I left a whole lot of problems, anxieties and worries on the floor when I left the Temazcal today at the W Hotel here in Mexico City. It’s a profoundly moving ritual that took me to a realization of a great and wonderful truth–my anxieties don’t rule and my life is rich and full! Why does it take a Mexican woman named Norma Policarpio to suck these things out of me, and fill me with such euphoria?
The ritual is ancient, Mayan in origin. In the hip confines of Mexico’s W Hotel, where anyone like me instantly feels old and unimportant, they’ve built a spa and a feature are these one hour ceremonies that I’m sure leave many guests pleasantly shocked.
The preparations were long–many discussions in Spanish (loosely translated by Yusfia our host) about the four forces of nature, and the different directions we must face each with a chant and our arms held up. Part of me was busy thinking about silliness, or random thoughts, but then I kicked back and let the whole thing just be in me. Presto. We entered the hot dark dome, and breathed in the air.
Many different rituals ensue, harkening to an infant’s experience in the womb, those long nine months. The hot rocks were steamed with herbs, we exhaled, and then tried hard to breath through our noses. Hard at that temp. We spoke of what we wanted to rid ourselves or, what we wanted to peel off of us and leave right there. We spoke of how it would feel, and what we wanted to feel, we yelled it out, yelled our names, we watched in the dark as Norma flailed at the rocks, expelling it, pushing us forward and eventually out, out into the world.
When the sweat was really pouring, it was time to emerge, and lie on rose petals, face down. Norma worked on us, stepping on backs, and pushing hard and cracking bones as a massage. After it all we lay back, silent, confident, at least me feeling goddamn happy about everything in my life, and determined with confidence and serenity.