Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Where is Your Happy Place?

I have a few of them, and remembering them today is a wonderful way for me to find a "quick fix" when I am feeling anxious; a common theme these days as I struggle to deal with taking another break from work to battle my demons. 

Writing about them helps me 'get back there' and it has been a long time and I didn't realize I miss visiting them and the power they have to create a positive impact on my physiology.  

One is high up in a broad leaf maple that sat on the corner of my property as a kid.  It's like Mother Nature designed that tree for climbing; so many time swinging mt leg over the lowest branch and hooking my foot around the branch beside to pull myself up,  that the branch was worn smooth by the oils and friction.



Often, I stretched out on the lowest branch, my back against the trunk---to branches on either sides, my arm rests. and just sit.  Other times, I would climb higher, up to a wide part of the trunk that reclined ever so to cradle my body and head and I would look up through the sun dappled leaves and the flashes of blue sky above.

The leaves were so thick, my mom couldn't see me up there and I often escaped from whatever perceived injustices I felt and hid among the leaves and wind.



Another space that always provides comfort was from about the same time in life.  I had gone to a boy's house to play after school.  It was a small town.  He was my first real crush.  His parents still live in there; yellow bricks, brown roof....



We went for a walk behind his house where they had just begun construction on a subdivision and the field of tall, wild grasses had begun their end of summer fade to seed.  We followed a path of crushed stalks to a small hill and looked out over the area, our jackets whipping our legs in the breeze.  Crazy how our small town was growing.

Back among the tall grasses,  warm from the August heat and sheltered from the wind we took a seat and spread out our jackets.  I remember lying back and closing my eyes, the pink glow of the sun through my eyelids; the sun warmed earth, waves of whispering grass rippling above, freshly turned soil, straw...

We didn't talk much. Or if we did, I don't remember.  Life just flowed....interweaving the peace and joy of the simplicity of nature with the first feelings of attraction and so wanting to be close to him at that precise moment. 

The sky above, the earth below---the wind, the warmth, the smell of warm grasses, being with someone....instead of feeling small among the world...I felt part of it....connected....love...peace....

The awkwardness of being 12 overwhelmed the moment, but the painfully awkward thrill of first love only enriches the memory now, a spark of potential and excitement that fades sometimes with the routine of life.  

So when I remember the place, I remember him...and how the whole thing made me feel...

Alive...

Today, I saw this  picture on Facebook. Another memory--another gift to unwrap.

This was the picture I saw.

Wyseria or wisteria....
Outside our side door, in our fenced backyard, was a grey concrete slab patio. each corner marked by thick, square wooded beams that supported overlapping, panels of corrugated, acrylic overhead.  

The valleys of the wavy roof, discoloued by settled rain and debris filtered sunlight on summer days that dappled the concrete in dancing greens.

Ornamental shrub interspersed with fiddle head ferns lined the perimeter softening the concrete edges. 

But the magic came from the gnarled, woody, branches that snaked their way up the posts; tapering to smaller vines,  from which dangled pendulous explosions of violet.  

And the smell...light and sweet and...of honey and freesia and sunshine and fresh laundry.

Wisteria.

In the summer, my dad would move a table (which now sits in my kitchen) out onto the slab and we would have Sunday brunch seated under a canopy only nature could create. The Sunday brunch tradition continues, on the same table, just inside my kitchen, but.....

I had forgotten this one, until I saw the picture today, and as I search for a common thread to these "happy places", I ask myself...what was it about these moments that stand out so vividly for you?  What feelings do they elicit? 

The next step is to read these again.  Tomorrow.  To take note of how they make me feel.  If memories can be so detailed and vivid and bring such peace, do I need to find more experiences like this to feed my soul, or can "recreating" these moments during "relaxation" meditation be enough?

The search continues......to get to find the missing pieces.

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