You really should go to Thermea in the rain. You might think it’s a dreary day, your body might shudder with the thought of exposing skin, but I urge you, don’t listen to it. Instead, take your bathing suit, and rent a cotton robe, pay the fee and observe the hush, go in with your beloved and undress at your locker. It doesn’t matter if you’ve shaved or not, if your flabs feel flabby, or your belly distended from pizza, you’re not there to impress anyone. Put your flip flops on, take your towel, pass the bathrobe belt through the loops and meet your friend on the other side.
Find the steam room with the orange scent… it’s become a habit now, the place where you start, and sit on the slippery stone slab and notice the heat work its way in. It’s an osmosis operating on your skin. Notice how your head begins to sweat while you quickly forget your reluctance to come at all. The steam might hiss, and random drops fall, so now you can think of your breath and find a meditation in its steadiness.
Take the salt scrub afterwards, pretend you’re good at self-massage, notice how your feet appreciate it. Then wash it all away like a layer of sluff. Then, after all that, you might not be brave enough for the pool with the coldest water, maybe you’ll be fine with temperate instead. And if you followed the instructions like I said, it’s raining outside and it doesn’t matter, because your body is in a pool and your head is already wet. You’ll get to notice the greenery everywhere, the way the rain makes it a saturated colour, and the stones will shine with tones of pink and yellow, and maybe you’ll notice that grey speaker stone where the soft music floating in the air comes from.
You must also take in the Aufguss announced with the gong. They have their own mini soundtrack there in the sauna, and towel-wielding people dance while scent-infused snowballs sizzle and fill your nose and heat is manipulated to rush over your skin. Breathe it all in.
And now because you’re full of heat, you can tackle that coldest of pools, grit your teeth and wade all the way in. Your body is strong, you are so lucky. Revel in the shock of extremes.
You really should go when it rains because then when you sit awhile to relax, you can choose those vacant hammock chairs just under the eaves, and sway to the rhythm of that moment and gaze at the variety of green shapes. You can feel the air and see the wind, you can smell that fresh smell or else get the wafting of smoke from the fireplace. Hopefully, you’re fine enough just to be.
There’s another cycle left before you leave… You get to pick the variation on the theme. You get to duck in for another glass of Sacred Blend, one third chilled or else too hot. You can notice when you get impatient with the heat, or when you’d like to leave the cold for heat again and practice being fine with the present moment.
I’ve written all this, now and maybe you’ll want to go, but it’s better when you sign in without any expectation. You’ll probably feel softer skin afterward, you’ll probably notice your body more relaxed. But if I say it now, I don’t want you to look for it. I don’t want you to go waiting for the effect like a promise. And maybe it’s not possible to arrange to go when it’s raining without thunder, or when the drops are falling at a perfect amount in a nice downward slant. Maybe it’s winter, or fall, maybe there’s no green at all. But that shouldn’t deter you. In the winter, your body craves the warmth, and gradually expands to encompass it all, and you notice you’re not so afraid of the chill anymore… So go in winter too. Repeat the experience in every season with every variable, and you’ll soon see the comfort in routine, the way one aspect stands out and then how wonderful it is to have the body you have, the toes, the knees, the shape and the drape of your skin, and all of it there, wonderfully supporting a little you inside.