by Slo Mo
Well dear readers, no one bothered to respond to my S.O.S. and I'm still stuck out here at the Nirvana® spiritual retreat with Darla Howlingwolf and the glowing goddess and a bunch of other motley characters who do far too much chanting and not nearly enough showering.
(By the way, I'd really love to hear what y'all had going on last week that was so important you couldn't take two seconds to drive out here and rescue me. Or hire a cult-buster. Or contact the FBI. Or whatever. But...I'm not bitter.)
Me and my inner shaman are quickly discovering that paradise isn't all it's cracked up to be:
5:30 a.m. Wake-up call
Consists of a Nirvana® disciple shaking The Tambourine Of Awakenings in my face until I get up. Meanwhile, my cabin buddy, Brunhilde, sleeps like a baby. I don't know what pisses me off more - the tambourine, or the fact that Brunhilde can sleep right through it. Or maybe it's the fact that Brunhilde even exists. The brochure didn't say anything about Brunhilde...
5:45 a.m. Goddess salutes
Thirty-five minutes of bastardized yoga, a.k.a. Darla Howlingwolf's "special technique", which seems an awful lot like a series of inept sun salutes for people without any coordination. Whatever. All I know is that everyone around here (including Brunhilde) is a vegan, which means they consume loads and loads and loads of dietary fiber, which also means you do not want to be stuck behind one of them when they bend over to stretch. Trust me.
6:20 a.m. "Morning Glory"
When everyone's done their stretching and farting, we sit in a circle and verbalize our wish for personal growth that day. Then we visualize its manifestation. Then we submit it to the universe by shaking The Tambourine Of Surrender. Darla is always very clear about this being a nonjudgmental environment and that we should feel free to verbalize whatever wish comes to mind, yet I always manage to get a lot of dirty looks. Like, yesterday Darla encouraged me to speak my wish clearly and honestly, so I did. Apparently, wishing to burn all the tambourines wasn't the right answer.
6:30 a.m. Breakfast
Granola soaked in turnip juice, washed down with boiled chicory. Yummmm.
7:30 a.m. Nature walk
This part really irks me, because the brochure didn't say anything about hiking through poison ivy and the only footwear I brought was a pair of beach sandals. Also, these people are really, really slow on the trail. Must be the way their fake saris snag on the branches. But I'm not allowed to scoot ahead unless I'm holding The Tambourine Of Leadership, which Darla refuses to give me because she says it will disrupt our group's energy chain. I think it's just because she's a control freak.
8:30 a.m. Personal reflection
Time to find a quiet place and meditate. Or, in my case, find a quiet place and go back to sleep. Please note how early in the day this personal time is scheduled - they got us up at 5:30 just to turn around and tell us to relax at 8:30. My inner shaman is not amused.
10:00 a.m. Creativication
Here's where Nirvana® really starts kickin'. Darla gathers us together in the Glowing Goddess' Womb (which looks an awful lot like your run-of-the-mill crafts studio) and begins the divine chant of creativication (which sounds an awful lot like your run-of-the-mill "ommmmm" mantra) while we sit in a state of creative readiness (which feels an awful lot like your run-of-the-mill drunken stupor). If you do it right, the goddess is supposed to infuse you with creative energy until you jump up in a crazed artistic frenzy and grab some art supplies and start creating something that reveals your divine purpose. There is also a ballet barre and a toy xylophone, in case the goddess makes you want to do a riverdance or sing Eleanor Rigby at the top of your lungs. Which is exactly what Brunhilde did in yesterday's session.
12:00 p.m. Lunch
Ummm... I recognize the whole wheat bread, even with all those bits of mushy beet root and alfalfa sprouts. But the stuff they put on the bread is a mystery. Is it possible the chef is making paté out of pureed popcorn and apple juice?
1:00 p.m. Interpretive dance
Gets all those vegan gases churning, and clothes are entirely optional. Ohhhhh, the horror...
2:30 p.m. Inter-Soul Embrace
Not as messy as it sounds, but still pretty dreadful. This is where we join forces with our unique soul buddies (which also happen to be our cabin mates, conveniently enough) and do a bunch of trust-building exercises, so as to heighten our sense of connectivity. Or something like that. I wasn't really listening when Darla explained it, as I'd just found some dry weed stalks behind the dining hall and was busy enjoying my first smoke in days. Then one of the Nirvana® disciples saw what I was up to and forced me to carry The Tambourine Of Shame for the rest of the day. I didn't really mind, though, because it gave me something to shake in people's faces when they annoyed me. So anyway, this is the time of day when Brunhilde and I do weird crap like lead each other around while we're blindfolded or ask the other person to guess what we're rubbing on their back. Sort of like "9 1/2; Weeks" for the Birkenstock crowd.
4:00 p.m. Personal reflection (redux)
More time for sleep, er, meditation. Unless Brunhilde hasn't finished rubbing stuff on my back. She's really into those sensory exercises.
5:30 p.m. Songfest
The Nirvana® version of going to church for the evensong service. Except I'm pretty sure most churches sing to God using actual hymn books with actual songs, whereas we sing to our inner shamans using ad-libbed, a-capella ditties courtesy of whoever happens to volunteer. The other day a really skinny blonde dude got up and wowed the crowd with, "My little acorn swells and swells/ Into a great oak tree/ Sort of like my inner shaman/ Swells and grows in me/ But still my restless aura bleeds/ From that time I was six years old and Daddy slashed all my dolls."
6:00 p.m. Dinner
That green stuff isn't spinach, and those wiggly lumps aren't tofu.
7:00 p.m. Nightflight
Remember when you were a kid at camp and every night the counselors would build a big bonfire and you'd sit around and get loud and sing songs and roast marshmallows and sneak off behind the cabins to steal a few kisses with your favorite crush? Yeah? Me too! So I think it's totally understandable that I misinterpreted Darla's meaning when she told me, on my first night here, that the Nirvana® Nightflight was "just like a regular campfire, only bigger and better". Woooeeeee! Of course, if I hadn't pounded back all those tequilas on an empty stomach it might have dawned on me a bit sooner that no one else was making rude noises at the Indian chief or tipping people off their log seats or goosing the old guys or singing "My gal's a porker, she's a New Yorker!" whenever Darla stood up to channel an ancient spirit. But hey - live and learn, eh? Or, as I said to Darla the next morning when she aggravated my hangover with the Tambourine of Sobriety, "Oo-bla-di, Oo-bla-dah, BITCH!"
9:00 p.m. Bed