an email to the storypeople and asked for permission—they gave me their blessing (very gracious). And obviously delightfully whimsical and wise as well.

      love, Linnea

  2. “l”

    I had my first asthma attack at 18 months. Within a couple of years, when I learned to swim, my parents noticed that my symptoms had lessened during the summer. It didn’t take long before they made the connection between controlling my breath during swimming and controlling my asthma. When I had my first serious attack that winter my mother suggested I lay face down on my bed and pretend I was swimming….it worked.

    Keep exercising your imagination. It’s working.


    • B, (good to hear from you!!!) what a delightful image, you swimming in your bed. Your mother must be very sensible—thanks for sharing and I hope that you and yours are most well.


  3. Glad to see you posting again. Even more wonderful to hear that meditation is working for you. My Dr. suggested I try this in the am and pm. It really has a positive and calming effect on life! Tonight I’ll think of you flying with your friends!

    • Betty, it is nice that we have some tools at our disposal that can do no harm (no nasty side effects) and can really only do good. I utilize a mantra during times of stress and it is immensely helpful. I am glad it is working for you as well.


  4. Beautiful post and also love the stories in the comments from your friends as well. There is such power within us all when we channel it the right way. You are such a gorgeous model of this, Linnea — keep flying!

  5. Just beautiful.
    Flying XOXOs,

  6. Love the way you dream!

  7. Love the picture. You always have a good outlook on live. Love you.

    • Hey Joan, it was so much fun talking to you last night–thanks for the call and I will be sending good thoughts your way on friday.

      love, Linnea

  8. Linnea,
    Hope you are feeling better now. I have started in a new trial at Sloan-Kettering. It is a pill, an ALk-inhibitor like Xalkori. I have been on it for one month now. No side effects to date and the mets in my liver shrank by 2cm. The drug is AF802(CH54224802). There is some info on the net, but not much. It is working for me and I feel much better. I would suggest talking to Dr. Shaw about it to see if you would be eligible if you haven’t already. Getting in the trial was not easy. Your bloodwork has to be almost perfect. I’ll keep you up to date after my next CT scan. Being positive is the only way to go.

    • Larry, thanks for the update and congrats on the shrinkage. I assume the drug you are taking is the Chugai ALK inhibitor? At least in the earlier trials, anyone who had been treated with a previous ALK inhibitor was excluded. I am hoping that will change, as it is a drug I have watched with interest. Almost perfect labs I can generally pull off—but I am certainly not ALK inhibitor naive. Keep us posted and may you have a continued positive response (and attitude as well)!


  9. Oh, went to re-read this one and noticed that my comment never showed up. Hmmmm. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but….I LOVE StoryPeople, and on the same day that I read this, was just posting another StoryPeople card/ saying – LOVE it when that happens! And, also a huge fan of positive visualization. xo

    • Marie, I thought your first comment was a little short on content 🙂 Funny story that you were posting a totally appropriate and related card at the same time…


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