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Self-contemplation

memoirs of a massuer headerManuel Antonio is not for everyone. It is a beach town that caters to the parts of us that are lazy and aloof. I see families, lovers, and friends arrive here salivating for change. We live with an alternative lifestyle to not enough hours in a day, the “realities” of life elsewhere seem so distant. I’ve heard from many that the over stimulation of nature….both jungle and ocean… make them feel so… free. It roots itself into the psyche because it is all around us, sleeping to jungle sounds make city dwellers feel like they are camping! In my 17 years here I have come to believe that Manuel Antonio operates on its own unique level. It is a place that can bewitch the most stringent, it can surprise the most mundane.

The level I am referring to is meditation. I believe Manuel Antonio forces us to be more aware of ourselves by changing the culture we are used to. Simply by alternating the repetition of day to day living, and the habits we are all used to, produces the opportunity for self-contemplation. This alone stimulates change. Change is something, I have grown to believe through my massage work, most people are willfully fearful of. Don’t be! Why would humans be afraid of change when everything around them is changing….plants, weather, ocean tides, and the sun and moon cycles (to name a few). Do we actually believe ourselves not to be one with our environment? Are we evolved beyond that? I think not. However, in order to pick the fruit from a tree we must first cultivate the roots and the trunk. That means we must work with fears, frustrations, disappointments, and irritations, the painful aspects of life. Then, if we are lucky, we might be able to pick the flowers from our beautiful gardens.

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End of Vacation

memoirs of a massuer headerWe live in a world today which is always striving to make the tasks of daily living faster and easier. Our physical, mental, and spiritual health should be at an all-time high compared to decades of the past. Modern innovations in this high-tech day and age should be leaving us with more time and money, if we play our cards right, to cultivate ourselves in whatever we choose….health, love, art, travel, amongst other fine things in life. I wonder why most people never feel like the weekend is long enough, why our favorite activities get less and less attention as we grow older, or quite possibly that the sense of stillness, or simply having time on our hands, may be subconsciously being avoided. I know many people who never feel freedom or embrace the notion of nothing to do, nowhere to be. For these people it is impossible to just “detach” as they are creatures of habit, robotic.

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Planting Yourself

memoirs of a massuer headerI spend a lot of time outside. Particularly in my garden around plants and trees. Although I have no formal training I had landscaping jobs as a teen and into my twenty’s; in college my work study job was in the university greenhouse, growing plants for science experiments and observations. I’ve always enjoyed herbs and find the cycle of life very rewarding…even the year when I lost 4 mature coconut trees to a nasty beetle. I was emotional about that for months. Toucans and parrots of all sorts frequent the tallest of trees on my property and wake me most mornings. Once my land was a barren dirt hill that used to be cow pasture, now I am surrounded by five fruit trees, lipstick palms, and plants and flowers of all kinds. Wildlife spottings occur almost daily and I never knew I would become a bird watcher, professional sunrise/sunset observer, and can identify our slight change of seasons with the best of them.

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Touching Humanity

memoirs of a massuer headerHigh season is well upon us and everyone reading this deserves to give themselves the gift of love. The best love I can think of is treating yourself to a session of bodywork. Even now, in this day and age, I meet people who have never had a massage, who don’t like to be touched, who still have the decades old philosophy that it is something sexual. Well, I’m here to talk some facts and to share some of my nineteen years of experience as a full time body worker. I write this article to educate the public and to bring further insight into a field that always seems to be a bit murky for some reason.

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Golden Silence

memoirs of a massuer header
Is there a game more treacherous than life? Trying to balance our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives with cultural, religious, and family values can become overwhelming. Curses and blessings are often one in the same. Next we intermingle human factors such as desires and mistakes coupled with unanswered issues from childhood or trauma, it’s a wonder we get through our days at all. To further compound this equation add in some drugs, alcohol, and a lack of exercise and restful sleep, now we are truly climbing up a mountain of challenges. Whether it is our caffeine fix in the morning, a glass of wine at the end of the day, or a bit of herb passed casually from friend to friend, how can anyone not fall from grace from time to time? One of the first lessons our children learn is that it is alright to make a mistake as long as one learns from it. Every elder I know has told me some of their greatest revelations were spurred on by consequential failures. Is there anyone alive that can say they have never wronged somebody? Hopefully the values of forgiveness, compassion, and charity are a part of our daily lives. To quiet all the noise I know of a simple yet often overlooked friend that can help us succeed in this arduous journey called life….silence. Seeking out silence at least once a day can help everyone improve their lives and their health.

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Memoirs or a Massuer – December 2016

memoirs of a massuer headerI am not a musician but if I was I would write a song about Manuel Antonio. My song would have community and fun as the refrain with lots of poetic verses of laughter and friendship and health. The base line would be gnarly yet bright, it would clearly make everyone want to get up and dance for joy. A positive base, picks up your feet while kissing your face. My Manuel Antonio song would have four beautiful back up singers, two male, two female. They would sound similar to Bob Marley’s backup singers the I threes, Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, and Marcia Griffiths. Their buttery doo wap’s would transport listeners into a comfortable make believe spot on the beach, with an ocean breeze caressing their face. The lead singer would make us feel at home. Not just lyrically, but we would be vibrant and glowing and ready for just about anything. My Manuel Antonio song would feel like the right amount of vacation days and that post massage body high. Everyone would listen to it and have the same reaction….play it again and this round is on me!!!

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Keep On Moving Don’t Stop

memoirs of a massuer headerWe are born into this world from a liquid state. Then gravity takes hold. Although our bodies are 75% water, the earth’s gravitational pull toward its center gives us our body mass. It is our friend, it keeps us grounded. From the moment of birth this pull is the weight of our body which also gives us a sense of direction. Anytime we move and position ourselves, we expose different parts of our body to gravity’s force. Our inner ear and ability to balance can also thank gravity to help in its functioning. Since the 1950s however, gravity has been given a bad name. Modern “conveniences” started to deprive us of playing with our friend gravity. When was the last time you got up out of your seat to change the station on the television? When was the last time you walked to work or the store instead of driving? My point being, inactivity is not a human being’s friend. Modern first-world living means less and less physical movement now more than ever in history. Sedentary lifestyles (which we tend to adopt as we get older) not only promote an overweight body, but also a lethargic one. Structural damage in the form of stiffening of the heart and blood vessels are another guarantee. All of which can be prevented with exercise.

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When the Timing is Right

memoirs of a massuer headerOh, how time fascinates me! I remember obsessively counting in seconds the last five minutes of class before the liberating school bell would ring. If I felt energetic I could speed walk home and catch a 3:00 TV program from the start. My earliest time of stress was caused by my 5:00 “be home for dinner” curfew, how I hated cutting a basketball game short. I absolutely dreaded the fact that I had to wait 3 more years in time in order to graduate high school, before I could finally move to another state for college and finally be on my own. Yet, my summer months on the shores of Lake Erie I wanted to last forever. Time is prevalent to most human beings regardless of their culture or heritage. None of us can ignore it, and most of us both love and hate this…clicking clock. It is even said that to have too much time on your hands is the devils workshop, very scary indeed.

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An Important Article

memoirs of a massuer headerSharing is one of the best qualities in the world. It as an action taken with joy and caring and celebration. Whether you are sharing your life with another, giving someone a ride, or simply gifting another human by being kind, sharing is a trait that many tourists here in Manuel Antonio appreciate, as well as around the world. It is easy to forget about the importance of sharing when one is preoccupied with him or herself. To hold and grasp to one-self, and the material things one earns is a lonely dead end street. How many times have we seen a person who looks as if they have it all, and in the end is ultimately unhappy, probably because they chose not to share. To “have it all” is a misnomer. It does not exist. Depending on your religious philosophy we all, have it all by simply being born. Sharing ourselves openly and completely is enough. To be true to oneself some find to be a mountain too high to summit, others live within it with ease, where are you on that scale?

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Quite the Contrary

By Todd Pequeen

I expand my possibilities in life by cultivating the opposite in myself. When I was young I did not have much choice. As an adult I do, and so I use my free will to be the antagonist from within. I understand that no matter how correct I think my decisions are, or how black and white a situation seems, there are always shades of grey or layers of circumstance that I may be unaware of. This requires humility beyond the four decades of lessons I have learned. A set frame of mind can be my own worst enemy. Cultivating the opposite moves my life towards the pursuit of liberation. Freedom from all lesser pursuits (that often revolve around money, food, sex, and power) can be greatly empowering. The value of seeking change and enlightenment enriches my days beyond what I have previously dreamed.

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Memoirs of a Massuer

By Todd Pequeen

This year has been an extremely hot one. Dry with intense sun, sweat never seems to leave my brow. The plants and trees around us have been desperate. Some days I’ve felt desperate; the need to escape. Day after day their leaves curl inward; it is miraculous that they hold on. Soon they know the rains will fall. In the near future the bounty of fruits, flowers, and cooler temperatures will replace the desert like conditions. I’ve always thought of life as a never ending journey of peaks and valleys; plant or animal hardships never stop. Challenges and difficulties should be welcomed; we overcome and that is how we grow. It takes sacrifice and a belief in what’s to come to achieve something in this world. Just as the plants and trees push on each day, so must we human beings. Smiling in the face of hardship; humor in the midst of dispute. In order to hold on, to be flexible yet durable, a strong foundation is essential. Whether it is the roots of a plant or a tree or the support of friends, family, and community, we cannot do “life” alone.

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Quite the Contrary

By Todd Pequeen

I expand my possibilities by cultivating the opposite in myself. When I was young I did not have much choice. As an adult I do, so I use my free will to be the antagonist from within. I understand that no matter how correct I think my decisions are, or how black and white a situation seems, there are always shades of grey or layers of circumstance that I may be unaware of. This requires humility beyond the four decades of lessons I have learned. A set frame of mind can be my own worst enemy. Cultivating the opposite moves my life towards the pursuit of liberation. Freedom from all lesser pursuits (that often revolve around money, food, sex, and power) can be greatly empowering. The value of seeking change and enlightenment enriches my days beyond what I have previously dreamed.

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The Joy of Boredom

By Todd Pequeen

I recently lived out of a camper van for two months. My first time in forty years to actually have my bed, kitchen, and living area in five meters of space. For the bathroom I had to exit, besides that everything I needed was in that van. Upon my return to Manuel Antonio my house, car, and possessions weighed me down. I don’t mean they bummed me out, I am thankful for what the things I have. Rather, I feel my time spent dealing with everything, organizing stuff, requires time away from something I grew fond of while on the road…boredom. Amazing boredom. I mean exactly that, boredom became a comfort and with luck, will be a friend for life after this trip.

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Memoirs of a Masseur – February 2016

By Todd Pequeen

I expand my possibilities by cultivating the opposite in myself. When I was young I did not have much choice. As an adult I do, so I use my freewill to be the antagonist from within. I understand that no matter how correct I think my decisions are, or how black and white a situation seems, there are always shades of grey or layers of circumstance that I may be unaware of. This requires humility beyond the four decades of lessons I have learned. A set frame of mind can be my own worst enemy. Cultivating the opposite moves my life towards the pursuit of liberation. Freedom from all lesser pursuits (that often revolve around money, food, sex, and power) can be greatly empowering. The value of seeking change and enlightenment enriches my days beyond what I have previously dreamed.

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Memoirs of a Massuer – January 2016

By Todd Pequeen

“The best is yet to come” is something I remind myself of every day. Our life stories never stop happening. Sometimes our actions may seem repetitive or boring yet our lives are in constant change, evolving us into who we are becoming next. Like day to night, like seasons or swell in the ocean, like our very cells time marches on and we are helpless against it. Optimism is in fact something we can adopt into our nature. A few amigos of mine who have had much misfortune and pain are some of the most pleasurable to be around, they take and hug the passing of the hours like it is a friend, not a foe. I seek out good company because somehow something transfers from them to me. The exact same feeling I project when I massage clients. Smiles are infectious, happiness can be addicting, and it is my job as a body worker to not bring my problems to the massage table (literally). That is why optimism is my middle name.

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