Cynthia taps on my chest.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
I can feel those taps reverberate through my body. I can hear the sounds echo in my ears.
Hollow. I feel hollow.
“OK,” she says softly, powering up the massage table to a sitting position. “How stressed are you?” she asks, her gentle eyes full of concern.
I bite my lip. I fight the tears I know want to spill out at that question.
I’m beyond stressed. I’m clawing at rocks 10 feet below the ground and can’t come up for air.
“Oh, I’m pretty stressed,” I remark. Then, I panic. “Oh my god, did I give you bad energy?”
After a 50-minute Reiki treatment at Red Mountain Resort, my practitioner smiles calmly.
“You are very stressed. There were some points during your treatment where I tried to find energy, and nothing was there. That tapping? It was me trying to stir something in you …”
“And nothing happened?” I ask, my eyes closing. My heart sinking. I know the answer. There’s nothing inside of me anymore.
I can’t go through life like this any longer.
“You need to get this stress out of your life. You need to give yourself permission to remove whatever it is that is causing you this stress out of your life. It’s not good for you.”
I can’t. Not yet.
I don’t explain my situation, the fact that I am at a career cross-road — I have a part-time job that attempts to pay the bills, plus all of my freelance travel writing that is going into the online piggy bank I have created.
I don’t tell her my struggles with depression throughout my entire life. The struggles I am currently facing as I try to come to terms with so many things that involve changing the way I think, the way I live my life, the dreams I have.
Instead, I simply ask: “What can I do?”
She explains I would benefit from lymphatic drainage. That this light touching procedure will help ease my stress and relax my body.
Then, she warns me. “If you keep this up, you won’t live past 50 or 60. You can’t live your life this stressed out. It isn’t healthy for you. It impacts every part of your life.”
Again, I nearly cry.
If she only knew.
She wraps her arms around me, sending some positive energy into my body, then says goodbye.
“Tonight, don’t write. Just go sit outside and look at the stars in the sky and relax.”
I promise her I will, then I head back out into the starry Utah night. A world away from Las Vegas.
For two days, I am situated at Red Mountain Resort, a gorgeous slice of outdoor heaven about two hours from Vegas, nearby St. George in the tiny town of Ivins, Utah.
And, by tiny, I mean tiny. Compared to Las Vegas’ huge population, Ivins only has 5,000 residents.
After I grab a healthy dinner in the resort’s restaurant, I head back to my suite (a gorgeous 1,100-square-foot villa), throw on my swim suit, and head out into the chilly night.
I sink into the bubbling hot tub and look up towards the darkness.
Above me, clusters of stars, some so tiny I can’t barely see but know by the soft glow, they exist, twinkle.
Relax, D. Breathe, D. Life doesn’t have to be so hard. You don’t have to be so stressed out.You don’t have to put yourself through this.
I focus on the stars, trying to clear my mind.
During my reiki, Cynthia instructed me to go to my safe place to clear my mind. Until that moment, I’d never had a safe place. I didn’t even know where to start.
“What’s yours?” I had asked.
She told me, and then I tried to find mine. After a few moments of debate, I settled on Thailand and the elephants. As she lightly touched me, moved her hands above my body, I imagined myself sitting next to Faa Mai, singing “Que Sera, Sera” and petting Medo on my last day at Elephant Nature Park.
But under the stars? I can’t clear my mind. All I keep thinking is there is something so inherently wrong with me. I can’t unwind. I can’t relax. I can’t just be. And, now, it’s slowly killing me.
I crawl into my king bed that night and close my eyes. I try to quiet my brain, but instead it chides me for being absolutely emotionally and physically exhausted. There is no sleep.
I remind myself tomorrow is a new day, a day of promises, of hope, in this beautiful place. And, a meeting with a shaman for some spiritual advising and sound healing.
At this point, I’m game for anything. I just want to find my happiness again. Even if it means letting my preconceived notions wither away and embracing something entirely different from the norm.