My water bottle teeters precariously in the crook of my arm as I try to juggle it, my bag, and keys one handed. It falls as I shut my car door with my free hand.
I stumble to catch it and almost lose my bag as well. Damn. I blow out a breath and snatch up the wayward bottle. I don’t want to be here, I realize. My thoughts drift back to the scene in my novel I stopped working on to come here. I’m being ungrateful, but I was in a flow.
I gaze up at the tall apartment building before me. Tall and slender it whispers elegance and understated style.
Thoughts of writing are knocked out of my head as a gape. I’m not into Chicago architecture, or architecture of any kind, but this building has presence. I idly wonder what his apartment will look like.
I walk into the lobby where I’m buzzed into the inner sanctum by the doorman. Tinkling water greets me from a large fountain lit by sunlight pouring in from floor to ceiling windows.
A small calm settles over me at the sight and sound of it. I pause to drink in the ambiance. I adore fountains. It’s beautiful, but the moment I’m passed it, my thoughts drift again to my current writing project. Should I have canceled this and stayed home to finish that scene?
Pressing on, I take a small voyage in the elevator, zooming up forty plus floors. It takes just long enough to remind me that this is no dinky three-floor dwelling, but a rich, classy high-rise with a world class view. I’m betting his apartment faces Lake Michigan.
I feel a little thrill at the thought of a balcony view of the lake shore. Oh dear, I’m interested. Now I have to go in.
As I walk across carpet so soft and deep my bed would be envious, I feel the unmistakable flush of annoyance in my cheeks. This surprises me. I’m here to get bodywork for goodness sakes, why am I annoyed? It’s not just my work being interrupted. I’m nervous. I feel out of place. Well, I’m here, I’m staying. I just need to relax. I take a deep breath and knock on his door.
He answers wearing shorts and a T-shirt, and greets me with an unpretentious smile.
Tightness eases from my shoulders as I smile back. I let out the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. Wow, I really was intimidated by all the fancy. But he’s as laid back and friendly here as he always is in our Tantra class.
The apartment is simple and comfortable. Laid back like him. And the view from the balcony is indeed filled with Lake Michigan.
A slight dizziness spins my head and belly as the unbearably huge lake assails my vision. I halt in the door frame, overwhelmed. It looks like it’s overflowed the horizon and swallowed more of the skyline than it should. Not the treat I thought it would be. Should I take it as a foreshadowing of the session.
He interrupts my thoughts asking me if I’m ready to begin.
I flinch. Silly. Fortunately, he doesn’t notice. Am I ready? No. And I can’t suss out just why not. We go back to begin the session.
We begin with setting intentions. Mine is to relax, and get my mind to shut up for two seconds. As I stretch my clothed body out on the mat, I will the subtle, soothing scent drifting up from the lit candles to calm me. But it doesn’t.
A tendril of nervousness worms its way around in my stomach. My shoulders stiffen up again as he places a gentle hand over my heart for the connection exercise.
His gaze finds my left eye; looking past the surface into me. He smiles reassuringly.
Tautness clenches my chest, and I force in a deep steadying breath. I don’t want to be seen. It clicks for me that that’s the real source of my resistance. Not an unwritten scene or feeling discomfort in this ritzy high-rise. Those were distractions. The real thing is, I don’t want him to see me vulnerable.
I mentally brush away disappointment with myself. How long have I been practicing Tantra? Years. I should not be this uptight about a basic bodywork session. I catch myself. Should. I don’t deal in ‘shoulds’ in my practice. What I feel is what I feel. Being present to it is the point. I continue to breathe deeply, but just let the fears swirl through me without attachment or need to do anything about them.
I close my eyes, and physically surrender into the cradle of his arms. I rub my cheek against the soft cotton of his pants as my head finds a comfortable position on his thigh. His other thigh is a firm cushion between my own.
Anxiety edges up from my belly to my throat, clamping down. I give myself a little shake to loosen it. I’m not entirely successful. I feel unguarded and dependent; not situations I enjoy. They require trust. Not my best trick.
His nurturing fingers press firmly into my knotted muscles coaxing away tension. His hands seem to linger on my especially troublesome spots between my shoulder blades. I’m being held; given to without demand or sexual intent.
I feel my stomach and throat slowly unclench. A deep sigh helps clear residue tension from my body. I feel something I rarely allow myself to feel: protected. As my mind finally shuts down, I curl up like a child for nap time. As a deep sense of safety settles over me, I’m lulled like a baby and fall asleep in his arms. No distractions, no ‘shoulds’, no fears. Just trust and a slice of true peace.
In this personal story, the bodywork modality I receive is called Tantsu. Check it out in this video: