An Imaginary Happy Place

Not feeling it today. But I’m not panicking. I’m beginning to trust the small swings in energy and interest, understanding it isn’t a signal of a permanent disengagement. It’s just rest.

I don’t really know how to rest. Hyper-focusing until I hit the wall has been my modus operandi for as long as I can remember. It feels now a bit like letting go of that rope that runs across the width of the pool just before the deep end. It’s scary and the world seems a bit too deep, too wide, and too exposed. What if someone takes the rope away?

I can actually feel the chlorine water scratching my hose and throat raw. See the blue, cloudless sky.

I can’t remember the last time I swam in an outdoor pool. Or looked up from the water into a cloudless sky. Friday I guided students through a relaxation process and had them imagine that their back was an air mattress and that they could feel the swells rolling under the length of their body.

Then I realized that may not be a universal experience. I don’t know.

I do know that when I listen to guided meditations that tell me to go to my “happy place”, my happy place is imaginary. It has to be imaginary. Sensations out of context: just a cushion of air riding on a rhythm. So maybe they were able to make it mean something to them, maybe it helped them find a safe spot to relax.

Last week I read that they are pulling bodies out of Lake Mead. I laughed just a little thinking about how I have always been afraid of swimming in lakes for fear of coming across a body. The part of my brain still stuck at year 10 wondered for a second if my step-father put them there. If something in me knew the bodies were there. But it’s quite a drive from Vegas to Lake Mead. In the heat. So, no. There would have been a smell penetrating into the back seat of the Buick. But my 10 year-year-old brain is insistent with its “what if”s. Someone put the bodies there – where families go to escape the heat of the desert, and the plastic, neon, and cement of the city.

I’m not even sure how many times we went there to swim. I do remember “going back”. So at least twice. Doing something twice was a lot for me then.

I have spent the last thirty years in a country that is wrapped in felt and damp wool. I traded negotiating the cracks in sidewalks for walking over the moorland that sinks like angel food cake when you step on it. Don’t step on it – use the planks and balance your way over the delicate ecosystem.

Once I was lying back on the moss on the plateau in Hardanger, looking up at a cloudless sky, and an ant crawled into my ear.

Sometimes it is difficult to recognize the difference between contrived demands for our attention and care, and the necessary ones. The threats and the “whatever”s.

I’m thinking I need to be more discerning with regard to what I make concessions for day-to-day. Whom I try to please. Which obstacles are imaginary. What is important.

Sometimes I still find it difficult to live in the world. I don’t really understand it. For example, this morning I was logging my breakfast into cronometer and when I wanted to add prunes, my only option was “dried prunes”.

What other kinds of prunes are there?

I’m taking my bottle of salted water and going to hot yoga now. Here, in this country, I have to go indoors to experience a good, cathartic sweat.

Leave a Reply to tettig Cancel reply