Thursday, 4:37 pm. Home from work. Slumped in chair.
My hands are on the keyboard, but after sorting and delivering mail for 550 customers on an 80 mile route, I’m barely moving. Gotta do it again tomorrow, so I’ll be in bed by eight tonight. Dishes dirty. Cats hiding from giant dust bunnies—must vacuum. Pile of laundry. We’re out of groceries. The local farmers are eyeballing my lawn. Its almost tall enough to cut and bale. Bookshelf-painting project half done on the front porch. Oh, and rats! I forgot, we’re out of dog food!
Whew. Do you ever wish you could make it stop? Or even sloooooowwww waaaaaaay doooowwwn? Maybe an hour or two when you don’t have to think about all that needs to get done—when you’re not already half way into tomorrow and its plans? I call it “living ahead of myself.”
I have the sense that the world—and our lives--are not supposed to go by in a blur of “can’t-keep-up-itis”. Bad news. I can’t make it stop, or even slow down.
But I’ve found a secret. Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know, but just in case, I’ll share. I have to make me stop. My secret is in the brief moments when I can savor the sensuous.
Now mind you, I’m from Kentucky—buckle of the Bible belt—and in my upbringin’, the word sensuous meant sin. For the record, Webster defines sensuous as “…gratification of the senses…having strong sensory appeal…” I was in my mid thirties before I figured out that God gave me these senses—and how healing it can be to simply stop for a moment and feel. Listen. Taste. Smell. Ever had a massage, or just savored a shampoo, cut and style when the stylist massages your scalp for a few minutes? Ahhhh.
Tonight mine will be a bubble bath—cool water with Sandalwood Rose scented oil, and one tea candle in a red cut-glass holder on the vanity. I’ll set the timer so I won’t linger too long, but for that half hour I’ll shut the door on the entire overwhelming world. I’ll close my eyes and smell the scents, lie back and listen and notice the smallest noise—how many birds can I hear tweet outside the window? The neighbor down the road calling his dogs. Now and then I’ll hear the candle flame spurt or fizz as it drips wax. Even the faint sound of the bubbles dissolving, if I focus on it, has the power to bring me into the moment. Into the now.
Sometimes my savoring is as simple as a glass of wine with dinner instead of the easier, quicker glass of water. Sometimes it’s stopping long enough to put Sinatra on the CD player rather than taking whatever the radio spits at me--including the screaming, ranting BUY YOUR NEW CAR HERE HURRY ads.
On nights when I don’t have to turn in early, I’ll have a glass of chilled chardonnay in the tub, maybe a little bowl of sweet cherries or seedless grapes (or chocolate truffles-mmm).
As a writer I live too often outside of myself anyhow. My body mows the lawn but my mind is with my heroine fighting for her life or hero struggling with his soul’s demons. When I smooth on yummy lotion and dig my toes into a thick alpaca rug ( I keep it on the towel rack just for this reason—because it’s decadent—silky against my skin) I won’t go there. I’ll focus totally on the moment. Coming to the present keeps me sane. I do it by indulging my senses in these small ways. It works for me.
How about you? How do you slow down and unwind? Do you have little rituals like mine, or moments that you steal to keep yourself going when the world is after your sanity?
(Hint: This weekend the visitors to the Bandita lair will get the opportunity to hear from a Regency Earl named Sebastian, and a Victorian Lord named Nicholas. I’m guessing—actually I’m certain-- they have their own ways of savoring the sensuous. Why don’t you stop by and ask them about it? (wink) )