Last night I had a facial. I had booked it because my skin has been particularly sensitive lately – rather than for the relaxation factor.
Got there. Lay down. Glad the beauty therapist doesn’t try to chat with you while she works. (It’s hard to talk with gook all over your face, anyway).
Ahhh… now this is luxury! Pampering… no mobile phone… no need to talk or read or anything! Wow, this should be bliss.
Only my head was doing it’s own thing… As she started to cleanse, I noticed my body tense, and my mind start to think about things that caused a pit of anxiety to form in my stomach.
I gave myself a stern talking to… after all – I was here to relax…
I almost laughed out loud with the ridiculousness of having to give yourself a stern talking to, to relax. Sure, that’ll work. Order yourself to relax.
Of course, relaxation doesn’t come on command. It doesn’t come just because we want it. In fact, by thinking about relaxing, it creates a resistance as we start to stress about the fact that we aren’t relaxed yet.
Once she started the (blissful) massage of my face, neck and shoulders – I started to concentrate on breathing slowly and feeling the treatment. I started to let go once I stopped stressing about relaxing. I think I almost fell asleep…
We’re told to take time for ourselves – to practice extreme self-care. [I can be like a broken record on the subject!] But no-one tells us that we may feel uncomfortable and may have a really hard time relaxing and enjoying the moment.
Remember, it’s OK to feel a bit anxious. What I learned is to recognise that the tension is my innate reaction to stopping… and once you notice your tenseness it is easier to let go and relax into the moment. You need to give yourself permission to feel those uncomfortable feelings in order to let go of them. It’s true that “what you resist, persists”.
Like a meditative practice, I learned to be aware of the senses I can still use – and direct my attention to what they are bringing in.
Notice the music playing. Notice the scents that surround you. Notice the feel of the goop on your skin, and the touch of your therapists hands expertly caring for you. And notice the tricks your mind plays on you.
Become the bystander – and you’ll walk out on a cloud. I did.