Hmm.. The title of this column probably shouldn’t have an exclamation mark at the end – it doesn’t look relaxed.
All my life my mother has been saying to me, “You have to learn to relax.”
Well, if you’re anything like me – and God bless you if you are – you check your e-mail every three seconds (ditto for Facebook); you think about being at the beach when you’re writing and think about writing when you’re at the beach; you get angry at inane, vapid reality shows and wonder why you don’t have one; you think that no matter what you’re doing it’s not enough; you know you’re getting screwed by gas prices for no real reason other than the fact that the powers that be need to pad their pockets again; you can’t believe avocados are actually selling for $2 apiece in Publix; the Kardashians are still on; you’re actually starting to like Mob Wives; the person living next door to you keeps cooking something that smells like dead cats and cabbage; everyone you date is wrong, wrong, wrong for you; and then, finally, you wonder – why is it, you can’t relax?
Admittedly, I have not conquered all my neurotic, un-relaxed demons – however, I’m a lot better. Like the song by The Essex says, “It’s easier…easier said than done!” Happily, I have come up with some relaxation techniques that may even help you, thoughtful reader, become like the relaxed, Zen-like peoples many of us hear about and wonder what planet they’re from.
The trick to relaxing is getting out of yourself; immersing yourself in something other than, well…yourself. Like art, for instance – either yours or someone else’s. Immersing yourself in a painting or a piece of prose or a lively trip to a gallery can work wonders for your psyche. Art makes us appreciate why we are alive. Art is there to take away our pain and soothe our jangled nerves when we have nowhere else to turn. Who hasn’t looked at a say, collection of vintage Audubon prints, or the works of Impressionist painters, or a fabulous book about the late great mosaic artist, Gaudi – and just been taken away? Maybe the art you love is just sitting and sketching your own ideas – not worrying if they’re good or bad – just involving yourself in the moment and the joy of creating. It sounds so simplistic – and really, it is. It seems we all have excuses not to “indulge” in art when we have so many other things vying for our time – work, spouses, and kids, watching American Idol. It’s almost as if someone needs to give us permission to relax and enjoy ourselves so we don’t feel guilty about it! I myself have called my friends and asked them, “If I work on my painting instead of writing that screenplay/novel/sitcom I HAVE to absolutely finish this year – will I be a total loser/slacker/procrastinator?” The answer is always the same: RELAX!
I always feel so much better after I leave a gallery or see a great museum exhibit. Even if it isn’t my art – just the fact that I was in the presence of artistic accomplishment is enough to inspire me.
And then there’s always shopping to relax. Did you think I forgot?
Actually, I view clothes as little individual pieces of art. The design, the lines, all the cool little buttons and beads – it’s all so interesting and it all came from some human’s mind. I dress to express myself. I dress for texture and feel. When I feel comfortable in my clothes – I feel comfortable with myself. But who can afford to go clothes shopping so frequently in this economy? You may ask. You must know where to shop, I reply. I go to the GW. The GW has everything from clothes to art supplies to home accessories, and more! And it’s oh-so-kind to your budget. You can lose yourself for hours in a GW and feel happy and refreshed when you leave, pocketbook intact.
So relax – go a gallery, a museum, or create some art of your own – or better yet, go to GW get a nice outfit and then go to the gallery or museum all gussied up. You deserve it. Really. You have my permission.
Anna Collins will be hosting her own comedy show at “FUGGEDABOUTIT” Comedy Corner in Margate on Thursday, May 19. Performing with her will be headliners Carl Guerra and Jamie Porter. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased online at www.AnnaCollins.com.