I stand under the shower, jets of lukewarm water needle into my nape and shoulders. “living waters flow on…take away my pain” I start singing my favorite hymn. A minute into my dawn ritual and I feel the morning tightness ease out. I find myself smiling.
“let me love once again” as I sing this verse I decide to really feel the love. I do this by increasing the heat.
Delicious. I feel the luxurious cocooning heat of the water and the way it pierces into my skin. My smile is wider and there is more emotion to my singing. I continue singing living waters, I continue showering and I continue smiling.
Each time I repeat the hymn the hot water faucet turns to indicate a tiny bit more, then a lot more and a LOT MORE. The cold water faucet also gets my attention as I turn it to NO MORE. Everyday it’s an orgy featuring me, the hymn, the shower and the hot water geyser. Soon the water is scalding hot and I am enjoying the prick on my skin.
Mist rises in the bathroom. The overhead lights seem to have a halo, the air is moist, the mirrors have fogged out, there is moisture dripping from the metal towel holders. There is steam escaping into the bedroom. I wish the moment would stay. I know it will not. I refuse to think of the torture it is going to be soon. Real Soon.
Every day I go through this ritual and each day I can’t stop myself from increasing the heat. And before I know the horror is already here. My mind can never be sufficiently prepared for the next act I would do. My body has NO CLUE.
Suddenly my right hand goes down(NO! not there, you pervert!!) … to the faucet. I reduce the heat in a quick move till it’s ALL GONE. The hot water geyser is surprised at the way I have dissed it. The shower wonders where all the love went? My body is in complete shock at the turn of events. It is hit by a stream of 5 degree Celsius water. It gasps, sputters and kicks into a primordial survival mode.
SSSShitttt I yelp…
My body reacts as if someone else had done this hideous thing. Dint it know that the cold was coming?
And then mustering as much dignity as I can, I stand under the cold water counting 5 om, 4 om , 3 om 2 om, 1 om
I shut the water completely down.
The intense heat of the water just seconds before is now a faint memory. While my mind recalls the heat, my body has completely forgotten it, it continues to shiver. I grab a towel wipe myself dry The bathroom is still fogged. I wipe the mirror to look at a shivering, goose bumped body. I pause to wonder wouldn’t the torture be less if I did not crank up the heat. My mind says, "yes dum dum."
And then the next day I stand under the lukewarm shower singing “living waters flow on…” and I increase the cocooning heat bit by bit.
Why this morning madness? To begin with, a few seconds under a cold shower increases immunity, crank up metabolism, improve kidney function, reduces aches and pains and of course it shocks you into better circulation, ….
What is not so obvious is that the exercise is reminds me of the split between the body, mind and the observing self. Who was increasing the heat? Who suffered through the change? Who controls who? Should the body be fighting the cold water or the mind? Shouldn’t the mind tell the body, “brace baby, its gonna be cold soon” And just who was it observing all this?...
To all my dear ones who I force into this cold shower ritual… you are not the only one abusing me in the morning. Shit is the least of the abuses I hurl at myself for the beloved morning showers.