October 31, 2014

Living Well: Topanga to Thailand

 

ILLUSTRATION BY DAN MAZUR 2014

Living Well: Topanga to Thailand

July 6, 2014, 12:30 p.m. (L.A. time)—I am 11 1/2 hours into a 14-hour, non-stop flight to Hong Kong, where, during a long layover, I will receive a foot massage in the airport’s Organic Wellness Center, then hop on a two-hour flight, completing my journey to Thailand. Yes, Thailand.

Three days ago, I did not know where Thailand was. I’m still a little fuzzy. I know so little about this trip: only the name of the city (Chiang Mai), the climate (sub-tropical), and what my lodging looks like (lovely).

I am drinking lots of water, drafting my column on my iPhone Notes app, and feeling surprisingly comfy and serene for someone who is thousands of miles above the Pacific, heading halfway round the world in a metal bird. I am still absorbing how I arrived at this moment; it all happened so fast.

The story began when I Facebooked a dancer friend and asked him where he was. A few days later, I received his reply.

“I AM—in Thailand… Come for a visit?”

I half joked that if he sent me a ticket, sure, I’d visit. Who wouldn’t? In a couple of days I received another message assuring me a ticket could be “quickly arranged” and asking for my “timing constraints.” Was he for real? I let him know I was waiting for my passport, which I’d applied for two months before.

This delay gave me a moment to ponder the idea and make a wise decision. I’d set an intention last year to see the most beautiful places on the planet. Was this answered prayer? Although we’re members of a close community, my total time spent with this friend could be measured in hours, and although I felt exhilarated at the thought of going, I also recognized the possibility of disruption to my life at home. Whatever happened, I knew the trip would be a milestone. The question was, in what way, and was the potential worth it?

Three weeks ago, I’d cashed in a gift certificate for an intuitive Body Listening session with DaphneLeah, a friend and healer. She met me near my car in her Chatsworth community, and as we walked toward her house, she said she'd already begun the session.

“You want to me to go lightly, but deep.”

“What part if me wants that?” I asked, a bit skeptical.

“All of you.”

She was right. I like slow deep massage, slow deep kissing, slow deep everything. I want to go all the way into the jungle, into new languages, into relationships, into life, but I want to go slowly enough that I can feel myself open and surrender to the totality of whatever unfolds. The slower I go, the more I feel.

We sat in her pastel periwinkle treatment room. I chose four Avalon cards from a divination deck, then four angels. As we sat she spoke.

“Worry is no longer part of your operating system. It's like you were in high school but now you’re in college. No, more like graduate school. No, that’s not it either. You're out of school altogether. You have all the tools. Now it's just about living.” Then she told me to be like a tree.

“A tree’s branches sway a little, but not much. The trunk is strong, solid; it doesn't move much at all. Be like that.” I understood.

I got on the table, and she worked on my belly, going in deep and slow. When I turned over, she told me I once had magnificent, huge wings. She worked on their attachment points, reminding me to dance with those wings. I could feel their power, like a huge owl or eagle. I mentioned the Thailand trip.

“Go! It will be great fun. You will meet funny men there who will make you laugh. Look for them.”

The following Saturday, my passport arrived. I Facebook-ed my friend again, and he sent me a ticket. Like the Goethe quote, once I made the commitment, the universe lined up. All of my clients are handled, and bills are paid. For the first time in two years, my son is staying with his father, and three days before the flight, five people came together to help with daily responsibilities. “Faith” is walking my dog, and “Joy” is housesitting. Can you beat that? A week before I did not know either of these women, but something in me knows I’m on track, and I won’t be swayed.

July 7, 2014, 11:03 a.m. (Hong Kong time)—I'm cloud gazing somewhere between Hong Kong and Thailand. I feel like an astronaut seeing the planet for the first time; my planet, my beloved Mama. I am soaring over her. I am in angel territory, my wings supported by the wings of Asia Air.

July 8, 2014, 4:36 p.m. (Thai time)—I am writing to you from Chiang Mai, surrounded by the sounds of exotic birds, geckos, locusts, and an occasional snippet of Thai conversation. My bungalow, a feng shui wonder of wood and glass, sits on twelve-foot-tall wood pylons. As I write I look out over a running stream. Across a tiny street is Grand Master Mantak Chia’s Tao Garden Health Spa and Resort, where my friend lives and where I take my meals. It’s like an Asian Esalen, the cliffs of Big Sur replaced by lotus ponds.

I’m glad I came. A divine transformation is taking place. I feel both overwhelmed and liberated, simultaneously calm and enlivened by anticipation of the Unknown.

Today when I meditated, I realized that no matter where I plant myself, I am a tree. I stand grounded while the winds of life blow through my branches, clearing away the dust.

I like it, because whether I am a California Oak or a Thailand teak, my trunk is solid. ­­­­­­

Sage Knight is a local (well, maybe not so local) speaker, ghostwriter, and editor. She welcomes your visits to www.sageknight.com.