I arrived for my Watsu Massage a bit early, put on my swimming suit and sat patiently in the lounge area. I love this part of spaing.
You know, "spa-ing" as in the art of enjoying a spa...and I do see it as an art. I can smell a spa by just being in the approximate area. The blending of the massage oils, the steams, the cucumber eye circles and the eucalyptus all blend to set off the alarm in my mind that shouts, "Spa Ahead!” For me, sitting in the lounge area drinking lemon water, enjoying the tiny cup of almonds, listening to the meditative music, while enjoying the melding of smells is part of the anticipatory enjoyment of the spa experience.
After a few minutes of this relaxing time the attendant appeared. She led me outside on a stone path through green foliage, lava rock walls and tiny grass huts to the cave area where the Watsu water pool sat in quiet seclusion. There the massage therapist, Sandy, was waiting. I was happy to see she was the one who was my Swedish massage therapist the year before. I liked her then and felt relief that I would be having this new experience with someone I knew and trusted. Recognizing me, I believe the feeling was echoed.
The description in the brochure stated,
Watsu is a passive form of aquatic body work that supports and gently moves you through warm water in graceful, fluid movements. This relaxing, meditative treatment is designed to bring total tranquility to you as your therapist supports, stretches and massages you.
Meditative. Tranquility. Words that hit my heart and spirit, but . . . sensing I didn’t understand exactly how a massage in the water could be accomplished, Sandy told me there would be bending, stretching, yoga-like movements and to just relax and let go. She explained that the water is half salt and half fresh with no chlorine or chemicals so it holds a "very healing quality." She continued with a description that reinforced the meditative and tranquil qualities of the Watsu.
This was going to be interesting.
She began by instructing me to sit on a rock seat on the side of the pool while she put floats around my ankles. Then in one slow movement she took my hand and glided me into the water and quickly maneuvered me into position with my neck resting on her arm. Without stopping I was pulled around through the water feeling like Wendy as Peter Pan led her into the sky to fly.
After a few swirls my body just followed where she pulled it and surprisingly I quickly released and relaxed. It was a sensation like I had not experienced before and the definition of being in the water and/or flying was blurred. My ears were submerged so the muffled sound of water and the waterfall, which echoed through the cave, surrounded my thoughts. The sound became very ocean-like as the swirling in the water continued. The concept of being led into the sky to fly through the universe while being whirled deeper and deeper in a spiral of water continued. With all of this motion only my eyes and nose remained above water. Submerged not only in water, but in the drifting. My eyes never opened. I was not sure they could.
The worries and knowing of anything outside of me were clearing from my thoughts as if the flow to the right told me to "release," the flow to the left spoke, "let go."
Hadn't Peter Pan also said something about if you want to fly you have to give up what's weighing you down? By this point my body seemed weightless. All ideas of gravity were missing from this space. I became aware that this was a massage of the mind, not of the body. It was an exercise in letting go of control. Release. Let go. Release. Let go.
My body had given control of my thoughts to the quiet stillness of my mind; to the place I find myself during meditation. The space of magic when I leave the heaviness of my body to explore the vastness of all there is outside of the personality I call "me." The massaging continued, release, let go, release let go. Swirl. Swirl. Swirling.
At some point the stretching began. Practicing Yoga on a not-so-regular schedule, I knew what my body could and couldn't do; how it would and wouldn't bend. But here in the water my body seemed to bend deeper. Stretch further. A slow ballet of graceful, fluid movements, as the brochure predicted. Time escaped as the hypnotic water dance continued.
Suddenly the calming serenity was interrupted by the thundering sound of water pounding. I felt the heat of the sun on my face for the first time since entering the cave. The sound grew louder and louder as the sensation of water pelting my head rushed the coming together of my body with my mind. I felt the heaviness of my body return as the joining formed the oneness of me. The reality of remembering to remember that I had lost control of my body and myself caused me to jolt with a splash to regain control and movement of my body.
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able
to do it.” ~ Peter Pan
Realizing for the first time in over an hour that I was not alone, my eyes opened to see Sandy pulling me away from the waterfall that had just caused my mind-body reunion. Smiling at me, she pulled both of us to the side of the pool.
Sandy thanked me and left.
Following her suggestion, but possibly more out of the need to stabilize my body and my thoughts, I sat on a bench outside the cave. The sunshine woke up my senses. The feeling was coming back in to my legs, my arms, but mostly my mind.
Release and let go became hold on and connect.
After some deep breathing the ballet of swirling, flying, and water diving, mingled through my thoughts. What had I just experienced? A work out? Not quite. A massage? Maybe. A meditation? Absolutely. Did I fly or did I dive through a tornado of water? Did it matter? What I did realize as the sun continued to solidify the connection of my mind and body is that the adventure was one of the mind. One of believing. One of the spirit. And a bit of magic.
Maybe Peter Pan was right. Could it be that “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
Pennie”s Life Lesson: “Allow yourself a time to release and let go. In this place of trust you will fly.”
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My intent in sharing this with you is to encourage you to try something new and to be open the experience.
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