Spanish Zen

Sevilla Travel Blog

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As my life gets more and more enmeshed with those around me, I seem to make less and less time for writing and exercise. This has become evident as the weeks roll on and my neck has become increasingly painful. I am not just talking about a ‘sore neck’. It is actually feeling like I have had a vertebrae transplant and there are foreign body parts in my body!

It is very difficult to turn my head more than about 12cm either direction and the pain at night keeps me awake. I can put a lot of this down to the upheaval of my entire year. When I look back at what I have achieved, I am astounded and also very proud but it has not been without its consequences.

For a start, I have neglected my yoga practice and I believe that a few weeks of regular activity will certainly assist my cranky body to get back to some sort of normalcy. But back to that later.

Right now, I need some emergency assistance on my neck and back. With this on my mind, I remembered a Natural Medicine Clinic I had seen when I first arrived in Sevilla and set out to see if I could re-locate it. It was near one of my favorite bakeries so happily I killed 2 birds with one stone and stocked up on Flautines and Chapatas at the same time.

But, as my timing was not premeditated, I had arrived during siesta so duly took down the phone number from the window and called back later to make an appointment for cranio-sacral therapy. An appointment was made for 2 days time and I eagerly looked forward to the ensuing relief and the start to my regime of health and fitness once again!

I arrived at the clinic on time at 11.00am and was greeted warmly and enthusiastically by the receptionist (Daughter of Homeopath). Joy of joys, the also-friendly homeopath, Generosa, spoke a reasonable level of English so I was able to explain my symptoms with a clear belief that I was being heard. To my surprise, she explained that she does not do manipulation and I would need to return later in the day at 5.00pm to see another person who would be able to assist (the Osteopath).

Although I was a little bewildered (because I had made the appointment for a cranio-sacral treatment in the first place) I agreed. This was on the proviso that the appointment would start at 5.00 and finish at 6.00 as I had a 6.30pm student to get home for. ‘No problem, you will be finished by 6.00pm’

I returned later in the day five minutes early but kept in the waiting room. I watched the minutes tick by, I listened to the minutes tick by and I felt the minutes tick by! At 5.15 a young man pedalled up on his pushy, leaned his bike against the window and casually entered the clinic. By now, my annoyance level was at zero on the zen scale.

I explained again to the receptionist that I had a deadline and we agreed that he would explain to the therapist that I needed to be finished and paid up by 6.15 at the latest. OK.

I followed the therapist (now dressed in white t-shirt, pants and birkenstocks) upstairs into a wonderfully zen-like treatment room. Soft lighting, warm, tranquil music (on the B&O!) and delicious smells of purity and peace. Ahhhhhh . . . . . here we go.

Unusually, he asked me to get up on the massage table with my clothes intact. Hmmmm?? He started with some gentle neck stretching (all good) and then I rolled face down after removing my shirt. Oil, warm hands and the customary massage to warm up the back muscles before the manipulation. Massage was so welcoming and he was very good! A symphony on my back.....drifting off now......the firm touch of masculine hands......muscles releasing....... yin singing and yang softening.......mmmmmm......aahhhhhhh.

And then the soft butterfly movements signifying the end of the massage. It must finally be time for the osteopathic part of the session. How long had I been floating along? I hope there is time for some decent work on my back and neck.

But instead he asked me to get dressed as he turned to leave the room. I looked at the clock and the session was clearly over. Bu bu buuuuut . . .‘¿Es osteópata?’ ...’No, soy terapeuta masaje’

Oh...shit! (sorry mum)
A fantastic massage but not really going to cut the mustard as far as my neck is concerned. Needless to say I rushed back home for my student and in the process de-zenned undoing all the good work of the massage.

Now I am on plan B. I am hunting around for an actual osteopath (not an easy task, I have since found out) and also trying to locate a yoga mat in Sevilla (an even more daunting task). The crazy thing is that I have 2 of them sitting in my home in Melbourne. I even investigated getting one box of winter clothes and my yoga stuff sent over from Melbourne but the quote of $500 (half an airfare) put the lid on that.

If anyone has a friend travelling form Melbourne to Sevilla in the very near future - please let me know! In the meantime I will attempt to get back into my yoga practice sin-mat. I have to start some time.

My routine now has a flavor of familiarity about it. On Mondays and Wednesdays I do not have morning students and can be found at bar Monsalves.
It is actually an ‘albaceria’ which in olden times was a blend between a bar and a deli. You could buy a bottle of wine and a chunk of cheese and before heading home, sample a glass of your wine with a slice of cheese. Get the idea.

My little Bar Monsalves has the decor of one of these albaceria’s; shelves laden with colourful preserves and local beverages and the home-made food is literally love-on-a-plate. It is now officially my second home and Superman and Spiderman have declared themselves my brothers in Sevilla. I have been instructed to call them if I have any problems!

So most week day mornings I can be found here having tostada and cafe for 2€! The morning staff consists of Spiderman, his wonderful wife- ‘Tina, his mum- ‘Bella’ and mother-in-law ‘Pepi’.
I prop myself at the old wooden bar and usually bring some work or a book. Even the locals are getting to know me now. Everyone enters the bar with a cheery ‘hola, buenos dias’ to all followed a resounding ‘buenos dias’ chorus.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have an early student and arrive a little later at 10.15. Of course my favourite day is Friday as I have no students. It was designed as my writing and study (Spanish) day but has evolved into a day to do messages, wander the streets, go to the library, meet a friend or head off for a long weekend.

So much for discipline. The difference now is that I do not stress. I remind myself why I made the choice to come here. It was to have a life with less structure and stress and I am quite diligent about that. Most of the time I DO manage to live a mini-zen lifestyle. Each day is a new challenge but along with challenges come the joys of discovery and experience.

I am sure I will find an osteopath (or something equivalent) in time. I am sure I will solve the yoga mat dilemma and I am sure that I will continue to breathe in and out in my own Spanish version of Zen.
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photo by: JP-NED