On a whim last Sunday we took a detour on our way home from a weekend of hiking and camping. The potential of a long soak in hot mineral waters and a 30 minute linen wrap in the historic bathhouse at the Carson Hot Springs Resort sounded simply too good to pass up. Taking a chance that they would have tubs available for us we turned off the highway, and within a half an hour I was submerged in steaming hot water with a cold wash cloth on my head.
Not always one to be present to the moment, I made the choice, over and over again, to return to the sensation of the hot water on my skin, the cool touch of the wash cloth on my forehead, and the heat soaking into muscles that had worked hard to carry me safely up to the edge of the Mount St. Helens crater and back again. By the time my soak was done, I found myself squarely situated in the present moment. Thoughts about the past and any concerns about the coming week seemed to have drained away along with the water in the tub.
From the soak I headed into the quiet room lined with cots and covered with fresh linen sheets, found the one that was mine, and lay down. The sweet attendant asked what kind of wrap I preferred: tight, medium, or loose? I went with medium, opted for another cool cloth on my forehead, and a towel wrap over my head. For thirty minutes I didn’t even have to work at being present. There was no where else I wanted, or needed to be.
Almost asleep when my time was up I stood and slowly made my way toward the showers and couldn’t help but notice one of the other women in the room. Like me, she had come from a soak and was laying on her cot wrapped in a linen sheet. She didn’t however seem to be in the room at all, mesmerized as she was by her cell-phone. Watching as she clicked and scrolled and swiped, I couldn’t help but think about all of the times that I am anywhere but where I am. If not glued to my phone, then following the rabbit trails of thoughts, diving into one hole after another.
Granted, not every moment is a linen wrap after a hot soak, but the present moment is where we are meant to be. It is the place we are called to show up as fully and whole-heartedly as we can, over and over again. It takes practice, and some days it comes easier than others, but I hope to remember the contrast between those minutes in the tub and on that table, and all the times I find myself lost in the past or projecting myself into the future.
The only way to be squarely where we are is to choose, over and over again, to submerge ourselves in the present moment, soak it in and get completely wrapped up in it.