Last night Charles Santoso and I were speaking (thank you internet.) There was a fresh layer of frost on the ground here in Brooklyn and my apartment was playing hostess to the wind-chill factor. As beautiful as it had been to watch the snowflakes swirl down all day, I admit I was a touch jealous when Charles said it was quite sunny there in Sidney, Australia.
We talked for a long time, and Charles kindly asked me at some point if I needed to get to bed (we are 16 hours apart, so he'd just had coffee, but I was ready for pj's.) I said I probably should as I had a busy week packed with a long list of Get-To-Do's and Get-to-Go's. Plus, the excitement over the NYTimes review for Ida, Always, and knowing that in one week (February 23rd!) the book will be out in the world has had me kinda keyed up. Even if it's for wonderful, good reasons, the sensation of inner jitters is not particularly enjoyable or useful for focus and concentration, or getting to sleep at a reasonable hour. Also, as I love working by my drafty windows, I was shivering a lot on the outside too.
I decided to go ahead and try another one of the relaxation exercises I included in the Ida, Always guide (soon to be available free, online, with Charles's beautiful art.) Maybe you or a kiddo you know wants to try it too. Especially for those of you who are in brrrr places, it's not a bad mental break to "soak in the sun," like Gus and Ida.
"Soak In the Sun"
Sit or lie down somewhere comfortable.
Close eyes or find a spot to rest your gaze.
Ask children to imagine the sun has entered the room and to describe the colors and the heat.
Next, guide the child/ren (or yourself!) through an imaginary soak in the sun:
Start from the toes and go all the way up to the tippy top of your head—don't forget the fingertips!
Keep wording soft and simple, and reflect what they say, for example: "Now you can feel that shiny striped-orange sun warming your toes and they wiggle just a little, now the sun is warming your ankles, your knees, your tummy..."
Keep the pace at their level (watch for wiggle signals that they're done!)
At the end, ask them to slowly open their eyes, shake off the sand, and notice how their body feels.
*Option: before you soak, smooth and soothe your skin with imaginary sunscreen, to massage some young (and groan-up) muscles.
*Another option, for the youngest, it can be fun to pair this with the song "Oh,