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DAY 267: Getting my dream analysed

25 May

MYSTIC Roi de Lune analyses dreams for British psychic mag It’s Fate, and he kindly profiles mine for a forthcoming issue.

It’s Fate believes “there’s another world out there, co-existing alongside ours, sometimes peacefully, sometimes menacingly. Our brilliant mind-blowing magazine is the perfect portal through which readers are transported into the realms of the supernatural.”

My dream’s horribly violent, but given that It’s Fate has cover lines like GHOSTLY LUST – I HAD NOWHERE TO HIDE FROM A RAPIST’S SPIRIT and SCALPED AND ROASTED TO DEATH!, I think it’s found its spiritual home.

My dream:

A girl I vaguely know told me that we’d butchered and skinned someone together (I don’t remember doing it, but hey, stranger things have happened in a blackout), and that the body had been found… but that it was okay because the authorities suspected someone else. I knew that I was likely to confess, since I always feel the urge to confess my wrong doings, but if I did this girl was likely to pin everything on me. So I was caught in a dilemma of whether to confess and go to jail for a long time, or not. I woke up before it was resolved.

Roi de Lune’s interpretation:

Roi.

Your dream represents the self-blame and guilt you subconsciously feel, for something specific you’ve done in the past, which other people aren’t aware of. I’m sure it’s not as horrendous as the events of your dream suggest! But, the effects of unresolved guilt can be very serious if left unattended in the mind to fester away. Your dream is symbolic of the subconscious dilemma you have, regarding your self blame – do you tell someone about it and risk exposing your inner feelings, or just carry on keeping quiet and continue experiencing negative effects? You woke up before it was resolved, because you weren’t ready to make a decision at that point, but with time it’ll become clear to you which course of action to take.

Keeper? I believe dreams are designed to be analysed, yes. I’m not telling you what I’m feeling murderously guilty about, no.

DAY 265: Getting my ears candled

23 May

Not me.

OH HEY! CHECK OUT THE NEW BLOG: THE SNAKE OIL SKEPTIC!

I FALL asleep immediately, so I’m not sure what happens. According to this article, though, “the negative pressure needed to pull wax from the canal would have to be so powerful that it would rupture the eardrum in the process”.

Keeper? No, don’t feel any different.

DAY 246: Experiencing great bonhomie at a glee club

4 May

It wasn't like this.

I HAVEN’T got the loveliest of timbres, truth be told, so when Esther – who provided the cynical backing track to our Heal Your Soul With Song experience – suggests we toddle off to a glee club, I’m apprehensive.

I’m picturing women in brightly coloured stockings and twee winter coats; Esther predicts gay men singing numbers from Starlight Express. Either way, when someone uses the words ‘hip’ or ‘funky’ in their online bumf, you know you’re going to have to check your pride at the door.

This glee get-together is held at South Melbourne’s charming Butterfly Club; a Victorian house with its parlour converted into a kitsch-cluttered lounge and the kitchen into a bar. It’s got a fairly clandestine entrance, which adds to the feeling that we’re slinking into somewhere shameful.

We cram into the front room with around 30 men and women, all clutching red wines, and not one of them looking particularly punchable. So far, so good.

Or this.

Glee hostess Vicky Jacobs has worked extensively coaching singers for musicals, and she has a warm, natural way about her. “I want her to run my life,” whispers Esther, brainwashed already.

Vicky runs us through some vocal exercises, each a tone higher than the last, so that we can discover our own comfortable pitch. I have a choking fit halfway through, which signifies I’ve passed mine already. I’m nervous that I’m going to vomit, because I used to trigger my gag reflex regularly when trying to sing along to screamy girl-bands in my teens. You know the ones – all jailbait dresses and photo shoots utilising raw meat.

Anyway, none of that here. We warm up with a run-through a ditty about some sailor whose flesh rots off his bones, sung in rounds. From there on, we sight-read our way through Solla Sollew, Chapel of Love, Falling Slowly and Over at the Frankenstein Place, singing in harmonies. En masse, it works, although I’m not ready for any solo spots. The songs sound so beautiful and forlorn that Esther and I grip our hearts and get goosebumps in rivulets… although I download the tracks later at home and it all suddenly feels a bit Sarah Brightman.

In the here and now, though, we’re filled with good cheer and wide-eyed about the whole experience. There’s a sense of stillness and robustness all at once. I may wind up rasping like Patty and Selma Bouvier for a few days, but I know I can get this feeling back.

Keeper? Yes.

DAY 225: Tai Chi-ing commuters into a rage

13 Apr

“RIDICULE is nothing to be scared of,” said Adam Ant, who should know.

I’m in an extremely central Melbourne precinct with 10 softly-spoken pensioners in sweatshirts, pants and gloves, repulsing the monkey.

And a strange thing happens. Gentle, gentle, I’m feeling so gentle. I’m so used to bowling over pedestrians and skewering my hipbones on the edges of desks, I didn’t know I could feel like this. It’s as though I’m pushing and sculpting treacle instead of air. Warm, lovin’ treacle. I look over at my friend Lou and she’s similarly entranced.

Tai chi is an internal martial art that translates as ‘great extremes boxing’ (it involves ‘yielding and sticking’ to an incoming attack. Maybe this limpet-like tactic repels the attacker into shaking you off). Stay serious, reader – I’m working muscles I never even knew I had as I form magical tigers, snakes and storks with my body, and there’s not an ounce of fat, nor orthopedic shoe, on any of these elderly athletes.

We’re in the middle of a complex leg balancing sequence to a watery Mandarin rendition of Irene Cara’s ‘What A Feeling’ when some huffing bronco in a suit ploughs through the middle of us, scattering old people in his wake. Luckily, I have achieved great mental clarity, so I don’t mind.

Other commuters may smirk, but I know they’re jealous. I’m starting the day parting the wild horse’s mane and they’re … well … they’re not.

Keeper: Definitely going to do this lots. Feel all smooshy.

DAY 224: Getting a gong bath

12 Apr

BACK when I wrote for gentlemen’s mags, some wag in the art department took a break from Photoshopping out ingrown pubes and assigned us all with superhero nicknames. Mine was Nicotina Stains, a mantle I accepted with some resignation.

Times have changed; I’m an upwardly mobile woman in her thirties with new teeth and a born-again liver, and I need a persona more befitting of a gracious lady.

Meeting Kimilla, a kundalini yoga teacher who wafts into the room dressed head to toe in radiant white, just reinforces this notion. Having grown up with a hippy mother in Angourie (“heaven on earth”) outside Byron Bay, she’s practiced yoga from a young age and has gone on to learn from top yogis from across India. Unsurprisingly, she exudes calm.

Kundalini yoga was once the exclusive practice of royalty, before Yogi Bhajan (the master of ‘tantric energy’) brought it to the West in 1969. One of Kimilla’s specialties is gong healing, so she agrees to run me through an abbreviated session.

We sit in the lotus position while Kimilla talks me through some breathing and meditation, asking that I consider what my intention is. I’m supposed to focus on this intention throughout the gong bath, but I’m put on the spot, so I come up with the epically lame “to be good”.

That sorted, I lie flat on my back under a sheet while Kimilla stands at my feet and rhythmically bongs a 28-inch symphonic gong so that the sound waves shimmer and recede like the surf. It’s incredibly loud; I find myself worrying about the neighbours. The gong, Kimilla tells me, aligns both the planets and the chakras and is infused with the spirit of the elephant god, Lord Ganesha – the remover of obstacles. I’m unsure, even after an explanation, of how the planets are aligning as a result of the activity in this room on Brunswick Street (I hope I’m not fucking anything up for the rest of you), but my chakras are feeling ace, so I let it through to the keeper.

I remember my intention, and try to imagine a bunch of typically vexed people in my life looking delighted with me. Kimilla tells me to rub first my hands and then feet together, to stimulate the nerve endings, and cup the base of my palms over my eyes sockets. She stands in front of me and crowns her hands on my head, asking me to imagine a gold sphere inside me, and shimmering gold around me. And then we’re done, and I’m feeling good. I’ve always had a thing for hands on heads, though – I used to have a terrible crush on the vicar.

In yoga classes I always find that my head says deliberately outrageous things to wind me up (I can’t even repeat them) when I’m supposed to be focused, but there are plenty of others – others with sinewy limbs and an omnipresent serenity – who credit yoga with changing their lives. So why isn’t it like that for everyone?

“It’s a living philosophy,” Kimilla concludes. “The ‘yoga class’ isn’t at all what yoga is about. It’s about living in alignment with your truth, fulfilling your destiny, living in love and happiness.”

In other words, you get out what you put in.

Read more of Kimilla’s philosophies here: www.kimilla.blogspot.com

DAY 221: Cracking a wishbone

9 Apr

HELEN won the break, which is fair enough as it was her chicken.

Keeper? Ultimately unsatisfying. Hold tight, I reckon there’ll be exciting stuff happening soon.

DAY 165: Healing my embittered soul with song

12 Feb

OVER the years I’ve learned not to trust people who say “close your eyes and open your mouth”, but today at the joyful voice workshop I’m assured I’m in a safe environment.

This one-day course aims to help you heal yourself (your soul, rather than your gout) by the power of your own voice. Sometimes I’ll dream I’m singing, and it’s the most beautiful sound I ever heard. Something pure and unspoilt from years ago… You know… before the music DIED.

Anyway, in waking hours I’m in possession of a plaintive squawk with a blatant disregard for consonants, and my friend Esther is terrified of singing in public despite ordinarily being a gobshite, but with some gentle coaching (“gentle” is the operative word today), healer Chris gets all 15 of us here sounding like human panpipes.

After about an hour of cooing “ooooooooooooh” my head’s vibrating like I’m on a cheap pill, and this pulsing sensation starts travelling down my spine until all my cells expand and I feel like I’m going to fall over.

As soon as we’re all duly hypnotised, Chris whips out a synth and starts playing songs about angels and butterflies in minor keys. Eventually I feel a tear plop out down my cheek. This is supposed to happen.

“Was that just you feeling sorry for yourself, though?” Esther asks during snack break. I knew I shouldn’t have filled her in on the previous few days’ unbloggables. I persist that there’s something undeniably restorative about singing, especially when you’ve a tendency to hammer yourself into the ground. I mean, maybe some regular joyful song about angels’ wings could be the long sought-after antidote to drugs and booze.

“You might want to take up cutting,” Esther says. “Or bulimia.”

After the break we’re told to pair up with a complete stranger, take both their hands, stand about 2mm apart, and drone at each other until we’re both resonating like a bell and pulling off harmonics. This should be hideously excruciating, eyeball to eyeball as we are, but it’s just one of those rare situations where there’s no room for self-consciousness. And hey – everyone’s had the curry dip and poppadoms.

Next step is to become a human theremin, with one person leading – dipping and warbling over octaves and making bizarro shapes with their mouths. The other person, intuitively, is just a split second behind them. Third step, we mirror each other’s freaky arm waves while doing all the above. Fourth step, hugs.

After lunch and a giant coffee, I find my patience is tested. “I bet Chris comments on the coffee,” Esther says as we tromp back in with our haul – and certainly he does. He attests that the power of gentle breathin’ and lovin’ allows people to quit all sorts of substances cold turkey though, so we may as well have this last hurrah.

With another two hours of ultra-vague discussion about good vibes and negative energy, and lots of head-buzzy sing-songs around the synth, I find I’m fighting waves of violence, while Esther later admits she was muttering the serenity prayer to make it through.

“Why is it that people think spirituality always has to involve angels and butterflies?” she tuts as we sprint off to the car afterwards. “What’s wrong with being a human being?”

Keeper? Adapting to such in-your-face intimacy was quite an eye-opener, and I did like the singing as a way of, um – ugh – getting in touch with yourself. I was banned from singing sweet hymns in the car as a child (ask me for my rendition of Give Me Oil In My Lamp), but no one can stop me now.