I used to love to get massages, but the massage itself was only part of the bliss. I’d actually never had a massage before my joint troubles started, so it was often therapeutic, which translates into painful. But to walk into a room with dimmed lights, soothing colors and calming music… it felt like an escape. The warmed table and trickle of water from the fountain in the room, the fluffy robe and warmed oils…
… it’s the vision in my head when I think of the word Zen.
Just closing my eyes and imagining the scene, hearing the trickling fountain, actually relaxes me a little bit… but the same Zen feeling washes over me anytime water is involved. I think it’s the emotional connection that brings the Zen-like state. Some of my happiest memories have been by the water. Growing up and spending Sundays in the summertime waterskiing with my family, or spending a week over the Fourth of July vacationing with friends at Clear Lake… we were always happy. There was always food and laughter and the permission to be lazy.
I don’t remember how old I was when we got our first boat, but I do remember really wanting to try and ski. Like usual, they were telling me I was too little to do it… the skis would be too big, they’d be too heavy, it wouldn’t work. But when everyone else said it was a waste of time, my Dad said I could try. He hopped in the water with me and helped me put on my skis [wood instead of fiberglass so they weren't so heavy]. He stayed in the water because he figured I'd wipe out and need help, and then told me that when they gunned the engine I should just stand up.
So I did.
I held onto that rope and grinned like a fool… I ambled clumsily in and out of the wake... just trying to do all of the things I’d watched my older siblings do. But my favorite part of the memory is that I can still see mom FREAKING OUT when we went by the dock... she and her friend Sally were waving and screaming, and I skied one-handed while I waved back at her.
They finally yelled at me to let go of the rope because I would have kept skiing forever.
And while I’m sure my dad was proud, I have to imagine he was secretly hoping for a wipeout since the poor guy was still in the water the whole time I was skiing... just bobbing in the lake waiting for me to drop the rope so they could pick him up.
I learned how to put on my own skis pretty quickly after that.
Yes, the thought of water brings me to a place of Zen. It’s the warmth that eases the pressure in my joints as I take a long soak. It’s the image I get when I close my eyes and imagine that massage room with it’s soothing sound of a trickling fountain. It’s the contentment and joy that lightens my soul when I remember easy days with a happy family.
I miss spa rooms that provide instant serenity. I miss looking out at moonlight shimmering over the water, or the crisp mornings when the lake is like glass and the loons call out their welcome. But I love that I had it, and can recapture it… that Zen… simply by closing my eyes and breathing in the memories.
I hold my blessings close to me… and the feeling of Zen is the beautiful reward.