What is comfort?

My son and I

My son and I


Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.    Hippocrates

Comfort always, as prescribed by Hippocrates is pretty much what my son and I spent the last 12 days doing.  Technically, neither of us is ill, although I would say he is rather homesick.

As I drove away from his house today aware that I won’t see him until Christmas I refrained from tearing up for his sake and mine.  We had such a good time together and I chose to think about what we have rather than what we don’t have.

Last night as he was baking the oatmeal cookies he whipped up for dessert and was wanting to feel guilty about the calories I reminded him how important comfort can be. We were avoiding what was on both our minds, I would be leaving the next day. The cookies were something familiar and ‘treatish’ to comfort and remind us of good times we have had in the past.  I teach my students a little brain science and I was well aware that we were getting our dompamine fix by stimulating good memories as well as our taste buds in order to move away from the ‘sad place’ we could easily have gone to.  We took goofy pictures of ourselves eating the cookies and played cards and then said good night on a high note.

Our children will teach us if we allow them to.  My son reminded me that when we are sad, suffering, lonely or uncomfortable we often think that ploughing through is the best way to cure the ill feelings.  In fact the opposite is true.  Sure there are things we need to do that we don’t like but that does not require that we never allow ourselves a moment of pleasure or at the very least calm.  Why do we practice mindful breathing exercises, meditation, prayer and creativity?

So what is your comfort?  Is it a certain food that reminds you of a safe comfortable time?  Is it nature?  How about poetry, reading, gardening, crafts, journalling?  All of these activities are capable of providing comfort to a weary soul.

In our family food was definitely a comfort because I loved to cook and bake so much ( one of my creative outlets that brings me comfort). My children were used to a house filled with an eclectic mix of music (also a comforting activity), lots of activity in nature and outdoors as well as being very active in organized sports and music lessons.  Any of these activities can create comfortable feelings that remind them of home.

So, as my son and I played cards,  walked along the lake and in the woods, baked, cooked and talked while listening to classical, country, jazz and even Christmas music we were creating comfort through familiarity.  Even though we were in a strange house, in a far away town, in another country, we could still conjure up the peace and calm we find in each other’s company.  We made each other laugh with what we believe are  witty comments and stories but most of all we were getting comfortable with  our new relationship as mother and adult son.

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