Saturday, July 12, 2014

Relax into it

Every so often my daughter - who is prone to anxiety - gets so tense that she can't relax herself, so she gets headaches and backaches that can't be touched by anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers or electric massagers. That's when she asks me if I will give her a massage.

It's something I used to do a lot when she was having regular migraines. 

So I get her to sit down in a chair in front of the dining room table, with her arms resting in front of her on the table and her head resting upon her arms. She knows "the drill" - the unspoken request for her to fight her natural instinct to tense up when I start to massage a tender spot. Tensing up only makes it hurt worse in the long run. So she has learned to "relax into it." 

Photo "Oil Massage" courtesy
of samuiblue at

And the massages take far less time as a result. I can literally feel the knots loosening under my hands and fingers as I work. She accepts a certain amount of discomfort, knowing that when I am done, the pain will be far less than when I started. 

It's a lesson we teach each other. I've been taking her example as I get into a different season in my life, one of waiting. I find waiting so incredibly hard. 

Yet I spend the vast majority of my time doing it. 

Just now I'm in transition, extricating myself from one university program to migrate to one in a different university that (even though it will take longer) will give me a more usable degree when I am done. The process of change is stressful, but already I am seeing myself with more time on my hands, and having that much free time is a bit of an adjustment for me after spending almost every spare waking minute studying. It's too early to apply for the new program, so in some ways I'm twiddling my thumbs. This (believe it or not) is tension-producing. I'm learning ... slowly ... to 'relax into it' and let events unfold as they unfold. For someone who historically has had to know what was going to happen for the next five or ten years in advance, this is a relatively new skill. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. Good words. 

Good words to remember as this week (Wednesday) we try to find a way to celebrate (and survive) Arielle's birthday. To know that that particular day marks 38 weeks since we got the news of her death. And to take the next breath in. And let it out. To relax while we do it. And then do it again. 

"Relaxing into it" is a lifestyle lived out day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. It's a lifestyle of acceptance - acceptance of people, places, and circumstances. It is a refusal to tense up and stress over things I can't control. It is letting go of what was before and embracing what is now ... even if the now is painful. Or uncertain. Or blah. It's all good. God has His finger on that pressure point and all I need to do is turn my attention to His care for me and the knots of tension disappear from my soul. I can breathe again, move again, laugh again. I can learn to live in that relaxed state. 

And why not?

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