A healing visualization: expand your heart & reduce anxiety

In January, a six-month old baby was shot and killed by stray bullets at 3 p.m. on a Monday in Atlanta, about 30 minutes from where we live. Gunfire erupted when two adults got into an altercation outside of a grocery store. The baby was riding in the car with his mom, and their car was struck as they drove by.

The reality of the world we live in can be terrifying, heartbreaking and disgusting. This crime is so senseless and avoidable and yet deeply complex at its root. As parents, my husband and I have been shaken to our core by this news. Yesterday evening, we had a long discussion about fear, loss, generational trauma and how a community can and should respond.

Last night, as I was falling asleep, I started to feel my mind racing about COVID and whether or not we’re taking too many risks; I replayed our afternoon walk from that day and our outside interactions with a few neighbors. I stopped my chattering thoughts long enough to realize that this anxiety wasn’t about COVID at all; it actually stemmed from our discussion about the shooting. In an effort to create a false sense of control over my family’s safety, I started obsessing over something I can control: exposure to COVID.

In that moment, an image came over me that immediately soothed my fear and transformed it into its original state….love. This only takes a few minutes, and I hope you’ll try it if you start to feel overwhelmed.


Close your eyes and take a few slow, restorative breaths.

Check in with your body and identify where you’re holding anxiety. (I felt mine in my stomach.)

Let one of your fears come to mind. Once you’ve identified it, picture it as a black string inside your body. Now imagine pinching that string with your fingertips and pulling it out of your body to remove it. Do that again and again until you’ve collected all of the fears bothering you in this moment.

Look at your handful of strings and say these words to yourself or out loud: “Beings of light and love, I feel these fears because I’m afraid of losing what I love. Please transmute these fears into feelings of love and return them to my heart.” (The words are just a guide; change them or address them to another being that is meaningful to you.)

As you finish saying the words, imagine the black threads transforming, becoming a vibrant red, twisting together and joining over your head into the shape of a heart. Notice the energy of these beautiful feelings and welcome them as they land on your chest and sink into your heart. Feel the expansion of your heart and let its pulsing energy radiate outwards until it reaches every part of your body.

Enjoy this sensation until you feel complete and give gratitude for your transformation.

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