Being a Gemini (Aquarius moon, Pisces rising), I’m the kind of person that actually likes having two jobs. One heals me, and the other? Well, let’s just say that after a particularly long week of being glued to my desk, I jumped at the invitation for a massage from Cocoon Urban Day Spa. This time, I thought, I’ll give it a go. I’ll even leave the suburbs and venture into the big city.
I arrived in front of a tall, modern office-like building with the noises, dust and distraction of construction on the first floor. Expectations low, I surrender to the flow, and open the door to the second floor.
Immediately things changed (kind of like when Dorothy drops from the bleakness of her black and white Depression-era landscape into the joys of Technicolor Munchkin Land). The stairs leading up were a dark burnished wood, a rich path to the second floor. The walls were so freshly white that I looked up to the skylight to see if it was snowing. My soul began to stir from the rubble of deadlines, dirty dishes, traffic and bad dates”¦raising its feeble head to whisper and plead, my turn, my turn!
Reassuringly I say, yes, it’s your turn.
And it just gets better.
The reception area (doubling as a retail space) offers items so dainty, colorful and unique, you want to””are dying to””snap open your wallet and plunk your money down on the spot. Mary Green undies, bras and tanks in candy store colors, Yogitoes organic clothing, San Diego Hat Company, Wildchild Wear, artisan jewelry from Elizabeth Rosas and Liza Sonia, Sothy’s skincare, sustainable rubber mates from Jade: I want them all.
At the sleek desk I meet owners Sarah Redmond and Danielle Giovanello. The longtime yoga practitioners and soul soothers decided to open Cocoon because they “wanted to offer spa services and yoga to the neighborhood.” Giovanello takes me on a tour.
To the left is the nail salon (no toxic acrylics here) where they use Tasha & Co. organic oils to massage hands and feet as part of your mani/pedi. Beyond the reception desk to the right is an open yoga space (3-4 classes per day) enhanced with candles, vibrant green rubber plants, sacred art from local painter Paul Norman, and gold and mother-of-pearl light fixtures that hang from the high wood-beamed ceilings like delicate and airy cakes.
I’m shown the treatment rooms that surround the yoga space. Peering into each cave-like sanctuary, a sigh escapes my lips. The rooms are simple””the warmth of the natural cotton fabrics, heavy woods, and luminous candles soothing a primal longing for the light and textures of the natural world.
Giovanello hands me off to Kristen Salomon (massage therapist to the stars and the US Tennis Association) for my treatment. She leaves me to undress and I’m under the light warmth of the duvet in a flash. Returning with a gentle smile, she goes about her preparations calmly and professionally. She’s one of the best body workers I have ever experienced. She uses just the right amount of oil, with firm nurturing strokes that reach each tight and twisted strand of muscle. Hot washcloths are spread across my shoulders and my back, pressing into my skin, softening the layers of cement.
There’s a ritual going on here, and the buzz in my body and brain slowly begins to hum at a vibratory rate that’s sure to be on some sort of higher New Age frequency. All I know is, the growing sensation is pleasurably eclipsing the weight of my life. The tension rapidly dissolves under the rocking motion of her hands, forearms, and elbows. It’s as if my muscles recognize a pro and just surrender.
She doesn’t chat me up, and for that, I am grateful. She doesn’t space out either. She is present and precise, yet spacious and fluid. Suddenly, my problems are petty. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know the answers. I am feeling great. And get this””as she ends the session, she places her hands on either side of my head and, in a whisper, thanks me, as though I’ve gifted her.
I’m left alone to slowly find my way back to consciousness. I lay there, energy swirling lazily, freely about the room. I’m bigger now, less confined to the cage of bones and flesh and fears.
I feel the molecules of air seep in, touching each cell with a kiss. There’s a buoyancy to my body.
I wonder at the beauty of the hazy sunlight. I hear the slow, sure beat of my heart. For the first time in a long while, I listen.