Let’s take a second to set the mood, shall we? As I’m typing I’ve got my Balsam & Cedar Yankee Candle jar softly burning on the mantle. In the background Miles Davis plays, every subtle note emanating from his Kind of Blue album is putting me ever deeper into a state of relaxation. It smells like a Christmas tree in here. It’s the middle of July. I’ve got the White Sox playing the Royals on the television in the background, muted. I must admit I’m a bit of a peculiar breed of husband and father in today’s society.
The original idea I had for this post was to just list out all the many qualities about candles that appeal to me. The amazing scents, the ambiance, the unique type of companionship that only a candle flame can provide. And then I realized that anyone who’s actually reading this is probably already well aware of all of these awesome qualities that a candle embodies.
In lieu of typing out a list of obvious awesomeness-es and benefits of candles, I’ve decided to make it more personal and talk about why I love candles.
One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I’m very susceptible to getting stressed out easily. A few years ago, during what was quite a stressful period at work, my right bicep muscle began to twitch in my arm every couple of seconds. This involuntary twitching went on for almost a month pretty much non stop, even as I was sleeping, forcing me to take a visit to see my doctor. Thankfully, the doc assured me the palpitations in my arm were being caused by nothing more than stress. His prescription was for me to find times to specifically focus on relaxation.
Over the period of that next week I began taking steps to find ways that I could purposefully relax. I started taking long walks around our neighborhood. I began practicing meditation (probably incorrectly, but I found it enjoyable and relaxing none-the-less). I started trying to be more aware of and grateful for all the blessings I already had. I started mentally re-framing work situations in my mind so I could convince myself they were much less intense and important. That last one was the most challenging by far and is something I’m still working on to this day. After about a week or so of setting out to purposefully relax my arm stopped it’s twitching for good.
So I have come to learn to highly value taking time for myself to seek out serenity and peace of mind whenever I can. I’ve learned that I must make a concerted effort to try to get into that state of mind on a frequent basis. Purposeful relaxation can be very powerful.
What does this have to do with candles? I’ve come to find a lit candle, for me personally, is one of many effective tools in my arsenal to help me obtain that tranquility that I know I need. For me candles are therapeutic. There truly is something transcendental about the glowing flame of a candle that just puts me at ease and melts away stress. Burning a candle affects me me in much the same way as if I were experiencing the effects of fire’s kindred element, natural waters. Sitting next to a babbling brook, waves lapping a shore, or the stillness of a pond.
This all might sound silly or even over the top to some who read this. If it does I urge you to take a few moments and do a quick internet search on the effects that stress can have on your body. The list is extensive and you’ll likely find many of the effects disconcerting. Simply put, stress affects not only your mental health, but also your physical health in ways most of us aren’t even aware of.
So here I sit, completely relaxed, purposefully taking time to enjoy my Christmas in July. Taking in some mellow Miles and taking a moment for myself, all whilst sharing with you just why I love candles.