Ask BR Holiday Gift Questions:  What to Get an Anxious Kid, A Grieving Friend, a Dad Facing Cardiac Surgery

Hello again.

Starting around Thanksgiving, we get a big uptick of questions from people who want to give something that they hope will be helpful and meaningful to someone they care about… in other words, some guided imagery. Here’s an early sampling. Unless told otherwise, we change the names to protect privacy: 

Question from Natalia for a grieving friend:


I’m wondering if you offer a guided imagery journey that involves a “meeting place”. It had a transformative effect on my grief. Now I need it for my friend who suffers deeply from the loss of her husband this past year.

Thank you.

Natalia S.

BR’s Answer:

Natalia, our Ease Grief imagery guides the listener to a favorite place, where he or she encounters someone they know, or perhaps a symbolic or religious figure, (it’s fill-in-the-blank) who offers comfort, understanding and reassurance that the pain will soften over time, and offers the felt image that the person who is gone is still residing in the heart. You can listen to a sound sample here: to see if it matches what you remember. (Natalia did in fact confirm in a later email that this was the audio she remembered.)

If so, this would be the one. You may want to alert your friend that it will probably evoke tears, so if she isn’t ready to cry and feel her sadness yet (because maybe she’s got a big party to go to or something else that requires a game face), she can wait until the time is right.

Other meditations that could be helpful for her: Emmett Miller’s Accepting Change and Moving On, Traci Stein’s Self-Compassion, Bodhipaksa’s Harnessing the Power of Kindness, and our Health Journeys Healthful Sleep, Ease Depression, Anger & Forgiveness, and Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal.

If you still have time for sending something tangible, I highly recommend Susan Hannifin-MacNab’s book, the A to Z Healing Toolbox (it’s really helpful in practical, immediately executable ways), or you could just go nuts and give her the Good Grief Bereavement Bundle, which includes some of the suggested audios, plus other comforting goodies.

Best wishes and kindest regards to you both,


Question from a Pediatrician for the Mom of a Very Anxious 6 Year Old:

The Doc’s Question:

Hi Belleruth,

I have been recommending the guided imagery from your website for years for my pediatric patients with great success. Thank you for creating such a rich audio library.

A parent of a 6yo patient of mine who has significant anxiety and possibly high functioning autism reported that after her son listened to Magic Island for the 1st time, during his evening bath, he had 3 hours of calm wakefulness in the middle of the night, which was very unusual for him.  

She waited a few days and then tried having him listen to Relaxed and In Control at bedtime, and noted that his behavior was much worse the next day (more angry and aggressive).  

She had him listen to Relaxed and In Control again the following night, and his behavior was even worse the following day.  

She’s wondering if it is possible that he is reacting negatively to the Guided Imagery?  I’m not sure how to advise her.  He did get sick a few days after the terrible behavior started, so it’s possible that was a contributor.  She’s willing to try it again.


David L, MD

Belleruth’s Answer:

Hello, David. Thanks for the feedback.

I would recommend that the Mom play it safe and just stop using the Relaxed & In Control imagery with her 6 yr old. The author of that meditation is an educator, not a therapist, and sometimes – granted, in rare cases - the difference in approach can be felt by a sensitive end-user.  

So why mess with success?  I would stick with Magic Island. And perhaps she should get him I Am the Sky, another empowering audio that’s similar in style and approach to Magic Island

Thanks for the question and for getting guided imagery into the ears of the kids you treat,


Question from the Daughter of a Dad Facing Cardiac Surgery

Bari’s Question:

Hi Belleruth!

I participated in workshops with you in the ’80s in Cleveland. Now I’m in Durham, gifting your audios to friends in need.

I have a couple of questions:

My Dad in Boston is having MAZE surgery for afib in January (an ablation procedure, where a series of incisions arranged in a maze-like pattern in the atria reset electrical impulses and by doing so, can remediate chronic Atrial Fibrillation). He has treatment for a blockage later. What MP3’s do u recommend for him?

Thanks very much!!!



BR’s Answer

Hi there, Bari. We go back a ways, don’t we?? :) 

For the MAZE surgery, I recommend the Successful Surgery audio which he can bring into the OR with him as a download on his smartphone, or in a self-contained, pre-loaded, all-in-one Playaway, or from our streaming app on his playing device. 

After surgery, I’d recommend the audio for Cardiac ICU & Rehab - and ditto on all the ways he can play it.

Not sure what you mean by ’treatment for blockage’… If it’s a procedure for which he needs to be awake, like stent placement or angioplasty, I would go for the Relaxed & Awake imagery, which was actually designed for cardiac catheterization and then tweaked to include a whole host of medical procedures.

Hope this helps.  You’re a good daughter!  

Best, BR

So that’s our batch for today.  Wishing everyone reading this a very happy holiday, and hopes that you also will receive meaningful gifts that serve you well!