Stories written by Paul Voudouris

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The Work

A friend told me that he had given my number to a someone called Alluna. He said that I would find this being interesting as it claimed to be an extraterrestrial "walk-in." The following week Alluna called. It was a she, and she sounded remarkably terrestrial. We talked over the phone and then agreed that she would come by and I would make dinner.

"Will salad be allright?" I asked, fearing that earthly cuisine might not be assimilated into an extraterrestrial. She said she loved salad and that she'd be over within the hour. I made some simple preparations and soon the doorbell rang. I wasn't sure what to expect. Should I ask her to zap my eczema? Would she be beautiful? Could she take off her skin? I opened the door and was faced by a pleasantly plump person dressed entirely in white. She wore a long gold chain around her neck. Attached to the chain was a crystal . She gave me a hug and entered the apartment. We spoke for a while and then we ate. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She chewed, laughed, and went to the bathroom just like other women I knew. I asked some questions about the Extraterrestrial Earth Mission, the group she was with, but she suggested that I simply come to one of their intensive group sessions so that I could see for myself what it was all about. I said that I'd love to participate, so we arranged to meet for dinner with the rest of the E.T.s just prior to their intensive.

The afternoon of the next day I drove to Venice and parked my car outside the hotel where the E.T.s were staying. I wondered if it wouldn't have been more economical for them to spend the night in one of their "ships." Just then a group of twelve human looking types emerged from the hotel. They were all dressed in white and wore enormous, ornate crystals around their necks. With the exception of one, they ranged from reasonably rotund to fairly fat. I was later informed that it took large bodies to house their intense energy. After greetings were exchanged it was decided, in English, that we would go for Thai food. I began to warm to these universal beings with human desires. We were seated at an adequately large table at the restaurant and I was introduced to each of the star travelers. Their names were all trisyllabic and began with the letter "A." I have always had problems with names but this was definitely more than my synapses could bear. As I stared at the human shells that Argonum, Aktivar, Avanisha, Arturas, Avatar, Andrana, and the others inhabited, I wondered why none was named Sam, or Jimbo, or even Nancy. I assumed a discussion on astral etymology probably wouldn't mix well with Larb, Mee Krob, and Thai sausage, so I ate quietly, grateful to be the chosen earthling allowed audience. The meal was an interminable feast whose abundance could easily have satisfied the hunger of seven average Earth families. Once the bill was put on the E.T. corporate American Express Card, we departed for the hall in which the evening's event was to take place.

As I entered the large room I noticed that one of the E.T.s was set up at a table and was taking payments from the guests. Next to this was another table with tee-shirts bearing the Extraterrestrial Earth Mission logo. Though the E.T.s hadn't mastered their appetites, they certainly had a knack for effective marketing.

In less than half an hour the room was filled by guests. There was a large circle of chairs in which people were already seated. I sat in one of the chairs and looked around, hoping to exchange some light conversation or at least to make some eye contact, but everyone was looking at the ground as if in preparation for a whipping. The E.T.s were now walking around behind the circle of chairs and mumbling some incomprehensible words. Occasionaly an E.T. would stop behind one of the victims and lay his hands on whatever part of the body seemed to be in need of healing. Oddly enough, the E.T.s housed in male bodies were predominantly drawn to females, and the E.T.s housed in female bodies felt compelled to do "the work" (as I later heard it referred) on males. This continued for about fifteen minutes and soon the entire E.T. contingent began to make loud beeping noises similar to a car alarm. I now know this to be toning; a sound or series of sounds which purportedly aid in breaking down resistance and patterns of dysfunctional behavior.

After the toning came a couple of campfire girls type sing-a-longs. Then there was silence. The largest E.T. who was sitting in the circle with us now closed his eyes, did a couple spasmodic head shakes, and began to speak with a very funny English accent. I couldn't help but think of my high school's production of Macbeth. I had seen channelling on T.V. once and the channel also spoke with an English accent. I wondered why none of the channels had a Yiddish or Iranian accent. He turned to the person sitting next to him and asked her why she had come. She spoke of past lives, finding herself, uniting with her divinity, and then fell to the floor in mid-sentence. She began to convulse with her arms and legs flailing. Two or three E.T.s swarmed over her, began toning, and did more of the incomprehensible word stuff until she quieted down. At this point I realized that I had had enough of the evening's festivities and quietly slipped out the door as "the work" was being performed on another troubled soul.

Entry #13, originally added on Thursday 7th June, 2012

The 'F' Word

Moonshower, a health-conscious friend of ours, suggested that fasting would be a good way to cleanse ourselves of the toxic foods and substances that had accumulated in our bodies over the years. I didn't know much about fasting, even though I was confronted with this activity every year during Ramadan, when the breath of Yousef, my Muslim friend from Lebanon, became unbearable.

My first encounter with fasting took place when I was in third grade. It was a few weeks before Easter. Some of the more devout Christians skipped their lunchtime Salisbury steak and Twinkies and reverently sipped glasses of water. Not eating one's lunch was not a peculiar occurrence in our cafeteria, considering the quality of the fare. But to refuse a Twinkie was tantamount to saying you liked a classmate of the opposite sex. Twinkies were a strong currency. I inquired as to the reason behind this perverse abstinence and was told that it had something to do with Christ and the crucifixion and the resurrection and some other stuff. That explanation didn't help me to understand the Twinkie enigma. However, things became much clearer when the film The Greatest Story Ever Told showed that very same week. In it, Roman soldiers butchered men and women dressed in togas and Birckenstocks. This led me to the conclusion that to belong to a religion meant to suffer and live a life of deprivation and guilt. I was never forced to change that belief. My parents weren't involved in organized religion, so I wasn't subjected to either Sunday sermons or pagan rituals which I was convinced would have had me engage in self-flagellation, or even worse, the denial of my favorite dessert. But, I was on the subject of fasting.

There was a period in Athens when I stopped eating in order to lose weight. I guess that would qualify as a fast. My tongue turned a peculiar shade of yellow and my exhalations brought with them the stench of hell. Seizing that rare opportunity, I breathed in the direction of Yousef and gave him a sample of what it was like to be on the other end of forty days and nights without food and mouthwash. The foodless period didn't last long. All I could think about was what I wanted to eat. The cravings having been resisted for three days, I jubilantly broke the fast with pasta, pizza, and a chocolate soufflé . Less than an hour passed before I was thrusting my index finger down my throat and getting a close-up view of the inside of a toilet bowl. It was then that I decided fasting was meant for others. No matter if I turned into a rippling mass of flesh, I would never partake in such an extreme form of weight loss again.

"So what do you think Paul," Michael said, "are you up for a fast?"

"A fast? Don't you think we should wait a while and then ease into it? Our bodies are accustomed to the intake of pesticides and God knows what else. What if we go into shock as a result of toxic and caloric deprivation?" Improvising excuses, I used as many clinical sounding terms as possible. The thought terrified me. Mere mention of the word "fast" created a conditioned response in which I heard the screams of Christian Jews who were being hunted down by soldiers dressed like Charlton Heston, while a noisy crowd with cupcakes in hand gathered around Mary Magdalen, who had been sentenced to death by Twinkie, and I was dizzy, and getting tunnel vision, and Jesus was hurling a soufflé into the face of Yousef, who had just adorned John the Baptist with spaghetti Bolognese, and a bubble of indigestion climbed its way up my esophagus, as I swallowed, and burped myself back into consciousness. A fast? Forget it.

"I think we should just go for it," said Michael.

"Allright, whatever." It wasn't just my third-grade memories that I was uneasy with, but also my attachment to my eating habits. I loved food. No, I LOVED FOOD! I didn't want to give up bacon cheeseburgers. I didn't want to forget about French fries. I didn't want to pass up the Peking duck. Who knows what could happen? What if I withered away and turned into one of those emaciated types I kept seeing in the wheat-free, dairy-free, taste-free sections of health food stores?

Some days passed with neither Michael nor myself bringing up the "f" word. Assuming he had forgotten all about it, I was careful not to bring it up. I even went so far as to not use rhyming words like "past" or "last" whenever possible. I thought that the terror was behind me until the day Michael returned with a small pamphlet called The Master Cleanser. It was about a process of fasting in which one eats nothing at all and drinks juice all day. The juice was made with organic lemons, bottled water, pure maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. One was allowed to drink as much of the mixture as one wanted. Upon awakening, the program called for a "delicious" beverage made solely of hot water and sea salt. This luscious liquid, an entire quart of it, was swallowed to induce peristaltic movement in the colon, which forced one to literally dump toxins. The Master Cleanser read like a handbook for torture. I would never do something so extreme.

Three days later, we began the fast. Having drunk a breakfast of the lemonade, we sat around waiting to feel clean. We thought of going into town but realized that if we couldn't eat that there would be little to do once we got there. It became rapidly apparent how many of our daily activities were focused on eating. I found myself thinking, smelling, and talking food. Turning on the television for distraction, I saw advertisements for seafood, salads, and hamburgers. Changing the channel led me to testimonials by people who lost enormous amounts of weight eating some diet-conscious chocolate mousse. The Frugal Gourmet was preparing Greek delicacies. Frustrated, I turned off the television and got up for a glass of lemonade. A foul odor followed me into every room, but I couldn't locate the source of it. The smell brought back memories of Greek buses.

I was thirteen and learning Karate on an American base. Too young to drive, I was forced to take the public transportation to and from my classes. There were always too many people crowded onto the poorly ventilated vehicles. The drivers, reincarnated kamikazes, thrived on speed and danger. Most of the people held on to the leather straps hanging from the ceiling to keep from being tossed into the lap of those fortunate enough to have found a seat. Still in junior high, puberty hadn't yet graced me with the requisite height to be above the armpits of the sleeveless passengers. Heat, humidity, and abundant perspiration composed the bitter stench that clothed the interior of the buses. That stench was now in our house. But what was its origin?

"It can't be me," I thought. I'd always been extremely conscious of personal hygiene, to such an extent in fact, that friends had accused me of Howard Hughes like neuroses. Lifting my arm, I encountered an odor only a scratch and sniff could approximate. Moonshower had warned us that our bodies would be releasing toxins through the pores but I never imagined that it would be this bad. I loofa brushed myself in a blistering hot shower but the odor persisted. I sprayed, rubbed, and anointed myself with every fragrance in the house until my nose was so desensitized that it no longer registered any stimuli.

The fast was difficult for the first day and a half but got easier after that, when the pangs of hunger became less and less frequent. The absence of food brought with it a state of extreme calm and clarity. No longer distracted with the process of digestion and assimilation, I found myself understanding my desires in a much more objective manner. The beauty of emotions which I would normally have repressed, surfaced. I spoke quietly and was patient in my interactions. I didn't fill up air space with superfluous chatter. Colors and sounds were vibrant. So taken with our state of being, neither of us wanted to come off the fast. It had only been four days and nights, yet our bodies looked slim and toned. My stomach no longer resembled that of an impregnated woman. It was a joyous time. Facing my trim, feather-light physique in the mirror, I vowed that I would never again subject myself to foods as vulgar and as overprocessed as the ones I had eaten before the fast.

One's eating habits before and after a fast are extremely important. The Master Cleanser had outlined a method for breaking a fast which insured that the body would be replenished with fresh and easily digested foods. Though the philosophy made absolute and perfect sense, it didn't keep me from diving into an avocado and cheese sandwich, with a side of chips and salsa. Still a slave to my taste buds, that evening I served them well.

"Well, what's important," I told Michael, "is that I fasted. After all, an avocado sandwich isn't exactly a T-bone steak. I mean, come on, could you imagine coming off a fast with some orange juice and an almond? Okay, I agree, it was a pretty stupid thing to do, but what the hell, you live once." Thankfully, Michael didn't respond with a treatise on reincarnation.

Entry #12, originally added on Thursday 7th June, 2012

Mr. Stiffy

Thoughts about the specifics of the massage kept going through my mind. Would I have to take my clothes off? If so, would she provide me with a loincloth? How much of my body would she rub? Would it hurt, or would it be pleasurable? Were body workers immune to carnal desires?

Entering Sedona Swiss, the cafe where Anandi, the bodyworker, and I had decided to meet, I found a table next to a window. Across from me sat a man with a crystal-tipped wand pointed to the area between his eyes. I stared at him for a while and then turned away as the door to the cafe opened. Two ladies came in. As they approached the take-out counter, they discussed the advantages of giving birth in hot tubs.

"May I help you?" asked the owner.

"We'll need a few minutes," replied one of them. She fished through her purse, pulled out two crystals, each of which was attached to a string, and gave one to the other woman. They held the top of their strings so that the crystals swayed back and forth. The pendulums would decide what to buy. In no hurry, they walked in front of each and every display case and concentrated on the movements of their instruments.

"Wind," said one to the other, "are you feeling an energetic attraction to anything yet?"

"No," answered Wind, "I think these flourescent lights are affecting my sensitivity. You know, Diamond, I haven't had chocolate in so long, I almost feel guilty."

"Listen," said Diamond, "don't program that; change your picture of reality. As masters of interdimensional travel we have different needs than most people. Chocolate isn't bad for us, it actually helps us to keep our advanced energies grounded. Not only that, but Wave told me that it opens up the fourth chakra and fills it with love and light."

"You're right, I never thought about it that way. It's actually for my highest good to be eating chocolate." She stopped talking and pointed out the choices the pendulum had made. "I think I'll get some slices of this mousse torte for Wave and Crystal Presence," she added. They left the cafe with enough chocolate to ground a platoon of interdimensional travelers.

A low murmuring drew my attention to the man across from me. He had placed the wand onto his neck and was quietly toning. I was thinking of moving to a distant table when Anandi walked in. We hugged. I was conditional with my hugs, and I liked her condition. At one point I heard myself say that I really liked her energy. I couldn't believe I had uttered a phrase I had sworn I would never use. But I was enamored with Anandi, and found it safe and convenient to take refuge in that most popular of New Age platitudes. She smiled. Embarrassed, I looked away. The man at the other table now had the wand on his heart. His mouth and eyes were closed. He was breathing rapidly through his nostrils. We finished our tea and left.

Her place was within walking distance. She had rented a cottage which was situated to the rear of another house. It was modestly decorated. Having put on a tape of meditative music, she began organizing her bottles of oils.

"Please make yourself comfortable and lay on your stomach," she said softly. What did she mean by "make yourself comfortable"? I looked at the massage table. It was covered with a sheet. There were no robes or towels laying around. Unsure of the expected extent of undress, I took off my shirt and lay down. She looked at me with a puzzled expression and then started laughing.

"I knew from your stories that you'd be funny." Funny? What was she referring to?

"Yeah," I laughed along, "that was pretty good, eh?" I sat up. "So, uhm, what would you like me to take off?"

"Everything," she said, without even looking up from what she was doing.

"Oh, yeah, sure. Yeah, I knew that, I just didn't know if you meant everything all at once, or if you wanted to rub certain sections first and then do the rest...But...everything is fine, I'll you have a bathroom?" God, what a stupid question. Of course she had a bathroom.

"It's down the hall, the first door on the left." Locking the door behind me, I stared at myself in the mirror, and splashed cold water onto my face. What was I going to do? The options were limited.

"I'll strip and carry out my clothes in a protective bundle. Just as I get to the massage table I'll toss everything to the floor and dive onto my stomach. Nah, that's too obvious. I got it, I'll wrap myself with a towel. Yeah, that sounds good." I'd seen movies where people got massages, and they were always draped in towels. I looked around. The cabinets were empty. There were no towels; just a washcloth. Holding it in front of me, I cursed my predicament. Why was this happening to me?

"Paul, are you all right?"

"Be right there, just had to get something out of my eye." I walked back into the living room dressed exactly as I had left it.

"Okay Paul, I'm almost ready. I'm going to wash my hands and I'll be right back." She was barely out of the room before I was stripping frantically. My pant leg got caught on the heel of my foot, and I was balanced on the edge of the massage table, cheeks bared, when she reentered. She said nothing. Out of breath, I ripped off my pants and climbed to safety.

"You sound as if you just finished doing aerobics. Have you ever had body work before?"

"I don't think so. I've had a couple foot rubs, and I get a backrub now and then, but nothing that would qualify as body work."

"Really? Then this is going to be a special treat for us both. Relax and focus on your breath. Inhale slowly and exhale as if you're sighing. Feel free to make any sounds you like."

"Okay." What types of noises did she expect to come out of me? She applied oil to her hands and began to rub them together. Placing them on my back, she gradually moved them up toward the nape of my neck. Her touch was gentle and unhurried. "Ooh," I moaned, "that feels nice."

"Good. I feel your availability to experience whatever's going to happen, and I never know what's going to happen." Where was the mystery? Was there an unknown involved with massage?

"I'm working on your female side now," she said, exerting pressure on my left shoulder. Moving her hands down to the base of my spine, she asked, "Do you feel any blockage here?"

"Not that I know of." I wasn't sure what blockage was supposed to feel like, but I didn't think I had any.

"The lower back is where the kidneys are, and of course, the adrenal glands. This area relates to fear." She was one-hundred eighty degrees off from my area of fear, but I figured she'd find that out before too long. Still nervous, I asked questions.

"Do you get anything out of this?"

"Sure. By helping someone to release held-in patterns I let go of any similar feelings that I might have."

"Are you releasing anything now?"

"Right now, I feel my aura sparkling."

"Oh. Can you really see auras?"

"I can see light coming out of a person's chakras, and occasionally I see blue lights around bodies. Every once in a while, with somebody who's done a lot of work on himself, I see violet. It helps me in my work to be able to see how the energy moves." She moved her hands in a figure eight above my body. "This is called repolarizing," she said. There was no need for further explanations. My interest in conversation had diminished. Just then she told me to turn over.

"Turn over?"

"Yes, it's time to do the other side." Before revealing myself, I reached down and made preparations for the moment of vulnerability. Trembling, I turned over.

"Relax," I told myself, "what's the worst that could happen?" My paranoia based scenario featured a troop of possessed, freckle-faced, Linda Blair facsimiles coming to the door to sell Girl Scout cookies. They would be invited into the house to wait, while Anandi placed her order. Once finding me on the sacrificial altar, they would begin a loud, boisterous discussion on the similarities between my anatomy and a certain species of the animal kingdom.

"How're you feeling?" asked Anandi, placing her hands on my face.

"I uh, I feel great, thanks." She pressed her fingers on my temples, calming me, then rubbed my chest.

"You have those kind of nipples that get erect." Saying nothing, I feared this was the moment the massage entered unchartered territory. "That's good, you know, it's a sign of evolvement."

"Come on."

"No, really. Men used to be able to produce milk. As they evolved they lost the capacity, but it can be regained." I praised evolution and assured her that I had no interest in returning to the role of a milkman. She thrust her fingers into my stomach area.

"That hurts," I groaned, assuming she would ease off.

"That's the place of the ego," she responded, plunging even deeper. In excruciating pain, I made all the appropriate sounds to make her aware of my agony. Was there a body workers' association? Did massage therapists go to certified schools, or were they closet sadists with padded tables? What I was experiencing should only have been administered by someone fully clad in black leather, chains, and spiked heels. I howled but Anandi, the dominatrix, seemed unfazed. "I knew we'd find a spot where your issues are hiding," she shouted over my yelps.

"Issues?" I wheezed, "I think locating one issue is enough for now."

"Breathe," she instructed, pulling her hands out of me. My stomach throbbed as Anandi resumed. I was wondering about the state of my battered internal organs when I felt the sleeve of her shirt graze my lower regions. She grew dangerously nearer to "him" with each stroke. Her breasts rubbed against my thigh. I distracted myself by attempting to work out the arrangement to a musical composition.

"All right," I thought, "I'll put the guitars in stereo and double the kick drum with a rich synthesizer patch...then I'll...ooh...I'" It wasn't working. I tried to recall the quadratic equation. "Okay, let me see, 'x' equals negative 'b' plus or minus the square root of 'b' squared minus...aah...uuh..." It was no use, Mr. Stiffy wanted to come out to play.

"No, please God, not now," I begged. Anandi's fingers and arms and breasts kept brushing up against him. Mr. Stiffy twitched and became al dente. What was I to do? My friend had a will of his own and loved to appear at the most inappropriate of times. Shutting my eyes, I journeyed into the depths of my desires. Anandi was straddled on top of me, dousing me with olive oil. The bed was covered with whipped cream. Her ambidextrous hands and feet moved in rhythm with my ever increasing hunger. An octopus of lust, she nursed on my evolved parts and distributed the lubricants of her love rub to my thirsty pores. Mr. Stiffy was at attention. His aura was sparkling. Aah, life! Reality was different. She was oblivious to my erotic excursion. Behind her were framed photographs of Jesus and St. Germain. They stared at me benevolently. Stiffy cowered and disappeared.

Entry #11, originally added on Thursday 7th June, 2012

Juice Bars on Mars

"I've been to Mars many times." Larry Stevenson, founder of the Oak Creek Method and the Realize Technique, was at our house for dinner, the evening after we had just completed his course, and was pontificating on his intergallactic experiences.

"Do they smoke pot?" I asked, hoping to add some levity to what I considered a preposterous claim.

"They don't smoke marijuana. They indulge in juice. You see, they have a special drink that puts them in an euphoric state. There are juice bars all over the planet. It's one of my favorite places to visit. In fact, they love me and have frequently asked me to stay, but my mission is with the Earthians."

"The Earthians?" I asked. He didn't pay attention to me, he just kept talking.

"I have attained the ability to go anywhere in the universe that I please. I've been to Venus. I've been to Jupiter. And I've visited other galaxies. The only reason I'm still on Earth is to bring "the method" to as many people as possible."

We had heard about "the method" from Akria, who was previously the E.T. called Avanisha. She was no longer an extraterrestrial. Apparently, "walkouts" were as popular as "walkins." After the disbanding of the Extraterrestrial Earth Mission she did readings of astrological charts for a while. One year and some horoscopes later, she was employed by Larry, who before attaining his status as a guru, was a successful real estate tycoon in New York. She told us that the "realize technique" was the most powerful tool she had ever used for the clearing of negative emotions. She strongly urged us to take the course. We had also heard of the "realize technique" from a woman called Astredia, who said that it was the best $550 she had ever spent. When we asked her for specifics as to how the technique worked she became evasive and told us that she had had to sign a form saying that she would not divulge any of the particulars associated with the teaching of the technique. This reminded me of the time I shelled out $65 to learn Transcendental Meditation. I was warned by my TM instructor to not tell anyone my mantra, as it was specifically suited for me, and that it would put me in disharmony and cause great discord if I were to breach this mandate. He assured me that this vow to secrecy had nothing to do with the protection of a money-making scheme, and then repeatedly suggested that I spread the word to others as to how great TM really was. I was attending the Air Force Academy at the time and was used to being servile and following orders. My mantra remained a secret until I left the Academy two years later. It was then that Michael and I had a little ceremony of our own. We got together with a group of friends, and after exchanging a few "war stories," and consuming collegiate portions of pizza and beer, told each other our mantras. That evening I half expected some mighty, malevolent Maharishi spirit to come and pummel me to death with a garland of flowers as I slept. Surprisingly, nothing happened and the world of meditators survived our indiscretion.

"Have you ever seen a flying saucer here on Earth?" my brother Nick asked Larry.

"Of course," answered Larry, "but they're shaped more like cigars than saucers. A few years ago," he continued, "I was with a friend who was visiting me in Sedona. He wasn't a believer of metaphysical phenomena. It was late in the evening, and as it was quite warm, we were sitting outside. All of a sudden a large, very bright light began to rapidly approach from about three hundred yards away. It continued its course until it was less than one hundred yards away. At that point it stopped and remained hovering in one spot."

"Could it have been a car?" asked Nick.

"No, no," said Larry, "I was living in the desert at the time and there were no roads near my trailer. The light was much too bright to have been coming from a car. So, anyway, we sat staring at the light for what seemed a very long time. Then two creatures came out of a doorway to the craft and started speaking to us in perfect English."

"Are you sure they weren't Germans?" I asked jokingly.

"Germans?" Larry looked at me dumbfounded.

"Yeah," I continued, "The Germans I've met speak better English than most Americans I know." I was in a festive mood and was finding it rather difficult to to listen to the narration of incidents best left on the covers of the National Enquirer. Larry continued with his account and I got up to do the dishes in the kitchen. I had heard many stories similar to Larry's since moving to Sedona. I was trying to keep an open mind but I found it difficult to believe in flying cigar ships and people astral travelling to juice bars on Mars.

Entry #10, originally added on Thursday 7th June, 2012

The House Healer

I was at a friend's house for dinner and introduced myself to a woman who was in the kitchen.

"Hi Paul, I'm Tantrana." She seemed quite friendly. I began eating some veggies from the appetizer tray as we spoke. I told her that I had just moved to Sedona and asked her how she liked living here.

"Well," she began, "I think the place is beautiful but I find the people tiring.
"What do you mean?" I asked, as if my encounters had been anything but out of the ordinary.
"It seems as if everyone here is processing," she continued. "Anytime more than two people get together it becomes an encounter group. I know that Sedona is a healing place, but I didn't think that it would be full of sick people. No matter where I go there is always some person talking about his problems. Just once I'd like to speak to someone about something that isn't painful!"

"I can understand that," I said, as I bit into some blue corn chips and hummus. "Tell me Tantrana, what do you do here?"
"I'm a house healer."
"A house healer?"
"Oh." I paused for a moment.
"What exactly is a house healer?"

"Well, I clean houses with love and joy. Unlike ordinary house cleaners who seem to be griping about this and that, I come with a smile and cleanse the rooms of unhealthy presences." She wasn't smiling at that moment so I had to assume that she was off duty and serious.

"When we speak of unhealthy presences," I said, "are we talking about bacteria and viruses that can be neutralized with sprays and detergents?"

"Well that too," she replied, not missing a beat. "I mean, I do the conventional things like dishes, floors, and bathrooms, but I also do a lot more. I bring my own crystals to the cleaning. These are crystals which I have had for a very long time, and into which I have programmed thoughts of clarity and purity. I put the crystals in whatever room I happen to be working in. I tune in to the energy of each room and restore balance whenever necessary. Some houses are filled with love and light and make my job a lot easier. Other houses are full of dark energy and require much more concentration. I finish off my work with a smudge."

"A smudge?" I asked incredulously.

"A smudge," she continued patiently, "is the burning of a bunch of sage. The Indians use smudges in their ceremonies to ward off evil spirits." I had asked enough questions and was beginning to feel bloated from my rapid rate of food consumption. I decided to wrap up the interaction.

"That's really interesting Tantrana. You know, I guess if one is going to get a house cleaned it may as well be by someone who does it with love. By the way, do you do windows?" She laughed and said that she worked by the hour so she'd clean whatever was asked. She then went to the refrigerator for another beer.

Entry #9, originally added on Thursday 7th June, 2012

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