On a recent weekend in April, I found myself exhausted. Not the kind of exhaustion you get from lack of sleep. No, this was the emotionally drained, I’ve felt too much, dealt with too much, can’t do any more kind of exhaustion.
I decided it was time for an Enough Day. This was a concept I was lucky to meet up with in bodywork school (thank you Diana). It’s a day when just waking up is enough, no plans or accomplishments beyond that needed. It a day just to be…and see what unfolds. Pajamas encouraged.
I wanted to take the day to just relax. Ha!
Picture me on the sofa, drained and “relaxing,” while my mind keeps asking, “What are we doing? What are we doing?” and my wired body buzzes. Maybe you’ve been there?
Yeah…when I get myself into these places, I know my body needs a little help getting out of them. I often turn to nature. Camping for a couple of nights would have done it. Wading into the ocean waves for a while might have, too. But those involved getting off the couch, which wasn’t happening.
That’s when I remembered my somatic therapist’s suggestion to watch nature videos with the sound off. Just let yourself watch, he’d said, and check in with your body. That one seemed manageable.
I found a gorgeous production of coastal waterways, muted the TV, and started watching colorful fish dart between reefs. The fish captivated my attention, but in a soothing, slightly hypnotic way. From time to time, I checked in with my body.
The first thing I noticed was my body gasping for breath. Every few seconds, it would take deep, gulping breaths, as if surfacing from underwater. Guess I hadn’t been breathing much.
After a while, the gasping stopped, but my body was still buzzing. Ocean kelp came on. It floated in sunlit water, a slow tidal motion. My breathing slowed. The buzzing stilled.
Coastal waterways rolled into Amazon rainforest, which rolled into desert savannah. At some point, I fell asleep. When I woke up, my cat, Mara, sat rapt in front of the TV watching lions hunt.
I laughed. A few minutes later, I started wondering why there were five tigers together in a troop…weren’t they solitary animals? My thinking mind had kicked back in. That was OK, though. I felt much better. Mara and I played bat-the-birdie for a while. It was enough.