Posts Tagged With: Meaning

Adventures with Vouchers: Acupressure Massage

I should really read through voucher offers before I buy them.

This week I got an acupressure massage.

I had just seen the word “massage” and the cheap price and thought, “Sign me up!”

Ordinarily, I would have spaced out the acupuncture and the massage, but please see previous post about procrastinating and facing expiration dates.

I knew I was in for a different kind of experience from the acupuncture as soon as I walked through the door: there was my soothing fountain, resting on a mat of fake turf.

The waiting room was spacious, white walls and melon-colored faux leather armchairs. Expansive and generically inspiring nature shots hung on the walls: a mass of trees in blossom, a clifftop view across misty mountains. A very different vibe from the acupuncture place.

I was gently asked to put on some little white slippers, which these spa-type places should realize is not particularly relaxing, at least if you’re me and wondering who else’s funky feet have tred in these slippers previously.

I was introduced to G., my qi master. The staff wore white gis, which I imagine is a comfy work outfit, even if it did make me think of The Karate Kid.

G. spent a good ten minutes talking to me about qi/chi, or the body’s energy system. It all does make a lot of sense, really. That the body and mind and spirit are actually interconnected and one affects the other. Why is that an Eastern philosophical idea? Why isn’t it just a human philosophical idea? Why are Westerners so cynical about this intermingling, why are we embarrassed by talk about the spirit, why can “New Age” ideas only be considered with irony?

Of course, I couldn’t help but think how disappointed I would be if I ever saw G. in a Starbucks. So I guess I’m just another cynical, overly-ironied Westerner, a revelation which will come as no surprise to anyone.

Acupressure massage is not a medical, physical kind of massage. It’s all about unblocking blocked-up qi. It is performed fully clothed (me – well, and him too), and involved deep fingertip-rubbing over the entire body, head to toe, sternum to butt.

As part of the qi stimulating process, G. made noise while he worked me up. It is supposed to be a cosmic noise, a sound that encourages qi flow from master to client. The best I can do to describe it is as a prolonged “shhhh” except it was “chhhh.” It was the sound an aerosol can makes and it would be really bad for the environment if you continually sprayed a can as long as G. had to make this noise.

I get the meditative qualities of chanting, and I have an album of Tibetan Singing Bowls that is supposed to hit different bodily chakras, and I get that too, I can feel the vibrations in various parts of my body. This just sounded like spraying an aerosol can. I may have mentioned that.

But bless him, G. motored his mouth through my massage and dug his hands so hard into every inch of my body that two days later, my sternum still hurts. There is obviously no way this kind of rubbing can be bad. It might be painful at the time, but it does loosen up all your muscles and tensions, and I felt pretty nice afterward.

We chatted again after my treatment, and G. told me that I have huge blockages in my kidneys, which are the body’s battery packs of energy, as well as my stomach, which blocks energy from getting to my lower half. Maybe that’s why my feet are always cold. (G. repeated several times that he is not a licensed medical professional and there is nothing physically wrong with me. Phew.)

Seriously, I don’t want to be cynical. I want to believe in magic. If we don’t think our own bodies are capable of something mystical and special, it’s really hard to expect it from any other part of the world around us. Qi could just be another part of physics: atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, it’s all swirling around inside us. The idea of energy, positive and negative, is the best way to describe any sort of spiritual views I have.

I want to believe in qi, I want to get in touch with my qi, but I didn’t have any sense of energy release or free flowing radiance in my body. I enjoyed the treatment, but. Sometimes it’s just nice to get poked and prodded. Realistically, I can’t have expected all my qi to start cheerfully flowing after one forty minute session. (But I probably did expect that because I am not realistic.)

G. did a soft-sell for the center’s holistic chanting/movement/meditation class. And I will really consider it. It’s just sort of a pain in the ass to get to the center from where I live. If I’m going to harness my qi and unblock my energy, which sounds like a lot of work in and of itself, I’m really going to need it to be superconvenient.

G. was too genuine and sweet for me to feel that this voucher was a scam, but I don’t know if I really got all that much out of it either. So here’s the new scorecard: Vouchers – 1, Me – 0, Qi – 1

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Categories: Fluff and Philosophical Nonsense, London | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Five Favorite Words Right This Minute

Today (well, most of the time) my metaphorical cupcakes are words. I do tend to love words in a way usually reserved for people. I’ve been reading so many inspiring words lately, too, which makes me giddy and obsessive about producing chewy, delicious sentences of my own: I finished Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides which just sprawls and unfurls in gorgeous, painful ways. I’ve read several short articles online that are exactly the type of taut wisdom I’d like to produce for the internet generation, like this, this, and this.

And I know many people out there are anti-Kindle, but besides using it for such practical and lovely things as traveling (many many books in one infinitely packable package) and for reading tomes that have a brick-like length and weight difficult for commuter reading, I love the dictionary feature. As I read, any word I come across that I don’t know I can click on and find out the definition. Instant gratification and I’m getting smarter? You cannot ask for more than that, people.

For now I’m going to tell you five words I love the most right now, the five that are bouncing around in my head making me want to, as they say, use them in a sentence.

Funny enough, they are sort of interrelated. Eugenides used luminescence in his novel, and I didn’t need to look it up; doesn’t it have such a lovely onomatopoeic quality? The word lights up just like the lighting bug it would describe. And he also used translucent several times, and I didn’t need to look this one up either because I remember so specifically learning it in fourth grade science class (transparent, translucent, opaque. I’m sure reflecting and refracting were part of that lesson too). It has such a gauzy quality, and it’s so specific. I like specificity. It is also pleasing to the tongue. Roll it around your mouth, you’ll see.

These reminded me of my favorite word ever, iridescent. I first stumbled upon that one in a deck of cards for a board game I cannot for the life of me remember the name of or how it was played. I just remember a little stack of white cards, each with four words printed on it. I liked to string them together as insults (they had nothing to do with each other, and it had a Mad-Libs absurdist quality to it to say them together.) But that’s when I first saw iridescent. It’s another shiny word that really sounds like what it means.

So those are three words related to light, and I think it all makes sense subconsciously: my brain is fighting the ubiquitous (Latin root! I want to make out with this word too) gray dreariness of London the only way it can: with words.

The other two words are connected as well. One is oblique. Say it out loud. It has a cheerful sound, despite its meaning, which I did have to look up while reading Eugenides’ book. And I keep looking it up because I can’t hold the definition in my head. I want it to mean something else. I keep having the thought, “London is oblique to me.” But that’s not really true: London isn’t deceptive or devious. What it is, is opaque. London is dense, and obscure to me. I cannot penetrate it, just like light can’t. But I’m working on it. Every now and then I have a translucent London moment. Maybe they will string together and the city will open up and become transparent to me.

In any case, how lovely, opaque brought me full circle, back to my fourth grade lesson on light.

The flattening squash of the “que” in both oblique and opaque is somehow comforting. Is that strange? It is further bizarre that these words with negative connotations are turning me on right now? Am I just perverse, or are there words that don’t have positive meanings that please you aurally, and therefore inspire you?

What are your favorite words this week?

 

Categories: Fluff and Philosophical Nonsense, London | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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