Yes, I know it’s shitty advice. A lot of the time we just cannot take five minutes out of our day to do something nice for ourselves. We are stressed out with work, commuting, family, prior obligations, kids, those extended warranty calls, that friend of ours who just keeps making sad choices, political arguments on social media, really stressing out about are we good enough. what the hell we are doing with our lives, and why sometimes it feels like not a goddamn thing ever goes right.
When I was into rock climbing, I had a teacher who was an excellent climbing instructor. He always used to warn us about “getting into that corner”. When you are climbing, you often go for the easy foot and hand holds. The path almost tells you where to go when you are on a pitch. The bummer is that sometimes, those nice foot and handholds take you right into a corner in the rock face. Then, you either become a better climber right then and there and try to figure a way out of it, or you scramble, slip and hope your buddy is on belay, because you’re about to go bungee jumping.
It’s not always easy avoiding corners. We get stuck in them all the time. So often that it feels like that’s where we live and when we are busy falling, we aren’t figuring out how to get out of them.
Lately, I’ve been stuck in my own headspace. If you are a regular reader or know me personally, you’ll know I’ve got a lot going on. So much in fact that my therapist’s reaction to a 45 minute screed of what is going on in my life is usually her just letting out a deep sigh. We’ve all got a lot going on in our lives. Those damned corners creep up all the time and we find ourselves attempting to keep climbing up, with a big ass ceiling right against our faces.
I’ve been working a lot, and recently I posted about how my life might sound boring because all I do is talk about writing. Yes, that’s my first mistake, worrying about what other people think of me. Among a thousand other worries.
So, the other day, I stuck a sticky note on my computer and anytime I feel my stomach clench up, I look at it. It reads thusly:
“I don’t need to worry about this.”
So, as I chase my dream, I also tend to worry about whether or not I’ll be successful. I’m working my guts out to write this book, to work on travel writing, to market myself, blah blah blah. That’s only some of it.
So, I just look at that note. A LOT.
Today, I looked at the note and decided I needed to bring out the big guns. I needed to sit around in a hot spring for a couple hours and sous vide myself into submission. I put my phone on silent, drove an hour into the mountains, made the obligatory Facebook FOMO post, and turned it off again. I visited with strangers until they were less strangers. I just sat. I just freaking sat. It’s amazing how quiet my mind felt after a while of that. I watched other people reading books, jabbering about where to get the best weed, some were having a dance party in a pool while wearing headphones. And I just sat and let the hot water draw all the stress out of my body. I let me Geralt of Rivia vibe fly. No fucks given. Just sitting in a hot pool of water.
The Romans used to do this, and they had an empire that stuck around for a long time. That’s the picture for this post. The Roman Bath’s at Aqua Sulis! The water I was in today looked just about that disgusting. haha
It took about three hours. Then I treated myself to a plate of green chile fries at a place in Granby, with a tall frosty bottle of Coke.
I drove home. Took a nap with Penny. And caught up with friends when I woke up.
This was a big present. Usually it’s just coffee. But today it was this. I needed it.
I hope whatever you are doing, whatever is stressing you out, you take time to just decompress. Disconnect. Relax. The purpose of play is action without purpose. And sometimes it’s very little action. The first hour I was there, believe me, it took everything I had in me to just. be. still. But eventually it took hold.
This is why I always annoy the hell out of my friends by telling them to be kind to themselves. We are often the last people we think of when we are doing all that giving. It’s the season of giving. Give yourself something nice.