Last Night a Dinner Party Saved My Life
If you’ve read Part 1, you know where we are at this point in the story: insecurity, self-esteem issues, some work success, decent money and a mediocre relationship. Greasy fingers on the slippery cliff. Yee-ha.
Around this time, I joined a women’s group, The Sorority. Headed up by the super fabulous Lisa Tse, who definitely fits my definition of what it means to be a serious Woo-man, The Sorority was a great place to connect with women from all walks of life, ages and professions.
I deeply believe in divine timing, and that everything happens for a reason.
This seems like a cheap platitude, but it really isn’t: there is a divine golden thread weaving its way through your life right now if you are willing to see it.
Sometimes it just takes a bit of time or a change in perspective to appreciate it.
One night in one of our group dinners I ended up being sat next to someone who introduced me to a world of new possibilities that put me on the path to where I am now and completely turned my life around. She was, and still is, one of the most intriguing, engaging people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I would be remiss not to point out that from the outside looking in, she didn’t seem to fit in: in a room of perfectly coiffed London-ites toting designer bags she was more at home in hippie scarves and fleece.
Clare was just fascinating. She was born in the heart of London but went on to major in Eastern Studies at university, and headed off to live in Asia in the 80’s. She eventually became fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese, and acted as the right hand of the global head of HSBC Asia. Intelligent, sophisticated, travelled, and so comfortable with herself. As we slowly went around the room introducing ourselves, some more charming and erudite than others, Clare completely stood out to me. She had left the finance world and all the material rewards to follow her passion in energy healing. I was so pleased she was my neighbour in the seating arrangement.
At this point, my interest in spirituality had increased but not deepened: I read horoscopes online and consulted astrologers and psychics but hadn’t gotten committed about creating any real changes in my life. I was however getting more attentive to my body and taking better care of myself, but I still had niggling health issues. Migraines came and went without warning. My acne problem showed no signs of getting better, despite unlimited spending on facials, aestheticians and dermatologists. I also had these weird flu-like symptoms – sometimes I’d be shot down mid-afternoon with a feeling of fever and exhaustion that would knock me flat for a day.
After chatting with Clare for some time and asking her endless questions about her energy healing I started to share some of these issues with her and was intrigued when she started to make a connection between my toxic work environment and the effects it was having on my body.
I’d heard this kind of talk before, of course, but never gave much more than a passing thought to it.
It seemed to make sense, but what did I know about the mind-body connection? Everything in that arena seemed like….woo-woo nonsense to me.
But Clare was insistent. She convinced me to come next week and try out meditation with her at a weekly meditation group she leaded.
That next week I found myself in a lovely mews street just off of Brompton Road in Chelsea. I don’t even know what I was expecting. Other than ringing up the odd psychic in moments of severe desperation, I had never tried anything like this before. Walking in, I was pleased to see there was a mix of people: men and women, young and old, professionals in suits alongside crunchy yoga types.
Standing as a group, Clare warmed us up by getting us to rotate and shake out all different parts of our body. Next we sat down on chairs arranged in a circle, with loose instructions about how to hold our hands and feet in order to let the energy flow most freely.
The meditation was a recording by Master Koa Chok Sui, the founder of Pranic healing. I was barely following along as his accent on the recording was so strong and sometimes difficult to understand, but eventually I started to feel myself relax. The pace of my breathing and the beating of my heart seemed to slow, and I became acutely aware of the sound of my own breath in the quietness of the room.
Soon, I started to feel a cool tingle originating in my neck, travelling all the way down my spine.
It felt like the beginnings of a limb going numb: noticeable but not at all unpleasant.
Without warning, my neck popped upwards and I felt the tingling buzz in my spine intensify. Next, my right hip jerked and popped open by itself. I felt like I was enveloped in a cool dense fire made of buzzing bees. When Clare started to count us back into our bodies I felt like I was moving between two worlds. Upon opening my eyes, I felt the details of the room had sharpened and my vision was crystal clear. I noticed every movement and sound like an animal in the wild. Still completely dazed, I thanked Clare for inviting me and made my way outside to a taxi, struggling to take in the bustling stimuli of the South Kensington streets. I went directly home, got straight into bed, and had the soundest night of sleep that I could ever remember. When I awoke the next morning I felt like I had taken a bath on the inside of my body.
The following week I didn’t have a migraine for the first time in 6 months. I was hooked.
Click here to read part 3: How the Woo-Woo Found Me to hear about how I came into studying shamanism.
Artwork from the super crazy talented Matt Wisniewski
Have you had similar experiences with meditation? Tell me about it below in the comments!