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Living Through Contrasts

By Todd Pequeen

Every year I return to the United States for a month or two to check my head. I’ve lived out of the U.S.A. for a little less than half my life now (although not all in C.R.). I don’t experience the States as a foreigner would, nor have I ever been a flag flying patriot. In my eyes nobody chooses where they were born (nor where they die) and it is solely luck if we happen to be birthed in the USA or Costa Rica. Fate could have easily handed out Afghanistan, Somalia, or North Korea. It is what we do with our life that is important, not where we are from. I have the fortune of being born on a border town too. Buffalo, N.Y. and Fort Erie, Ontario are only 15 football fields away, across the mighty Niagara River. To this day my family owns a little wooden cottage in Canada (that was my Grandparents) yet I go to Buffalo to visit relatives, friends, and massage clients sometimes every day. I like to see myself as a cultural professional. One day I can be hanging out with my Tico surfer beach buddies smoking herb on the beach in Central America; two days later I am at an upper class suburban, conservative, white picket fence party rooting for the Washington Redskins in Northern V.A. Contrasts make me feel alive. I love to be around people that are not like me. Just last week I was shooting a legal semi-automatic assault rifle with my best friend (who is an IFBB pro bodybuilder) at his country cabin, next week I will be at my wife’s parents’ remodeled 1950’s diner in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I imagine the conversation will be targeted around them praying for our safety as we head to South East Asia for a retreat a few weeks later. How I love travel, people, and seeing the world from different angles. Variety and uncomfortable circumstances are what I live for, I can’t get enough.

My career as a masseur has many of the same parallels. Yes I massage men and woman, yes both gay and straight. I massage people that are beautiful and fat and some are ugly or skinny too. Feet and armpits sometimes smell and I can guarantee that blackheads, scalp issues, and greasy hair are some things we all share at times. Sometimes I even massage people that don’t speak my language or that are deaf, some with missing arms and legs too…it all matters not to me. If I am scared of something I am definitely going to do it, like the times I’ve done the Master Cleanse or Lemonade Fast, 10 days of no food. Two weeks later I may be having a doughnut for breakfast, a pizza and Buffalo wings for lunch, and skipping dinner because I’ll be washing it all down with a case of beer. I believe changing habits and patterns make me a better man. The body and mind build stronger with variety and change. Our bodies are both temples and roller coasters that need to be explored, tested, and to be not so comfortable all the time. I’ve never been someone who has enjoyed routine, I’d be a broken man with a nine to five job and three weeks of vacation a year. I have worked 70 hour weeks and multiple of jobs, but always as a means to an end. Now variety and freedom is like water and air to me. Implementing new routines can awaken the soul, fearing failure can be a great motivator.

We all have the power within us to do and be anything we want, but the fundamentals all must change. Body, mind, and spirit must be lead into uncharted places. Sometimes this can be very uncomfortable. Our values and why we act and see things the way we do is often rooted in our past….did you ever tell yourself that you would never do something but then you do it and love it! Complaining and being bitter in thoughts and actions is a dead end street, and an easy one at that. Instead, change how you do things. I’m consciously changing with the years and hope to reinvent myself every chance I get, as I am pretty sure that is what makes the process of aging so profound. The end may be sooner then we think. Sleep on the other side of the bed tonight, change up your diet or drinking habits, take that vacation or write that letter that you’ve always wanted to. Express yourself and enjoy being the fool because security is often an illusion. We can start today by doing something we normally wouldn’t….maybe a massage! Tomorrow I will be putting a suit and tie on and heading to church for a catholic wedding….I can’t wait!

(Todd Pequeen is a pioneer of the spa industry here in Manuel Antonio since 2000. He works independently at his tree top home studio or at your location and can be reached at 8830-7727. His free time is spent reading, writing, surfing, traveling, and spreading love.)

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