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Does Water Relax You?


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In the warm indoor pool, I focused on how it felt to move through the water. How would I describe the feeling?

Floating on a Styrofoam noodle, I bicycled, cross-country-skied, did jumping jacks. Squeezed my glutes and abdominals, swept my arms in a figure eight. I didn’t stop moving for an hour.

Words to describe the water drifted through my mind. Silky, viscous, gelatinous. Silky had the right connotation. Luxurious. Gelatinous, no—cold Jell-O or congealed consommé felt too crude.

A skinny six-year-old boy with black goggles jumped from the side of the pool and sent a spray of needling water points. “Sorry,” his father apologized. “Henry, stop splashing.”

“We’re all here to get wet,” an elderly woman in a floppy white bathing cap called back cheerfully. I bicycled to the other end of the pool. A little bit of Henry went a long way.

After an hour I flip-flopped to the steam room and thought about how to describe what I felt. It was hard to breathe in the thick, wet air. Pellets of sweat dripped from my face. My skin prickled in the heat. So many clichés came to mind. “Drops of sweat,” “heat that prickles.” I challenged my imagination.

I remembered a talk by a guru from India on the benefits of meditation, and I silently recited a mantra. Thinking can interfere with serenity. Coming up with new ways to describe can be work.

Once again I saw that when I relax, fresh images arise and new ideas surface with ease, whether I’m in the steam room or at my computer. For my writing, I need these periods of receptivity, as well as periods of sustained effort. Balance and showing up are the keys.

Writing prompt: Describe the feeling of being in water—a lake, a river, a pool, a bathtub, or any source.  What temperature is the water? What happens when you move? Does it remind you of anything?

Copyright © 2020 by Laura Deutsch



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