Centered

Husband and I went to one of our favorite places today, Common Grounds in NE Portland. It’s a bath house. There is a nice, big soaking pool outside, benches to cool yourself and enjoy the air, and a steam room.

It’s been an emotional week for me. There has been some amazing highs. Newly awakening friendships, the first rush of a new love, the happiness of a weekend with my husband with no children or other distractions. There has been some very low lows. A partner who is going through a very rough patch in his relationship with his girlfriend. Concerns about friends. And my daughter had an awful stomach bug that kept me without sleep for nearly 36 hours.

Last night was Date Night for Boyfriend and I, and Husband and the Other Woman. Husband and I enjoyed a child-free morning this morning. A chance to sleep in, to linger over coffee. We meant to go to Saturday Market but ended up at Powell’s Books, instead, and I found my usual peace in the stacks of books and scent of coffee and rain. I bought an old cookbook – a weakness of mine – and we wandered the city for a while, making it to Common Grounds just at our reserved time.

Upon entering the bath house, you remove your shoes. This is the first layer to fall away. Just past the lobby is a changing room with cubbies to stow your clothes, and from there on in, you are naked. First, you rinse off in a lovely stone-lined shower area, and then you go out to the soaking pool. Each step of the process takes you away from your day-to-day life. Today, a hard, cold rain was falling as I exited the shower room. It felt lovely to stand naked under that cold rain, and even lovelier to slip into the soaking pool after my brief walk through the rain. I settled in against the jets, and let them work out the tension that had gathered in my shoulder and lower back. I let my arms float in the water, and watched the bubbles dance around my tattoo on my left arm.

Float.

The water worked its usual magic, and carried away my worries, smoothed out the highs, lifted up the lows, and reminded me that I am not in control. The world will work according to its own pattern. My daughter feels better, my kids had a fun time with their grandparents. My partner will work things out with his girlfriend, or he won’t, but it’s not my job to fix anything. It is simply my job to love him and be there for him when or if he needs me to. Other problems, other concerns, will resolve themselves, in time, possibly to the satisfaction of all involved parties, but more likely not. Friendships, old and new, will continue to enrich and strengthen my life and loves. And the life I live and the person I am are both important to the people who surround me.

And so I watch the weight of the world float away, and find my center again.

No matter where I put my head
I’ll wake up feeling sound again
Breathe that’s all you can
Tomorrow smells of a less decay
The flowers greet this bloomin’ fray
Be thankful, that’s all you can
It’s all you can… do

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