Take a Bath, Save the World




To live on an island and then to choose to live on the very edge of that island, as we do in many rural communities, well, there’s a little madness in it, isn’t there? This conclusion entered my mind yesterday as another nor’easter swept across the cliffs, blanketing the almost bare meadows that were indicative of early spring.


Spring is on the way and I have been doing my usual things to coax it along, like boiling the kettle underneath the orchid to inspire a new bloom, wearing light and airy blouses even though I’m froze to death and indulging in evening baths lit by a late sunset.


Is there a connection between having a bath and inducing an early spring? How about having a bath and saving the world?


There is indeed.


When we set out to find a tub for our house, I remember asking a gentleman at Kent for some recommendations. I sat in the tubs. I traced the outline of the enamel with my hands. I asked about depth and flow and taps. He retorted, “You’re making some big deal, honey about an old bathtub” to which I confidently replied, “My darling, if more people had baths, we might save the world.”


Mr. Kent, amused by my whimsical assertion that having a bath could contribute to global harmony, allowed me to believe this for a moment and then casually moved on with his day. Years later, when things like eyelash perms exist, connecting baths and world peace does not seem so far-fetched!


Baths, for me have always been a source of joy. From my childhood days of being “put in the tub “ to adulthood when the choice between bath and shower was available, the choice was always easy.


For my fellow bathers out there, this isn’t a stretch. That warm, all encompassing feeling of sinking into a big bubbly bowl of hot water is as good as a Tibetan retreat most days.


But I digress.


I don’t need to explain the act of bathing but what about the purpose?


Based on my four and a half decades, I have surmised that there are many types of baths.


First, there is the mindful cleanse. This is the bath where you light a candle, turn off the lights and close your eyes – allowing yourself to be present to the moment, to the drip drop of the tap, to the calmness of the water, the steam rising like smoky tendrils. You feel the warmth of the water enveloping your shoulders, gaze at the dancing flame and become aware only of your surroundings.


Second, there is the gratitude bath. Similar to its mindful cousin, this soak is all about appreciation. As you lie back, take a few moments to review your day or week and quietly count your blessings.


Finally, let’s not forget the working bath. This might be your Saturday night go-to. Your poor old body has worked hard all week, those legs carrying you around, arms lifting everything from bread out of the oven to shovelfuls of snow, your humble back held hostage by that office chair. They deserve an extra scrub and some extra attention.


On this International Women’s Day when we reflect upon and celebrate the contributions of women all over the world, from all age groups, all nationalities and all walks of life, it would do no harm to invite those women to take a moment for themselves – to lay down the pen, the laundry basket, the book, the phone, the worry and take a moment for themselves. That might mean taking a walk, taking a breath or even taking a bath.


It’s a big, complicated, delicious world that we live in. Some days the theme song for your life will be from Downton Abbey, full of melancholy, pensive, quiet. Other days, the Jeffersons theme song will be your soundtrack – jolly and uplifting. And then there are the in between days. Whatever your day brings, know that a retreat is waiting for you, just behind your bathroom door...

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