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Day 34: Misadventures of a Seeker

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

Today was the 'between semesters' office tidy-purge I try to do to mark the passage of one semester to the next. I used to be able to ritualize the fare-thee-well release of students at the end of a person-to-person class, but since online teaching connects us so very differently, I've had to create new rituals of transition for myself. I move books, purge unnecessary papers, and, as it turns out, find unexpected gifts of previous learnings…

I came across a file of papers that made me laugh aloud. It was the introductory paperwork of a day gone awry, costing me a substantial chunk of change for the pleasure of it. To honor the confidentiality of the practitioner, I won't give names and locatable details, but…

A day of Ayurveda, the Path to Balance, the flier read. What could be better than that? I had thought to myself. I had met the practitioner briefly and felt comfortable with her. I knew I could explore new things within her care. So that afternoon, back in 2017, I spoke with her for the 30-minute consultation. She offered me some suggestions for the dietary choices I could make for my body type. Then the day's bodywork began, which was first, a massage.

Except the practitioner whom I had come to see--the one I had a felt-sense of trust with--left the building! Her part was apparently done, and I was now in the hands of folks I did not know, for events and bodywork I knew nothing about. Vulnerable under the cloth, on the table, the “bliss package” began.

They used some kind of aromatic "to detoxify" or something...? It felt like I had Vicks Mentholatum all over my body. It grew increasingly uncomfortable, to the point of me imagining leaving. I heard the voice inside of me, "Don't be a quitter! Receive what this is, and learn!" I stayed. I was contained inside of some plastic coverings, holding all the mentholatum in. It lasted forever. Then, when I thought “it” was done, there was “the next bit.” Lying on my back, there was a container of oil dripping onto my forehead but then down my scalp into a bucket. I have no idea what that was for, but the oil was retained for me to take home.

As I left, paying the hefty chunk of change for my remaining ignorance, I felt incredibly foolish, if relieved. In the bright sunshine of an evening after Ayurveda treatment, I giggled most of the way home. I had NO idea what any of that was supposed to be...but wow did it cost me a pretty penny. I'm sure there is much to be gained in Ayurvedic wisdom, I simply didn't receive any that day!

Needless to say, I said little to my preacher husband. And today, recovering the paperwork from that day back in 2017, I laughed once again. Proud of my adventurous spirit and bemused by the unavoidable misadventures too.

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Tenneson Woolf
Tenneson Woolf

I love the ritualizing of release and transition that you write. Ah, tending well to the beginnings and to the endings (or to the movements). Thx Lisa.


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