by Steve Rees, Ret. RN, Harpist
With all the pressures and restrictions, we have endured during the past 2 years and all the craziness that is swirling around us, I have been reminded over and over of how important it is to find a serenity place to retreat to. This may not always be a physical area. Instead, it can be a place in your mind or thoughts. It represents a way of separating yourself from the stresses and demands of others. Also, it allows you take a mini vacation into another realm where your pulse can slow and your muscles relax; where your nerves can settle, and your mind can rest.
Music is one of the ways that we can immerse into that place of relaxation. Music has a way of overpowering the other senses and emerging as our primary focus. As we listen to a quieting, slow, harmonic composition, entrainment takes over and our heart and body functions slow down to match the rhythm of the music. The music we choose can have varying effects depending on the rhythm, harmonies, and volume. It works best if you turn the TV off, close your eyes, and listen.
Another option is to find a quiet place outdoors in the natural world, away from crowds where you can sit or walk amongst nature in all its beauty. At a time when everything seems to be in turmoil and chaos, it’s reassuring to see that plants still grow and birds still sing. Connecting with the natural world helps us refocus away from a crisis and stop to gather our thoughts, smell a rose, or skip a stone across the surface of a pond.
Throughout this two-year ordeal, I’ve had to remind myself of this exercise frequently. Sometimes because of the shouting media; other times because of travelers at my side with their virtue signaling and allegations of me being a mass murderer who was trying to kill their grandmas because I wouldn’t’t wear a mask. This all wears thin over time, so I needed to remind myself frequently how important it was to find that quiet place.
At the same time, I tried to show people through scientific studies and common experiences that what we have been told is not what is really the truth. I tried to help people understand that there is nothing to be afraid of. I challenged people to use common sense; to study things for themselves instead of taking the talking heads word for it.
All my efforts caused a great deal of distress. I kept asking why people wouldn’t’ listen to the truth or the facts. Then, I finally came to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to save the world. Even if I had all the answers, there were some who didn’t want answers, and that was all right. Why continue to “cast my pearls before swine?” Instead, it was more important to take care of myself to avoid being swallowed up in the chaos.
At that point, I began to seek places of serenity where I could let go of my concerns – where someone else’s resistance would not have such a negative effect on my sense of peace and calm. Returning to places and ways where I could step away from the madness, center down, and rest was a blessing.