Are you stressed out? A quivering blob of nerves? Are your muscles lodged in a permanent clench? Here's what not to do:
1. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and pointed upward. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and exhale slowly. Take another deep breath. Wonder if that smell is gas.
2. Concentrate on your breathing, on releasing that stale, toxic, virulent energy trapped inside you. Feel your body begin to relax. Sense the tension seeping out of your shoulders and toes, your life force beginning to renew. Jump up to check the stove.
3. Resume the position. Resume breathing. Become obsessed by cobwebs on the ceiling.
4. Decide to play a relaxation CD. Your choices are "healing harps," ocean waves, and whales. Wonder which best suits your persona. Whales remind you of sharks. Decide to go with the harps.
5. Lie down a third time, notice ceiling, slam eyelids shut. Breathe deeply, welcoming the return of your vital juices. I.n.h.a.l.e...t.w.o...t.h.r.e.e...f.o.u.r...E.x.h.a.l.e...t.w.o...t.h.r.e.e...f.o.u.r. Savor the rise and fall of your abdomen. Focus on the harps which remind you of angels which remind you of heaven which reminds you of hell which reminds you that maybe you should listen to something else.
6. Switch to ocean waves and return to floor. Wonder how many calories you've burned since you started to relax.
7. Listen to the primal sounds of the sea. Imagine yourself one with the ocean, gently floating, bobbing, drifting away from your troubles, away from the shore, floating away from.... Oh my God you're drowning, you can't breathe, you hear chimes. Could you be dead? No. A Jehovah's Witness is at the door.
8. Decide what you really need is some herbal tea and aromatherapy. You're all out, so you drive downtown to CHAKRAS "R" US.
9. Relish the shop's soothing ambiance -- crystals everywhere, scented candles and incense, the mellifluous sounds of sitar and flute. Take a slow, deep breath and cherish the knowledge that all is well with the world. Learn you're allergic to patchouli.
10. Fill cart with eucalyptus oil, semi-wild ginseng, organic rice cakes, anti-radiation shields, a do-it-yourself-acupuncture kit, and a copy of the best-selling "Bliss Is From
Solitude, Stress Is From Men." While your purchases are being processed, grab a "Couple's Massager," just in case.
11. On your way out, collide with a shopping cart piled high with meditation tapes. Exchange choice words with "mellow" New-Ager.
12. Return home, hunt for matches, light lemon-scented candles, and start a John Tesh CD. Brew chamomile tea. Scald tongue with tea.
13. Peruse course catalogue from Holistic Vital Force Renewal and Emerging Spiritual Consciousness Learning and Humanistic Wellness Center.
14. Try to decide which course would be most helpful -- Awakening Your True Transformational Self Within Through Toenail Therapy and Micro-Cranial Stimulation? Self-Care, Self-Help, Self-Awareness, Self-Visualization And The Angelic I? Decide to enroll in The Tao Of Conga Drumming On The Far Side Of Ecstasy ... until you see the price.
15. Conclude that what you really need is a mantra. Something like: NoooooooooooooooooooMooooooooooooooooreNewAge.