Ira Kortum:Relaxation for whom?

Relaxation. Getting lightly scented candles from the Body Shop or some new-age store on Hawthorne. A number of different styles, makes and kinds of incense sticks for different emotions wanted or different states of being desired. The latest relaxation CD playing while the bathtub fills with hot water, lavender bubbles foaming from the special tube of bubble bath purchased at a massage parlor or day spa. Thoughts of the possible misuse of your limited funds have just left as you slide into the tub with your special glass full with your favorite wine, getting settled in to go over that book of yoga you purchased at, again, the Body Shop, and later on to reading your favorite novel. BULLSHIT.

Does anybody here really lead this kind of lifestyle?

It is discussed or made to look like the “in” people, people who you want to be, do it almost every day. Once in a great while, yes. But every, what, week? Month?

How many people actually have the time and the money to take advantage of all that is offered in order to relax?

It’s a little ironic that those who could really use the aforementioned paths to the great land of the relaxed don’t have the time, while those who have the time have little excuse for needing to be relaxed.

Relaxation is a luxury for the rich and a necessity for the hard-working class, between who needs it and who wants it. Guess who usually gets it? For some, there is a fantasy land in which they can afford it and have the time to pursue all those cute and wonderful things that everyone from market analyzers to sales reps tell us we absolutely positively must (to keep the world and everything from exploding) have. For the rest of us there is reality.

So, here is the real deal. Follow the advice of a starving artist (almost all artists in Portland are starving, but that’s a different story). Think balance, not gluttony. Think practical, within your budget and time frame, and not how to be like the rich and waste the resources of both by going overboard. Do a little yoga in the morning, save the shower for evening and splurge a little on the soap, maybe make it lavender soap – that way you can do a little relaxing and get clean at the same time. Don’t know yoga? Start looking in the free ads and usually you can find a couple of free workshops once or twice a week.

Candles can be purchased at thrift stores as long as you don’t mind something funky from the ’70s or Santa Claus looking at you while you take your bath or do whatever it is you want to do.

The best thing you can do overall is to make it a ritual, regardless of whether it’s once a week, once every couple of weeks or once a month. Make it a law that whatever time you pick happens routinely and is always made the priority. Work it around your schedule, or vice versa, but do make an effort to set it firmly. Then, not only will you have something to look forward to, but to work toward as well.

And, hey, if you want to pretend you’re rich and that you do things like this every day while you’re taking time out, go for it.