The heart-doctor put it to me straight: You have got to get serious about relaxing. Your heart cannot take more stress. I recommend you start right away.
In short, the doctor had ordered me to, aggressively relax.
Thinking about the problem and possible solutions, of course, made the blood pump faster.
This left me with the task of solving a problem that became worse when I thought about it. It was like choosing who to vote for in the next congressional election.
Several possible solutions floated up without my thinking: take long walks, listen to birds, and practice yoga. Maybe I could take up the art of cursing—and dump my own stress onto those around me.
I switched my computer to YouTube and downloaded everyone’s favorite—George Harrison’s: “Here Comes the Sun”. The cute guitar tweedle got me thinking; thinking about global warming, angry congressmen, human denial, and what it would be like to be caught facing a 40 foot high wall of tsunami- water loaded to the teeth with panicking sharks.
“Let it be” started me thinking of about the lassie faire economic policies of the tea party, which could leave me out of a job.
I mistakenly hit a Van Halen icon on the YouTube suggestion list. This act ripped open a guitar riff that nearly made my heart explode. I quickly turned off the computer.
Taking a walk, the only birds I heard were crows and seagulls. However, I did hear a garbage truck grinding its loader against the sound of banging trash cans.
I went back inside, turned on the computer again, and typed “relaxation videos”.
Up came videos of rain; rain falling on a roof, rain falling in a forest, rain falling on the surface of a lake. Outside, the midday sun hit the concrete walls that surround our house with a fierce intensity.
I searched through hundreds of waterfall videos; some with gurgling water sounds, others which had the water-gurgles mixed-in with music. I discovered relaxation videos that produce the sound of crickets and all other sorts of insects. I had grown up in a house located next the woods and had peaceful memories of insect sounds outside my bedroom window.
I typed ants.
There was no ant-sound video.
Drats, it would have been fun watching creatures work harder than me, for the same wasted purpose.
I hit a low waterfall picture and a bubbling video began to flood the computer screen. As my mind melded into the continuous sound of bubbling water; I began—- worrying about running out of water. At some point the rain stops, so not so long after, the waterfalls will stop. What is the lag between running out of rain and running out water for the fall? And –getting relaxed—when is the world going to run out of rain? At some point—the sky has to run out of clouds.
This is what I learned. When relaxing; you don’t stop thinking; your brain only wanders about a clutter of half-witted thoughts. That was it! Global warming deniers are regular people, like me, who are just aggressively relaxing.
A friend called and recommended that I practice yoga.
I began to wonder? Why does everybody practice yoga? Is there some big yoga tournament coming up?
What happens if I qualify for the tournament? Could I get evicted from a game of yoga for sneezing? How about burping? Could a well timed burp in the middle of yoga competition create some sports scandal?
What would happen if people practiced yoga while sitting, legs folded, on an ant bed. Or in a rain-storm. Or under a gurgling waterfall?
I eventually went back to YouTube.
The YouTube bird videos reminded of the crows and seagulls outside my window.
Crows Caws: brokers scrambling inside the Chicago trading pits. Seagulls: corporate raiders—swooping down to steal our daily bed.
Finally, Paul McCartney’s song, Yesterday, resonated.
I began to think, peacefully, “This song is about me, today. How did Paul McCartney predict my future—by singing about my present daydreams about yesterday; yesterday when my heart was healthy and my memory aggressive.
I looked out the window. The world had not run out rain. I turned off the computer and watched rain-drops bounce off the concrete wall next to our house. From the back of my brain—up floated a message, “
just wait—because soon, the next message will be:
Here Comes the Sun.’”
It was, I hate to admit, alright.