André is a different man. He has taken to everything like a baby being born into its natural world. He feels clean inside and out, physically and emotionally. He is open and calm, receptive and happy. I love it. This is precisely why I have been saving pennies in jars the last nine months to give him this gift the way I experienced the same gift. He glows, he walks tall. Yoga teachers comment on his posture, how naturally grounded he is, how balanced, how energetic. He has a sparkle in his eyes which seem a brighter shade of blue.
We just treated ourselves to a hot stone massage with the magical Katarina and he, like I, just floated out of the spa like a cloud on a gentle breeze. I want to bottle and capture every moment, every feeling. Even talk amongst the residents of the UK election result isn’t stressing me out. My team didn’t win, but in a way we did, because we reduced the Government’s dangerous majority and improved the chances of many voices being heard in Parliament, instead of just one, which is the way it should be really. So I feel hopeful about our country and world politics for the first time in many many months. But maybe just maybe, this place, the processes we’re experiencing, just allow us to see the positives and release the negatives.
Lovely Ina was back to cover yoga for lovely Jana, the new teacher, who is feeling poorly again. But despite missing Jana’s soothing voice guiding us in class, her misfortune is my blessing because I just cannot get enough of Ina at the moment. She radiates so much happiness and calm that I would merrily follow her around like a puppy dog if I could, listening to everything she has to teach. Even just switching off to the words and listening to the melodies of her voice.
Sally, who is the resident expert in colonics and all things bowel-related, gave a fascinating talk about colon health and the digestive system which I had attended last time but even second time around it was so good. The collective wisdom here stimulates the mind and I suppose acts as ‘entertainment’ for our brains in a way while we are here on holiday. It just makes you want to do so much better with yourselves when you go home. Do you know, for example, that we have 10 times more bacteria in our body than human cells? We are a walking, talking, bacterial ecosystem. And much of this bacteria we can’t exist without. And when we get depressed, our good tummy bacteria don’t work so well. Why? Maybe they get depressed with us! We are have a living symbiotic relationship with these little guys – they are co-pilots to our ship (or maybe we are copilots to theirs?) When we get sad, they do too – they stop doing their jobs so well. They down tools and curl up into foetal position and need a duvet day.
But my focus today was on the evening event – the return of the sound healer, Kevin. I have to keep repeating that name to myself because it makes me laugh every time that this intense, exotic, brooding soul who feels like he’s from darkest Peru or even out of a Sinbad movie, is not called Zoltar or something. Clearly in Gozo (where Kevin is from), Kevin is a more exotic name than it is in England. Someone brave should tell him. It would be like having a president called Kimberley. Or a bin man called Tarquin. It doesn’t quite fit.
My Brazilian friend Helena is abstaining from tonight’s sound healing because she didn’t enjoy it last time. It’s strange because we attended the exact same session last September and had such different experiences with her hating the sounds she heard – finding them jarring and grating. But a few of the other ladies I spoke to throughout the day promised they would definitely be up for the experience and we all met at 7pm in the yoga studio.
For those of you who need a refresher on last year’s experience, I recommend reading THIS page of my blog, although if you haven’t read it before I’ve already ruined the punchline by telling you the sound healer’s name is Kevin.
Kevin actually doesn’t like the word ‘healing’ he says it’s bullshit and there is nothing to be healed, only cleared. So tonight we are ‘clearing our blockages’, re-creating a sense of space between our true selves and ‘stuff’ – our environment, our perception of our bodies, our addictions, our bullshit belief systems (from hatred of our bodies to addictive behaviours). Kevin himself was a heroin addict for 25 years and has changed his life to the positive using the techniques he now shares with others. But he explained that we all have addicitions, whether it’s food or checking our phones or spending money or watching too much television. We are all self-medicating, taking ourselves away from who we are. Sound healing allows us to re-attune to our inner selves and create a separation from the outside world so we can react to it differently, not feel it defines us, not believe our own bullshit constructs.
My experience this time was so very different from last September. In part because I knew what to expect and was no longer intimidated by or frightened of Kevin. I mean…who can be afraid of a Kevin? You never hear about movies called ‘Kevin the Destroyer’, ‘Kevin the Merciless’, ‘Murder at Kevin’s House’, do you? No. You’re relatively safe with a Kevin. So I was much more open to the whole process. But equally, Kevin was also different. He was much friendlier, smiled more, made jokes, was warmer and more reassuring and also explained the process much better. At times I almost wondered if someone at Amchara had made him read my blog from last time, especially when he was talking about letting go of things and looked me dead in the eye when he said ‘let go of judgement’. Eek!
Like last time we lay on yoga mats with cushions and blankets in a circle while Kev burned incense, encouraged us to smell his home made ‘herbal perfume’ (Still not entirely sure it doesn’t contain some hallucinogen but apparently not), and then while we closed our eyes and relaxed into the meditation, he played various instruments around us with incredible sounds that bounced around the room and actually through our bodies.
Like last time, I started to get visions to accompany the strange loud sounds, like a sort of synesthesia I guess. It started with pulsing colour – for me purple. André said he got bright blue. Many people in the group told us afterwards that they saw colours too. And from the purple pulsing cloud that flickered with electricity, I saw a giant eye pushing out of the clouds at me. It wasn’t looking at me but sort of through me and to one side.
As the instruments and their intensity changed, so did my visions. As Kevin drummed around our bodies I became a slow flowing snaking river, and then the snaking river became the snaking movements of a running lizard over sand dunes. I was an Iguana of some kind, running over the hot sand, zig zagging and feeling the heat on the pads of my feet. Feeling the run. Loving the run. I ran to the top of a hill and on the hill I saw little silhouettes of people, but they were like little drawings, little stick figures. It was André and me, and we raised our arms up and started to rise off the ground into the air. We suddenly became two swallows flying through the air together. I could feel myself smiling, thinking ‘weeeeeeee! This is fun!’ and then the two birds we were became melded into one single bird. One bird, two distinct souls still, flying together, sharing one body but still us, still individuals. We flew higher and higher and then our bird body turned into a tiny white puffy cloud, just one tiny cloud of water and we floated higher and higher together. I was thinking ‘This is wonderful, we are us but we are together, we’ve chosen to be together.’ This vision was so happy, I was actually aware of grinning widely on my mat like a weirdo.
The music changed, and Kevin was wanging something around that made a jugger jugger noise like a drone or helicopter that sent tickles through my body. I was so fascinated I had to peep one eye open to see what on earth it was. He told me after it’s called an Om Wand (maybe Aum? I have to look up how to spell the yogic terms so for now I will deal with phonetics for ease of explanation. André and I have been mentally compiling a list of things we want to buy after this trip from food processors to prebiotics/probiotics and I’ve added in that I want myself an Om Wand. I have no idea what I will use it for. Maybe just signalling friends on distant hills when the zombie apocalypse comes. I will find a use for it. You are never too old for toys.
Kevin wielded his wand like A Jedi knight. Which is very apt as he looks rather like a bald but slightly beardy Kylo Ren (with more tattoos). It was a sight to behold and a treat for the ears hearing it wubber wubber wubber around the room.
Zoning back out again to the next instrument, I was back in the water again. Like in September I *was* the water and I became so again, the slow flowing river this time as opposed to September when I was the waves crashing against rocks (an interesting contrast, I thought). I flowed to a standstill and then I found my gaze sinking lower down, lower and lower into the river, whereupon I became aware of plants and algae around me, and then large, looming shapes moving nearby. ‘Manatees!’ I squealed (inside my head). But then I *WAS* the manatee, and I felt full of joy because I LOVE being a manatee. I looked at my flappy paddle tail with love and joy and used the weight of my big round belly to perform barrel rolls in the water. ‘I’ve got a fabulous squooshy nose!’ I thought joyfully to myself. I was so happy being a fat manatee in the water, rolling and lolloping around. ‘I am beaaaaauuuutiful’, I thought, as I played in the water like an obese mermaid. I loved being the manatee so much, I didn’t want it to stop.
But then the vision faded and at this point I think I might have nodded off to sleep, and was slowly brought out of it by the energy changing in the room, and Dante’s (sorry, I mean Kevin’s) voice slowly guiding us back into a a grounded state of sitting. I could not stop grinning. It’s so hard to describe well and so different to my previous experience of sound healing, which was incredible but quite ‘dark’ and a little scary. I just felt radiant with joy, blooming with happiness. I wanted to share it with everybody. I wanted to love EVERYBODY.
One by one, Kevin called us to him to stand in his biggest bowl as once again he finished the session by bonging the giant bowl around us so the vibrations traveled up our feet, legs and through our entire being. I felt blessed and treated and excited and jubilant. I needed to pee, but it would be a joyful pee when it came. And funnily enough Kevin said ‘If anyone needs to empty their bladder, now is a good time so you do not pee in my bowl.’ And for the second time I got the distinct impression he had read my blog post from last year. Or maybe someone *had* peed in his bowl at some point. Maybe *everybody* needs to pee in the bowl.
As we sat in the circle, mostly grinning; Catriona, the Irish lady next to me said what an amazing trip she’d been on. She hadn’t had visions like mine, but had been bathed in pulses of colour, loved the feel of the sound moving through her body in waves and found it had brought up and released all kinds of emotions. She suddenly felt very tired and went straight to bed. All the other women reported loving the session so much, and also rushed off to bed exhausted but happy. But my poor André had either ignored or not heard my advice to everyone to not feel they had to stay in one position for the whole 2 hour session because they’d get achey. He had been in pain laying on his back so long, with all the pressure points on his body throbbing and then going to sleep, and it had prevented him from relaxing or really enjoying the session. He hadn’t experienced the visions or emotions others reported but he had seen the sound as colour – that synesthesia thing again that we’d all had in common. But mostly he’d just been laying there in pain, counting down the minutes until he could get off the mat. And I felt very sad for him that he hadn’t been a manatee, a lizard or a swallow or flowing river along with me. Still, you can’t have it all and be the A-Star pupil at everything. Maybe if we get to go again then he’ll have a different experience. But if I could have shared with him what it felt like to be a tiny little puffy cloud with me….that would have been an incredible experience to go through together. As it was, I left radiating joy, love and relaxation and Andre left with completely numb arsecheeks and absolutely no idea what the last couple of hours had all been about for everyone else.