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100 Days of Gladness, Day 7

The luxury of a bubble bath.

If I’m going to focus on gladness every single day for 100 days without repeating myself, one of those days will definitely have to be about water, the major component of my bubblebath.

Climate change is upon us, so I don’t know how long this will even be okay to do. It may even become illegal, for wasting a precious resource. In fact, some eco-minded zealots (or, you know, just responsible humans) might say it’s time right now to stop wasting water in this way.

But at the end of a stressful day — and there have been an astonishing number of stressful days lately — the almighty bubblebath is my go-to solution. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke (not even weed). I would do those things if they made me feel better, but they don’t. So. Bubblebath.

There are so many ways to take a bath, but two stand out for me. Bubblebaths by natural candlelight, and bubblebaths in complete darkness.

In candlelight, something slows my senses down. Or deepens them. The warmth of the light calms me.

Also, remember that candlelight is present in public sacred places as well as private, intimate spaces. The quality of the light from a burning candle wick is warm and quiet, and it invites us to move more slowly into our true selves.

My other preference is to be in a hot bubblebath (or just a plain bubblebath — ha! or even just

a plain bath, no bubbles, nothing) — in the dark. No lights, no candles. After a few minutes of zero light, inevitably, the eyes adjust and you begin to see some outlines that are familiar. It can be extremely relaxing to sit quietly in that dark warmth. Inside the womb.

We live so frantically and continually through our eyes. Scrolling through our phones, watching TV, checking emails, or recipes or images, looking to see if the stock has risen, or the kids are home or the water’s boiling yet to make dinner. Eyes are at their maximum all the time. Shutting off the lights gives them a break…and activates the other senses.

So in a dark bathroom, without light, my body submerged in blissfully hot water, I lay my head back on the ledge of the bathtub and let the scent of lavendar or cedarwood (or whatever magic essential oil I’ve dropped in) waft up into my more awake nose.

My feet have been numb and cold all day. I pay no attention to them. So when they get to relax in the bath with me, I do take a moment to thank them, to acknowledge all the places they’ve taken me (even just today). I send them a small love letter from my consciousness.

In the dark, in the bathroom, in the warm soothing water, it becomes apparent how much tension cramps my eyes, crunches in my eyeballs, in the skin of my face, on the back of my head. I try to relax even how my ears sit in their spaces. And then I feel how, when I relax the ears, all of a sudden, my whole throat opens and sighs with relief.

How much tension do we unknowingly hire to keep our bodies defended? How much distress lives in our minds, only to tie our bodies up in knots all day?

This is not necessary. It’s just old crap we forgot about, stuff we carry out of habit. Let’s put it down, and enjoy something for the pure enjoyment of it. For the sheer Gladness of it.

For me, this is what a great bubblebath does. And I am deeply glad for it.


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