ONE MAN’S MONK IS ANOTHER MAN’S MEMBER
I know you all think I’m stuck on this Penis Mountain thing. But quite frankly, if you had spent the last three days staring at it you might have a hard time letting it go too.
I do want you to know that despite the fact there was drinking, singing, the consumption of drive-thru fast food and other adolescent activities on Taylor and Tracey’s excellent adventure, I did try and balance it with some spirituality, some pampering and some unclogging of the chakras.
We did some serious spa-ing. I don’t think that is a proper word but I don’t care. We had our manis/pedis, massages and facials and I had Reiki. Now, I had never had Reiki, which is saying something, as there is very little in the way of spa-ing, unclogging, releasing and the laying of others’ hands on my body that involves gratuities I have not experienced.
If it results in unknotting me, enlightening me or making me feel good, I’m in. And I’ve gotten to do this all over the place.
There have been some weird ones. Once Taylor and I were in Mysore, India and I wanted to have the hot oil drip. It has a name, but I’ve forgotten it. Justine will surely email and remind me. The principle is that by dripping droplets of hot oil on your forehead you become acquainted with your third eye. Normally it’s a messy, albeit peaceful process. Though the time in Mysore it was anything but.
Tay and I were led to this dark, dank room where we were told to strip and lay on a large slab of wood, that had sides which made it look like a box that had been cut down. Four stocky women then proceeded to pour hot coconut oil on us and basically slap us silly with rough old towels, while one stood at our heads and poured more hot coconut oil on our foreheads in a never ending stream that got into our eyes, ears and noses.
Not only did it not help locate our third eye we couldn’t see out of the other two for hours.
The more they poured, the more we sort of slid around the tables and the more we slid the more they slapped. It was truly like a form of torture. I felt horrible for putting Taylor through it and it took a week before our bodies were oil free.
Despite the fact I knew Reiki was nothing like this, I had some image in my mind they could be similar.
But this week I figured it’s the only one left I really haven’t tried, why not? I lived through Mysore – I can get through Reiki.
I have no idea what they do as your eyes are closed. It involves hands gliding over your body but not heavily touching you. Its purpose is to release your chakras. I adore the concept of chakras and have been told mine are very blocked.
But I’ve got to say, this Reiki thing had me at hello. I was so relaxed, I almost went into a coma and I actually felt that kind of release you get with really good acupuncture.
And I swear I don’t have a clue as to what this woman did.
But I will do it again, and again, and again. As it has a long term effect. My chakras did not clog up again when Jet Blue said “We don’t know when the plane will depart.” Normally, I start throwing things when they say that.
They also did not clog up when in the dreadful storm last night they were trying to land our plane and we were diverted from JFK and had to land in Newark. They didn’t clog when they announced we may be landing in Newark but we would all be put on a bus to JFK to get our luggage. Blessedly, this did not happen, but those are the moments when not only my chakras tend to block but my temper tends to flare.
I didn’t even get upset when it felt like we weren’t going to land. I actually don’t know how we did. I think we had Captain Sulley’s nephew in the cockpit, as we were literally the only plane in the airport that got in. So Reiki works.
We followed the Reiki (actually, Taylor had her pores unclogged while I was dealing with my chakras) with a labyrinth walk. Now oddly in all my global spiritual seeking, I had never even heard of this one.
So I had no idea what to expect. Though in my head it I imagined tall perfectly manicured hedges that formed a labyrinth you wound your way through.
It was a coil like circle made of stones in the middle of a Franciscan Wellness Center. Thank you very much; yes I took Taylor aka Thelma to a Franciscan Wellness Center to help balance the rest of the trip.
So the labyrinth is an ancient spiritual technique, used for walking meditation. I have wanted to learn walking meditation for ages as I have a hard time sitting. I try, but it’s not easy for me.
I figured if there were a way to do it while on the move, this would allow me to get places while meditating. NOT.
We learned that you can’t find joy while rushing.
I like that. Think about it. It’s good.
No joy while rushing. I desperately needed to hear that. I need to now repeat it to myself about four thousand times a day.
What happens is you enter the labyrinth and slowly, slowly follow the path that is formed by these precisely placed rocks. They may look random but they are anything but.
They look sort of like a Mandala. But they also look like the snaky line you go through that leads you to the entrance of Space Mountain in Disneyland.
It’s laid out you so you don’t have to think. You just walk very, very slowly. Remember, no joy while rushing and you breath in and out slowly like in sitting meditation and you follow the path and like in sitting mediation you let your thoughts come and go without attaching meaning or judgment to them. You can’t jump the rocks. You can’t forge your own path, or the path that you think is right for you or the path you find most appealing. You have no choice but to follow the path that is laid out before you and you do and you become very calm, and centered, at least I did.
Cindy, the woman who taught us this said some people, mostly men, get nervous and run out. It’s hard to walk slowly in a direction you don’t understand or have control over with just your thoughts ebbing and flowing. But that really is the ultimate lesson of life. I loved it so much I did it three times.
And halfway through lap two it hit me, and it’s so uncomplicated – it’s only the basis, the real foundation for most religions and spiritual practices: just relax and follow the path, trust it. Trust it’s all going to be all right. Move slowly, with purpose and faith and it’s all laid out for you.
This is not easy for everyone.
Taylor got it though. Her revelation came as she saw the rocks as the self-inflicted boundaries, both physical and mental, that hold us back as long as we will let them. She feels now after walking the walk that those boundaries– the rocks, stones and walls– are only as powerful as you allow them to be. I like that.
Different epiphanies – walking the same path. Just like life.
So you see the wine and mojitos and all were balanced with some good spiritual awakenings.
We ended our stay by having dinner with my former student and good friend Ed Pinkasov who is now living in Phoenix. He took us to a fun place, we had mojitos– last night spring break, come on, I had an epiphany. I opened my chakras. I was going home to my life of moderation. One more night of indulgence was fine, plus we had a great time.
But then this is the best – yesterday morning as we were checking out, the nice woman who took such good care of us when they gave our room away was on the duty. She asked how we liked the room. I told her it was amazing and like so often happens a wrong turn can lead to the right destination.
And I said, “And how about that mountain…” and gave her a wink-wink look without winks, as I can’t wink.
She said, “Oh, The Monk.”
I almost fell over.
“The mountain is supposed to look like a monk?”
I didn’t have the nerve to tell her what I saw in that mountain.
But I gave her my website and told her to check out yesterday’s blog.
As we drove away and I glanced back, there was no question that mountain didn’t look like any monk I’d ever seen. Unless they are referring to those pervy monks in Germany the Pope is dealing with this week.
I was looking at a monk for three days and seeing a penis.
I suppose I should find it disturbing. Yet I don’t think I’m wrong.
You guys saw the photos. Did that look like a monk to you?
Paging Dr. Rorshach. I’m sure he would agree one man’s monk can be another man’s penis.
FRESHMAN MOM HOME FROM SPRING BREAK