Since I last wrote, I’ve been gifted with two amazing body work sessions. One, a reiki session with the most powerful energy worker I’ve ever met. Another, reflexology with a fabulous blind masseuse at the Hotel. I strongly believe that regular bodywork is a vital part of any wellness routine. It compliments a good yoga practice, and helps us release emotions that are seeking to store deep within our bodies in the form of energy blocks, tight muscles, and even illness. It’s especially important during times of transition.
The reiki session was a birthday gift from a dear friend. We traveled Saturday to Masaya to meet a local woman who has a thriving practice helping people deal with trauma through psychiatry, reiki, and other healing modalities. I was a tad nervous about communicating, as my friend had informed me that this woman speaks no English, but that was a non-issue. My friend told me to expect some healing massage in combination with reiki. This was my first reiki treatment, so I really had no idea what I was in for.
It was such a powerful experience when I laid down on the massage table and she placed her hands directly on my throat chakra to muscles knotted tight with unreleased emotion. She expertly placed her fingers on swollen meridian points and encouraged me to breathe deeply to release the pent up energy. She then commenced with the reiki work, holding her hands gently over different chakras as I felt my internal energy respond to her healing intention. The hour long session seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, and before I knew it, I was preparing to leave as she told my friend she’d prepare a floral remedy to help me through my transition.
During the reiki session, she tasked me with the conflicting goals of both controlling my emotions and releasing old enoja, or anger, that’s blocking my throat chakra. I’ve been meditating lots on how to accomplish this. I’m normally a tranquilla individual – slow to anger and eager to communicate. However when I am angered, I feel the emotion inhabiting my body and demanding action. I’ve been working a lot with observing my emotions and the way they try to inhabit my body, so I’ve been able to stay present as these emotions wave through me.
When I worked at the yoga studio, somebody had hung a quote up on the wall that reminded anger is neither good nor bad. It is an energy that we can harness and use to inspire us to positive change. Another view of anger is that it indicates when our boundaries have been crossed. People in general and women specifically have been socialized to be very accommodating to others. I fall into this role as easily as any other woman, constantly wanting to please the people in my life and often adjusting my boundaries as needed. When that spark of anger ignites, I have a clear message that this is a boundary that is not healthy for me to tear down.
We talk a lot about keeping an open heart in yoga. I want to be open to experience the beauty of life, and I want to be open to experience the unity that I have with each person I meet. However, I am living on an earthly plane in a physical body, and that means that I need healthy boundaries to protect myself. I also need to listen to the messages that my body is giving me so that I can allow emotions to flow through me without feeling that I need to cling to those emotions like life rafts in a stormy ocean.
So I left the reiki session feeling affirmed that the chakras I’ve been focusing on are indeed the ones that need my attention in this moment. I continue to target those chakras through my asana, kundalini, and meditation practice.
I’m still feeling fragile, though, as I continue to find myself in the midst of a transition. This leaves me in a swirl of emotions that I can feel settling into my neck, shoulders, and hips. Luckily, I had been gifted a treatment at the Hotel for my birthday as well, so I decided not to wait and to take the treatment now to help manually release some of these tight emociones.
The massage was a gift, and truly one of the best I’ve while in Granada. It was apparent what a talent the therapist has. I feel blessed to be in a place where body work is so affordable. A one hour massage, acupuncture, reiki, or shiatsu session costs less than a third of what one costs in Austin. That leaves plenty left over for a generous tip to the therapist, even on my limited budget!
I leave you with a beautiful quote I found from Pema Chodron. It reminds me to look for the opportunity for growth and gratitude in each moment.
“Each person’s life is like a mandala- a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life. We enter a room, and the room is our mandala. We get on the subway, and the subway car is our mandala, down to the teenager checking messages on her iPhone and the homeless man slumped in the corner. We go for a hike in the mountains, and everything as far as we can see is our mandala: the clouds, the trees, the snow on the peeks, even the rattlesnake coiled in the corner. We’re lying in a hospital bed, and the hospital is our mandala. We don’t set it up, we don’t get to choose what or who shows up in it. It is, As Chogyam Trungpa said, “the mandala that is never arranged but is always complete.” And we embrace it just as it is.
Everything that shows up in your mandala is a vehicle for your awakening. From this point of view, awakening is right at your fingertips continually. There’s not a drop of rain or a pile of dog poop that appears in your life that isn’t the manifestation of enlightened energy, that isn’t a doorway to sacred world. But it’s up to you whether your life is a mandala of neurosis or a mandala of sanity.”