I rolled up to the Pfister this morning in our mini van, which was crusted with dirty salt. The inside of this van looked even worse than the outside— crackers ground into carpet, glove compartments full to bursting with broken plastic toys and used napkins, and CAR SEATS GALORE. I have two sets of twins aged four and under, and our poor van bears the brunt of their messiness.
To even make it out to this luxury ride, I had to strategically escape from a living room teeming with even more plastic toys, most of them battery powered and layering their peppy songs over one another all at once, a barking dog, kids asking for their school snacks and everyone needing their nose wiped or horns of sticking-up hair smoothed.
What I’m trying to tell you is that my life is not very tranquil. I wouldn’t use the word “bliss” to describe my average Thursday. MY LIFE WITH ALL THESE CHILDREN IS BEST DESCRIBED IN CAPITAL LETTERS.
I’m happy, but not at all relaxed.
What I’m also trying to tell you is that today was special. I rolled up to the Pfister in that minivan and headed to the WELL Spa.
Over a century ago, the Pfister housed Turkish Baths that were only available to men, known as the most luxurious in the country until they became a salon and barbershop in the 1920s. Today, the Turkish Baths have become the WELL Spa and Salon.
I was led to what they call the “calming respite room”.
Markedly different than my capital letters life, everything in the calming respite room was delightfully lower case. There were bowls of fresh fruit, nuts, and flavored water that no one was digging little paint and dirt-smeared hands into. A smiling spa attendant brought me a mimosa. I thought that I’d be happy even if all this spa treatment included was being allowed to sit quietly by myself in the calming respite room.
I’d booked a 60 minute “You Rock” massage, which uses traditional Swedish massage combined with heated basalt stones, smooth black volcanic rocks that absorb and retain heat. I was able to choose the temperature of the treatment bed (warm), the music (relaxation mix), and the essential oil used for the massage (grapefruit, because I could stand to be invigorated).
I’m a person whose mind is a constant beehive of thoughts and to-dos and worries and plans, but the gentle clacking of the hot stones, the rejuvenating oils and the deep tissue massage actually made me forget everything. I felt like I was in a sweet stupor of calm. The hot stones were welcome, comforting weights, like a loving hand resting on your forehead as you fall asleep.
As each area of my body was massaged, it felt like I remembered it. Oh there you are, legs. You aren’t just for squatting down and picking up toys all day, but thanks a lot for doing that. Oh there you are, back. I now remember that you exist and also that you are a tangle of lumps and knots, and it’s time to smooth them.
What I’m trying to tell you is that this massage was wonderful and I wish I could get one every single Thursday.
One of the loveliest things about the Pfister WELL Spa is that everyone gets a private, two room suite that includes a personal bathroom and immense shower. I showered after my massage and turned on every single rain shower spray and body jet, creating a waterfall-like experience of being drenched from all sides. It was so heavenly, I literally grinned the entire ten minutes.
Stepping back into the calming respite room, I actually felt…calmed. Is this what people mean when they say they feel relaxed? Like their muscles are loose, their head is clear, their body is remembered and they aren’t about to yell at someone?
It was amazing. It was blissful. You should try it.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day; send someone you love who forgets what quiet sounds like to the WELL Spa. Send yourself, breathe deeply for 60 minutes, and remember your body, not just what it can do for you.
I returned to my messy minivan with hydrated skin, loosened muscles and a remembered love for my life. I resolved to mother for the rest of the day with a little more calming respite room and a little less put-your-shoes-on-NOW. For me, that’s transformative.