Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Readers who know me, and who have a particular talent for visualisation, might want to steel themselves for the following account of relaxation and work at not imagining the scene in any detail.
Trying to soothe away the incessant chatter in my head, I remembered a relaxation technique I had found useful before; it is particularly good if, like me, you live in a frenetic household where distractions abound and the chances of drifting off into any form of meditation are slim to none.
The idea is that you simply notice the sounds around you, so lying in a warm foamy bath with the water lapping round my shoulders I closed my eyes and listened. You start off with the sounds closest to you: the gentle crackle of bubbles popping over the surface of the water; then the sound of breath slowly drawing in and out through my nose - a sort of hiss as I inspire and a broader deeper sound as I expire. Next. as I extended my awareness away from my warm pool, I noticed the plip, plip, plip of water in the toilet cistern and the pinging of expanding water pipes as hot water coursed through the radiators.
As I slipped lower into the deep water so only my head was above the soothing suds, I heard the gentle murmour of conversation against the muted sounds of early evening television. Even those normally urgent sounds seemed relaxing as I noticed that I couldn't make out the content of the conversation, just the general tone.
I heard the front door open and mused that T had returned from the gym, sure enough moments later came the dulled whine of the hand blender as he whizzed up his protein shake. I smiled to myself as the waves of mundane family life washed over me - it was good that the things that sometimes can make up a hectic family life were now the backdrop to a lovely deep relaxation.
I allowed my mind to drift out of the house. There were fireworks in the distance - what were they for? A special birthday? or just for the fun of them perhaps. Cars passed nearby with a sigh as I lazily submerged my head and enjoyed the altered muting of sounds, and drifted wondering when to bring my reverie to a gentle close...
Bang, Bang, Bang!
"Jeez, dad. 'Ave you died in there? How long you gonna be, I'm bursting - hurry up"
My heart tried to climb out of my throat, as I tried to climb out of the bath, depositing most of the watery contents onto the bathroom floor.
Deep breaths - in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out...
By way of a post script, I was hypnotised yesterday by Georgia - now that was relaxing I recommend it.