Encore: The Little Wooden Bowl

The headache haunts me so accommodations must me made.

Provisions for the pain.

A treatment that is available, that doesn’t require decapitation, is a massage. At the beachfront spa no less. Hmmm, it could be worse. Far worse. “Medicate” and move on. Hands – on healing instead of the ingestion of a synthetic chemical compound. In a beautiful environs. If a person is going to be in pain, she might as well be in pain in a beautiful environment. It’s much easier to wince with each throb under a beautiful palm tree looking out over the ocean instead of under florescent lights in an office.

So, off I go to make an appointment. At twice the price it costs me at home. I gather ambience is included in the price today.

Because the appointment includes full day access to the spa whirlpool, steam room, and sauna I go early. Not necessarily because I want to (I’ve never been much of a sauna person) but because I feel compelled to get my money’s worth. So I go, and I sit, in a whirlpool that overlooks the Pacific Ocean

a view that is literally framed by palm trees.

Ok, so far the price is worth it for the view alone.

And the headache is momentarily forgotten.

Next I take a shower and wrap myself protectively in the robe and go to the “tranquility” room to wait for my therapist JoAnn.

It indeed is a tranquil room. With white washed walls and dark wood ceiling fans that spin lazily creating a gentle, invisible breeze. The lounge chairs are upholstered a pacific blue to match the hue of the ocean. I settle into my book for a few minutes, but not for long because I can’t help but let my eyes settle on the water just steps outside the window.

“Lisa?” A soft voice calls my name.


“Come with me please.” JoAnn is a Polynesian woman about my height with hands as big as paddles. She gently yet firmly steers me towards the treatment room.

Inside, on the massage table is a little wooden bowl.

JoAnn gently picks it up with both her hands and respectfully holds it out to me. “Take this bowl. It is filled with Hawaiian sea salt. Hold it. Fill it up with all your wishes and fears. When you are finished I will put it outside the room and tonight it will be given to the ocean.”

“Uhhh…My wishes and fears?”

“Yes.” She looks at me with her serious brown eyes.

I can do this. I “get” symbol.

I may be here for a while with all the wishes and fears swirling around in my head lately. But I only take a minute or two and hand the bowl back to her.

She leaves, taking the bowl with her and I climb onto the table.

And the next hour was heaven.

Maybe it was the hot tub. Maybe it was because I had time away, REALLY away, from work. Or maybe because I finally had time to lie there in a dark room, relax and have someone massage all the tension and soreness out of my neck and shoulders and head.

But what I really think,

is that it was the little wooden bowl and the fact it sat outside that door filled with my wishes and fears. And that later on that day these wishes and fears would be given over to some thing out of my control.

Some bigger entity.

The salt given back to the ocean. My wishes and fears given over to God.


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