My happy place
“Relax!! Close your eyes and lay down.” my psychology instructor announced. We excitedly acted upon the instructions and started an attempt to relax in a class of about 14 to 15 students, all strangers to each other.
I am a 3rd year student majoring in sociology and anthropology. Although I am majoring in Anthro/socio, I have a love for psychology and thus try to take as many courses in psychology as I can. I am taking a course on personality theories this semester. Today we requested our psychology instructor to not conduct a lecture, instead, teach us how to self hypnotize ourselves. Thus here we were trying to relax, the first step in the process of hypnotism.
Slowly and gradually my eyelids started to feel heavy and I felt the tensions and worries of my daily life leaving my body. I could actually feel the worry of getting good grades, dress selection for farewell party and the quiz for tomorrow etc drifting away from my mind. I could listen to the distant voice of my instructor in the background, “imagine that your whole body is a candle and it is slowly and gradually melting away. Just relax.” The feeling of pure silence surrounding me, I could hear my shallow breathing. The only voices I could hear apart from my heartbeats were the rumbling sound of the air conditioner. Slowly, I opened my eyes and got hit by the sheer darkness. After adjusting to the darkness in a couple of seconds, I looked around to see everyone slumped in their seats, heads dropping to their sides. Yes, the method was working. The heaviness of my eyelids and the comfortable silence and relaxed moment in the not-so- comfortable seat made me close my eyes and go back to following the instructions of my instructor.
“Hold your arms straight in front of you.” She announced. Unwillingly and out of extreme lack of power I held my arms straight. It felt like you are sleeping and mom is waking you up from school. The bed feels the most comfortable surface you have ever slept on. Well, that was the position I was in when I had to conquer all my power to complete the task of holding these arms straight. Waiting for the effect to take place after she said, “imagine, your right arm is holding a set of heavy metallic bowling balls and the left arm holding a group of ten helium balloons. What do you feel?” In a matter of a few seconds, my right arm fell in my lap. I tried to steady it in a straight position but failed. However, the left arm, once again uncontrollably, went higher and backwards until it could not anymore. I did not have to open my eyes to see the effect of the hypnotism on me; I could very well feel it. The instructor asked us to open our eyes and see the position of our arms now and as expected I was pleasantly surprised at the success of the task. After looking at my own hands and bringing them back into my lap, I once again closed my eyes and got back into the process of absorbing the silence and coziness.
While daydreaming and relaxing I heard the instructor say, “Imagine a place, a situation that makes you happy.” My eyes shot open immediately. “Shehryar”, this was the first name that came to my mind. I smiled at my own foolishness. Happiness for me was anything related to Shehryar. I smiled once again at the thought. Any normal sane person would laugh at me provided they had seen me in the state after my break up with none other than Shehryar. I was a mess. “How can you still relate your happiness with some one like who left you completely alone?” my mind asked my heart. “He gave me a reason to live, taught me how to love and on top of that he is the one who gave me the prettiest of memories there ever can be.”, my heart replied. I have had these arguments between my heart and my brain almost a million times since my break up three years ago and as always eventually my heart wins. I cry for him, I smile for him, I pray for him, I feel happy when he is happy, sad and devastated when he is unhappy or worried.
Having these conversations in the back of my mind, I started visualizing my happy place with him. It was the most beautiful feeling ever. I could picture it so clearly. It is like I was driving towards this place. Far far away, a small cozy hut in the middle of plain grass fields in pleasant winter weather. Moving closer, I opened the door to the hut and got welcomed by a sweet aroma of freshly baked French toasts and hot and yummy coffee. As I zoomed into the picture I had visualized, I could see a young chirpy girl holding two huge mugs of steaming coffee in blue denims, white high-neck and a light blue poncho moving towards the comfy cozy sofa. On the sofa I could see a young guy in blue jeans and grey shirt, smiling at the approaching girl. She handed him one mug and sat in between his legs, her back facing his chest and covered themselves with the quilt lying nearby. The guy had his arms around the girl, his chin resting on her shoulder. The fire in the fireplace was just enough to add to the comfy and warm atmosphere. I could see the beautiful couple laughing and sharing stories of the day with each other. They painted the perfect picture of a perfect couple.
The girl snuggled herself further into the guys arm and that is when I heard a voice nearby, “Whenever you will relax, you will imagine this happy place and it will help you lighten up and rest.” “Noo…” was the first thought that crossed my mind. Eyes still closed, a lone tear fell from them and I was surrounded by darkness once again. This was the Shehryar and Aiman I had always dreamed us to be, but after three years, I had come out of the dream world where everything was perfect and had realized that this dream might never come true. However, imagining such perfect pictures now and then did no harm and reminded me of the beauty of our past relationship but nevertheless, it did bring pain and regret with it. However, that never stopped me from this practice.
Opening my eyes, only to realize I was really relaxed and contended but suddenly surrounded by a feeling of emptiness and sorrow. I smiled once again and took in the feeling and realized that this emotion and sensation will never leave me till the last breath I take.
He was my first love…