Happy Places

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So this came on the radio tonight as I was driving the girls somewhere:

And I was immediately seven years old again.

And underwater.

And. So. Happy.

My parents used to take us to open swim every weekend at this pool that used to play music through the underwater speakers.

And when I wasn’t playing in the hot tub, or racing between the sauna and the pool with my father because I’d been told switching between hot and cold was “good for the pores”, I was underwater in the main pool, by the speaker, listening to the music.

Floating, weightless, the rest of the world muffled, except for the music.

It was pure bliss.

And this is the song I associate with that feeling.

Because at the time, it was big, and playing on the radio every weekend we were there.

I could feel myself smiling – and relaxing – in the car tonight when I found it.

While 7-year-old me wouldn’t have thought of that space as a “happy place” or  personal sanctuary, I look back now and know that’s what it was.

I was about 12 or 13 when I was given the words to be able to explain the feeling.

Our swim coach had signed all of us up for “visualization training” with the Silva Mind Method.

The idea was to train us to mentally prepare for competitions.

And while myself and the rest of the 13-year-old girls giggled through series of exercises where we were instructed to “relax our eyelids” and tense then relax various parts of our bodies, and kept ourselves otherwise occupied by signing each other’s manuals like they were yearbooks (and probably frustrating the instructor to no end) I remember the exercises to this day, so it obviously stuck.

One exercise? We were asked to imagine our happy place. And teach ourselves to retreat there within our minds when we needed calm. Thirteen year-old me pictured a solitary, lush, green grove complete with waterfall tumbling into a stream.

Sometimes I still close my eyes and go there. Ahh.

Happy Place #2.

Now as an adult?

I’m less picturesque about my happy place.

Currently it’s Sunday mornings. On the couch in our living room. Reading a book.

Under my favourite blanket. By myself.

My husband takes the girls.

When it happens? Happy Place #3.

I even had a moment recently where I found myself reading a pretty good depiction of Happy Place #2 while cocooned in Happy Place #3 as I made my way through P.C. Cast’s House of Night series and came across her description of the grove in her “Otherworld“.

Aside from enjoying the fact that 2010ish teen fiction apparently had a pretty good read on 13-year-old me (or likely many 13-year-old anyones, because, well, it wasn’t exactly ORIGINAL), it was nice to have that fun moment of my quiet, happy places colliding.

And really, who am I to disagree?

(Sorry, I couldn’t help that last bit.)

What about you? Any happy places you have or remember fondly?

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