Hippie Squared: Oh That Magic Feeling

a blogumn by Jeff Rogers

The Spring

“Oh that magic feeling, nowhere to go.”

Perhaps the best line Paul McCartney ever wrote. Certainly the one that best describes the feeling I had two Friday mornings ago, sitting and being quiet on the patio of my room at The Spring in Desert Hot Springs, a tray of fruit, cereal, OJ and coffee from their complimentary breakfast on the table beside me, a substantial breeze tossing palm fronds and bougainvillea creepers, bright pink with blossoms, as it swept across the grounds. My wife beside me, My dad and step-mother on the chairs in front of their room next to ours. While my iPhone inside our room steadily accumulated e-mail that I had no intention of reading until I got back to work on Tuesday morning.

Nowhere to go until my 1 pm massage appointment. No one to answer to, no function to fulfill. No pressure to do anything but rest. Be. Sit. Breath. Soak in water, soak in sun.

Over the few days we spent in Desert Hot Springs I felt myself get more relaxed by the hour. I felt my thoughts slow and clarify. I brought along a stack of books to read, my journal to get some writing done. There were numerous occasions that I went to reach for my book but ended up just holding it in my lap, looking out at the grounds. Watching people swim, walk by. Move from pool to Jacuzzi to spa. Nod a quiet hello.

I spent a lot of time just floating. I had also gone with plans to meditate several times daily. I ended up officially meditating maybe twice. But much of what I did was unofficial meditating. My wife and I are big believers in the pool noodle. We brought four. I spent a couple of days trying to get the placement just right. One under the knees, one under the shoulders, and just floating. But my neck would tense up. That’s where I hold my tension anyway and I paid that masseuse good money to knead and pummel it away.

Finally I got it right. One noodle under the knees, and then I just let my torso and head float on their own. Ears down under the water, so all I heard was the movement of the water in the pool, and my breathing. And so I spent a lot of time while I was there unofficially meditating. Just floating and breathing and letting my thoughts slow to the speed of molasses. I ended up following my breath naturally, not because I planned to. It just became the most noteworthy thing, the dominant sound and feature of the slow easy passage of time in the water.

At The Spring people don’t spend much time wearing much in the way of clothes. They soak in the sun and the water in their bathing suits. They walk across the grass barefoot in a robe to go to the spa for their massages or saunas. A woman might throw on a wrap and a man might put a loose short-sleeved shirt on to walk to the common room for breakfast. And the nine rooms are pretty close around the pool.

So I found myself reflecting on how clothes help to create and cement division: class, profession, allegiance, notions of beauty and ugliness. And somehow the shedding of them creates acceptance and appreciation. Bodies in all their human variety: young and old, thin and heavy, tall and short; with their wrinkles and bulges, their unique shapes; carried with pride, grace, bashfulness and clumsiness. I found myself loving them all. Their human beauty and character.