As cool air beckons and leaves gently fall, summer’s warmth is almost a memory. That change reminds me of the way darkness sometimes creeps into our lives: how loss can fall into our laps at the most unexpected times. Loss of faith. Loss of ambition. Loss of a relationship. And even though the wonderful moments aren’t possible without vulnerability, risk, and frustration, it’s still hard to cope with the calamities of life. These five salves can never heal all the world’s problems, but they will soothe the hurt.
1.) Hot Water. Baths brimming with pomegranate-scented bubbles. Showers pooling coconut steam. Fast-rushing jets pounding the knots of my shoulders. Water is incredibly soothing, especially when it’s warm and smells amazing. The other beautiful thing about water….best place to have a good cry. Sink into the tub, place your head against the tile, lean back into the jets….and just let go. It’ll be okay.
2.) Loud Music. Imagine the sounds of Metallica’s “No Leaf Clover” spilling into the room. Nothing is more satisfying than the jarring, angry chords of a rock song to match a churning vat of emotions. Volume is essential for music to become one with our bodies. Sense the vibrations of bass, feel the ring of guitar chords, embrace the dissonance….and suddenly: adrenaline. That physical release won by belting the lyrics to wistful ballads and stormy songs is a powerful way to transform emotion into movement.
3.) Comfort Food. As a kid, Mom soothed sick days and sad days with household, culinary staples: tiny shell pasta with plain tomato sauce; buttered toast; oatmeal with sugar and cream; and, of course, chocolate. As an adult, chocolate is still my favorite go-to, but I also relish espresso drinks with whipped cream, and lemon-butter pasta with melted parmesan cheese. Eating such warm, rich foods and indulging in sweet treats is contenting….a great reminder that the smallest things can bring immense satisfaction.
4.) Random Road Trip. Yes, I know….”driving while emotional” is not a safe way to travel. This is very logical. But once that initial emotional outburst has died down, driving IS a great way to reflect. Embarking on a journey without a specific destination can be liberating because it’s moving forward without actually having to make any real decisions, without having to select a permanent path. Driving is connecting with the world from the safe distance of a private bubble. Windows down, music playing, eyes scanning the horizon….suddenly, life feels a little bit calmer.
5.) Total Emotional Immersion. Sometimes there’s just no way around it: the hurt has to be felt. Bottling emotions is like throwing a lid on a boiling pot….might stop the bubbles for a second, but unless you turn off the heat, water’s going to keep rising. When loss has come home to roost, maybe the best way to conquer it is to look Hurt squarely in the face. Open the memento box, flip through the photo album, reread cards and messages….just embrace the tangible scraps of all loss-related memories….a la catharsis.