Tuesday, August 2, 2011


giving and receiving 

Sha-sha, (slowly slowly), Haai jai, haai jai (breathe, breathe) my Thai massage teacher kept repeating to me throughout my last course. Haai jai literally translates to "heart" and can also be said to mean "to open your heart". I think that's probably the most powerful interpretation I can think of for this stay Thailand. I've waffled between overconfidence (my American attitude and Texas-sized openness seems to cause me to stand out a bit) and vulnerability (new exposure and experiences that have either made me squirm, reflect, cry or heal in some way).  
wild rose 
I've melted into a community of yogis and foreigners who are also intoxicated with the culture, food and lifestyle of Chiang Mai. Some just passing through, others who thought they were just visiting and kept extending their visas by 2 weeks or a few months at a time for years.... there's something griping about this city. The mai-pen-rai-ness of it. Meaning, "it doesn't matter" or "that's no problem". It certainly is reflected in the attitude of the Thai's and locals alike. Time seems bendy and comprisable. If something doesn't happen today, then, perhaps tomorrow, or not at all. A friend left his money at another friend's house and a few days later perhaps, he'll go to fetch it, not really needing it just now. I lost my cell phone and well, it doesn't matter. I seem to bump into the people I need to see and find my way back to familiar faces and places over and over. 
The old city itself has a magic, healing quality to it. It is surrounded by a moat and water on all sides, which evokes the feeling that the city itself is in a womb providing security and rebirth within.  The walls around the moat which were meant to protect against the Burmese sometime in the 1700's are in decay like most things here which tend to erode shortly after building it. I just get the feeling that I shouldn't hold on too tightly to anything. Beyond the city, the mountains, often hidden by misty clouds covering the summit, feel as if they are watching the city below with wise half closed eyes. 
view from floating cottages
Every corner or major intersection has a temple (wat) and where there is no temple, there are spirit houses or miniature Thai temples meant to provide shelter for the spirits that would otherwise cause problems for those who reside there. Those spirits feel contained, and I feel freedom.
Thai spirit house
This laid back culture prevails. A friend coined the term, "mincing" about. Which is a completely silly and made-up word meaning: to do nothing or simply do what you like... enjoy the day, so to speak. No where to go, no where to be, just here and now. I think mincing a bit longer would be lovely. But, certainly just as sure as I get tuned into the present moment, I'm reminded that this is borrowed time. Children, responsibilities, and life at home are actually not just waiting... they're zooming by with activity, purpose, and some un-necessary busy-ness. I'm curious how I'll assimilate this new attitude I've cultivated of holding lightly to time and things into my jet-speed American life. I hope that I'll be able to draw from the wisdom of this experience and allow my heart to speak haai jai when it matters most. 

"Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future." Audrey Hepburn 

"mincing" about 

No comments:

Post a Comment