Tuesday 15 February 2011


And today I am so tired. I thought I would get up at 6am and get down the gym for an hour before breakfast but my body just started whimpering a bit. And my lungs hurt. I’ve been feeling the onset of a chest infection since I’ve been here.

So I took myself to the hydrotherapy area instead. Sat solo (halleluyah) in the steam room and breathed. Shallow, gasping breaths. Not good. Couldn’t figure out the whirlpool so got into the swimming pool. All alone. And it was beautiful.
The sun glanced through the windows and I swam a couple of lengths slowly, mindfully, thoughtfully. And then I dunno, I just flipped onto my back and floated.
And breathed. And breathed. And just was. Listening to the water in my ears and fighting the thought that the seals were broken and I was filling up slowly and steadily with water until my whole body would be suffused and I’d sink and become one with the water. Then realising, that (doh) I’m nearly all water already anyway. And letting go.

Bliss. Nothing. Everything.

Every so often I’d feel a gentle tug as the water moved my body; adjusted me. Shifting me in slow circles.

Please God – I sent a silent prayer – don’t let the lifeguard (who must surely be watching on CCTV or something) think I’m drowned and race in and haul me out in some heroic gesture. And my prayer was answered.

How long was I there? I have absolutely no idea.

And when I finally emerged, I stumbled upon the salt steam room – again empty, just for me. And sat and meditated there too, breathing in the salt from the wall of Himalayan salt. And, as I came out, I thought about how tough we are on ourselves; how much we struggle. Okay, I’m including you guys here, but I have no right as maybe you don’t. But I do.

Anyhow, I thought about The Mistress of Spices, which I’ve just re-read. The first time I read it, I thought it was about magic mainly. The second time I read it I thought it was about love mainly. This time, I think it’s mainly about kindness. About being human. About trying to get through life the best you can, about being a bit of everything all rolled into one. And about not believing in surface appearances, about looking beyond the obvious. About looking for the deep truths that lie beneath.

And then I coughed. Again.


Anonymous said...

A good reminder to take care of one's self from time to time.

(Himalayan salt? And I thought my Maldon sea salt was posh!)

F said...

I love moments of solitary connection with myself. I have them most often on walks. These are the posts of yours I love best, the beautiful ones, the profound ones, the ones that make me look deeper into myself for meaning.

Maggie Christie said...

I feel relaxed and calm having read those last two spa posts. Almost as good as being there - well, almost. At least I can (and will) make myself a cup of jasmine tea.

Anonymous said...

The importance to relax from time to time; we are only human after all.

Lovely post.
CJ xx

Zoë said...

Lovely - floating is one of my fave ways to relax, I am an avid swimmer, used to go almost everyday until the BC struck, and then infection prevented. I've vowed to myself to start going again. Nearest I get to it at the moment is submerging my head under the water or laying on my tummy in the vast roll top bath - allowing my eyes to defocus (easy cause am blind as a bat anyway) and watching all the bubbles work as prisms and refract a whole rainbow in miniature countless times.

You are so right about being kinder to ourselves; something I fail at dismally.

CAMILLA said...

Brilliant post Jane, I agree we need to be kinder to ourselves, as for moi, still beating myself up about it.

Love your Header Jane.


Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Do you know I really really need a spa break but agree with Mags, you are making me feel calmer just floating there.

Unknown said...

The problem with spa's and relaxation is that within ten minutes of getting home the kids have got you wound up into a frenzy again and you wonder why you wasted all that money.

the veg artist said...

I had a very stern great-aunt who lived down the road when I was a child. She had lost her husband during WWI - he had to leave on the day of their marriage and never came back. He is buried in a war cemetery in Jerusalem. She worked as a teacher for many years, and was known to be strict. Grown men would quake when remembering her. She lived to be 100 + 6months.

When it came to my exam time, I used to dread having to go to see her, afraid she would pick up on my weaker subjects, but she didn't. She used to ask me "Did you do your best?" I would nod. "Then that's all you could do."

I try to carry this lesson through life. Looking back, there are lots of things I can see that maybe I should or should not have done, but I try to take the view that I did the best I could at the time, with the knowledge I had at the time.

Be kind to yourself.

Eliza said...

Sounds wonderful but I'm sure I'd just sink :-)

Stephanie said...

Oh heavy sigh....we all need to take a little time for ourselves! Hope your solitary time floating was divine!

Michele said...

Floating is one of my favourite experiences in all the world. Do it lots - it is one of those things that never gets boring or old. Yes be easier on yourself, you deserve it XXX