I’m pretty excited about today’s guest blogger. MIchelle Lebow is the author of Memoir of Me:
From Michelle: “It’s [Table Talk] a part stories-part therapy-part advice column. I’ll use my disorder to throw my heart and soul into engaging with you to create a new story and create a new relationship. A story of sensuality and love and sanity and darkness and loss and rejection and hope and light and purity and greatness. A story of beauty along with a big flurry of glittery sparkle — a gust of what I call faith because I still believe in the magic of universe.”
Today, Michelle writes about her recent spiritual cleanse. I’ll admit…I am also a collector of experiences and I’m sorta temped to seek out her Spiritual Healer:
I am a collector of experiences. Some people collect magnets or shot glasses or tiny figurines. I’ve tried to collect all of those things, but I lose them or break them or forget that I collect them before I get a collection. Experiences, however, are something I hoard — they take up no space, I don’t have to dust them, and the more of them I have, the richer my soul.
I collect experiences by doing things in ways most people don’t. So when my good friend told me of a Hmong Spiritual Healer, I knew this was an experience I had to have. I mean in the 40ish years I have been alive, my spirit has never been properly cleansed, so in addition, a spiritual cleanse, I justified, must be a practical experience. Something close to car maintenance and surely a needed maintenance for the soul.
Typically, Eric knows everything I do. He knows, for the most part, my daily schedule of kids, writing, creating love story business models, running, yoga, cleaning, cooking. Sometimes, I like to do things he doesn’t know about until after I do them. My spiritual cleanse was one of these things. He’s open minded, but, “Honey, tomorrow I’m going to see a Hmong Spiritual Healer,” was something I had a really hard time weaving into our conversation.
I set the appointment and noticed the address wasn’t the safest part of town. I got the kids off to school and drove to the sketchy office building. The spiritual healer had told me to bring a raw egg to our meeting, so on the way I picked up a dozen. I was running late like I usually am, so I quickly grabbed an egg from the carton and hopped out of the car. As I locked the door, I dropped my egg.
This moment is very vivid for me. I looked down at the smashed egg on the black tar of the cement – the orange yolk leaking out of the cracked white shell. I looked up at the brown stucco, also cracked, two-story office building and the big oak trees that seemed to still in that moment of the breezy day. This had to be an omen, and probably not a good one, right?
Instead of leaving, I grabbed another egg and walked up the steps under those stilled massive oaks and into the building. I entered and the smell, odoriferous and strong — like old, musty carpet, sprung at me. I crinkled my nose and headed down the basement office steps. I don’t like basements. They are dank. I don’t know a ton about feng shui, but I bet there is something not right about the energy in basements. I knocked on her door with the little peephole and wondered if she squinted one eye at me before she opened the door. The butterflies in my tummy seemed to wiggle my cold egg I held gently in my hand.
She opened the door, and not surprisingly, she came up to somewhere between my belly button and collarbone. Her eyes were warm, but she didn’t smile. She asked me to come in. It smelled better in her office; she had some pleasant incense burning. She asked me to sit in the waiting area, which I did, but as soon as she left me, I stood. I stood, as if it would jolt out any misgivings I had about the experience I was about to embark.
When she came out to get me she was no longer dressed in street clothes. Apparently, Hmong spiritual healers have a garb. She wore a long flowing cotton white dress with a super tall hat that was white and pointy like an oblong triangle. She waved me into her little room. The room was nondescript, except there was a table that she used like an altar, with white flowers, white candles, and incense. She asked me to sit on a little stool in front of the altar. She took my egg from me and put it in a white Styrofoam cup on the altar.
Then, she started dancing and chanting around my stool and me. She picked up my egg and held close to her heart and then moved my egg in a way that I would describe people move chi. As she danced, I noticed her white sleeves were soiled near the edges. Almost like the spiritual work she’d done previously was some dirty business. It bothered me that her garb wasn’t bleached white clean, so I shut my eyes. I heard her set my egg down and I thought she was done, but she picked up a small glass bowl of water. She told me not to be alarmed if I felt wetness. I closed my eyes. again, as she chanted around me because if you’ve ever been close to someone chanting, it’s uncomfortable to stare at them. Suddenly in addition chanting, I heard a noise that I was certain sounded like vehement spitting. She was behind me and I couldn’t see her, but seriously I was freaking out, she can’t be spitting on me can she?!?!
Well, she was. She was spitting on me, just my clothes, not my face or exposed body parts. As I looked closer, believe me my eyes were wide open now, I noticed she put the water on the outside of her lips and was blowing it me, so not actually putting (much) saliva in her chanting/dancing/spitting action. At this point, I felt laughter bubbling up in my throat, because I really couldn’t believe that I was sitting on a stool in a dank basement office with a woman dressed like an angel chanting and spitting on me. I forced myself to stifle my laugh and get back into spiritual cleansing mode because as long as I was there I wanted to receive the full benefits of the cleanse. Besides, this was an experience – on a collector scale — somewhere up near the Van Gogh of Experiences, so I opened myself fully to her chanting and spitting.
I thought I couldn’t be any more flabbergasted until she tapped me and handed me a big heavy copper disc that reminded me of the Gong Show – that thing they would gong when you lost the talent show. She told me to put the gong on my head. And so, of course, I did. I balanced this huge gong on my head while she danced around me. The spitting had now ceased. I’m glad to say that she didn’t hit the gong while it was on my head. Afterward, she told me she never had a person balance the big gong; mostly people just hold it on their head. It did not surprise me that I over achieved, even, in my spiritual cleanse.
When I left she told me to take my egg and boil it and eat it. Which, of course, I did. I could say this is the end of the story, but of course it’s not. I went home that night and I wasn’t sure how I would tell Eric that I paid $100 dollars for a spiritual cleanse. I thought maybe I should tell him I paid less and it wouldn’t be as bad. So how much is the right amount to pay to get spit on where your husband won’t get mad at you? I decided $60 dollars was fair market price to sit on a stool and balance a gong on my head and get spit on.
When I told Eric, he said, “What are you doing?” and I started to cry. Because yes, what was I doing?
I guess I was looking for new insight and new meaning to my experience here on earth. I was and am looking for clarity and truth in my journey. And looking for an opportunity to luxuriate in new soul enriching experiences and connections. In the end, my one hour spiritual cleanse was one of the most unique places I’ve found myself lately and the learning for me is that the spiritual cleansing methods I have been using for the first 40ish years of my life are better than the one for which I paid.
How about you? Are you a collector of experiences like Michelle and me? Have you ever been spiritually cleansed?
Oh, and that give-away for DaddyScrubs is LIVE! GO WIN!