Although I enjoy traveling to rowing regattas, sitting in the car on long road trips can leave my rump feeling squashed and the backs of my thighs a bit sore. Stretching exercises help, but they don’t always get me fully back to normal. Last week I made sure to do some stretching and foam rolling, only to have some lingering aches anyway.

One night when I got into bed, I remembered a time, five or six years ago, when I had persistent achy feelings in my upper arms. That went away a long time ago, but I found myself randomly wondering if old worries had somehow gotten lodged in there, weighing me down and generally making it harder for my body to maintain and repair itself. If so, maybe they needed to be gotten out somehow.

Then it occurred to me that my imaginary archetypal self-appointed bodyguard, Dame Shadow, had a history of using annoying aches and pains to get my attention. She hadn’t been around much lately, but that did not necessarily mean she wasn’t a suspect.

The Dame’s long skirts rustled as she sat down on the corner of my bed. “You know what, you’re asking the wrong question again,” she informed me.

I blinked at her silhouette in the darkened room, feeling confused. “Well, I didn’t think I had asked one.”

“What you could do to get those old worries out,” she clarified. “Haven’t you realized by now that there’s no need to wrestle with a heavy load of emotional baggage? You simply need to fill the space with something new, leaving whatever’s bothering you to fall away by itself.”

I heard the click of a large metal clasp as she opened a capacious handbag. “We’ll start with a tasty slice of apple crumb pie. Imagine how delicious it looks.”

Photo of apple crumb pie.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

She reached into the bag as if taking something out, and then she touched my upper left arm. Warmth spread through it, and a delicious apple pie aroma filled the room. Repeating that performance with my right arm, the Dame said, “Here’s a custard-filled donut sprinkled with powdered sugar.”

Continuing to touch one arm and then the other, she told me, “Cherry turnovers just out of the oven. Chocolate lava cake with whipped cream and red raspberries on top. It’s October, so we can’t forget the pumpkin spice cupcakes with leaf-shaped sprinkles. And last, but not least, a fortune cookie, as a reminder that the future holds many exciting discoveries.”

By now, my bedroom was full of wonderful bakery smells. The Dame closed her bag and declared cheerfully, “There’s no room at the inn for old worries!”

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