Today is water day. I woke up with a strong desire to take a bath (something I don’t do as often as I’d like at home). There’s something about a bath that is so much more relaxing than the typical quick shower. In a bath, you can feel the essence of water penetrate your pores. There’s a depth, a mystery, a tranquility.
Our bathtub here at the cabin is small; it’s actually just the bottom of the shower, but we designed it to be deep enough so the grandkids could be easily bathed. (It’s interesting that children prefer baths over showers; I believe it’s because they’re more connected to the purity of that primeval energy.) This is the first time I’ve used it myself as a tub, and in order to lie down and let my head go underwater, I have to place my legs up the side wall. The pure spring water soothes my body and my mind.
I love the quiet and solitude of having my ears beneath the water surface. For most of my life I disliked the feeling, and it wasn’t until I had some watsu (water massage) treatments several years ago that I began to feel comfortable in that other world. When I lean my head back and close my eyes, it reminds me of being in my favorite Maui cove connecting with the turtles. There is a deep sense of peace and freedom there, a sense that I recreate here in this tiny mountain bathroom.
After I am done with my soak I feel deeply relaxed. At home I never take a bath in the morning because it seems to make me too relaxed – and of course, there’s so much to do! But this day I wonder: is there really such a thing as being too relaxed? I ponder this question as I make a breakfast smoothie, a bit of liquid nourishment to help me flow through the day.
I came to our little cabin in the Sierras this week because next week I turn 60. For a few months I’ve been speaking of this retreat – this time away – as my gift to myself. It’s not that I have so much to get away from, it’s just that the watery part of my being values a place to read, rest, write, dream, clear my mind, and just be – alone. I have found that here.
According to ancient Chinese wisdom, the 60th birthday is the most important one. It marks the passage through the 3rd of 4 gates, the completion of a full cycle of life, and the beginning of a whole new era. I am reinventing who I am and what I want, creating more freedom and fun, with the help of this beautiful spot. There is no sense of time here. There is no list, no expectations. There is only me, and I am enjoying being with me.