Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Embracing Life

A few years ago Nancy and I learned a lesson that speaks to the heart of Latin culture: It is more important to spend time with friends than to complete a task. A Costa Rican would never hesitate, as I did then, if a friend dropped by and said, "Come on, let's go see the new shop up the road!" The opportunity to be with a friend is precious and should be seized—not to avoid work, but to embrace life.

We were reminded of this lesson once again. We leave our home on Isla Mujeres, Mexico, tomorrow and we have a to-do list up to the ceiling. A friend is having a gathering at her house this afternoon and we have been saying for days “We’ll try to make it, but we have a lot of packing and last minute chores to do.” We have had workmen in and out for weeks, and just this morning we had the broken outside doorknob replaced.

As Nancy was readying an email with our regrets this morning, I said, “Wait. Remember what we learned in Costa Rica.” Nancy gave me a significant look, knowing just what I meant, and immediately changed the email to express our delight in attending.

Spending time with friends is more important than any to-do list. Chores will get done, and if not, the world goes on. No task is worth missing an afternoon deepening the connection with friends old and new.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mystic Massage

I was on the table yesterday under the hands of an extraordinary body worker. Nancy and I have gone to Maria Luisa Harmel of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, for years, and every massage is an adventure.

First Maria Luisa does away with the modesty sheet, so I am totally exposed. (She would use a sheet if I wanted one, but let me tell you, it is fabulous to do without!) Then she puts eucalyptus oil on her hands and holds them under my nose so I can breathe in the strong vapors of this medicinal plant. She rubs my scalp vigorously and then moves to the rest of my body.

For over an hour, Maria Luisa slathers on different oils for various areas of my body and rubs and kneads, vibrates and bends, stretches and pulls. As her hands fly from my shoulders to my ankles, I feel as if I were a piano and Maria Luisa the genius musician.

During her massages I almost always have a deep sense of my soul being just a resident in my body. My mind seems to zoom to the outer galaxies and I look back at this little speck of dust called Earth I feel so much love and joy for this home and for the physical form I am inhabiting for such a short time.

Not only do I walk (stagger) away from the massage totally relaxed, the knots rubbed out, the energy points revitalized, and my skin aglow, I also have a sense of profound spiritual wellbeing.

On that little rectangle of a table, my soul experiences a connection to the Infinite.


P.S. Maria Luisa's email address is mlydogs@hotmail.com.