RELAX: an introduction
Relax. You have just made the decision and have begun reading what follows, a relaxing half-page of writing, entitled "Relax." So relax. Our lives are, of course, hectic with all the bus schedules, soccer games, and angry bosses and so someone, someone either very dear to you, or perhaps someone you do not know very well, or maybe, perhaps, your doctor, has recommended something that you have never heard of before since you dislike yoga and meditating, or have tried them and or unable of relaxing during them, or have tried them and were very good at them but now can no longer find the time, inclination, or money to do them. The thing they have recommended to you instead of all this is to read a bit a writing, a free bit of writing that relaxes you, a remedy of words like some powder to sooth an itching soul. It could have been a poem you like, or a mantra, or what follows. And here you are reading this, the introduction to the bit of writing entitled "Relax". So stop all motion so you can focus in on the words in prep for what follows. You've made this decision. You may be skeptical at first, but have tried the entire regular over the counter botanicals, and perhaps some of the regulated more seriously addictive chemical agents, and are, of course, like everyone else, at wits end, so you say yes to this coming page. Or perhaps you're simply reading this as something that has been passed along through an email, on a blog, for an hour a reprieve at work, or perhaps you are reading over your lover's, mother's, boyfriends, daughter's, son's, or neighboring bus rider's shoulder at this introduction wondering what's to come next. Nevertheless, here you are, reading these words and expecting to be relaxed by what follows. Already associations of relaxing things have filtered through the back of your mind when you read the title of the coming poem through mere suggestion, and if they have not, they will soon. Things like waves at the beach, palm trees, fresh linens, or perhaps a fine bottle of Riesling, whatever it may be that relaxes you, and that has planted a seed, a solemn, gentle slow growing seed that these coming words aim to nourish, a seed which you, in your busy lifestyle may be skeptical of. But have no fear. Here it comes.
Calm down. Take a deep breath. You're already here, reading these words, relaxing more and more even though you might not be aware of it. You have already made that decision. Your eyelids are drooping down to read this sentence. Your heart rate has slowed as you take a minute to stand still and let your brain filter in this message. Put your feet up if you can. Trust me. If just for a minute and that's all it takes. Imagine a soothing voice. Now you are not closing your eyes, but you are forgetting where you are, hearing nothing but silence and these words, and imagining a clock. You're picturing the clock floating in space before you and only a clock. It can be any type of clock you wish as long as it shows the seconds. I don't need to know what kind of clock you picture. Let it be a wrist watch, pink that your daughter wears, an alarm clock you had as a child, a wall clock in your grandmother's kitchen or the doctor's waiting room, or grandfather clock you have never seen or any other type of clock. But you have the clock in your mind's eye. You focus in on it. The second are ticking by. Let your eyes zoom in on the seconds going by, and notice it ticks by slower the more you stare at it. And then even slower. And then slower...And slower…Until finally it seems like it takes an eternity to reach the next second. Then at last you think it has stopped. It has not stopped but it is ticking by at an imperceptibly slow rate. Stop holding your breath and slowly, slowly, so as not to disturb anything, breathe in. The second hand still hasn't ticked. Pay careful attention to the words your reading. Continue reading and breathing but at a slower rate: Let these words be as gentle as the smallest wave at the beach polishing the white pebble of your heart round. Let these words be the aloe to any internal starving itch festering inside your chest. You have just stepped off an airplane and gotten your first satisfying drag of a cigarette. You have just realized it’s a Saturday and you get to sleep an hour extra in. Relax. A road with its yellow dashed line appears in front of your headlights. The monotony of a flat beach to the east stretches before you. You're in your PJ's and you're on the open road alone. You crack open the window and just the gentlest of warm sea breezes blow in. Time has officially stopped. You're free. Now go. Go now. Or don't, just linger. It's up to you. What are you going to do? But know that you are free to make your own choices in this world, and nothing, nothing, can stop you from willing each of your decisions on your own. Time is about to begin again, with real life and all its problems -- we are, after all, almost at the end of the page. When you reach the bottom, you are going to do whatever you want to do and you and only you will be responsible for the decisions you make. Keep this page, forget about it, return it to its owner, throw it out or recycle it. You decide. Make an airplane out of it or an origami swan tattooed with these words. Cut this page up or tear it in half. It's only a sheet of paper. It's just you and these words written upon it. Here is your first decision. Go on now. You've reached the end of this page but the beginning of what comes next. You are not hypnotized, and definitely not dead yet, but you are free.
-- I thought of hypnotism at first with this assignment. But my existentialist leanings made me feel it (hypnotism and writings that command the reader) fascist, and certainly not relaxing. Tried to find a happy medium. Will probably take out lines from this first attempt and completely start over with them, in a completely more poem-ish type of form, afresh. Anyway, see ya Saturday, and perhaps with something completely different!