“Inhale, exhale


Simplify and breathe…let your hair down…


There were papers to be marked and an oral communication exam schedule to be arranged. There were research papers to be read too. That was my workload on a weekend, which I could have quickly finished on a Friday night. But when Friday afternoon hit last week, I was all set to watch Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood at Mega Cinema XXI Bekasi – the last Robin Hood movie I saw was Kevin Costner’s mellow and romantic version – but torrential rains greeted Friday afternoon, and you know what happens to the streets of Bekasi.

Come Saturday, I was definitely not in the mood to do any work. Wasn’t it fitting that my tarot card reading on Facebook had The Hermit Reverse, which, in a nut shell, said it was not time to be alone? It went on to say that I must rearrange my social calendar and go out. And went out I did with a friend. We headed to Aqua Spa at Lippo Cikarang where I had my favorite Hot Ginger Stone Massage dovetailed with Oriental Foot Massage. He, on the other hand, had the Green Tea Body Scrub and Ayung River Facial.

I knew that my body was absolutely against any form of work (including gym work) and, this time, I didn’t ignore the message.  I followed the advice of physician and lecturer on Ayurveda, spiritually and mind-body medicine Deepak Chopra after I read his piece “Just Listen! Your Body is Speaking to You” on Oprah’s website a few weeks ago. He said:

Yes to balance, no to imbalance.

Yes to moderation, no to excess.

Yes to regular rhythms in activity, no to erratic schedules.

Yes to deep rest at regular intervals, no to lack of sleep.

Yes to being in your comfort zone, no to constant stress.

My work-play equilibrium was completely off-balance and I was certainly not in my comfort zone. My regular activities were off as well because I was recuperating from flu. To remedy this situation, I turned to Aqua Spa. The Hot Ginger Stone Massage never fails to get the blood circulation going, release the toxins and perk me up. (See Water Therapy entry under Peripatetic Mood for more details on the massage) I added something new to my spa session, an hour of Oriental Foot Massage, which, under the adroit fingers of Nova, worked added bliss to my system. She began with a foot bath – dipped my feet into a clay basin and cleaned them with lemon grass, salt, kalamansi and herbs. She was tight lipped on the herbs – trade secret I suppose. And then the strong strokes, circular motions and finger pressure on my feet began.

It’s been a while since I heard a band perform live on stage so it was back to Bekasi to catch the concert Sound Fusions at Burger & Grill at 8pm.  The concert was billed as the Collaboration of Six National Artists: Edwin (Cokelat) on guitar; Erwin (Ex Dewa 19) on bass; Roby (Funky Kopral) on drums; Edwin (Emrata) on keyboard and Daim (The Dance Company) and Astrid on vocals. The emcee had a tough crowd to face, as it was quiet and stoic. The front act hurt my ears and, thankfully, the main artists had much better voices. I never really found out why they are called National Artists since they’re quite young to begin with – their careers are just starting. Artists in the Philippines who are proclaimed national artists are either in their ripe old age or have passed on and their contributions to the art scene have more than elevated the art to higher grounds.

Through plates of beef teriyaki sandwiches and ayam bakar nasi goreng, dessert of banana split and drinks of jasmine-flavored teh tarik and strawberry milkshake, the air was punctured by heavy guitar sounds, slow songs, fast songs, English songs and local songs. Burger & Grill was packed and the parking lot-turned-concert venue had built up quite a crowd. But after an hour and so we called it a night. Our energy levels were slowly plummeting just when the swarms of concert-goers were warming up to the artists. It was time to literally let the hair down.


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