Friday, September 23, 2011


     Being in a relaxed state has never been my strong suit. I do well in physical action. I am efficient and productive. I take pleasure in my work. But when I am busy mentally instead of physically, I feel tension rising in my body, creeping tightness in my neck and shoulders. I stiffen up. I notice edgy energy awakening within me. It's better when I am in the company of others, especially those who ground me, but left alone I notice that I am high strung and wound tight.
     But I want to relax. I have always wanted to be able to relax. I want to wear life like a loose fitting garment and let worry and hardship run off of me like dripping rain, but I can't force it. I have to let relaxation come and welcome it when it arrives; take note of its presence- often in a sudden awareness of light or beauty or quiet. I am grateful to be able to experience meditative moments.
     It occurs to me that I wrestle with the very nature of who I am and what I find relaxing. I make judgments about what should be relaxing to me, and then when it isn't, I feel more stressed than ever, and frustrated. Relaxation, I suppose, is relative. Walking relaxes me, and conversation after dinner, and washing dishes, and driving in the afternoon.
     But if I'm honest, the truth about me is that I am a bit of a type "A" personality, intense and fiercely driven to stretch ever further and to explore ever farther. So much in life excites me that my frequent response is to get charged up and juiced with possibility rather than going at it slow and easy and taking it as it comes. I'm better at that than I used to be, but still a work in progress to be sure.
     For years, I have believed that I could learn to become this easy-going kind of relaxed person, but maybe even wanting that is a betrayal of the very gifts I have been given. I have electrical passion in me. It burns like a hot, low fire and ignites quickly. I rally and then I rally again. And it's ok that this is the way I am. It comes with its own kind of blessing.
     Relaxation may be as individual as we are, and it's definitely variable. What is relaxing to me one day may not be the next. But one things holds steady, no matter what. I am most relaxed when I am fully engaged in being right where I am, wherever that may be, and when I have a sense of gratitude and complete aliveness. I am savoring what is and not rushing to get to something else, or mentally straining in any way. That's relaxing! That, for me, is pleasure and rejuvenation and relief.

I relax into the rhythm of my day. So long as I do not struggle or strain, I can feel at ease no matter what I am doing. It's ok to like what I like and to be who I am.