In 10 seconds I want you to imagine what you ate for lunch yesterday.
You’re already thinking of sandwiches aren’t you? You may have even moved on to the wonderment that Mississippi is the only state that’s exactly one second long; scientifically speaking.
We had our second ISIS Mind Body Birth class last night which concluded in a 15 minute meditation session. The instructor guided us through the relaxation process from head to toe before asking us to imagine ourselves at the top of a set of 10 stairs. My mind immediately went to the stairs leading down to the Boston Common parking garage and my mind remained there for the entire 15 minutes. I tried picturing the red velvet gilded-age staircases from our recent Newport trip but I always returned to the cold cemented Boston Common stairwell. The instructor went on to say:
In 10 seconds I want you to begin walking down these stairs. At the bottom of these stairs is a gate and when you open this gate, you will be in your peaceful place.
Before she finished her sentence I was mentally out the “gate” looking for my car in the garage, pounding on the lock button waiting for the car’s responsive “beep”. My peaceful place was locked-in as the Boston Common parking garage.
It could not be more perfect if you created it yourself – and you did! All the details – is there a breeze you can feel on your skin? Are there any smells – the fresh outdoors, that after-the-rain smell in the air?
Smells oddly like carbon monoxide and urine. You just put me in a garage, lady.
Look at the colors – vibrant, alive, healthy.
I see silver, gray, black, red, blue and, I suppose, the color of urine; though unlikely healthy urine.
Can you hear any sounds – the wind, water, or perhaps it’s just quiet and peaceful.
Cars. Horns. Frustrated drivers in search of their cars on the wrong level. I have a strict rule of no more than two urine references per blog so I’ll pass at the obvious opportunity to talk about the water, and sounds it may make.
Now you’re going to anchor in those sensations so you can access them anytime you choose. When you are ready, you can open your eyes – knowing you can access your peaceful place any time you choose
Does this mean I get a reserved parking spot? Do I still have to pay the $350 monthly parking rate or do the daily rates of $11 always apply in this fantasy?
I tried to bring it back and picture something more peaceful at various times during the session. I imagined everyone else was thinking of a beach, or their childhood backyard, or at least somewhere they went after they found parking, but I stuck with my original thought the whole time. The creator of this script was well-intentioned, but I certainly don’t have enough control over my mind to intentionally postpone a future thought. If the instructor was to simply say “picture a peaceful place” I may have pictured something more predictably peaceful. I don’t need imaginary stairs to lead me to my peaceful sanctum, I can just jump right in. But looking back at it, it’s not exactly an awful choice.
I can’t imagine being in the Boston Common parking garage for anything that wasn’t peaceful. My wife and I have been going there for years and I really only have good memories of the anticipation that comes from parking in that garage. We may be going to the Orpheum, Wang, Wilbur or Colonial Theater to see a show or concert. We may be seeing a movie at the AMC theaters. More than likely we don’t have any purposeful plans and will just end up walking around for hours. The only goal is to find a great place to eat before we’re done. A baby changes the routine, but doesn’t stop it altogether. Strollers come with street-ready wheels so our walking adventures will only be shortened by our aging legs and newly strained stroller-pushing arms. Peaceful days will still be rewarded with nice meals, but Strega in the North End may be replaced with the Olive Garden and McCormick & Schmick’s may be replaced with a bag of Cheerios.
As the instructor said, there really were no wrong answers to this exercise. I like to think I took a more interesting road to my peaceful place. At least my path had parking.