White Sky, Clean Countertops

I’m in a mood today.

No, no, don’t run away. I’m not in the “Come closer my pretty and I’ll eat your little dog too” kind of mood. More like, “the earth is still” kind of mood. Other than my cherished city sounds (dog barking, ambulance wail, rumble of the El among others), I feel kind of like the planet has just screeched to a halt on its axis and is now taking stock on what’s happening below.

This will pass soon I’m sure. In fact, I’m guessing that the shrill ring of my phone will do it in nicely. Any second now my little handheld receiver will erupt on my desk and the muscles in my legs will jump and my stomach will start to grumble and there goes my peace. Probably for the best. If I stayed this way for long, I’d undoubtedly be asleep in no time.

For right now though, it’s lovely. I have nowhere to be but where I am. If I don’t want to mutter a word aloud to another soul? I can do it. I did it once for 36 hours and it was heaven. Like a monastery in my head.

I feel guilty for feeling such peace. The way you feel guilty for planning a wedding while others are planning funerals. It’s not in my nature to revel in quiet and contentment without wondering if you’re lucky enough to have the same. Such is my cross to bear, the combination of an overactive imagination and near-crippling empathy. If I’m feeling melodic and serene and wistful, then dammit, you will too.

I understand you’re stressed. That there’s a list of to-do items buzzing in your head like a swarm of hungry bees. While I can’t take the List, I can give you a nudge towards a few minutes of quiet and relaxation.

You will need:

– 30 minutes

– A cucumber

– Spring water (must be purified at the very least. Not relaxing to sip tap water and wonder if there’s something floating in it that might eventually kill you)

– An Internet connection

– A robe

Step 1: Prep

Slice cucumber thinly and drop into a pitcher of spring water. Add ice cubes and chill. You can substitute for orange and lemon slices if you’re feeling cheeky.

Go to Pandora.com. If you don’t already have an account, shame on you. Hang your head and let one tear of regret slide down your cheek (what we in the soap opera world refer to as “The Marlena Tear.” Ok, not as much “soap world” as me and my mother). Log on and visit this link. On the left you’ll see a list of stations. Select “Spa Radio”. (Or if you’re a Pandora pro, just search Spa Radio under “Find a Shared Station.”)

Revel in my weirdly eclectic mix of stations. Yes, sometimes I like to listen to a little Meatloaf.

Revel in my weirdly eclectic mix of stations. Yes, sometimes I like to listen to a little Meatloaf and then '60s girl-group pop. Don't judge me.

Shut off the phones, hide the remote, close out of IM or iChat or anything else that people use to talk to you without preamble or beyond your control. Log out of your email. Keep Creme open, of course. We’re as soothing as a soft breeze. Communication is the enemy now.

Step 2: Relax

Put on robe. Wrap a towel around your head while you’re at it. Play your new Spa Radio station. Remember why Enya has so much money. Take a sip of your cold, fresh cucumber-tinged water. Close your eyes and remember why you are who you are. Why that’s good. Why it’s enough. You are enough.

And don’t forget to say “Thank you, Ollie.” (Especially those of you recovering from an almost-shark attack over the weekend.)

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