The lively sound of birds outside my room reminded me that I am in Thailand. It is still a bit surreal. When I need to remind myself that it is real, I find Thai food. OMG. So far I have learned that there are two things which belong in heaven: Thai food and Thai massage. That list may grow while I am here, but if those ingredients aren’t included then I don’t want to go.
I wasn’t quite sure what the day would bring when I woke up this morning. All I knew is that I had the freedom to say ‘yes’ to anything good and new that crossed my path. I wandered out of my room, into the busy streets of Chiang Mai. The people in Thailand are so friendly, but somehow crossing the street is a life threatening venture. They don’t stop. If you want to live, proceed with extreme caution. Those little vespas and motor bikes are on a mission – for what I don’t know, but they are going somewhere and going there fast. I’m not sure that I am brave enough to rent one. After all, I did come here to slow down.
My first stop after a smoothie made of mango, lemon, yogurt and love, was a massage. I passed several massage parlors but this one intrigued me because I thought the name was so funny. The sign read, Pitt Massage. Yep. That is what they named it. I’m open to new experiences, but I never thought of having my armpits massaged. Luckily, it was not as advertised – it was way better.
“How much time do you have?”, asked the masseuse. I answered, “two months.” She laughed and asked how much time I have today. This is what happened…
Foot massage for one hour, followed by a full body massage for another hour, totaling two hours of the best kind of torture you can possibly imagine, all for $400 Baht ($11.75 US). A traditional Thai massage is a different experience from the types of massages I am accustomed to receiving. Thai massages are not about lotion-rubbing; they are about stretching, pressing, twisting, and unearthing tension you had no idea existed. I’ll admit that I may have underestimated this tiny woman, Ahn, up until the point when her feet were digging into my hamstrings. I should know better than to underestimate a petite woman. Ahn used her entire body to massage me. She would have probably made an excellent dancer with those feet.
While breathing through this amazing experience, I realized that it’s time for me to start practicing yoga again. I might get more out of future massages (and there will be many) if I add a few up and down dogs to my leisurely mornings. My new mat is green, a fitting color for the healthy journey I am on. It came with a net bag so that I can take it with me anywhere. I have a feeling that we are going to become great friends during my stay here.
Saying yes to what you need is an empowering habit. I plan to say yes much more often in the future.