Sensory Deprivation

I just took a long hot whirlpool bath, enhanced with Kneipp rosemary essential oil, to delight the olfactory senses, with a side benefit of helping to clear the nasal passages.

It is a frigid snowy day today, with temps in the low teens. I walked through the falling snow to feed the horses, and was amazed to find that they had abandoned their shelter to stand out in the cold and enjoy the snowfall. I went about my chores in a rather perfunctory manner, which was okay with them, since they were eager for their breakfast, and evidently not in much of a mood to chat.

By the time I got back into the house, I was feeling quite at one with the cold outdoors, and even a cup of hot coffee seemed not to remedy the sensation of gelid blood flowing in my veins.

Hence the bath. Once my core body temperature felt in harmony with the bath water, I was able to turn off the jets and enter a world of sensory deprivation. I came into awareness with a start, realizing that I had been lying still with my eyes closed for an unknown period of time. It could have been five seconds, it could have been an hour. I had no way of knowing.

Obviously, my subconscious mind had been doing its thing, since I was still breathing and my heart was still beating. But I was completely unaware of the external world.

I was definitely not asleep — neither was my state of mind one of mindfulness; it was the opposite: mindlessness. And it was a blessing. My autistic brain is usually operating in hyperactive mode, and there are times when I wish I could turn it off, but that doesn’t seem to be possible. So this escape into the nether-world of consciousness was a welcome relief. Not for the first time, mind you. I have experienced this feeling countless times before; I’m reminded of the volcanic mud baths in Calistoga.

Still, this feeling is not a common one, so is always a very welcome relief. I drifted in and out of this state several times before leaving the tub. Clearly, I have discovered the “cure” for autism! Just kidding, folks!

After leaving the tub, I shaved, something I no longer do every day. My beard does not grow in with the intense blackness of my youth. I often can’t tell with a glance in the mirror how long it’s been since I last shaved. I have to run my fingers up my neck or cheek in order to “see” that.

So that completed my session of self-care. Self-indulgence if you prefer. I am grateful that we have not lost power during this storm.

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