My Personal Decompression Oasis
THE LIFE STYLIST
We’ve removed all lulls from our lives. From the moment we wake until well into the hours we should be sleeping, we’re plugged in and preoccupied. What follows is a simple solution for beginning to turn that tide and the profound justification for it.
By David J. Witchell
We’re almost always conscious of that line, conscious of the implications of crossing over it, and, yet, we do, over and over again, as if compelled by an urge that, at best, can only be ignored for a day or two at a time.
Buy it. Save it. And even when there’s no logical reason why we should, we do.
My days, in every aspect, are sensory-overload. It took me years to learn how to not just manage it but appreciate it, to be present at every turn and fully absorb the experience. The linchpin, I believe, is heeding that line. It represents more than the division of more and less. It’s also balance, or harmony.
For at least few minutes each day, but usually no more than that, I unplug and meditate. What that entails, exactly, is reading my daily word and reflecting on the blessings of the day. I focus on my intentions, center myself in the present and, simply enough, breathe.
The location matters less than the immediate space. I can do it wherever I am, but the room in which I do it needs to clear from distraction. I’ve come to describe it as my Personal Decompression Oasis, or PDO. This is how I go about establishing it.
First, I’ll eliminate all spoken words, which means the TV, if there is one, goes off. My phone and computer are left in another room. Occasionally, I’ll play some music, but it’s strictly instrumental. Then, I’ll light a candle, if it’s practical. If I’m relegated to a walk-in closet, it’s not. In lieu of the candle, I’ll find another focal point, like a tree or a flower on the other side of a window.
Next, I’ll get comfortable, but not too comfortable. If I lay down, sleep will follow. Relaxing as that may be, it defeats the point here. So I’ll sit with a relaxed posture and then take three deep breaths, inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the nose. I’ll read my daily inspirational message aloud to myself, all the while continuing to breathe in a slowed and deliberate manner. Dividing my attention between the two, the idea is to lock out any thoughts, positive and negative, about the past and the future. This very moment, the message and my breath, is the whole of my world. It’s only then that the act will bear its rewards: comfort, wisdom, strength.
It’s hard to believe that such a relatively small investment can yield such a large return. It took me a while to buy in. But once I gradually started to realize that I was feeling more satisfied with what I had and less burdened by it, I began to respect the process more. The PDO is designed to be a simple construct so that it’s sustainable, but it’s also meant to illustrate how little we actually need to get by. Nothing I’ve ever owned has touched what I’ve felt during meditation. And when you move through life feeling like you’re already equipped with everything you need, you become immune to all those threats to your things, which, you’ll discover, are the source of so much stress.