Sarah lay on the grass in the back yard, her hands crossed behind her head, one foot propped on the opposite knee, watching the sky. She watched the edges of clouds sweep and swirl against its endless blue. She watched the birds sailing past on nothing at all. She watched the leaves of the trees that framed her view dancing their gentle leaf-dance.
Mixed with the calls of the birds, she could hear the traffic a couple streets away, and the sound of the television drifting through the open windows of a neighbor’s house. Kids were playing farther down the block. She heard the smack of their ball on the pavement and their laughs and shrieks. It all melted together with the fragrance of the grass beneath her somehow, with the breeze, with the warmth of the sun on her skin, with the flow of unfocused thoughts drifting through her mind.
She didn’t know it at the time, but she would retrieve this moment years later when she was an adult, caught up in a far different world, and it would serve her the rest of her life.
Guided by the speaker at a seminar she attended as a requirement for her job, she rediscovered this gentle memory and claimed it as her symbol of tranquility and peace.
She learned to use it as a retreat, an island of calm, that she could visit when the rush and pressures threatened to engulf her. Five minutes of focusing on that wholly carefree time, of remembering the clouds, the breeze, even the fragrance of it, made all the difference in the world. Her muscles softened, her breathing deepened and slowed, and she connected with her sense of who she was beyond the transitory immediate circumstances.
All of us have moments like Sarah’s somewhere inside us that symbolize a time when we were wholly relaxed and at peace, a time when we were completely carefree and all was right with the world. It’s worth the tiny bit of inner exploration it takes to discover one of your own, or even inventing one if you like.
Once you have it, practice it for a few minutes as you fall asleep at night every night for a couple weeks. Let it come alive for you, reveling in its pleasant grace. Then tuck it in your pocket and take it with you wherever you go. When life gets tense, take a few minutes to visit it. See what it does for you. See if life doesn’t take on an easy sparkle as you return. It works for me; I think you’ll like it.