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DAY 362: Getting my aura read

28 Aug

THE hotel I’m staying at has a Psychic Expo on. Regular readers of Hey Man will be aware my faith in psychics runs as deep as a puddle, but like an agnostic at Christmas, I can’t resist getting my aura photographed.

I interviewed a healer last week for an article, and she told me, just by looking, that I had a red/orange aura, which means I am fiercely driven by my base urges.

Sounds about right. Now, of course, I feel obliged to get a second opinion – purely in the name of journalism.

For a mere $40, Konnie from the Psychic Expo sits me in front of a weird camera and gets me to put my paws on hand-shaped metal sensors either side of me. She shines a bright light at me and takes the picture.

It should pain me to admit that the results are pretty similar to the healer’s description last week, but I’m actually quite excited, and I’m relieved it’s not black. We’ve got exactly three minutes before my adventure bus comes, but Konnie scans the picture and tells me that oranges and reds are quite common in the youngish, as they represents drive and ambition. The lighter patches are an indication of spirituality. “You should trust yourself more,” she reprimands.

The green patches are lower down because they’re on their way out of my life. “That’s about letting go of a past problem and starting something new,” Konnie says, fixing me with a beady eye. “Go down to the sea and bury it in the sand. Let the surf wash it away. Get rid of it.”

Keeper? Sage advice. Might have to get a third opinion on auras though.

DAY 352: Having tantric sex

18 Aug

I’VE been determined to explore tantra as one of my missions, but the only morsels my Melbourne forays unearthed were a thinly veiled prostitution service, in which Tatiana offered to touch me all over while we were both naked for a mere $250, and a website for Tantric Dave, who lies stretched out with one thigh positioned over his ‘wand of light’.

Then I found a less salacious lady in Sydney.

The reason I’ve been determined to try this is because it sounds so excruciating. I mean, tantra’s all about spirituality, eye contact and effort, isn’t it? I doubt Sting saw his virginity as an indignity to be got rid of fast, or treats wanking like an aggressive formality.

My tantra teacher today is Brazilian, and therefore well placed to laugh at the sexual repression of the English. She greets me in leisurewear, but then produces a couple of skimpy kaftans. A room of her apartment is decked out New Age-style, with candles, incense, cushions, didgeridoos chorbling away and the heat up stiflingly high. Let me just open my kaftan a notch…

We start off with some pelvic floor exercises to get the blood flowing to the nethers and to learn how to, you know, sort of massage a man.

Breathing deeply through our mouths, we clench away, and Beatriz suggests I move my hand up my body to help me visualise pulsing the good feeling right up to my heart. It’s no use, though – try as I might, I can’t extend the warmth beyond the physiological vicinity of my reproductive organs. I feel like I’m swinging a hammer at a test-your-strength machine and not pushing past ‘puny’. Meanwhile, Beatriz is clearly dinging the bell.

Next, we sit opposite each other on cushions and take turns musing on “what touches my heart”, while staring into each other’s eyes. I know what you’re thinking – belt up the kaftan and run – but by now I’m so comfortable with Beatriz and her good vibes that the excrucio-factor is zero.

Beatriz talks about sexuality and how Gen Z girls are expected to recreate porn scenarios while so liquored up they can’t feel anything anyway. Tantra’s a method of being aware of your body and its every nuance. But anyway, on to the masturbation.

Sitting side by side, we slide our right hands down onto our sexual chakras, with our left hands over our hearts, where I find mine is opportunistically having a sly tweak of my nipple. Beatriz starts rocking in a figure of eight, arching her back in and out of the yoga cat pose. “It’s okay to moan,” she gasps. We’re supposed to be visualising a golden sphere of light, but thanks to years of an oppressive male regime, I’m only able to picture a massive cock.

When she’s done, Beatriz gets me to lie on my front and she skims my hair, then places her hands gently on the top and base of my back. They feel like they’re burning hot. I’m so relaxed I could just melt into this authentic Balinese mat.

Then it’s time for the strokes. Leaping up impishly, Beatriz pulls a phallus out of a drawer and lies down on the floor, holding it above her groin by the balls. She demonstrates a variety of imaginative ways to stroke it – ways other than furiously choking it, I mean – and gives me a go as well. I can now pop a cork and firestick someone with no worries at all.

That’s it for our session, and I’m feeling really good. There’s definitely something to be said for taking the time to acknowledge and nurture the sensations you’re feeling. Although, problematically, the idea of a bloke being into tantra makes my ovaries deflate.

Keeper? Yes.

DAY 323: Seeing a UFO or some shit

21 Jul

HOLY fireballs! We’ve been driving in a dead straight line down the Nullarbor for what seems like eons, with Layna having taken the lion’s share of the 14-hour haul, when she says, “I don’t want to worry you, but I just saw the road surrounded by lights. It was like the lights were flooding into us.”

I think back to the last time I slapped a driver, and their reaction, and decide not to do that.

We all crane our heads up at the sky and see the constellations that are usually lost to us. It’s at this point a big green light coasts down across the sky to our right. We all saw that one.

“A meteor!”

“It’s a fucking shooting star!”

“A UFO!”

Whatever. I ALWAYS miss this sort of thing, so I’m well pleased.

Wheee.

Once we reach our trucker’s motel in Norseman, I have a good old Google. Tons of streaky green UFOs have been seen above Texas and New Mexico since the 1940s too, as is their wont. They’re as regular as buses above Los Alamos, where the US military are constantly forced to insist they are natural phenomena. But such phenomena also happen loads in this neck of the woods.

Two men were on the Eyre Highway near the border between South Australia and Western Australia in 1977 when they saw a purple-green fireball crash nearby. One of them entered the craft where he found two aliens, one dead and the other uttering a slight squealing noise. Both in appearance were pot-bellied, about one-and-a-half metres tall, and had long, thin arms. Their eyes were large and black and there were no ears or hair. When the man emerged from the wreck he found military personnel on the scene, who arrested them. The American disappeared (he was absent without leave from the armed services) and the Australian, who was also a soldier, was put in custody for two weeks and persuaded that what he had seen was a normal aircraft crash. He claims that he has subsequently heard of several other UFO crashes which have been cleared up in great secrecy by the military.

In 2006 at least three phosphorescent green fireballs trailed over northeast Australia and rolled down the side of a mountain. They were explained away as meteors, the shockwaves of which lead to electrically charged oxygen similar to that seen in auroras.

Chuh, right.

Keeper? Need to see another one – I forgot to make a wish.

DAY 295: Tapping myself to Emotional Freedom

23 Jun

THE fact that I’ve come to investigate Emotional Freedom Techniques in this windswept Box Hill motel with Esther of all people, should suggest that I’ve come bearing a bucketload of pig’s blood to tip all over it.

Both of us pop a capillary at any pseudoscientific talk of angels, the law of attraction and whatnot, as evidenced by our recent experiment with healing our souls with song… So why do we keep coming back for more?

Maybe because we’re two reformed grog-botherers who’ve lost our religion. We once had blind faith, just like the good people we’re scathing of – faith that this time when we poured a rather large vodka, we wouldn’t end up making pricks of ourselves with our stockings at half mast. (I could metaphor on for a bit about worshipping at the altar of the bottle shop, but I won’t.) Maybe we do crave something new to believe in. Maybe, Esther worries, we have the God Gene.

The first hint that EFT might be the real deal is that this three-hour session with a husband and wife couple is free. Sure, you can buy the book, but it turns out there’s no hard sell.

I won’t use the couple’s real names, because I don’t tell them I’ll be writing about them. David and Anne used to practise Neuro-Linguistic Programming, till they “suspended their disbelief” and switched to Emotional Freedom Techniques – developed by a US realtor and NLP practitioner with no medical or psychological background – which promises to cure emotional and physical pain. The US military, for instance, has been using it on personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder.

During the opening spiel, about men and women across the States who have leapt out of wheelchairs and had pernicious diseases cured by EFT, I hear the word “tapping” and shrivel up inside. Doesn’t this involve touching people? I really should have looked into this before coming along.

Happily, tonight we’ll only be touching ourselves. We use our fingers to tap ourselves on meridian points on the hands, face and body while repeating a mantra. David gives us all a chocolate as an experiment. Most of us, upon holding it, start getting strong urges to eat it. First we do three rounds of tapping, the basic mantra of which is: “Even though I want to eat this chocolate, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

We’re told to take a bite of the chocolate. My brain usually lights up like a Christmas tree at this point, but I find the thing tastes flat and dull. Everyone else reports something similar; one bloke complains his tastes of cow. By golly, if we’ve been brainwashed, I hope we’ve done it ourselves.

Now we’re going to move to an emotional problem. We’re asked to think back to something that traumatised us, at least three years ago, and isolate what emotion it made us feel. We rate how bad it’s making us feel right now with a mark out of 10. Then we drop the name of that emotion into the mantra: “Even though I feel xxx…” and tap through it while replaying the scene in our minds. This time, though, we imagine we’re tapping our younger selves. Afterwards we see if the mark out of 10 has gone down. And repeat.

David invites two people to the front to reveal what their trauma was and then be tapped through it. The first guy recounts a childhood humiliation, and reports his anxiety levels go down as he repeats the process. The girl refuses to talk about what happened to her and is close to tears.

David asks if he can perform the tapping on her himself, an uncomfortable moment, especially given her body language. He goes through three or four rounds, dropping in phrases like “I don’t feel I can trust people” and “I know I am safe here”, which seems manipulative. Meanwhile, we’re all slapping away at ourselves in front of her. It sounds like a porn film in here.

A few times, David loses my willingness. He insists that every experience we’ve had is imprinted inside us and could potentially be replayed like a movie. He talks of the time he worked at Amway. He references The Secret. Rationalising things like EFT, he chuckles, involves “rational lies”. And then there’s his account of being regressed to the womb. I’m always suspicious of people who smile “Isn’t that interesting” when “um” would do just as well.

Keeper? I’m not sure yet if I feel beatific because I’ve spent gentle, quality time with myself (that doesn’t involve a cigarette or rolling around in bed), or because there’s something in this tapping lark. Hey – that chocolate thing was weird though.

POSTSCRIPT: Seven days later, I’ve had no desire to smoke. Isn’t that interesting?

DAY 287: Making a vision board

15 Jun

Don't worry, this isn't my one.

VISION boards have been used as a tool to focus one’s goals for decades, but ever since self-help gurus like Oprah have been peddling that nebulous “law of attraction” (probably the most bankable phenomenon in recent years), the art of pasting pictures of things you aspire to own and achieve to a bit of board has really catapulted into the zone of Things Winners Do.

It’s “ground breaking cognitive neuroscience”, according to one dedicated website – oh, guffaw – and there’s even a Vision Board Institute, at which you can study to be a Certified Vision Board Coach, thus helping other people to upgrade their life visioning processes. And other guff.

As a plain old map of your ideals and intentions it’s not a bad ruse, though – and two things I focused hard on as a kid did come true: I made believe I was the editor of various mags and rags, and told my mother I would move to the other side of the world. (Unfortunately joining the Famous Five and being regularly rescued by firemen failed to materialise.)

So here’s my vision board. 

A ute upgrade. NB: ute must work.

One of these.

Ablility to do fancy ATV moves, including reverse.

Carpet and curtains in my house. (That’s not me in the picture, incidentally. That’s 200 per cent more winsome LA music journo Kim Morgan. I thought it couldn’t hurt to include her on this vision board too.)

I need a chap on hand to prune my trees.

Optus reception outside of CBDs.

Ability to talk to people in social situations without stabbing the lemon in my drink with my straw.

Keeper? Yes. Will print out and stick on the wall.

DAY 282: Getting my misshapen face read

10 Jun

VENTURING into somewhere like the MindBodySpirit Festival is bound to set off new age rage.

It’s not just that I’m agnostically skeptical of things that cannot be proven; it’s that my experience in the field so far – just in the course of this blog – has been something of a holistocaust:

* My reiki healer breaking and entering into my no-go zone
* My tealeaf reader unacceptably changing the subject to Princess Diana
* Being pinned to the table during acupuncture
* Getting cupped within an inch of my life

…And at Frankston’s Psychic ’n’ Parma night I was told I’d wind up hitting rock bottom and running drugs for bikies. Peruse the ‘cosmic shit’ category of this blog for more woeful incidences.

So, wandering around the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, taking in stands on aura photography and Christocentric light over the gentle strains of acoustic guitar, I feel that old rage start to boil over.


Sure, there’s the odd, slightly adorable flake who, if not communicating with angels, is at least communicating their own desperate need to do so, but everyone else just seems so… smooth.

They’re not crackpots, but crooks, quacks and snake oil salesmen. They appraise you in a fraction of a second, assign you to a drawer and whip out the relevant patter. Their motives border on criminal.

I pick a stand.

While the Chinese have long read faces to identify problems in a person’s constitution (kidneys around the eyes, heart around the nose…), the face reading stand I visit analyses your features on a more spiritual level.

“It’s not fortune telling,” Abby tells me as she slides my chair in close by pulling on my hands, until our faces are a foot apart. “I just tell you where you are at in life by reading the shape of your face.”

I would have thought genes come into play regarding both the shape of my face and the state of my life right now, but I’ll suspend my disbelief from the nearest hat stand for 10 minutes ($25).

To begin, Abby pops her eyes in mock-astonishment and mimics a huge pointy chin by pulling both her hands out into a V in front of her. I’ll let this go on account of English not being her first language. She says I’m sticking my chin out defiantly, which means I force my way through life – and other people had better get out of the way. I can be interpreted as manipulative, but I’m holding my motives inside – hence my sunken cheeks. The left side of my face, she appraises, is particularly sunken – and that’s my feminine side, representing creativity and sensuality, which are being thwarted. My jaw is tense and so is my body:

“Look how tensely you are sitting in this chair right now!”

Throughout, Abby beams – quite winningly – as though we’re sharing a private joke, although it feels like I’m the butt of it. Then she peers at me and wheels back in satisfaction. “You have one eye bigger than the other!”

She’s about to elaborate, so I jump in and point out this is the result of a head injury one exuberant night, back when nights were still exuberant.

“But everything happens for a reason,” she scolds. Then: “Why would it affect that eye?”

“Because I landed on it.”

She shakes her head and smiles beatifically.

Time’s up.

Keeper?
Truth be told, I’d pay $25 for someone to stroke my face for ten minutes regardless of the insults that may come with it.

DAY 268: The Mouth of Truth

26 May

IN THE station I spot a Mouth of Truth machine, that’s as sinister as the carnival gizmo that does Tom Hanks over in Big.

You remember Big.

You stick your hand in a slot and it reads your fortune.

As I walk away, reading my little printout of pithiness, I can’t help thinking the Mouth of Truth hasn’t really reached into my soul, and, y’know, seen the real me.

I decide to test my theory by asking my publicist friend Stacey, who on Day 31 got to run my life, what fortune she would predict.

If this hunk of metal is the Mouth of Truth, Stacey is the Mouth of Truth Nobody Wants to Hear But Probably Should. Apart from being a music publicist, which means it’s her job to recognise bullshit at 20 paces and predict which journalist is likely to run a damning, but hilarious, pull quote, she’s got a hard-nosed approach to doling out advice.

She’ll say things like, “He didn’t like you enough,” three minutes after you’ve just been dumped and are still rolling around on the floor/clawing about for a reprieve. I mean, girls just don’t say that, do they? They’re supposed to enable you and watch you waste away for at least six months, by providing all manner of implausible excuses for someone’s behaviour and suggesting ill-advised inroads to reconciliation.

Stacey’s different, in that she’s adamant people need to hear the truth. She insists that, just like Mary Poppins, she delivers hers with a spoonful of sugar… “Only sometimes that sugar needs to be forced with a fist.”

Anyway, here are the results.

MONEY
Mouth of Truth: Your middle age will be rich in happiness, material benefits and personal satisfaction.
Stacey: Your middle age will be full of mortgage payments, sex on tap with the same bloke and people constantly asking when you are going to have a baby.

LIFE
Mouth of Truth: You’re full of vitality and people admire you for your love of life.
Stacey: You have adult ADHA and don’t suffer fools gladly.

HEALTH
Mouth of Truth: You find it difficult to lead a healthy, well-ordered existence.
Stacey: You prefer to live life, than plan it.

LOVE
Mouth of Truth: Jealousy and envy are always lying in wait to threaten your relationship.
Stacey: If your man ever looks at another woman sideways you will obsess about it while he sleeps.

Keeper? I like the fact that I have a friend I can rely on to tell me the truth. And plenty more I can go to when I want lying to.