When I was a little girl, I taught myself how to meditate. I used a technique I came up with all on my own at nine years old that adults take out substantial loans to learn about in graduate school. The “mindfulness” (shudder) methods I used all had me slow down to examine a lovely, fictional, aspirational, setting.
A favorite was designing a beautiful two story clapboard house with wraparound porch and rocking chairs. Thinking of every detail, from the brass door knobs to the white trimmed lintel over the door, was slow, methodical work and I usually fell asleep before making it off the front porch and into the word floored entry way with hand woven throw rugs – stairs and a hallway ahead, a small office to the left and a formal living room to the right.
I didn’t have a therapist when I was eleven, and I pictured a cave with sunlight and water pouring through the same hole in the rocks overhead, and myself swimming naked in the warm cave pool below. I daydreamed of golden sands kicked up by the motion so that it looked like the shimmering golden bubble bath liquid my grandmother bought for decor but that no one was allowed to use. So I was my own therapist.
Heiress’s Day Planner is my current bedtime relaxation technique, especially when pain is gripping me tight. I imagine a pampered life that starts with breakfast in a bed with thread counts. A day of the kind of exercise and diet I’m supposed to get, and the relaxation I crave, followed by an evening filled with glamour I don’t have the spoons for. Then a chauffeured ride back to a luxury hotel room where I live with fifteen cats and their all women staff of professional caretakers.
If I picked this up directly from anywhere it was the Victorian era children’s novel turned 1934 Shirley Temple movie “The Little Princess”. Sara Crewe goes from being a diamond heiress to an abused maid in the blink of an eye, and uses her vivid imagination to survive her hardship until her father returns to rescue her. I am not a little girl anymore and no daddy is coming for me. I survived, now I must save myself the next step.