Stressed?… “Calgon, Take me Away!”
Our world is pretty crazy these days.
Do you feel like you’re on the edge, where nothing is certain, everything is scary, and you can’t control what’s happening around you? You are NOT alone! We’re at a cataclysmic point in human history, and it often feels like there’s no end in sight. It makes me wish for the days of the old Calgon commercials… “Calgon, take me away,” sighs a woman lounging back into a big tub of bubbles.
If you’re too young to remember Calgon, this ad represented the ultimate in relaxation for the busy woman who struggled all day to do everything on her list. But at the end of the day, she could call out to Calgon, and drop into a tub of stress-relieving suds.
Ah, that sounds so good!
A bubble bath doesn’t happen much in my world- I’d have to clean the tub, and worry that the water would leak into my neighbor’s apartment below me because it did once and none of three plumbers could figure out why. It also seems wasteful to fill up that tub just to sit there for 20 minutes. Instead, when people or circumstances get me down or overwhelm me, I take a few minutes, step away from whatever I’m doing, and focus on my own fish.
OK, I get it, that sounds pretty ridiculous, right? But just try it… Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a brightly colored, dazzlingly-finned fish. What colors are you? Are you striped, polka-dotted, watercolored, neon, glittery, dark, light? See the details of your shape and size as you to cleave effortlessly through soft, comforting waves of water, creating movements and patterns all unique and totally your own. You are free to explore the endless blue-green watery world, undersea landscape, the sandy bottom, the coral reefs; you are without limits or boundaries, expectations, or obligations.
This is YOU. Your wonderful you. Capable of anything, always.
Let your fish guide you back to the wide-open seas, narrow passages, or the calm nurturing water of your own little pond.
Whatever you need, whatever YOU choose, let your fish take you there, for a few quiet moments… maybe longer.
Somehow focusing on my own fish soothes my heart and mind, slows everything down to a comfortable pace, and reminds me that it’s up to me to stop the madness I feel. I cannot stop the madness in the world around me, but I can stop the racing in my head and my heart. I can choose to breathe deeply, mindfully, in and out, and then again, slower and fuller, feeling my chest expand full to the brim, before letting it out as slowly as I brought it in. After several breaths, in and out through the nose, mouth closed, mind cleared, I can let my fish go, flutter my eyes, and gently return my awareness to the world around me.
The world isn’t any different, but I am. And I remember that I can focus on my own fish as often as I need to in these trying times.