When they got home, the Rat made a bright fire in the parlor and planted the Mole in an armchair in front of it.The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
With a self imposed sense of discovery for the new year, I mustered an open heart for unfamiliar territory. An assigned seat brought a harvest of good fortune. On a Delta flight to Mexico this winter, I found myself in alliance with an older couple traveling back home.
As I took my aisle seat, I determined that she, a tiny weathered figure dressed in stiff black lace and sensible shoes, did the worrying for the both of them. She had her forehead to the window and, I got it, – she had taken on the desperate and full time job of caring for a future replete with trouble.
In broken English, her cowboy husband spoke of a meeting in the states – soybeans, he said. His giant white cowboy hat tipped down at takeoff and he began the slow twiddle of his thumbs. I smiled – what a comfort.
I now have evidence that thumb twiddling is an international activity. Certainly it has served me well since my mother summoned the technique to calm her nervous little girl. We twiddled together every Sunday during church.
As the plane tipped in turbulence, the cowboy’s thumbs picked up speed. Funny. Though my mother never instructed me to visualize a happy place to accompany my flashing fingers, I knew that the cowboy was not really seated between his wife and me, but likely saddled up, out on a Mexican plain, heading across his hacienda. Or maybe he was fishing with his beloved Grandfather or even in the arms of Mother Mary.
During 2015, I encountered some unusual events – things that I was unprepared for, you might say, things that made my heart flutter, my face twitch and my eyes water.
When my daughter Mary Ann was a wee tot brimming with wisdom, she told me that God was a guy with a beard who wore a red turtleneck. I realized in that moment that managing anxiety was an extremely personal technique.
I knew nothing at that time of bilateral stimulation but since then, with red turtleneck guidance, I found that this ancient activity insures surrender and peace. “Tapping” is a gift from beyond.
And naturally it begins with your God given imagination. You evoke a place, person or thing that provides a deep sense of well being. And then you tap with your fingers. Literally. Right, left, right, left on your knees or with a self hug: right, left, right, left on your arms or with your feet: right, left, right, left, marching in place. Just a few taps – 6 to 10 times.
So simple – so silly, but, oh so effective. It turns out that though not officially known by me as tapping, I have employed some such thing for years which has delivered on-the-spot relaxation. I envision myself snuggled in a rocking chair on my Grandparents’ screened in porch. This treasured space was available to all whom visited Margaret and C.M. They had invested in a respite from the Mississippi heat with white wicker furniture upholstered in bark cloth, white stucco walls, broad polished wood floors and huge windows framing a multitude of trees which always seemed to bend in the wind…swoosh.
As Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Prize, said “every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.” I know this to be true, but the journey requires a personal investment of imagination. The path is made clear by stillness. And the solutions are as quirky as a God who can rock a red turtleneck.
Mexican Style Hummus
Wonderful with tortillas, whole grain bread or vegetables, I find this simple dip a satisfying way to unplug and share – a very yummy enterprise that I clipped from a magazine many years ago.
1 15.5 ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsed
1/2 cup salsa
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
i clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup cilantro
Put beans, salsa, lime juice, oil, garlic and cumin in food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
Spoon mixture into bowl, and stir in pumpkin seeds and cilantro.
Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate.
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