Aahhh massage… after living out of suitcases and traveling in planes, trains, buses, automobiles, and tuk-tuks, a different hotel room every couple of days, trekking up and down mountains, meditating in caves, in temples, by the Bay of Bengal in Puri, by the River Ganges in Rishikesh, my body will now soon be at rest on a massage table.
The welcome, soothing sounds and lights, the just-right warmth of the room – I sit for a moment to let it soak in. I’m no longer in India, but in Indiana. My skin still smells of India, my feet carry the baptism of sacred waters, my heart the prayers and chants of hallowed temples, and yet the muscles of my body ache.
The holy pilgrimage from which I have just returned took me to places I have never been in body, mind, heart, and spirit. There is so much to process, to relax into and allow that the only possible next step is this massage. Massage with a therapist that understands without needing to know the details, that intuitively knows what needs to happen and chooses essential oils that will deepen my experience on her table. So I climb on the table and under the warm blankets.
Before she comes back into the room I have a few moments to settle in. Oh my goodness can my spine feel that crooked? My hips that misaligned? I acknowledge that yes, they must be, and I gratefully await the presence of warm hands touching, soothing, and gently kneading through the layers of this trip. The layers of 22-hour plane flights, lifting and pulling luggage in, out, and through everything imaginable, bus rides up and down bumpy India mountain roads, hanging on for life in tuk-tuks as we weave through and barely scrape past everything else that’s on the road, and so much more.
And so it begins. She drops some essential oils on my back and massages the oils into the crevice of my spine. Oh, this feels so good. The heightened awareness of the month of traveling and absorbing India into my system is now shifted to this singular body, mind, and soul. I notice the unwinding of tensions in the muscles and the mind, and breathe deeply.
I feel the release of anxieties and worries that have unknowingly developed, and space expands in my heart to all that happened on my journey. I fall into a deep rest as India once again seeps in. The sacred sounds of prayer and chanting, the vibrations of holy temples, ashrams and mandirs, the precious moments of interactions with beautiful people and animals, the incredible food and masala chai with its harmonic blend of spices, and of course, the beautiful gems and clothes. India.
It takes time to absorb the experience of life, to be aware of what we love and what we resist. Returning from my pilgrimage to time on the massage table was a good decision. Those 90 minutes gave me the time and freedom to allow the essence of India to integrate deeply into who I am. India is now imprinted on my soul.
And yes, I have another massage appointment scheduled. Namasté