Sabai Sabai, สบาย สบาย - เบิร์ด ธงไชย

The Thai seem to be living in their own sense of time. Everything in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the land of smiles, has a feeling of elasticity. Moments stretch out and give the illusion that the journey is just one long day. It is difficult to remember when you did something. Was it was yesterday or the day before or last week? As time melts my experience into one, it teaches me that if something does not get done today, then perhaps tomorrow or the next or the next. After a few days of unplugging on a rustic cottage on the water where baths were taken in the river, lights were candles or flashlights, no phones or computers could be connected and meals were prepared with a kerosine stove, my cluttered and chaotic mind was replaced with a calm that feels other worldly. Nothing else mattered. Or sabai sabai, meaning not a care in the world.

As our retreat is waning, I can feel the group begin gain urgency to do whatever it is they set out do. Some are finding solace in shopping, others, the temples or Thai massage foot rubs. There is this notion that we could find something wonderful around the next corner. The city is a burst of color combined with buildings and temples that seem to be crumbling at the slightest touch. Every corner full of things to be explored with our own extraordinary gems to uncover.

It is a blessing to return to place of "happy" and sense of ease. For the Thai, happiness is not a state opposite that of sorrow. Rather, it is more analogous to tranquility. Sitting by the river watching the breeze gently make the wind chimes dance is sabai. Enjoying a book or simply wading in the water with no where to go, no sense of urgency is sabai.

Mai sabai (not sabai) does not mean sad. It actually means sick or to have an illness. The word dee means good and when you put together with sabai, you say: sabai dee mai which means "are you well?"

Sabai sabai is wellness beyond words, it is a life that is all good in the present moment. No worries, all is well.


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