It's my birthday today!
When I was thinking about ways to spend this day, my initial thought was to travel to another exotic country. I toyed with the idea of drinking cobra whiskey in Laos or visiting the recently opened borders of Burma, but nothing felt quite right. I just finished my massage training which meant I had practical and written exams consuming all my time which would have otherwise been spent researching locations last week. Plus, I recently began working one on one with a Thai Massage teacher in Chiang Mai.
Getting this teacher to agree to work with me was a bit of a challenge, but with enough persistence and a little bit of bribery over a salad dinner, he agreed to meet with me on the weekends leading up to his departure to teach in Taiwan in December. With my weekends occupied, my potential birthday excursion was going to be cut in half with only 3 or 4 days to explore another country. Although the idea was spontaneous and fun, the truth remained that my backpack weighs as much as I do, and lugging it around sounded annoying.
My teacher strongly encourages me to have a meditation practice in conjunction with the body work I'm learning, so he suggested that I visit the Osho Center in Pai, called The Womb. The center specializes in Kundalini meditation, which unlike the silent sitting of Vipassana, incorporates movement and dance. My teacher has led me through a couple of these meditations in our work together, and although I sometimes float outside of my body during the interpretive dance section and think "what is this hippy shit," I've overall enjoyed the experience. I also thought that maybe by spending my birthday in quiet meditation could perhaps change the energy of my year (again with the hippy shit...). Plus, I could tell everyone that I spent my birthday in The Womb.
and arrived at The Womb in the evening where I was greeted by two of the men that work here. I was showed around the place and thought it seemed quiet even for a meditation center. I came to find out that the entire staff was out of town, there were no classes or led meditations and I was the only person staying at the center.
Ok...I've come to expect the unexpected in life, but this took me by surprise. My visions of performing interpretive dance with a bunch of hippies on my birthday slowly waltzed out and was replaced with acceptance of having a very solitary and quiet day. One of the monks that I've been listening to a lot over the last year talks a lot about taking time for a retreat from everything. Maybe this birthday would serve as my moment to take retreat from the world and reflect on the last 31 years of my life. Oh, did I say 31? (cough) I meant to say 21...
I woke up at 7am and did an hour of meditation, drank some tea and then joined one of the men that works here in town for some coffee and young coconut (birthday) cheesecake.
Over coffee and cheesecake I found out that my new mate had made himself grow one foot taller for 15 minutes, turned himself into a bear, and entered the 5th dimension to visit Limeria. Okay... these were not the conversations I expected to be having today, but at least they were interesting.
We drove around Pai a bit more, but I really just wanted to be quiet and sit by the river in a hammock at the meditation center, so I asked him to drive me back.
I spent the rest of the day on Skype with my friends and parents. Oh yeah, and blogging...
So, no, I didn't spend the day dancing with hippies or as a total spiritual recluse like I'd imagined, but overall, I can't really complain about my experiences today. And as for a silent meditation retreat...I guess I'll just have to wait for my 10 day Vipassana retreat in Java this February.
Here's to being 31-derful!