Monday, October 27, 2014

Selfish at the Spa -- and That's a Good Thing!

 I've already mentioned how full this past weekend was: 2 days that included a dinner out with one of our little families, brunch with another, guilt/sadness over missing families 3 and 4 (I'm SO good at guilt!); a night at the opera; a long run; some very efficient wardrobe-shopping. And I've already shown you a picture of one of my favourite moments from the weekend.

But I haven't yet admitted that while we were primarily in Vancouver for the VOA production of Stick Boy, Saturday's schedule was constructed around Selfish Pampering! Not quite as much Selfish Pampering as I wanted -- I tried for the Palatial package, a Facial/Hot Stone Massage combo, but the busy-ness that led to my wanting the pampering also got in the way of booking it in time. Luckily, the lovely folks at Breathe Spa on Vancouver's Granville Street kept me on their waiting list for cancellations, and Friday afternoon I got the call that had me anticipating a lovely treat on Saturday afternoon.

Bliss, it was, from the moment I shut the heavy door against the sounds of a busy urban street and stepped down the stairs into this soothing, tranquil, waiting room, beautifully appointed with a striking floral arrangement and an inviting collection of up-to-date fashion magazines. As I peeled off my wet coat, and left my umbrella to dry, Toby brought me the perfect cup of tea, a caramel Rooibos blend served in a gold-edged white china cup. Tranquility in a Cup, just what I was looking for!





















And then Victoria led me back to the Treatment Room where, for the next two hours, all I had to do was lie still and breathe deeply while my face got treated to lotions and gentle scrubs and hot-cloth wraps (I can't explain how very much I love hot-cloth wraps! But it's very much. Very. Very. Much!). When my face was being left to steep in this lotion or absorb that steam mist or sit under a delicately tightening mask, Victoria was massaging my arms, my hands, my neck, my shoulders, my feet, my calves. I'm breathing more deeply just remembering all this. Ahhhhhhhh!

And the scents. It's something like being told the most intriguing story, one that progresses from one mood to another, characters developing, distinguishing themselves from one another. Slightly sweet with a hint of muskiness is followed by spicy floral, and that piney goodness leads back into the sweet, and somewhere there's a memory of mineral-ish floral, as if rose petals had been worked into clay. . . .The complexities of fragrance seduce lazy lungs into breathing more deeply, and that oxygen, oh that's good medicine indeed.

When it was all over, I felt rather transfigured. Deep, appreciative sighs, and some grateful chat with Spa Therapist Victoria who used the term "Praising the Goddess" for what I was calling Selfishness. I must say I like her label much better than my own. And really, being Selfish is a way of being good to those around us, right? Looking after ourselves, we can then be more ready to give.

Even if it's not a trip to the spa. A simple, perfect cup of tea in a nurturing environment, a lovely bouquet to please the senses. Have you praised the goddess in yourself lately? Does the term resonate at all? Or is it too suspiciously self-serving? (and why is that automatically a bad thing, the serving of self?)

*No compensation was received for this post. I was simply very pleased with the service I received, struck by how nurturing the decor was, and happy to tell the world -- well, all of you, at least!

14 comments:

  1. Happy you have had respite from your tension and aches. I enjoy hammans- an all-women (all goddess?) setting feels bonding in a way a mixed spa does not. What a difference a good massage makes to one's vitality, mood and even posture! I also get fantastic results from restorative yoga class.

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    1. I've wanted to visit a hamman forever, just never made it happen. One of these days. And I agree about the yoga -- by the end of a class I feel much the way I do after a good massage.

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  2. Your pampered afternoon sounds wonderful. I love a facial too. I worked in cosmetics for two years in my misspent youth, during my let's take a break from university because I don't know what I want to do with my life phase. And so I've always done an at home version of exfoliating, steam, masque etc...but, it can't take the place of having a real professional do it. No calming music or scented mist...and oh, I love that mist and, like you, the hot towels. So every year after the conclusion of the camping season I treat myself.
    Glad you took the time to do this. Sounds like it was "time well spent."

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    1. I'm so sporadic in my skin care, other than the daily wash and the day and night creams. I envy you having the know-how to give yourself decent facials at home, although I can see it still wouldn't be quite as pampering. What is it about those towels?!

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  3. It sounds absolutely heavenly!! It's been far too long since I've enjoyed that kind of pampering.

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  4. Ah, wonderful! And beautifully communicated.

    I have begun regular massages as part of trying to rehabilitate all my own injuries. Can't say I mind this part of the program;).

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    1. No kidding! Even therapeutic, deep-muscle massage feels good (at least after!)

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  5. Vancouver now being one of my all-time favorite cities (after a three-day visit a few weeks ago, where I squealed in delight to see/use some of the public art you have shared here), I am happy to find another reason to return - and I do need to praise the goddess more often (what a wonderful phrase)!

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    1. So glad you liked our city! And especially glad my previews of public art led to that pleasure of recognition I love when I'm visiting a place I've read about.

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  6. Wonderful! Even the photos are soothing. I need to start a program of regular massage and a facial wouldn't hurt either. And hot cloth wraps....a touch of heaven if there ever was one.

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    1. Even just imagining yourself on that massage table and you're relaxing a bit, right? And those hot cloths!

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  7. Ahhhh - I could really go for that right now!

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    1. If my magic wand were working . . . ;-)

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