Comfort foods. I could wax poetic about all the varieties, textures, tastes, emotions and colors of myriad edibles. So could you.
Have you ever considered “comfort memories?”
It’s self-explanatory. Here’s an easy example.
My son can put himself to sleep by remembering himself through a specific ski run at a specific resort. Recalling the swoosh of the snow under his board, the bite of the cold across his cheeks, the trees as they blur past, the feel of his muscles as he moves to catch a curve and negotiates the bumps and jumps, all combine to relax and calm him into a deep and restful sleep.
Nice way to put yourself to sleep, huh? I think so.
I have a way of relaxing myself when I’m feeling ill or in pain that, if I remember to remember it, works very well to comfort and ease my body and mind. It’s rooted in how I was cared for as a child when I was sick. It’s definitely a comfort memory.
I recall pillows propped on the dark green couch, blankets tucked around me, with the TV on low and bluish across the room. I remember the smell and taste of the concoction Mom would mix. It consisted of a bit of warm water, a spoonful of paregoric, and some sugar. It was a licorice smell and taste, somewhat bitter, but eased by that spoonful of sugar. My tummy always settled out if I was nauseous, my sore throat eased. Sleep came easier in spite of noise or fever or pain. I can still feel the coolness of the pillowcase as she turned my pillow to the cool side when my fever was high. There would often be a cool cloth on my forehead and smoothed across my hands and arms, pulling the heat from my body and sending a swell of relaxation through my tired, aching limbs. Even if she was only checking my fever, Mom’s hand on my cheek let me feel cared for, loved and safe.
If I can conjure that image, those sensations, then I can settle into a rest that reminds me of that love. I can relax and let the discomfort of whatever hurts lift away from me, even if only momentarily.
To know such care and comfort should fall to every child. Every adult should be able to pull from the library of memory such a book, filled with tales of love and triumph.
What memories bring peace to you? Is there anything you can recall from childhood, or adulthood, that on remembering, brings comfort, peace, joy, relaxation, love?
I love your phrase: “to pull from the library of memory such a book”. More great writing!