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I AM A Man (Woman)

Careers and lifestyle choices are heavy hitters in this game called life. I recently read that only 13% of Americans love their job. This saddened me profoundly. I never realized how small that percentage is. What are people afraid of? It is time to grow up and start living with those innate cues that every human has. The more you are polluted the less you will hear. Life does not have handcuffs—those are by your doing. I’m confused by the desperation or fantasy worlds that some people live in. Every damn thing that has worth takes work, time, effort, and sacrifice. My friends and I live by this creed, we have no choice.  


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Memoirs of a Masseur – January 2019


Fugacious is a word that isn’t commonly used. It is an adjective and by definition it means lasting a short time. More importantly it is used to describe immaterial things such as emotions, because they can come and go and often do not leave a lasting effect. Botanists, for example, use the word fugacious to describe plant parts that whither or falls off before the usual time. Things that are fugacious are fleeting and do not contain substance.

I recently returned to Costa Rica after my annual two months away. I am fortunate to have massage clients in the Niagara Frontier region of New York as well as a humble family cottage on the eastern shore of Lake Erie in Canada. I spend September and October enjoying family and lifelong friends as well as reflecting on the year that has passed. My personal New Year begins in November with my return to the jungle and also coincides with another high season in beloved Manuel Antonio. While stateside I spend many of my days mountain biking to Niagara Falls and along the mighty Niagara river. The cooler temperatures persuade the elm, oak, and maple trees leaves to turn red, orange, and yellow, all signaling me to slow down and reflect. For I know that autumn is a fugacious friend that will leave me soon.


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Memoirs of a Masseur – December 2018


My sister (who is 3 years older than me) and my nephew (who is 15) will be visiting Manuel Antonio in a few weeks. I sit contemplating what side of Manuel Antonio to show my nephew, and what life lessons I’ve learned, that may help him become a happy man down the road of life. It’s not easy for me as I have been living outside the United States for almost 20 years. I want him to know and to understand that planet Earth is his home and it is a world more united than ever despite what the evening news may tell us. My most memorable accomplishments came from soul searching and meditation, often times living alone in foreign countries, traveling, and not having a computer to turn to. I read, and wrote, and felt that every day I must cultivate my body, mind, and spirit. Somehow I had complete confidence that if I did those 3 things every day, all would work out in the end. Later I learned that there is no end, or if there is, it is solely death. How does anyone see the possibilities that are in front of them, with so much static and stress involved in the high pace life of today? To act against the norm is courageous, but more admirable is to nurture the unique joy within ourselves because we are doing what we want to do, and may we live well because of it. I often see cash-motivated lives justified by ”it’s a means to an end”, but I find that the easy way out. Easy ways out are usually unsatisfying.
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Memoirs of a Masseur – November 2018


I am tired of this world of appearances. Everywhere I look there is a masquerade vying for my time, my energy. From million dollar advertisement agencies to a quick browse on Facebook I feel everything around me is trying to be original. Authenticity however, serves a purpose, it actually provides something of quality and always has results, it is durable and will last the test of time. I am on the never ending search for this state of being. From my family and friends, to my massage work and my travels, all I want is the situation or the person in front of me to be compelling and intriguing. I need excitement in the current moment and it must be permeated with positivity, everything else is the easy way out. This is a lifestyle choice that requires work and is magnetically endearing. Once in that state of being it is hard to look back, it can be quite a struggle to pretend to be enthused when one is utterly bored.
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Mute No More

I’ve been mute in New York City. Only for two days though. I was visiting in order to run a marathon and fortunately I was with a friend who was able to communicate, but I still felt strange, different. It was something I could do nothing about you see, for I had lost my voice due to a throat illness. I could not talk, I could not eat, and I was barely able to drink fluids. In a very short time I went from being an ex-pat massage/surf guy living in a Costa Rican rain forest, to a speechless Brooklyn bound tourist. How surreal. Without the help of my friend I would have been in a serious predicament. Almost overnight I had become something I had always feared. A man unable to be himself.

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Travel is the Answer

I feel sorry for people who have never washed their clothes in a sink or shower. To me that is a sign that you have never been on the road long enough. There is a sense of shared communion with wanderers in regards to week long jet lag, 24 hours of sitting on planes, of tramping around the world for the sake of it, because it is here to explore. In my thirty years of traveling I have never regretted a trip, nor have I ever been to a “resort.” Today it is easier, safer, and cheaper to go have an adventure. We can travel to get out of our comfort zones and let the days on the road simply unfold. I will go as far to say that my aspirations while moving about is to unlearn, I believe contrasts are the story of the world. The more challenges I can experience the better of a human I can be. My eyes can always see more, my soul can grow infinitely if I push it to do so. Stagnation has always been my enemy and when I travel I change, I grow.

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Quite the Contrary

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 Neighbor Next Door

Please don’t be the neighbor the next door. The one that always looks angry, frustrated, and troubled. The one that cannot rally a pleasantry such as “good morning” or “hello”. For life is exponentially better when we choose to be respectful and caring for those around us. When we as individuals live too much in our heads we go through our days with only ourselves in mind. To think of just ourselves is a path to no where. If motivation to action is purely with selfish intentions in mind, the outcome will always and only lead to a temporary satisfaction. We are all in this world together and thus we must rise above the so called “struggles” of the day. Bob Marley once wrote, “every man thinks his burden is the heaviest.” When we engage our minds and understand that every single one of us is struggling, has periods of ups and downs, and are all simply working toward a better tomorrow, life will begin to flow more easily. Modern day living is racing toward a more alienating state of being particularly with “social media.” How is it possible to feel more alienated or lost when information and activity is so close at hand? The answer lies within our ties to community. The physical and mental needs to feel part of a tribe is as old as our genetics themselves.


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Memoirs of a Masseur – April 2018

Every day I ask people when they received their last massage. For me, it is a prerequisite question before I begin my work. I listen attentively and have come to the conclusion that very few people give back to themselves enough. For some reason guilt exists about maintaining our own bodies. There is no need to wait. No need to have a back out of whack, a tight neck, a migraine, today is the day to loosen up and get yourself a massage. Let experienced hands put you into a trance where the mind and body can heal, can change, can grow. Massage is no longer a relaxing luxury. Therapeutic massage is an effective healthcare approach. A combination of art and science that true professionals in the field have spent years combining technical and academic information along with developing subtleties of palpation and technique. My twenty years of massaging defines my life more so than just my job. Working in my chosen field you could say, has massaged me into a man that goes through life caring about the mental, physical, and spiritual direction of other humans.


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End Of Vacation

We live in a world today which is always striving to make the tasks of daily living easier and faster. Both our physical and mental 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 finer 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, and nowhere to be. For these people it is impossible to just “detach” as we are creatures of habit.


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Planting Yourself

I 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 spotting’s 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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Diseases of Prosperity

I believe in having to pay to play. The best and most rewarding things in life take ample amounts of time to mature. Things such as relationships, love, fitness and financial goals, and successful careers all need time and continuous effort in order to truly fruit. Work needs to be done and sometimes blood, sweat, and tears are a part of the process along the way. If something comes easy its value most likely is low. I find it curious that some cultures influence us in exactly the opposite direction through media, marketing, and their focus on profitability. The forces that be try to persuade us that there is a quick cure for everything or that by simply buying a product worries will end. If you are hungry fast food is the answer, no need to even get out of your car. Any ailment or discomfort, pop a pill to mask the symptom, no need to sleep, rest, eat nutritious food and be hydrated. Looking for love? Websites for immediate and perfect “soulmates” are a few clicks away. If that is still too much work we have legalized prostitution right here in Costa Rica. One can’t get quicker than that! My point being this month is a new year which means we can shift our minds and change our lives. If we can get comfortable with being uncomfortable we can re-wire ourselves from the inside out. Enjoying oneself when not in a comfort zone is one of the secrets to anti-aging, change, and growth. Magic can happen when we chose to pay dividends with struggle, knowing that the results will return tenfold.


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Surrender the Selfies

The way we portray ourselves to the public is never how it seems. The lexicon of internet usage that has just appeared this century has a word that spurs on many thoughts for me. Selfie. This unique noun, brought to us from technology has gone beyond a picture, it is a word that has changed how people experience moments in time and brings a “mirror” to every situation that has a cell phone. Like anything, there are varied opinions on what a selfie is actually showing. A picture is worth a thousand words. Everyone has an opinion, and very easily images can be misconstrued. Health, happiness, beauty, and achievement all are on a sliding scale and a matter of opinion. A projected public picture can translate to egocentric, self-involved, or pompous…for it is a very fine line indeed. The phenomenon of woman pursing their lips (duck face) with an ever so mystic look in their eyes to me is downright idiotic. Sickening when it is a young girl just doing what she’s seen hundreds of times before. We are bombarded daily by television, magazines, and internet often saying that we are not good enough, that we just don’t measure up. Culture, trends, and the ever so popular cosmetic surgery all help to shape opinions on who is beautiful and what the “in thing” is…Hollywood reigns supreme. With Go-Pro cameras making everyone think they are heroes (or not) body image is a major player in how we go about our work, play, and our very lives.

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The Blues

Sometimes we find ourselves down in the dumps. It may be a day, a week, or even a month but we as humans are susceptible to periods of depression. The last two months in Costa Rica can play into this malaise….a lack of sunshine, heavy rains, and a slow work schedule can often heighten restlessness. Waters run deep with depression and it can be hard to put a finger on exactly what is going on internally if we are in this rut. Common signs are: poor sleep habits, self-abuse through drugs, alcohol, and even food, irritability, loss of excitement over once enjoyable activities, sadness, angry outbursts, slowed thinking and movements, fatigue and physical pains to name just a few. Sometimes it is a challenge to take a good hard look at oneself and to admit that there is something wrong. Once we do we can turn the battle into our favor. Michael Jackson said it best in his song Man in the Mirror. The lyrics state, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.”

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Eyes of the World


I try to see other peoples’ lives through their eyes. I try to imagine how they feel, both physically and mentally. I don´t know if this is a common practice for others but it is almost an obsession for me. I do this most accurately when it involves physical feelings. A description from a client or friend, followed by questions, listening, and decades of personal physical experiences, usually leads to an accurate conclusion. My hopes are beyond wanting to relate, I want to change their feelings for the better. First physically with my hands, next emotionally as the two are connected. I see it as my duty and my oath as a massage therapist. I give thanks every day that this is what I do here in wonderful Manuel Antonio. Which just so happens to be a place that tourists seek out. They come here in droves from around the world for a variety of reasons. I live in a town that survives on the tourist dollar. Interest in what we do here, how we see the world, is what we sell.

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