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Taking time to truly unwind

By Stacie Chadwick

Reading between the Pines

As I continually manage the time-space continuum bullet points of my life, I often see minutes on the clock ticking away – not standing still.

On a recent trip to Boulder, however, I decided to forego the last cocktail of the night and instead sweat my toxins out in my friend Amanda’s brand-new infrared sauna. She promised that a 30-minute cleanse would not only rid my body of impurities but would bring me back to my long-lost childhood roots in the south, reset my internal clock, and basically purify my soul. I was skeptical, in part because the sauna came in a kit that she put together with an Allen wrench from her junk drawer, and in part because as much as I love her, Amanda marches to a drumbeat in her head that no one else can hear.

Ignoring my inner voice quietly chanting, “drink another cocktail instead,” I ditched my phone, grabbed a gallon sized bottle of water, and opened the door to a 170-degree portal to my unknown inner self.

The first thing I noticed, within 37 seconds of settling onto a wooden bench that wasn’t exactly built for comfort, was that it was hot – really hot. As beads of sweat formed at my brow and slowly began their march down my face, I looked for a way to pass the time. It was dead silent in the vault, and the only distraction was the time clock slowly counting down and glowing bright red in the dark.

Accustomed to a life where a background cacophony of sound – family, clients, friends, chatter, ambient noise, music – accompanies me everywhere I go, it felt eerie to hear nothing.

Determined to lean in and burn the 250 calories of water loss Amanda also promised as a benefit of my 30-minute journey, I took a deep, somewhat stifling breath, closed my eyes, and let my mind float.

I thought about my children, two away at college and the third on their heels; my lifelong friends (of whom Amanda is one) always far away and at the same time, so close; and further about how life is anchored, when you least expect it, by change. I reflected, drifted, zoned out, napped a little and dreamed.

And when my time was up, I emerged in a better place than where I’d entered – relaxed, renewed, relieved to be done and tired. I slept a solid eight hours that night and woke up refreshed and ready to face the world I’d so blissfully put on pause the night before.



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