Recently I’ve been really attracted to energy work and Reiki healing. Reiki is a Japanese massage technique that’s used for stress reduction and relaxation. It’s based on the unseen “life-force-energy” that flows through each and every one of us. If something is blocking this life force from flowing through us correctly, we are likely to get sick or be saddened. When the energy is allowed to flow freely through us, we are more capable of being happy and healthy. It’s all about ENERGY. And who knows, some of you probably think it’s a bunch of bologna, but it’s not like anything bad can happen through this process of unblocking energy, so why not try it? Gotta try everything once (BE A YES MAN).
Through my pursuit of energy healing practices in Boise, I stumbled across a women’s sweat lodge. I remember my mom telling me about her WILD, almost out-of-body experience at a sweat lodge when she was younger (no drugs involved), and I’ve always wanted to see what’s up for myself. Obviously my new Portlandian roommate was down to endeavor with me for the first time, so we headed out to the sauna-grounds, which happened to be in a random busy suburb of East Boise. We arrived late and panicked that the ladies were already submerged, sweating their demons out, but we quickly learned that they host a whole warm-up introductory group before heading under ground.
There were many women from wavering walks of life that all shared about their current conditions and reasons for coming to the women’s sweat. Many of them had been attending every month since they discovered the lodge, and several ladies had been sweating every month for the last 7 years. My roommate and I were the only “Sweat Virgins,” as the group actually referred to us, and they were excited to take our innocence. Though she said that there’s much anxiety that occurs from feeling like you’re overheating in a dark place underground, the leader of the group explained the sauna, in depth, so we wouldn’t have any concerns leading into it. She also enlightened that full moon is about reaping what you’ve sewn, so I’m looking forward to what it has to offer.
It was time to enter the small in-ground sauna that was heated by scorched rocks, tended by a “fire keeper.” I’m not someone that loves being naked in front of other people, though I go braless under my clothes any chance I get, but most of the ladies were wearing their birthday suits and boobies were in full-force around me. The lodge was a round hut that had a dome-shaped ceiling. It was made of natural materials with a cool clay floor and wood-slat walls. We had 18 people squished together in a sweaty circle around the central fire. The sweat was intended for prayer, healing, and purification of body, mind and spirit as the leader led some songs and directed our minds in positive patterns of thought. We laughed, we cried, we sweated our sins away.
After emerging from the lodge, there was absolutely a feeling of restoration. The term “sweat it out” has long been used to describe the act of cleansing the body, healing and even mourning losses in our lives. We funneled out of the heat and lay exhaustedly on the cool grass outside. This was the time to breath, rehydrate and give thanks for our healing. Everything was well in the world until an undetected neighbor started whistling at the naked ladies strewn over the lawn. Our cool-down was cut short as they ran indoors to escape the Peeping Tom. We shared a potluck, where my mango salsa was an absolute smash-hit, while exchanging personal and reflective stories. I felt cleansed and refreshed and slept amazingly that night. We decided we’re going to do it every month, so you ladies out there are welcome to join if you’re into it! 🙂