Category Archives: magic

Smiling Eyes

During yesterday morning’s meditation, I was just starting to flirt with the edges of bliss when the byatch who lives next door started opening the shutters on her windows, and she does this with a vengeance. Every evening she slams them shut and every morning she slams them open, always wearing over-sized slippers that make irritating thwack-thwack shuffling noises on the concrete. It would be funny if she were wearing a rainbow colored wig and red nose. She’s got all the ineptitude of a clown with none of the charm.

Randy clown(This is a real clown. His name is Randy. He’s very funny.)

The shutters make jarring metal-on-metal screeches that fire directly into my eardrums, a barrage of painful sound bullets tearing through my equanimity. The woman seems to be taking out her anger and frustration with the universe. My gut reaction has become a sudden eruption of seething rage, not unlike my champagne bubbles of light, but again with none of the charm.

Yesterday, it struck me that maybe she’s got things to rage about, too. The absurdity of my rage hit me, and by extension, the absurdity of me letting the noise bother me so much. I took a deep, cleansing yoga breath and let it go, and then discovered what it means to smile inside.

And just then I felt the corners of my eyelids curve into smiles.

I didn’t know they could do that.

Such magic doesn’t happen every time I meditate. Each session is different; some are sweet dewdrops of peace, others are the box of milk that’s been in the fridge a little too long. That unpredictability is the difference between fresh blueberries and blueberry jam, the thrill of the unknowable level of sweetness versus a homogenized jar of Smuckers, delicious but guaranteed, unvarying. While the comfort of the predictable is appealing, most of the time I’d rather take a chance on the unknown.

And maybe I need to get myself a red nose.

jam

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Lombok Magic

On Lombok island, we stayed at a boutique resort hotel called the Puri Mas. Run by a somewhat crazed Belgian, a former ballroom dance champion, it is made up of small bungalows that follow a winding path down a hill from reception past an open air restaurant to the ocean, where the surf seems to be up around the clock. I didn’t get a garden nor ocean view, but I did have…

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…a private, partially open air meditation space, which was…not unattractive.

Just up the road a piece from the hotel was its spa, where this guy…

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…pointed me toward this room…

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…where I had my first nekkid full body oil massage.

I lay down on the table. The massage guy touched my right shoulder and whispered, “Wow.” I whispered back, “Yeah.” And he said, “OK, its time for some Lombok magic.”

“Well, all right,” I thought. “I’ve heard variations on that before. We’ll see.”

And then he did. Hocus pocus. Abracadabra. Voila.

I don’t know how he did it. All I can say is he poked and prodded and climbed around on the table and on me until he gently tucked a misplaced muscle back into place. When he was done, I floated off the table and sat on the porch eating slices of papaya and listening to birdsong and feeling bemused. All I could think was, “Well, If that doesn’t beat all.”

Massage guy also recommended a special Lombok chicken dish, which I tried, of course, since he clearly had direct lines of communication with some greater good. There was an outdoor cafe just down the beach from the hotel, the kind where the roof is made of woven leaves and the floor is sand and the tables and chairs are pieces of bamboo lashed together.

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Perfectly complimented by a cool bottle of Bintang, it was grilled chicken breast in a spicy sauce similar to Indian butter chicken but made with coconut milk. I have forgotten what it’s called, so If anyone can tell me, or better yet find me a recipe, I will write an ode to the greatness that is you.

I know it will never taste as good in my Tokyo kitchen as it did when I ate it with sand between my toes and a touch of tropical sun on my nose and the lingering touch of Lombok magic on my skin. I learned this from the almighty Mai Tai, which is a delicate kiss from Adonis on a beach in Thailand but a sticky groping by a clumsy teenager in a bar in Roppongi, but I want to try to make it anyway.

I will try almost anything.

lotus poseYoga in the hotel ballroom: surreality at its best.