Thursday, July 23, 2015

Removing Dead Skin

For approximately 2 years and 4 days now, I've been dreaming of making my way back to the Wi-Spa. I was introduced to this place deep in the heart of Korea town only months before I left LA and, if we're being honest, I feel a little bit robbed. It's like something good came into my life and was just as abruptly yanked out from under me, leaving me on my bum with nothing more than a faint memory of being yelled at in Korenglish before forcefully being physically manhandled due to the fact that the command in Korenglish wasn't obeyed. (Although the truth of the matter is that the command was never understood. But they don't have time for any of my complaints or excuses.)
That basically brings us up to speed, to today, when I found myself lying in the nude, face down while a Korean lady pulled on her scrub gloves and got to work. My treatment was called Buff and silky massage or something of the sorts. If I butchered the name, it wasn't the buff part. And I am here to reassure you that homegirl got to buffing, a process that quickly awakened me from relax mode to I-think-I'm-being-physically-tortured mode. A process that I would liken to taking out the electronic sanding machine and coarsely smoothing out the old wooden surface, unapologetically, in 5th gear. My eyes popped right open and I was absolutely uncomfortable. This intense buffing (with more elbow grease than a 60 year old little lady should ever possess) went on for quite a bit. At some point, my muscles relinquished their state of survival mode and although the procedure continued, the pain lessened greatly.
At one point, I opened my eyes shocked to see that the same method of scrubbing was still being done although there was a very notable absence of pain. It was in that moment- lying face down, nude in a Korean spa- that an epiphany hit me. That a light bulb turned on with such brightness that there was no question that I had been previously walking in some shade. Here was the epiphany: that change- in the beginning- hurts like a mother. In beginning phases of change (whether it's breaking a bad habit, incorporating a new running/training program, changing lifestyle, moving, etc etc), pain is  present. While it is manifested in different ways- physical pain, loneliness, withdrawal, feeling overwhelmed- we are acutely aware of it. But as we keep to it, keep going through the same motions and continue putting one foot in front of the other, the pain lessens. Ironically, we are still doing the same movement as we were in the beginning, but comfort returns. Today's treatment of body buffing/scrubbing/sanding burned as those first few layers of dead skin were removed, but under them was a smoothness that welcomed the buffing without rejection, so much so that momentarily I forgot it was the same treatment.
That is how change works. Discarding of those surface layers throws you into the ring of fire. Lying just beneath, though, is a gift for enduring the pain of change.
I paid for a buff and silky massage and got a philosophical gem for free-- taking advantage of the Wi-Spa BOGO!

view from the backyard of Palisades summer rental

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