It still makes me laugh as I remember the day I became conscious of my folly and rigidity about where/when to relax. I was feeling tired that day and in my mind planned to go home, put a hot bath on, lit a few candles and PHEWWWWW….RELAAAAAAAAAAAAXXXX.
Well this was my intention, but as soon as I got home different chores and responsibilities came forth one after the other. None that I felt comfortable saying no to. I know you can all relate to this! So I got in, the cat was hungry and wanted to be fed, so I fed her…Then a friend rang and needed help translating something (something that would take at least half an hour). Despite my initial thought “Noooo not now” I decided it was only fair to help out. However, the tension that was created at my initial resistance seemed to have stayed with me throughout. When the conversation ended, I put the phone down and with a smile on my face thought – that’s it! I can now go to relax! As I passed my daughter’s room, I heard ‘muuuum’ (the tone that said ‘I want something’), so I hastily opened the door and said ‘WHAT?’ a what that meant ‘Am I still not allowed to go and relax?’ But I quickly put on my ‘good mummy face’ and listened to her and realized that the matter wasn’t going to be a quick one and there was a need for more involvement on my part….as I felt my inner tension rise while watching her talk, I realized the craziness of the situation and cracked up laughing….
This was the belly laughter that comes from bursting the bubble
of a false, stressful belief that had been carried for a long time.
I managed to explain to my daughter despite my giggles what had led me to the point of ecstatic laughter!! She naturally joined in, happy to see I realize my own madness!!!
Why didn’t I start relaxing the moment I was aware of my tiredness and postponed it mentally to when I took a bath? Couldn’t I relax on the phone to my friend? Talking to my daughter? Did I have to mentally postpone relaxation until it ‘looked like’ I was relaxing?!! What a folly!
It is no surprise that this belief – ‘I have to be somewhere quiet with no interruption in order to be able to relax’- has formed in my mind. It’s enough to Google ‘relaxation’ and see what images come up! Everything we have learnt about relaxation and ‘how to relax’ including yoga or meditation have given us the hidden conclusion that relaxation is for those special times, away from the noise and out of anyone’s reach. Although initially, in order to remember what it feels like to be relaxed, it may be necessary to schedule a time to seclude ourselves; in time, relaxation means to incorporate it to our daily life to such a point that it becomes the foundation of all our activities.
Relaxation is for all times
Wherever we are, whenever it is, that’s the time and place to relax
As soon as we feel hurried to relax we’ve lost the point.
Relaxing is not a ‘lack of action in a quiet place’, it is a ‘change of attitude in action wherever we are.’
Releasing the internal energy away from the external world, grounding it back to our inner centre.
There is a Chinese proverb that says:
Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.
In this occasion I think it is as valid to say:
Tension is where you think you should be, relaxation is where you are