A Spa Trip Reminded Me of the Importance of Being Present

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by Young Lee |

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I never considered myself high-strung or irritable until I entered a spa for the first time last weekend. The employees spoke in such hushed and relaxed tones that I felt hyperactive and tense by comparison. 

I was there for a float therapy session — something I was only familiar with from its portrayals in shows, such as “The Simpsons” and “Stranger Things.” The whole experience was a bit alien to me, and I wouldn’t have gone if I didn’t have a coupon that made the whole experience fairly cheap. Also, the idea of a guy affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth “sticking it to gravity” tickled me.

Looking back, I don’t know if spas are really my thing. An introvert by nature, the idea of relaxing around strangers — even masked and socially distanced — is not natural for me. I would prefer a solid nap on a nice bed to almost anything a spa can offer. However, what I came away with, and what this entire week has seemingly tried to remind me of, is the importance of being present, even if the spa isn’t the best place for me to hone that ability.

One of the spa employees was eager to espouse the benefits of focusing on the present moment. I was also part of a church discussion that centered on being mindful and observant and concentrating on the “now” instead of worrying. A manager at work even called out the importance of finding time to be still and at rest as our workplace takes on a new endeavor.

And I agree. Being presentnot getting caught up in regret, things that can’t be changed, or worries about the future — is absolutely important.

CMT continues to teach me this as well, because living with a chronic condition presents its own challenges and its own burdens, temptations, and fears for the future.

But trying to be present means not living in the past, whether I’m caught up in nostalgia or festering in regrets of what I should or could have done with a slightly more able body.

Trying to be present means not dwelling too much on the terrible things CMT may have in store for me: an unknowable future.

Instead, trying to be present means being attuned to my body and my emotions as they are right now and appreciating them. It means seeing what my body needs and acting on that. And it means being there for my friends and my community to live life richly and fully.

Being present certainly does not come naturally to me. Life is full of distractions, work, deadlines, and obligations, which doesn’t make things easier. But hopefully, if I practice presence of mind, I will feel less like an overly anxious kid if I ever run into those spa employees again. 


Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.


Edward avatar


i recommend 'Calm no matter what' by paul Wilson [its great as an audio book] for more on this topic, i've had 1A for 30 years since I was diagnosed and as child. the book helps alot with being in the present.

helps me cope in the office and at home with my kids.


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