At 52, I am attached to very specific creature comforts: Earl Grey tea, Renaissance art, New Orleans jazz. But after lunch with a friend who not only got a facial tattoo but ordered a buffalo burger, I wondered if I had fallen into a too-cozy rut. Time to wake myself up, I decided, one sense—and wacky Los Angeles experiment—at a time.
Refreshing my sight After a lifetime devoted to earth tones, I needed to think about color in a whole different way. Auracle’s Colour Therapy founder Leslie Sloane works out of a temple in her home, where I was shown several bottles of colored liquid and asked to choose four. Shining flashlights through my colors, she explained that they represented the soul’s dialogue with other realms. My soul did love stretching out on the massage table while Leslie placed the bottles around my chakras and sprayed lightly scented colors around me. I would have felt just as relaxed with a traditional massage, but this treatment was delightfully offbeat, and I feel adventurous every time I look at the bottles that she sent home with me ($200 for a one-hour in-person reading; $175 for a one-hour phone reading; $100 for 30 minutes by phone).
Opening my ears Wow! I like almost any activity that is supine, but the healing “sound bath” at Ascending Sounds took me into another dimension. Gongs and crystal singing bowls created vibrations that sounded interplanetary as I lay on a massage table for my aural immersion. When tuning forks were held against different parts of my body, something loosened. I felt relaxed and, literally, in tune ($100 for one-hour sound bath).
Feeling the beauty of nothingness When I asked the possibly-high-on-more-than-just-life owner of Float Lab on Venice Beach what I should bring to wear in the deprivation tank, he said, “Nothing. But don’t forget to wear clothes to the lab!” The tank itself was big enough for me to stand up and pitch-black inside. I couldn’t hear or smell anything as I lay down and started to float in a foot of highly salted water (bacteria can’t survive in there, the literature assured me!). Without sensory markers, I could barely feel my body at all. My mind drifted from to-do lists to my place in the universe. The two hours flew by ($40).
Dining in the dark According to the website of the restaurant Opaque, being virtually blind while eating awakens all the other senses, especially taste and smell. After putting my finger in butter, I became quickly oriented. However, I found normal conversation impossible because I couldn’t see my husband’s face. Instead, we tittered about the genius of opening a restaurant that one didn’t have to paint, decorate or perhaps even clean that well. The plates were plastic, lest they get knocked over, and there were no tablecloths. Genius! Unfortunately, the food was pedestrian, which was indeed highlighted by our concentration on it. Still, it was a novel date night (Meals start at $50).
Brett Paesel is the author of Mommies Who Drink: Sex, Drugs and Other Distant Memories of an Ordinary Mom
Image coutesy of Piotr Marcinski