La Infinita Tristeza
Even though I know just how lucky I am, it was a day where things weren’t exactly going as planned. I was exhausted from the night before, worked all day, tried to make it in town for yoga, but got stuck in traffic and was too late. I was supposed to meet a new friend for dinner after yoga who I’d met at the acroyoga workshop. When I did meet up him, he was with a huge group of folks from massage school. I wasn’t in the mood for trying to be social with a group of people who all knew each other, out of whom I knew only one.
I could tell I just needed some time on my own. I told my friend, “I think I’ll get a massage.” I didn’t know I’d be getting an intense abdominal chi cleansing organ massage. So very intense I cried, partially due to pain, but generally because it was a huge energy and emotional release. I felt extreme sadness and the phrase la infinita tristeza kept going through my mind – the infinite sadness. I felt my own sadness, my past sadnesses, things that always make me cry, like losing my mom. Then other things on a global scale like war, abuse, poverty, animal cruelty, and the sadness of the whole world came into my brain, and overwhelmed my senses through the release in my body. It felt like I was connecting with the suffering of every sentient being – rather overpowering to say the least.
After lots of tears and the treatment ending, I was a bit embarrassed to come downstairs to see people I’d just met. At that moment the best thing possible happened. At the bottom of the stairs, even from my downward tilted gaze I saw the warm smile of my friend Matthew who I hadn’t seen in months. He said, “It looks like you just had a really good treatment,” and gave me a comforting hug. It was exactly what I needed. It somehow felt that all of the events that hadn’t worked out all evening were leading up to this reunion.
Matthew and I drank ginger tea and proceeded to catch up. I decided to stay with him instead of the other group of people. In showing him my groovy Evel Knievel helmet and we were off on the back of his motorbike. We eventually met some of his friends from massage school at a cool place neither of us had been called the Teak House. It turned into a rollicking dance explosion and despite our lethargy, suddenly we had renewed stamina.
We wanted to keep the dance party going, so four of us piled on Matthew’s motorbike – 2 men, and 2 women – and we drove through Chiang Mai in Thai style. We ended up at a deafening bar that was horrible really. After the spontaneous dance party and our 4-on-a-motorbike entrance, obviously everything afterwards was going to be a let down.
The next morning, Matthew and I went out to delicious breakfast at Angel’s Secrets. With him it’s like being with an amigo verdadero – a true friend. We are connected. We have a lot of similarities and both think that we were Thai in a past life. It occurs to me now that maybe we both were and we somehow knew we had to meet up here again.
We parted ways, but ended up running into each other clothes shopping later that day. I had just tried on a jacket and the first thing he said when he saw me was, “Suay maak maak!” Very beautiful. As he left I mouthed the words, “I love him,” and sighed. I realize on some level I do love him. I’m definitely not in love with him. It feels more like a divine friendship or kinship.
Later that week, Matthew came to my house and traded the Thai massage body work he’d been learning in exchange for home cooked meal. During my massage he said I had tension in the left lung. He proceeded to tell me the left side represents the female, and lungs represent grieving. He concluded, “This is most likely you grieving for your mother.” Wow! Told you we are somehow connected. Thank you for understanding Matthew. It’s true. I miss my mom. My mother passed away several years ago from lung cancer.
While Matthew and I were eating dinner, Infinita Tristeza by Manu Chao randomly played on my iTunes. I remembered lots of parts of that song: a little boy wants to have children and aks why he can’t. One line I did not remember at all was the mother saying to the child, “Yo siempre estaré a tu lado.” – I will always be by your side. I believe my mom wanted me to know that.