Watch the Fish

Yesterday, I had the fantabulous pleasure of having a massage. My husband, God love him, surprised me and scheduled one, even covering the tip. I only had to show up, travel to bliss and leave the spa, floating on air. Big Sigh.

I’ve often said that if I ever win the Powerball, weekly massages will be entered on my calendar in pen. They are one of my favorite, high-maintenance things in the universe. The Mayo Clinic sites such benefits as managing anxiety and depression, pain, stiffness, blood pressure, and boosting immunity. Pile on the all-mighty power of touch and you have a  relaxing, energizing hour that helps your mind, body and spirit. You really can’t beat that. Not to mention, it just feels so goooooood.

So, there I was. On the table, totally blissed-out. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s ironic that sometimes (lots) we have trouble making the simplest eye-contact with a person in the grocery store, but when it comes to masseuses, all bets are off. There, you are in a dimly lit room, wearing little more than your birthday suit, their hands are all over you and you have no problem with it at all. In fact, you are paying them to do that and hoping that the minutes pass as slowly as molasses.

One thing that I noticed during my massage was that I had to make a concerted effort to not think, and that struck me as amusing. Here I was in one of the most relaxed states that someone can be in and my mind kept jumping like a frog on hot pavement. “Don’t forget to check the online registration for the kids’ activities…can I squeeze in writing my post before the kids get home from school?…must look into more writing opportunities…hmm….don’t forget to register for the macaron pastry class!” And heavy-hitters like: ” I can’t wait to try out that new Essie Mink Muffs nail polish that I got the other day”. Going to look so good for fall, don’t you know.

My mind kept jumping and I kept on trying to corral those thoughts, clear the mind and concentrate on the massage. I’d start thinking about something (inane), waste a few minutes on it and then have to remind myself to focus on the lusciousness at hand. Why was this so difficult??

When I went to Kripalu yoga and wellness center back in the early spring, I took an introductory meditation class. The charismatic woman with the amazingly soothing and intriguing voice told us there were two keys to meditation. One was that to have a successful practice of meditation, all you have to do is get on your pillow. Meaning, the mere fact that you have sat (on a pillow or whatever you chose to sit on) and attempted to meditate is success in and of itself. Very yogic thinking there. The second key was to think of meditation like going to an aquarium. You stand in front of those immense floor- to- ceiling tanks of water and you are mesmerized. The fish swim by. You notice them. And then they keep on swimming. On and on. Swimming towards and then beyond. Like Dory in “Finding Nemo”…”just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

It’s the same with thoughts when you are trying to meditate or just focus, as in my case on the masseuses table today-even if you are trying to focus on nothing but sensations. Forget the extra thoughts for those moments. Be present. It will cast a dramatically different light on a situation.

Guess I’m still miles away from a good meditation because I was wrestling with my thoughts the entire time (including “don’t fall asleep! I know it’s relaxing but stay awake so that you can enjoy it!”). But just recognizing that my thoughts came swimming in and that I was trying to watch them float by is a step in the right direction.

2 thoughts on “Watch the Fish

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