Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Life as a Hippie

Living in Austin meant I could release my inner hippie from time to time in fun and harmless ways. As the state’s liberal blueberry in the sea of strawberry red, Austin’s left leanings allowed for a smorgasbord of holistic alternatives just waiting to be sampled.

Remember, up until this point the most “alternative” lifestyle choice I’d ever made was bathing with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap! I guess I did go to CU in Boulder which, in and of itself, could be considered an “alternative” lifestyle choice, but I really didn’t embrace the New Age Boulder scene as much as I did the football games, business school and studying in France. I happily lived in the smack dab center of the Mainstream bell curve.

But after going through some unique experiences, I became a little more open to the POSSIBILITY that something beyond the physical world was at play in the universe.

I became a seeker and I was looking for answers.

But where to begin?

At the Whole Life Expo, of course!

Three days of organic woo-woo dedicated to natural health, alternative medicine and green living. It was fantastic, first and foremost because it was tremendously funny but also because it was interesting. Taking care of body, mind and soul was front and center and it was a blast. Beth and I went together via some VIP passes I had been given at work so we had access to all of the lectures, book signings, foods, books, potions, jewelry, “readers” (palm, tarot cards, mind, etc.), specialty products, demonstrations and pan flute concerts you can imagine. We stared, gawked, participated, pointed, laughed until we snorted, questioned, scoffed, touched, read, listened, pondered, and learned for three straight days. I’m not sure what we came away with at the end of the weekend other than tired feet and some special lotion that was supposed to ward off negative energy, but I do have some great memories of that time. As an aside, we later heard that the owner and organizer of that event, who we had met thanks to our special VIP passes, had skipped the country after being charged with tax evasion and was tooling around Thailand on a bike. Nice.

So, over the course of a few years, in fits and spurts, my inner hippie and I attended the Unity church, drank wheatgrass juice, meditated, used prayer beads when praying, had my palm read, wore a hematite ankle bracelet for grounding, collected crystals with various healing properties, lit candles, build little alters, chanted “Om” for long periods of time, had my tarot cards read, visited Kramer the astrologist, took a class on finding my guardian angel, went to hippie hollow, read books by Deepok Chopra, Wayne Dyer and Mariannae Williamson, took yoga, ate oat straw to cure my addiction to food, learned about Zen Buddhism, had my runes read, cleansed my chakras, read The Messenger and Chariots of the Gods, bought carrot juice and other organic delicacies at stores like Whole Foods and Central Market and held down my job at PBS.

I was really just throwing things against the wall and seeing what stuck, and over time my interests and curiosity subsided and I moved on. While I do believe what my dear friend Keb Mo says when he sings “There’s More Than One Way Home”, I just wasn’t finding all of the answers to the questions I was asking from these sources.

But what I believe I will always keep with me from the journey through that time in my life are my love of the Unity church, the lessons I learned about “choices”, my appreciation of Yoga, and a taste for fresh carrot juice. And, lest we should forget, my addiction to Dr. Bronner’s Magical Soaps.


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