Thursday, June 2, 2011

Think of Pleasant Things

When I was a child and couldn’t settle down to go to sleep, my mother offered advice that I still follow. In a calm and soothing voice, she would suggest that I close my eyes and visualize pleasant places and happy memories. If I had trouble getting started, she would prime the pump with things like, “Remember last Christmas Eve, when it snowed?”, or “Didn’t you have fun playing in the fallen leaves this afternoon?” Soon, relaxation and happy thoughts would crowd out whatever was keeping me from falling asleep. I’m sure I often drifted off with a smile on my face.

As we age, sleep can become more elusive. Our adult minds are busy with chaotic thoughts of things left undone, family or friends who are struggling with problems, upcoming plans, etc. Because there are so many things to mull over, the simple act of climbing into bed doesn’t always shut off our built-in thinking caps.

On the rare occasion I find myself staring at the dark bedroom ceiling, failing to quell my active brain, I picture Mom sitting on the edge of my bed, close my eyes, and think of pleasant things. It’s rather like opening a treasure chest and sifting through a trove of lovely keepsakes.

Some of the places and memories I often replay:
Fragrant lilacs blossoming outside our front room windows.
Golden sun on the golf course, with a jackrabbit loping across the fairway.
My beloved late cat, Beezum, curled up in my arms and breathing softly on my cheek.
The whole Haropulos clan on blankets on the sand at Rye Beach, New Hampshire in the 1960’s.
Chasing fireflies in our pajamas in the back yard on Forbes Street.

“Now I lay me down to sleep…” Thank you, Mommy.

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