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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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Surrender the Selfies

By Todd Pequeen

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 women 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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Living Through Contrasts

By Todd Pequeen

Every year I return to the United States for a month or two to check my head. I’ve lived out of the U.S.A. for a little less than half my life now (although not all in C.R.). I don’t experience the States as a foreigner would, nor have I ever been a flag flying patriot. In my eyes nobody chooses where they were born (nor where they die) and it is solely luck if we happen to be birthed in the USA or Costa Rica. Fate could have easily handed out Afghanistan, Somalia, or North Korea. It is what we do with our life that is important, not where we are from. I have the fortune of being born on a border town too. Buffalo, N.Y. and Fort Erie, Ontario are only 15 football fields away, across the mighty Niagara River. To this day my family owns a little wooden cottage in Canada (that was my Grandparents) yet I go to Buffalo to visit relatives, friends, and massage clients sometimes every day. I like to see myself as a cultural professional. One day I can be hanging out with my Tico surfer beach buddies smoking herb on the beach in Central America; two days later I am at an upper class suburban, conservative, white picket fence party rooting for the Washington Redskins in Northern V.A. Contrasts make me feel alive. I love to be around people that are not like me. Just last week I was shooting a legal semi-automatic assault rifle with my best friend (who is an IFBB pro bodybuilder) at his country cabin, next week I will be at my wife’s parents’ remodeled 1950’s diner in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I imagine the conversation will be targeted around them praying for our safety as we head to South East Asia for a retreat a few weeks later. How I love travel, people, and seeing the world from different angles. Variety and uncomfortable circumstances are what I live for, I can’t get enough.

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Do This and Don’t Do That

By Todd Pequeen

Rules. You shall, you will, you must. This particular word has always been curious to me. By simple definition it is a regulation or law. In old French it is riule, ancient Latin regulare, but no matter when or where in the world some people choose to obey them, others not at all. Parents try to establish rules in their house with their offspring and governments try to control their citizens by giving authoritative decisions. I have always agreed with my mother’s opinion that one must know and learn the rules before you can break them. Isn’t that a rule in itself….rules are made to be broken? Animal lovers are fantastic at making up rules in accordance to their own self interests. I see leash-less dogs daily and find it nearly impossible to go for a jog without returning home with some do-do in my tread. It’s funny that here in Manuel Antonio some visitors feel that rules don’t apply, for example feeding the monkeys. Why would anyone give food to a wild animal? Would they do that in Africa? Rules for conduct of behavior has become very popular over time, it seems to me that we all have different ideas on what is right or wrong. We all appear to see situations differently culturally and personally.

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When the Timing is Right

By Todd Pequeen

Oh, 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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Memoirs of a Masseur – May/June, 2015

By Todd Pequeen

Connection n. 1) A link or relationship 2) Influential friends or relatives 3) A train, bus, etc. that connects with another.

Often in my daily life I am in awe and excited about the quality of time I just experienced.  The situation and stimulus often changes, but the results are the same.  I am left with the feeling of an enormous amount of energy.  Things around me seem more pronounced.  I replay what the root of the connection was again and again in my mind and can’t help but to want more.  The energy can be from a variety of sources.  A verbal exchange with an old friend, or better yet a new one.  A session of bodywork that I know I did my best at, in other words being totally present and in tune.  Time spent in the ocean, swimming or surfing.  Even something as simple as a healthy meal or a good deed passed on to an unknown person.  No matter what the impetus was the important result is the connection made and the benefits attained.  Those strengthen my soul and are a foundation for building more.

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Memoirs of a Masseur – April, 2015

By Todd Pequeen

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, 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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Stress is a Mess

By Todd Pequeen

Stress is a mess. It is a jumble of strange sleep patterns, worry, depression, and angst.  Many clients tell me that they have had “a lot of stress” and I always ask for more details. It is “in the details” that helps me to uncover how the mind has created tension and where it is hiding in the body.  Some people get so preoccupied with their own exhaustion that their thinking is unclear.  Muddled thoughts and confusion will drain a good night of sleep and root the next day into an energy deficit.  The cycle feeds on itself and that is why we must get to know and learn our stress.  Once we do we can put our self- care first and work towards being better to ourselves day in and day out.

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Memoirs of a Masseur – February 2015

By Todd Pequeen

Are you part of the herd? Are you original in your own thoughts and actions? I believe inspiration and creativity to be a part of everyone of us. Tapping into the organic nature of these thoughts can be a challenge to many. It is terribly obvious in society that advertisement plays a major role in almost everything we do. The red carpet actors and millionaire athletes are the heroes in modern life. Sad as it may be I fear many people have a hard time truly understanding who they are and simply copy what others are doing. To dress, eat, and behave like your peers keeps you surrounded by the “cool kids”. To me conformity is as boring and mundane as old “Leave it to Beaver” episodes. It is an amazingly diverse world and access to it is a computer click away. Information abounds and with a little self-confidence anyone can create themselves fueled by their passions. Manuel Antonio is filled with unique go-getters. So why then, do some people lead and other follow? Is a copy cat too lazy to create or do they sincerely feel imitation is the best form of flattery?

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The Joy of Boredom

by Todd Pequeen
I have lived out of a camper van for months at a time.  I sincerely hope to again have my bed, kitchen, and living area in five meters of space.  There is something very liberating about having everything one needs in a small area with the ability to be able to hit the road. 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 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 that I can get to know more.

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Memoirs of a Masseur – December 2014

 By Todd Pequeen

The world we live in bombards us with stress. Social, economic, political, and religious pressures (to name a few) are in constant rotation in our minds.  Because of this, many of us ex-pats find comfort living abroad. I have more choice over certain matters, or I simply eliminate issues that bother me. Some people take their philosophies a step further – I am referring to a group known as Naturalists or Nudists.  An assembly of people who prefer little or no clothing as a statement, to be free from certain rules and regulations.  It is a lifestyle melding nature and freedom that is also highly respectful of others opinions.  Naturalism is not my topic this month, but rather the ability to experience new situations free from social conditioning.  To personally have the command over oneself enough to be asexual in an environment despite male or female presence.  I have always been fascinated by the hundreds and hundreds of times I have been told, “I could NEVER get a massage from a (your choice) man/woman.”  This is almost always followed up by some untested and sexually orientated excuse.  To me, similar to Naturalism, the inability to not be objectively free is the root of the problem.  These roots were planted from society instilling itself into the psyche.  Our very own souls have been tattooed, shall we say, to control our modesty, effect decision making, and mostly to get our money.

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Why aren’t we more in touch with our own natural cycles?

By Todd Pequeen

Ebb and flow, rhythm and tempo, it doesn’t matter what you call it. The world works in patterns and is always in balance. Night to day, ying to yang, in good times or bad, everything around us organically transitions back and forth. Why then, as humans aren’t we more in touch with our own natural cycles? How many among us let someone else set the rhythm of our lives, and why? I spend much of my time observing people, trying to understand them because nothing is more fascinating to me. As a body worker I have learned that tension lies not just in the flesh, but in the mind, heart, and soul as well. It is my job, if I am to be the best at what I do, to be able to understand reasons for peoples’ actions and behaviors and how that incorporates into their lifestyle, thus their person. I must physically “feel” as well as sense which parts of the body needs more work or less. A quality massage in itself is filled with rhythm and tempo changes, high pressures and lows. This can only be made possible with the ability to listen and hear, then reacting. Exactly the same thing as quality personal relationships.

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Golden Silence

By Todd Pequeen

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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New Eyes

By Todd Pequeen

Anticipation is the drug of a traveler.  I have always noticed my spirits are uplifted after booking a flight; after all, I am setting a date for what’s to come.  Packing provides a special high in itself, go with more or go with less…that is the question.  In this day and age the internet tries to mimic or replicate the experiences you will have once arriving.  However, until smell, touch, and taster-netting are invented nothing will be able to replicate actually stepping off that plane in an unknown place.  I have a very hard time understanding why so many Americans have never set foot on foreign soil, or for that matter have never seen the awesome cities both on the Pacific coast, or my favorite, the history laden Atlantic coast.  Scared of flying?  Get over it or use a car, bus, or train.  Believe me, just GO!

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