Coral Reef and tropical fish every color of the rainbow. White sand beaches and the hot equator sun to pull the full spectrum of tropical conditions together into one complete whole. I sit on the sand and time slows to a new pace. This pace is kept in rhythm by the fluid sound the small waves create as they crash against the shore, one after another. This is life on a tropical island. Now not so far away, for it is right here, and this is how it feels. Very open, spacious, plenty of time to go around. The hot, course sand sticks to my warm skin. I stretch out, and relax my body down onto the sand, sprawling out and allowing my weight to settle completely. My breathing slows as the sound of the waves works its way into my ears, and into my every cell. The warmth of the sand, and the brightness of the sun put me into a sort of trance that allows me to settle to the pace of the sea. I embrace the shapes, the patterns, and the natural way here. This natural way is bold and apparent here, and I am swallowed up completely into its tropical belly. The people who live here have a timeless way about them. Relaxation is embedded into everything about the way they are. Deep tranquility exudes from their presence, even when they are in the midst of hard work, for years lived on an island like this would do that to anyone. The rhythms of the isle and the wavelength that it travels along is enough to soothe the souls of all those who take the time to listen.
Huts built on the sand, Bungalows on the beach. Zen meditation, deep breathing, yoga, thai chi, and Thai massage. Water for the soul. Time to clarify, rejuvenate, and silence myself enough to deeply experience this island, and what it has to say. Casual swims, free diving, snorkeling and holding my breath as long as my lungs will allow me to do so. The more I relax, the longer I can remain submerged under water. Evening thunderstorms, lightning illuminating the night sky, and short but heavy downpours while I dive underwater to retreat to the stillness of the depths of the reef. Steamed vegetable soup, banana shakes, hitchhiking, walks through the jungle in the middle of tropical downpours, and a spiritual gathering high in the tropical hills, accompanied by a kind guide. Now we break homemade rosemary bread.
I lay belly down under the cover of a tiki hut. A plump and firm handed Thai woman sits silently above me, massaging my muscles and joints. I alternate between drifting into a near sleep, and opening my eyes to remind myself where I am. When my eyes drift open, I gaze at the sand in front of me, and the still horizon that lies beyond the shore. It is early evening, and there is a light breeze, but in the distance I can tell a storm is coming. As she works at the back of my legs and feet, I gaze forward at the purple evening horizon. The sun has disappeared behind a growing wall of clouds. One large thunderhead has emerged in the center of this formation, and is making it clear that a storm is on its way. She motions me to sit up and places my hands on top of my head. With one foot wrapped around me, and one bracing her weight, and two arms wrapped under mine, she takes my upper torso and swings with all her weight. With one swooping motion my back cracks one vertebrate at a time, releasing a sequence of sounds that sounds like collapsing dominos. “Set Leyo,” she says, and gestures for me to drink the hot tea that has been served in front of me. This is my third massage at this place, and for the third time my body thanks me for the nurturing and relaxing service. I exit the tiki and take a seat on the sand to gaze at the incoming storm. In the center of the clouds is a large thunderhead, stretching high above the sky like a floating skyscraper. Flashes of electricity illuminate this cloud and the light circulates through the surrounding clouds. It is the beginning of an electrical storm, and it is beginning here at this source. Wind begins to make its way from the sea and across the sand towards my resting place. I fully dissolve into the beginnings of the storm. The lightning slices through the purple sky, and thunder rolls its way through the storm. It is a wondrous sight, and my heart rejoices in the greatness that exudes from this natural force. After I watch the lightning become closer and closer, it becomes clear that it is time to retreat to my hut. The rain begins to fall horizontally and the wind pushes me home. Tonight I sleep deep.
It’s morning, and I have slept enough to rejuvenate my body and awaken fresh for a new day. It is still early, and the only sound is that of the waves, and the few birds that are beginning their movement of the day. I walk out of my bungalow in the lightweight shorts that I slept in, and walk barefoot to the water. The morning sun is up, and though early, its rays are still forceful and foretell that it will be a hot day. I am alone on the beach with the exception of the residents of this island, who are up and are sweeping the beach clean to begin the day fresh and anew. I walk with no hurry, and with no purpose other than to soak up this morning and maintain the island pace. Today I will leave this refuge and stay at a local’s home. He too will be on this pace. I walk along the shore, looking at the coral that has washed up, and the many varieties of shells that have settled into the sand. When I find a spot a little further down the way, I stop and soften my gaze, allowing the horizon to take me into its hold. I dissolve into this scene. Sand on my feet, sun on my head, I stretch upward towards the sky, and allow the island horizon to align me to my natural state. I carry on with this process of alignment and yoga, and as the sun works its way higher it becomes overbearing. I retreat to the shade of the trees that have grown along the shore. Here I sit, and further soak up the setting here. Something in this place calls forth my presence. It calls for my mind to surrender to what is in front of me, and it calls for my body to relax. A complete sense of presence emerges, and I am able to dissolve into the sand, the warm air, the open sea in front of me, and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.