Today is my LAST DAY! Sorry for the delayed post but finals have peaked and since there’s a concrete certifiable due date for those I put school first.
Anyway, today was also a Sunday which meant another UU church service. The service started at 10am and I had to wake up at at least 9:30 to get there on time. But because of the late night at the bonfire before, I woke up at 9:55. Yet another frantic day of rushing around and being stressed out! This day was really important to me; at church there was always a segment (my favorite part) called “Joys and Sorrows” where people would get up and share their joys and sorrows. I always wanted to say something, but just felt too nervous and self-conscious to do so. This time I could share my joy and sorrow of reaching the end of my experiment.
I had something of a speech thought up in my head, something like “I’m sharing and joy and a sorrow today. 30 days ago I embarked on an experiment…” But when I got up there I realized this wasn’t a sorrow at all…I don’t have to discontinue being New Age just because I can be myself!
For some reason there was this underlying feeling that I was going to be released from a choke-hold but as I got up to the mike to share I realized that was just an association with the limitations of girly girl.
Of course there are going to be some things I will gladly resume doing after this:
- Lindt 34% hazelnuts
- Goat milk
- Goat cheese
- Junk food in general
- Watching TV
Going on the Internet
- Being vulgar and completely honest
- Wearing comfy clothes
- Wearing makeup whenever I feel like it
Still, there are also some things I really hope to continue (though not as strictly):
- Finishing Eckhart Tolle
- Learning to be more compassionate and peaceful
- Eating healthy (less meat, less dairy)
When it comes to food, I can’t really say I hated being vegan. The first few days were hard because I kept forgetting to pack food for the day, but as soon as it became a habit I really enjoyed it. Still, I keep hearing that good vegans need to be very conscious of which vitamins they’re not ingesting and should take certain supplements since they have such a limited diet. It doesn’t seem natural to me that being vegan requires one to eat so carefully.
I honestly am not a big believer in veganism or vegetarianism. I don’t think animals should be treated cruelly, but there are humane ways to kill animals too. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how terribly dairy cows are treated and I don’t know really what to think of it. It seems to be pretty borderline but I don’t know how much of the practices cause the cows to actually suffer and how much are not that big of a deal. But the thing that really makes me not care to be vegan is the anger behind the whole movement. It makes me incredibly distrustful: How do I know the animals are truly being tortured? The facts could be skewed to portray these corporations as more evil than we think.
The thing that really got me was a snippet of a video I saw. It was sent by a vegan trying to warn people of the horrors of dairy farms. A man carried what looked like an adolescent cow and unceremoniously dropped it on the ground. He continued to kick it repeatedly while it lay on the ground. It was a terrifying sight and invokes a lot of sadness and anger. I looked down at the backstory and it said the men worked on a dairy farm and they took pleasure out of torturing these cows. Do these terrible people really represent why people should be vegan? Does this really mean that every dairy farm (purposefully) hires terrible, evil people?
It disgusted me, not only the video but the fact I was seeing this video in order to scare and anger me into veganism. I don’t want to do anything, especially something I’m committing to, out of anger or fear. One time I was walking in the city and there was a booth of people trying to tell people to become vegetarians. They had giant posters of mangled, dead lambs and the like. A woman walked by, saw the pictures, audibly yelped, and hurriedly walked on.
This is how I see people reacting to the movement, being horrified and trying to keep the images out of their heads. I know terrible things happen to animals, and I really really wish it would stop, but I don’t think people will become vegetarian or vegan through horrifying pictures or terrorized animals, they’ll more likely push those horrifying images out of their heads. Sorry, but that video really got to me. Now if someone were to sit down and tell me the straight up facts, no partial ones intended to villianize or disgust, I would be all ears. But that will never happen because it’s all politics…which is why I hate politics so much.
Anyway, I’ll continue to have dairy and meat but I’ll try to be more conscious of where it comes from when I can. Sorry about that little rant.
Oh and guess what I saw today?? An eagle flying above us! Perhaps I’m being told I’ll always be guided…
There was still one more New Age thing I had to do today: go to a drum circle at one of the New Age bookstores. This was the one that held the open mic from yesterday and I was kind of glad Noah and I didn’t stick around longer because the open mic went until after 2 in the morning!! 2 AM never intimidated me too much before…I must be getting older. Anyway, the drum circle happened at 4pm and we didn’t have to wait around at all. I was a little hesitant to go to another drum circle because I have limited rhythm and unlimited insecurities but it was the only event I could do that day and I was to make the best of it.
It was actually really nice this time around. I think that a lot of the people who came to this drum circle were regulars and the process seemed and felt much more holistic and seamless than before. There were also a lot more people so my messing up didn’t really reach too many ears. It was fun and I actually got into at times. The big problem is my wrists; they end up hurting SO BAD afterwards. I usually have to stop in the middle of it to take a break. But here’s the video of the drum circle streamed directly from the coffeehouse. The camera had some weird effect on it so you can’t really see anything at all.
After the drum circle I had to attend a school event called “cram nights” from 8pm until 1am. Before the event began I decided to do some research on the Voyager Tarot cards. While researching them, I came across a deck of cards I had been greatly anticipating for years. The artist was a favorite of mine on Deviantart and I’d been seeing posts of new tarot card illustrations for years. She is an amazing watercolor artist and the cards were only $23…so I bought them!! You can see what the cards look like
When midnight came around I ate a bite size snickers and stumbled. It wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped it to be, and I still felt pretty much the same. I expect though that tomorrow will change.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Today I got to go to a special town festival. I didn’t really know what to expect but I had no other plans set up so I decided to go. The festival was pretty cool considering the town it was held in but it definitely wasn’t New Age at all so Noah and I left. It was more redneck and folksy than anything. There were vendors selling BBQ and “redneck wind chimes” (wind chimes made from beer cans). Personally I think you are really having issues if you have to buy your own beer can windchime instead of making your own… I mean what does that make you; a redneck poser or just an idiot?
Sorry, never was one to jump on the “I’m a redneck!!” bandwagon. Then again how could I; I’m not exactly white. Even if I was all white I’d still look down on any movement that encouraged stupidity and ignorance. Not to say I turn up my nose to real rednecks, even the racist ones. I’ve partied with those types, and as disgusting and stupid as they are they sure know how to have a good time!
None of these “rednecks” had even a slight southern accent
Anyway, on the way back to the car Noah and I noticed a sign for a garage sale. Thinking back on it I must say it was a bit weird of us to go to a garage sale because I’m really low on money and Noah is always complaining about all the useless crap we have lying around. But it was something of a pastime (pastime as in during the summers) so we decided to check it out. The garage sale was pretty typical except I found one thing that seemed extraordinarily fateful: a Voyager Tarot card deck.
Let me give you a little bit of back-story: when I was I don’t know maybe 14 or 15 I went to a little event with my parents (and their friends) where a man was premiering his newly made deck of tarot cards. His name was James Wanless and he just made a “revolutionary” new deck of cards called “Voyager Tarot”.
Everyone got their cards read and kept the cards they got. This was a memorable night for me because I got a lot of really special cards like “The Priestess”(which means I have a lot of inner knowledge) and “The Universe” (endless possibilities). At the end of the night everyone there was calling me “all knowing one” which was a huge ego boost for a 14 year old among adults.
That deck of cards had altogether disappeared after that. The even more interesting thing about this was that I had really wanted to have my cards read at some point but plans always seemed to fall through. I knew I had to get this deck! What’s more, I got it for only $1 (as opposed to its original price of $35)!
I must admit though…I’ve always found this photo collage style a bit tacky and didn’t like the style of the cards at all. I hope to get some better cards in the future.
Anyway, I cleared the energy of the cards by going out on the deck in the sun and laying them out one by one. Then I asked “What does my future look like?” and drew 3 cards. I got “The Player”, “Four of Crystals” or “Love”, and “Ten of cups” or “Passion” upside down. All of this seemed to be telling me my passions were my blog (the player) and Noah (Love). It worried me with the reversal of the passion card. Right side up it meant I need to pursue my passions but was it a different case upside down?
These cards don’t really seem to be meant for fortune-telling but more for self-discovery. They have never given me answers about the outer world but really have eerily clear ones about who I am and what’s important to me.
I still have been feeling pretty depressed. My emotional state seems more and more fragile. For the past 6 months I’ve been trying to get Noah to play at this open mic that only happens once a month. He is an amazing singer/songwriter/guitarist but his modesty gets the best of him. Every month I would try to push him to go and he would say he didn’t want to. Last month he actually wanted to and we showed up 2 hours early because we thought the sign in time was 2 hours earlier. I had already had a really stressful day and we didn’t make it to the open mic because too many annoyances occurred and I just wanted to go home and have some peace and quiet.
This time around I was absolutely determined to get Noah to play at this open mic. The only slight hitch in the plans was that I had volunteered to help at a tent city event to give out food around the same time. The plan was to show up at the open mic right when sign ups happened and Noah would sign up for a later slot so we could drop off the food for the tent city thing. The problem was that the place holding the open mics was trying a new randomized system so Noah’s name was to be drawn out of a bucket at any point in the night.
The point is, it feels like the past few days have been set up for me to be incredibly stressed and unhappy. Noah never did get to play at the open mic because they didn’t draw his name in time (the open mics usually run until midnight or later) so we just had to leave incredibly disappointed.
Later that night Noah and I decided to have a little bonfire in the backyard. Since this was one of my last New Age nights I decided to bring a bag of sage and burn some of it in the fire. It’s a new idea, but it’s a ritual I want to keep up. Plus, I knew I would never use sage (at least the crap I got) to clear a room again: it seemed to take days before the smell wore off, and it smelled like B.O. really bad! It sucks because the sage traditionally smelled so minty and nice.
When I first brought it up to the fire, I was really eager to throw the sage in. Noah was doing something and I was supposed to wait for him so we could churn out the details on what to do in the new ceremony. I got too eager and tried to throw some sage in but it kept bouncing off the wood and landing to the side. This made me feel like the ceremony I was making up had to amount to something if I couldn’t get the sage into the fire initially.
Anyway, I would say something like “This is to clear my laziness” and throw a small handful of sage into the fire. The way the sage burned seemed to symbolize my internal struggle to purge myself of a bad psychological habit. The sage would take a bit to ignite, go up in roaring flames, and then after a bit it would smolder and die. It was encouraging to do this, made me feel like I was pressing the “reset” button on my old habits. At the end Noah threw one last handful into the fire to conclude the night.
I don’t care what you all say about me and my “desecration” of others’ religious practices; I thought it was a good ceremony, and a great way to end a hard night.
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The past two days have somehow been devoid of any possible New age activities. I’ve got nothing to do but cook or meditate. I decided to read some more Eckhart Tolle to figure things out better. It definitely brought me a lot of solace to read the book. My depression seems to have worsened with the lack of things to do. The days feel as if they are melting together, like there isn’t a distinction between one day or the other.
Reading Eckhart Tolle’s book helped a lot; it talked about tackling feelings of sadness by acknowledging them and not wallowing in them. It made me realize this was a fleeting feeling (hopefully) and that I would somehow push past it, I would eventually feel better.
I decided to spend my time cooking and staying at home instead of going to school events. I spent all day at home and made some raw recipes.
First I made raw “Phad Thai” with tahini. It would have been really tasty if the recipe didn’t ask me to put so much cayenne pepper in it. It was way too spicy! My mom liked it though, I did like how it was so fresh, and that’s my favorite thing about vegetables. I’m not going to put up a recipe I don’t really believe in on my blog, but here’s the
link to it if you want to try it out.
Another recipe I tried out was raw chocolate cake. First I had chocolate ganache which required a recipe of its own.
Honestly, the cake was AMAZING! It was rich, chocolately, and dense. It was way easier to make than normal cake, and I honestly don’t even like typical cake! Everything about this was absolutely delectable, and it was much healthier too! I bet this is the HEALTHIEST CAKE EVER without compromising any of its tastiness! If anyone is willing to refute my claim then please email me the recipe to a better, healthier cake.
This cloud over my head may be temporary, but it is making me realize how debilitating depression has the potential to be. I don’t have much motivation to do anything and I’m beginning to sleep more and more often. I just want to lay in bed all day and stay away from any possible stressors or stimuli. Perhaps that’s what I need right now, perhaps I just need to relax and do nothing. Maybe I’m not being so terrible after all, I’m just following my mental, physical, and spiritual needs. I’ll stick with that so I can try to feel better about myself, in the meantime, sorry for not finishing this month the way it should have been finished!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Today was a special day: a release event for a magazine which featured my drawings! It was a school magazine, and the committee accepting submissions had been extra harsh this year, so I felt privileged to get in! The release event was held at the school and there was free catered food. Unfortunately I could only enjoy the asparagus, bread, pita crackers, and hummus L
Meanwhile, Noah’s plate was piled with a burger some delicious looking asparagus dip. Some sort of ravioli, and various other goodies.
Little did I know I was in for a delicious treat. The New Age bookstore I frequented was having raw foodist Jennifer Cornbleet come in and promote her new book “Raw for Dessert“. During the event she made upside down berry cake within 10 minutes and it was DELICIOUS! I decided my mom would really appreciate the book as an early birthday gift and so I got it. I’m really looking forward to making some recipes as they are not only incredibly healthy but automatically gluten, wheat, and dairy free. They also aren’t artificially sweetened with sugar! But the BIG kicker is that they are SO EASY TO MAKE!! The ingredients are minimal and the process almost always simply requires a blender or food processor. None of the science behind baking but way more of the healthful benefits!
I’m honestly shocked this diet isn’t more popular! I’ve met a few people who did it for a while, but I never heard them mention anything special or beneficial! Not to say I’m a total convert now, but I definitely want to try to have more raw foods in my diet. They sound super healthy and most importantly EASY! I wish I went raw for this experiment, but I know I would have DIED if that happened (figuratively, of course!).
Things seem to be going downhill for me lately though… I’ve been feeling really stagnant and depressed. I don’t know how much of it has to do with this experiment or maybe the fact I’m going through finals and my brain function has been at an all time low. My motivation is rapidly declining, and I’m beginning to take more naps and want to spend time alone. I wish I knew where this stemmed from, and why it’s happening now. I’ve got a few theories:
- A multitude of obligations are piling up on me and I feel guilty for not making the needed phone calls to get them done
- Being someone I’m not is making me depressed and lost
- Eating large amounts of soy which has been correlated with some ADD symptoms has deteriorated my concentration and thus made me depressed
- My perfectionism regarding this blog and the fact I’m not meeting my personal standards is wearing on me
- The fact that I’m graduating soon and my life is amount to change dramatically
- The fact I’m beginning to get psoriasis from all the stress of the above and knowing a spiral of me being stressed then stressing about being stressed because of psoriasis etc. (a post on my psoriasis predicament)
Somehow I must press on, and continue this experiment until it’s over (which is very soon!) but I feel like more and more of a failure and it’s killing me! Also, I’m having less and less to do, and no time to set up something. It doesn’t help that finals are coming at me full swing, I wish I could have done a better job, it feels like an insult to all New Agers out there to not fully represent who they are and that’s the first thing I DON’T want to happen in this whole experiment.
But I will press on, and this is only, hopefully a fleeting feeling. Perhaps I just need to take a nice shower and eat some sweets and I’ll feel better tomorrow!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Today I wore my shirt from Day 7. I think may have mentioned that I received a compliment on it while at the New age book store and attributed it to the fact I looked the part. Today I received gushing compliments left and right. It makes me wonder if the people who liked this outfit are secretly new age but aren’t as out about it because I couldn’t imagine wearing a size large shirt like this warranting so many compliments. Perhaps I’m just so good looking I can pull off anything?? I’ll stick with that theory!
I don’t know, I suppose my fashion sense from girly has made me doubt all other styles. But this shirt is 2 sizes too big and I got it at Goodwill! Not that I have a problem with Goodwill, in fact many of my very favorite clothes (including some girly clothes) come from there, but this shirt was not exactly what I would ever expect anyone to appreciate out of a certain demographic.
New agers are a lot more prevalent than one would expect. It seems like the more I get to know people the more New Age they seem to become. All of a sudden they’ll know how to clear stones, they’ve been practicing meditation for years, or they know their past lives. I suppose I’m one of those people too; I seem to have a lot of spiritual values that align with New Age.
Today I also tried using the pendulum. I soaked it in saltwater for a few days to clear it and it did seem more vibrant than normal. I held it out with my right hand and stabilized its swing. I then asked it to show me ‘yes’ and ‘no’ then asked it obvious yes and no questions like “am I female?”. It seemed to be working but I soon realized I didn’t want any fortunes to be told. I finally asked one question regarding what I would be doing after the summer ended and the pendulum remained still. I think the fact that I’m holding the pendulum and therefore moving it reduces my belief in this thing.
I also realized how greatly I fear the coming future. Things are beginning to change, and soon I’ll meet a fork in the road: move in with Noah to a place I don’t want to live or travel on my own accord and be without him. Everything regarding my future is determined by this decision and I must make a choice. Either way I’m losing something I hold dear to myself. So…I don’t want any answers about my future.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Today Noah and I went to Folklife. It was finally a nice day out and I thought I might find more insight from it the second time. While I still stand by my theory that it’s meant more for hippies and beatniks I must say there were some vendors that catered to New Agers. There was a vendor that sold healing herbs. I bought some white sage (finally)! There was also a vendor that seemed to very specifically cater to older white women because that was the only kind of people I saw there. They sold colorful New Age looking dresses.
On the way home from Folklife I got excited and decided to burn the sage in the car to clear its energy. I used the cigarette lighter which was really perfect to get the sage to smolder beautifully. I really really wouldn’t suggest burning sage while in a moving vehicle though, not that anything happened but I suspect the parents reading this would appreciate that statement. After I burnt the sage in my car, both Noah and I felt the energy clear it seemed.
I also smudged my room and what I call the “sanctuary” across from my room (a spare bedroom currently having multiple uses as a greenhouse a bedroom and an office). I have to admit, burning sage is super fun! I want to do it everywhere, and I want to do a lot. I love the smell and the feeling I get from clearing the room and also think I have an inner pyro that is dying to emerge. I left the burnt sage in my room and after a little while my room seemed to smell strangely of beef jerky…so I suggest you store or throw away the burnt sage.
If you wanna learn how to smudge your house then click here.
We kind of improvised a lot of it though, I made sure to start in the East direction and start at the bottom. Noah decided to play his djembe during the smudging and I think it set the mood quite nicely! It seemed to heighten the importance of this.
Even if this ritual doesn’t do crap regarding clearing energies it’s really nice to have a ritual to clear the energy. After all, there is a certain feeling one gets in a specific area after associating it with one activity or mood. When I had terrible insomnia my doctor told me to only use my bedroom for sleep so I could associate my bedroom with being tired and sleeping and nothing else. Associations are a very powerful thing, and I’ve always wished there was some way to clear a room of any associations so that I can restart with more motivation and energy.
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This morning I went to church again. The feeling of discomfort has faded quite a bit since the first time I came. I’m glad to be in this environment now; I don’t dread it or fear it! The reverend spoke an amazing sermon today too. She referenced the book “How God Changes your Brain” and seemed to have brought out the most important points of the book. I wish I had taken notes, it was so insightful!
My scatterbraindedness is beginning to infuriate me. I feel like a complete slave to my own whims and wants. I’m excited to be done with this experiment and hopefully regain some remnant of my more concentrated self. It is beginning to seem incredibly detrimental to my well-being and to this experiment in general. It seemed that I was similar to this during Girly; my time was coming to an end and I was beginning to slack a little with the tension being so high at the beginning. The difference is that when I Was girly I hated it but I haven’t particularly hated it this time around. This time it’s just that I’ve allowed myself to become lazy.
The Reverend was talking about how meditation can help concentration and memory issues though and I began to perk up (I was distractedly picking my nails beforehand). She spoke of a meditation technique the author (a neuroscientist) prescribed to one of his patients. It was called “Kirtan Kriya” and took only 12 minutes a day. The patient prescribed this showed vast improvement in only 8 weeks! I really want to try it out, it sounds amazing! Hopefully my expectations won’t ruin the moment for me though.
Speaking of expectations, I made vegan happy cookies for snacks with the expectation that everyone would be incredibly impressed. I soon realized I could have baked the most amazing cookies in the world but if they were labeled “Vegan” few people would be willing to try them. They were the last dish to go (even a heaping bowl of watermelon went before the cookies!). But I suppose I’m being too paranoid because they did run out after all. Plus, everyone who’s tried them to my face loved them, and the kids who were at the church seemed to gobble them up too!
Anyway, Noah finally got back from camping and I was too excited to see him and spend time together to worry about much else. Just goes to show how strong the power of love can be!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Today was a big day. It was the day I planned this experiment around so that I could do it. Today was Folklife! Folklife is a festival full of music, vendors, hippies and the like. It is a place where you can dress like a crazy person and get “free hugs” from people.
I thought it would be perfect for my experiment, but as I walked through the hordes of people I began to realize it was more for hippies than New Agers, and there is a difference. You can tell simply by the style of dress: New Age has flowy brightly colored clothes while hippie has more earth tones and focuses more on different types of fabric (I saw hemp, bamboo, and soy fabrics at Folklife). I definitely saw a sea of earth tones and my bright red coat (though heading for an earthy look via filthiness) stuck out like a sore thumb.
Or maybe not…at all
Being so surrounded by these people, these hippies, beatniks, and the like made me feel ashamed. I didn’t fit in. I kept thinking to myself “God, I am so mainstream!” as if I was a Stepford Wife stepping out into the real world.
Still, it made me realize how much love is becoming incorporated into our culture. Love seems to generally be the way to go regarding almost any spirituality, and many people allude to a new movement where society will understand this universal principle. So many teens were walking around with “free hugs” signs it made me understand that this tacky trend was somehow still catching wind.
The whole “free hugs” trend always has irritated me. I usually have a problem with people who attempt to be funny or original by riding the coattails of something that was once funny and original. It’s like hearing someone say “Come to the dark side, we have cookies” and expecting a laugh.
I know it’s probably not these people’s intent to be original but I don’t find it remotely clever or fun to be hugged by a sweaty 15 year old boy. Perhaps I’m just a total douchebag, but the idea of “Free hugs” doesn’t have the feeling of love behind it like Amma.
Perhaps though it’s more fun for the people giving out free hugs than the people seeing them. I bet it’s a lot of fun in fact, I’m sure it gives people a sense of goodness about themselves. I should try doing it someday and then see what I think of it.
Photo credit: pictoscribe
Oh but on the way home I saw 2 birds. I couldn’t tell if they were hawks or large crows even though they were flying pretty low. Thinking back on it I’m leaning toward hawks but I’ll never truly know. It felt like this was a symbol that I wouldn’t be receiving guidance much longer.
Folklife wasn’t really the focal point of my New Age day. It was later that night.
While I was in my workspace trying to catch up on my blogs, I noticed a beetle on the floor. I was sitting in a chair facing the foot of the bed that was in the middle of the room and I usually took to propping my feet up on the foot of the bed. Then later, it was right at the foot of the bed, even closer to me. I flicked it off not wanting a beetle to crawl on me.
Completely different beetle but if that thing were crawling towards me it would have been a different story.
(photo credit: douglasspics)
I was feeling pretty lonely because Noah had gone camping for the weekend so he wasn’t there with me so I decided to get on Facebook and talk to some friends. It was a learning experience. I talked to so many people I hadn’t had an honest conversation with in a while.
One of them was a man I met on Chatroulette. If you want to know more contexts about me friending random strangers from Chatroulette then click here.
Anyway, this guy really had nothing to do with New Age or so I thought. We initially got to talking about old friendships, then the conversation turned towards my experiment and I told him about my eagle/hawk sightings. He suggested the book “Animal Speaks”, which was suggested to me at the bookstore the last time. I asked him what it said about beetles because I had been seeing the one just recently.
He told me the beetle represented “rebirth, resurrection”. That meant a lot to me as I’d been feeling a reconnection with my own identity recently. It was as if there was an acknowledgment that who I really am must emerge and who I really am had been buried under this personality. While we were talking about this, I had moved onto the bed to get more comfortable. To my left was a windowsill and I saw the beetle crawling up on it. The beetle stopped, spread its wings, and flew within inches of my face!
I couldn’t deny it, this was a sign, even if this was a bogus book, and the idea of rebirth was still a sign for me.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Today the great and famous Amma came into town! This was the brochure that weird guy from Day __ gave to me and told me to go to. Well I went, and it was pretty interesting. I’d never heard of Amma but apparently she’s a really big deal. I think she could be compared to today’s Mother Teresa.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this and when Noah and I showed up we knew this was definitely a big deal in certain circles. Mostly women in long flowing colorful dresses were crowding the area. Noah was greatly intimidated by this and decided to leave. The energy of the place was overwhelming and tangible. There was a line for receiving hugs from Amma, who is called the “hugging saint” at times.
While we waited for her to show up a video played talking about her charitable endeavors. It showed her hugging countless people and the way she hugged every one of them as if they were her own children was amazing! This woman had been everywhere! I was beginning to get really excited about this. There was a meditation session before Amma began her “Darshan” (hugs), the man who guided us was fine and all, but the speakers were much too loud and whenever he spoke I almost jumped.
The event was taking place in a grand ballroom with half of the ballroom being filled with vendors. The vendors were for charities, selling lots of New Age stuff like jewelry, clothing, crystals, herbs, incense, soaps, massages and the like. The prices were incredibly outrageous. I ended up spending $30 on some Tulasi (sacred herbs), a pendulum thing, and a massage.
The pendulum is supposed to give me answers about my chakras and life. It’s made out of agate which apparently acts as “A gate” to the spirit realm. The vendor told me to either bury it foot deep in earth for a week or soak it in salt for a day or 2 (he suggested I bury it but I don’t really have enough time for that).
The herbs have been blessed by Amma herself. According to the vendor there tulasi adapts to your body and heals it accordingly. Sounded pretty good to me, and at only $3 for 8 grams didn’t seem like an unreasonable price (compared to the $20 t-shirts that just had the Om symbol on them!) so I got them. I think I’ll put some leaves in my medicine bag.
What? It’s not like I’m smoking them!
Noah had to leave me there so I was wandering alone for hours before my turn to see Amma. It made me really depressed walking alone the whole time with nothing to do except read brochures and buy stuff. When it finally came time to see Amma I was really nervous. I initially imagined I would get to talk to her, but as I got closer I began to see that the process was much more formal than I thought it would be. There was a crowd of people surrounding her and they were there to keep things moving.
As I got closer I got to see Amma hug others. I was looking forward to the hug; her face seemed so sincerely loving. Sometimes while she hugged people the helpers/entourage would talk to her and they would hold a conversation which was the only thing that put me off a bit.
It was finally my turn, the people surrounding Amma had their hands all over me; guiding me through absolutely everything. They pushed me towards her, pushed my head in her lap, Amma chanted something, then as the pulled me to my feet I was handed this:
That’s right. 2 flower petals and a Hersey’s kiss while be forcefully and mercilessly pushed out of the way for the next number. The hug felt brief and… not special. After all the hype I was incredibly disappointed. I mean a Hershey’s Kiss?? Why not something meaningful and relevant to the theme of giving or something. I’ve never felt so heavily disregarded, so easily pushed away to be forgotten! The experience overall was a negative one, one that enforced my belief that I didn’t belong here, that New Age wasn’t who I was.
I can’t have faith in something like that; I can’t believe a hug will make me better and then when it doesn’t do anything I definitely can’t make myself believe it did. I felt this terrible frustration and bitterness. The whole day seemed to conspire against me!
When Noah came to pick me up and I told him of my experience he made a great point about the whole thing: what if all the hype was to get people to donate more money to Amma’s numerous charities? What if that was how she raised her money? Remembering the 20 dollar bills in the donation jar and all the hype around it made me see his point. I didn’t know whether or not I should feel proud of their genius or outraged by the scam.
we went home and watched Firefly, a show all of our friends told us years ago we needed to watch. It was cheating but I needed it and I’m glad I did it. It lightened my crappy mood plus I got to spend time with Noah.
I also had some tofu BBQ, my mom made it so I don’t have the recipe
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