Thursday, February 05, 2009

Take A Moment


If you're like me, the last six months have been crazy scary. You know what's been happening around the world, so I won't go into it. No matter what I did to keep my spirits up, turning off the news, stopping my RSS feed from MSNBC, and exercising (yes, you read that correctly), I'd still found myself heading toward a funk. For those wondering what funk means: 2) a dejected mood (1735-45) per Dictionary.com.

On a CD about thinking positive, the narrator tells me whenever I start to feel that way, I should think about something that makes me happy. It can be my children, a favorite pet, a special day or whatever you believe will pull you from the edge and keep you on an even keel. I love my kids, but they're grown and I get sad because I miss them. I see one every day as she works with me and the other, I see every other weekend, but it's not the same. All my pets are gone or dead, and with the way Steve and I love to travel, I don't foresee us getting one for many years. Well, you can see how it's going.

So I told myself I had to have something that would make me chill (youthful slang here, might be out of date now though). I couldn't think of anything until last week. Friday was a rough day and I felt my blood pressure hit the roof to the point it scared me. I wasn't mad but upset about a couple things. Anyway, I knew I needed to calm down. So while I listened to the CD again on the way home, it came to me.

When my maternal grandmother was still alive, she owned a home with a wrap around porch on three sides. In the front, she had several white rocking chairs and a wooden swing. From the time I was five or six when she and my granddad moved there and whenever I visited and the weather permitted, I would sit on that swing. Grandmother taught me how to sew and cross stitch on that swing. My cousins and I would giggle until we cried while on that swing. I'd watched rain pour from the eaves while snuggled up to the pillows and reading on that swing. I'd ate homemade ice cream from hand churn buckets while on that swing. I'd listened to Northern Bobwhites and swatted at flies while sitting on that swing. My mom has a dozen pictures of me sitting in that swing.

So Friday, I sat on my couch and closed my eyes, imagining myself sitting on that swing. It was a beautiful clear day. Through my memories I looked at the gray painted board beneath my feet, the front entrance with the dark screen door, and the line of rocking chairs. I smelled the dust from the dirt road and the newly mowed grass. Grandmother's flowers were in full bloom and the bees were buzzing. I was there. I was a preteen again with little to no cares enjoying the peace and quiet.

I actually felt my blood pressure drop. My flushed face cooled off. The high strung feeling melted away. I had found my special place.

What's your special place/memory to help you forget your worries, to mellow?

5 comments:

Karen Beeching said...

Wonderful blog. My most peaceful place was a huge apple tree I used climb when I was growing up. This thing was huge. Old. There was a section of branches that all came together and I could stretch across those on my back, staring up through the rustling leaves and watching the clouds in the big blue sky. It felt like nature holding me in its hand. I used to do this for hours as a kid and even as a teen, thinking, wishing.

When I need to center again, I often think of that tree all by itself in the middle of my neighbor's hay field.

And porch swings are great too.

Thanks for the reminder, Carla.

Christine said...

Oh Carla, what a beautifully written post. I can picture the swing and the wrap around porce perfectly. Sigh.

I know how you feel about the stress levels and anxiety. Just as I find my happy place, a worry will hit. And we just moved so there's that stressor as well.

For me, writing is an escape. I also love old movies, musicals, and reading when I need to decompress. And we also have the Wii Fit--you know I just love the little Wii Mii family. I go upstairs, do a fake hula and my Mii family is playing with me (my hubby and daughter in Wii World).

When I was a little girl, I used to hide in a cubby hole, and we built forts in the spring. I remember one where there were all these honey suckles around us as walls. It was lovely. And we also had a place at a friend's house that was flanked by a weeping willow. I love weeping willows to this day.

And sunshine. Regardless of how cold it is, if the sun is shining, I feel an instant lift.

JoAnn said...

Beautiful, Carla. I wish I had a memory like that and a place like that to go back to in my mind.

When I was in high school, I would come home from dates with my boyfried and sit in the dark living room by myself for hours. I know that sounds weird, but there was something so peaceful about it. There was this one big chair that my mother had and I could curl up in it almost like a cat. And I would just be quiet and stare through the window at the occasional headlights lighting up the trees in the front yard. Or watch as branches shimmying in the breeze made the street light flicker.

I don't remember what I thought about during that time. It seemed to be a way to clear my mind. I guess it was some form of d.i.y. meditation. :-) Maybe I should give it a try again!

M.V.Freeman said...

I actually look at the mountains, that makes me happy. Or I have a quiet moment for myself.

I'm actually fighting a funk myself, so I am very much feeling your pain Carla! ;)

I love what you wrote, and thos pictures make me wistful for warm summer days and mint juleps...(ok, never really had a mint julep but it sounds cool)

Diane Richmond said...

I usually dive into a book to gain my inner peace and escape life's pressures. Lately, I call or e-mail another of the three amigos and that helps as much as a long cool adult beverage, without any residual headache.

Diane