Freed Spirit Center For Blog Cleansing

A week or so ago, Prawn and Quartered took a brief respite from her “A-Team as a metaphor for life” campaign and described blogging as something of a substitute for formal psychotherapy.  I realize that she is not likely the first person to suggest that there are other sources for therapy beyond laying on a sofa and telling some guy all of your fears while he tries to stay awake.  In fact, I’m almost positive I’ve seen a motivational poster on Facebook espousing a much less expensive form of therapy involving the use of bubble wrap.

The thought stuck in my head (apparently there are a few sharp corners inside my skull and all sorts of crap gets snagged there).  I don’t quite see blogging as a substitute for psychotherapy, not that I’ve ever experienced formal therapy myself.

My personal brand of therapy tends to involve me talking to someone (anyone – who are we kidding here?) while looking at the swirling forms in the bottom of my tumbler of scotch.  As in the realm of professional therapy, the biggest challenge is for the listener to stay awake.

The ice cubes are like my emotions, swimming in a sea of The Macallan. They’re connected to one another, but separate. As time passes, they melt and merge into the scotch, which is like the outside world, only tastier. My uncle never really understood me. (Image courtesy of the author’s kitchen counter and smart phone camera)

For some subliminal reason, I couldn’t stop thinking of blogging as a different type of therapy.

In my opinion, blogging seems especially well suited to take the place of colonic therapy.  Not that I’ve ever had colonic therapy either, but you need to give me a little creative license here.  As long as we’re splitting hairs, I’m not sure putting a garden hose where the sun don’t shine necessarily makes the practitioner a “therapist” either.  Forgive me for putting you readers in such a shitty role in this process, but I keep day-dreaming about it.

In my mind, I travel to California, home of any- and all-flaky ways to cleanse ones mind and body of the toxins of the world.  My trip takes me, via an aged Subaru Outback which now runs on used vegetable oil, to a nondescript town in the northern part of the state.  My stomach tightens briefly when I see the sign, written in hippy-dippy, Grateful Dead script for the Freed Spirit Center for Blog Cleansing, High Colonics and Organic Deli .  We turn off the main drag and soon our ride, smelling of falafel, is bumping along the ruts of a gravel road, winding through the countryside.

The building comes into view, looking reminiscent of a house I once saw in a documentary on the Manson family.  There is a dusty VW bus out front and some well-worn mountain bikes.  A couple of scruffy dogs look up briefly from the porch, but dismiss us when it is apparent that we have no tennis balls.

A woman glides from the front door to greet us.  The dogs don’t pay any attention to her either.  She wears a gauzy pile of pastel colored fabric which may have once served as mosquito netting before being tie-dyed and cut into more manageable sizes.  Her feet are clad in some sort of sandals which make Birkenstocks look like Italian pumps.  Despite looking like what would pass for “eccentric homeless” in just about any other corner of the country, she glows with a healthy vigor which makes me feel even more middle aged and suburban than before.   A little voice cries out in my head, telling me there is not likely any scotch in this place.  I briefly chastise myself for not stashing a few airline bottles of some single malt in my luggage.

She introduces herself.  Her name is Lisa and she’s the blog cleansing coordinator and spirit guide.  I’m amazed by her name, as I was fully expecting something more along the lines of “Summer Meadow” or “Goddess Queef”.  She takes my bag and dismisses the driver as we head into the house.  I cast a quick glance over my shoulder and suppress the impulse to chase after the lumbering Subaru.

No papa-san chairs? Where the hell is Patty Hearst supposed to sit when she visits? (Image from apartmenttherapy.com)

The place is remarkably spare of decor, looking almost institutional in its lack of artwork and papa-san chairs.  To my surprise, there is no trace of incense, just the faint fragrance of Lisa’s patchouli.  As we move through the main hall, I catch a glimpse into a room with a couple of padded tables with hoses and various jugs and funnels lining the shelves on the walls.  I recite a silent prayer that it’s a colonic room and not part of the organic deli.

We move deeper into the house, passing closed doors until Lisa finally pushes one open.  Inside the tiny room is a computer on a desk, with a rather hi-tech, cool looking office chair.  The room is devoid of windows or even a light, other than the blue glow of the computer screen.  As my eyes get used to the gloom, I can make out a bare mattress on the floor and a commode in the opposite corner.

“Try the chair, ” Lisa says.

I sit in it and am amazed at how comfortable it is.  I swivel it to the computer.  Once the chair is facing the screen, the rotation stops and the chair locks there.  I hear Lisa over my shoulder, her voice has lost some of its health food co-op softness.

“You need to start the purging process,” she says, “Start typing, and don’t stop to worry about quality or topic.  Bare your soul and don’t concern yourself with what people will think when they read it.”  She continued, ” Don’t waste time commenting on the state of the world or kids today with their wacky iPods and gizmos – Andy Rooney is gone and need not be replaced.”

Didja ever notice how hungry you get for a middle eastern sandwich treat after certain kinds of cars go past you? Why hasn’t it crossed my mind how well a nice single malt would go with one of those sandwiches? (Photo by gossip.whyfame.com)

I try to glance up at her, but her hand gently but firmly turns my face back toward the computer.  I place my hands on the keyboard and tentatively type a few words about myself.  I keep it fairly light, describing the year and place of my birth, as I’m self conscious about Lisa looking over my shoulder.  I stop typing for a moment and cautiously turn my head to face her, but she’s gone.

Suddenly, her voice coos in my ear from speakers in the headrest of the chair.  “David,” she says, “you must write much more than that and don’t think this standard demographic stuff is going to effectively work as purging.  You will be able to use the commode once an hour and the mattress is available for you to sleep briefly every 30 pages.”

I smirk to myself and start reading between the lines to figure out how to satisfy the requirements without actually doing the work.  I’m starting to feel creative and energized at the idea of putting one over on these “therapists” when Lisa’s voice comes back into my ear.

“Don’t bother trying to make stuff up either, we’ve read your blog about art school psychology and we’re well aware of your penchant for creating wildly exaggerated scenes from your childhood.  By the way, ” she continued as a chill passed through me, “I just finished going through your bag and I’m surprised you didn’t pack yourself any scotch.  Not that it would have mattered, alcohol is strictly prohibited at the Freed Spirit Center”

I turn back to the computer, shaken to the core.  I start typing, slowly at first, about my childhood, my eczema, my shyness, my tendency to cry too easily as a child and too slowly as an adult.  The words pour out of me with greater ease and soon the first 30 pages are done.  I don’t even glance at the bed, as my pages cover the awkward teenage years, the awkward college years and the awkward years of my 20’s and 30’s.  Sweat trickles down my temples as the words spill out through my fingers.  The dams of my subconscious are a distant memory now as my thoughts and feelings can’t be stopped from rushing out of me onto the glowing screen.

I speed through my life, all the way up to resenting Lisa’s laundry basket attire and and my lack of foresight in the scotch department.  I describe my distaste for cars which smell like fried food instead of exhaust.  Finally, after outlining my thoughts and fears for my ever-shortening future and doubts about life after death, I stagger from the computer and collapse on the mattress.  Even with my eyes closed, I can still see the words of my massive blog-purge dancing around in my brain.  The lack of windows has left me disoriented, my internal time clock has lost its main spring.

When Lisa opens the door, I flinch and cover my eyes from the painful glare of the mid day sun.  She informs me that two days have passed since she last saw me in person.  I don’t doubt that she’s been looking at me through some sort of spy cam throughout the process.

She strolls over to the computer as my eyes continue to get used to the daylight.

“I’m glad you embraced the blog-purging dynamic”, she says, “You’re not the first one to come here and resist the truth and effort required to truly rid yourself of toxins via blogging ” she said, looking at me with something bordering on compassion.

“How do you feel, now that it’s over?” she asks.

I think about it for a moment.  I’ve been so busy typing, that I’ve lost touch with my feelings for the here and now.  After a moment of consideration I tell her.  “I feel empty” I say, surprised by the croaking sound of my own voice.

“That’s fairly common” says Lisa.  “We have a nice vegan meal prepped for you out in the deli.  Before you eat, you can take a shower.  Earth Sun will back with the Subaru in a couple of hours to take you back to the airport”

With that, she turns and faces the computer.  Before I can utter a sound, she deftly deletes every word I’ve written.  She turns to me and sees the look of shock on my face.

“We may look like counter-culture oddballs to you, David” she says,  “but we still flush when we’re done.”

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38 thoughts on “Freed Spirit Center For Blog Cleansing

  1. Don’t worry, the computer automatically saved everything you had typed. They may look like counter-culture oddballs to you, but they still understand that blackmail can pay off very well.

    1. Thanks…though I’m not feeling especially comforted.

      Actually, I AM comforted by your comment. I posted that thing an hour ago or so and I’ve been patiently – IMpatiently – waiting for someone to finally comment on it. I was worried that perhaps I’d gone on a little too long, or that I’d crossed a few too many lines into the poor taste zone.

      1. Honestly, it was kind of long… “OMG… 1800 words… Ok, I’ll check it out anyway cause it’s 1PP so it should be good”. But it is a good story if you have the time to read it.
        Feel free to use these words above as a cover review when you release this post in a book form 🙂

          1. I go through the WP reader, and it shows pictures, first couple of sentences, and exactly how many words are left to read between the first snippet and the comment section.

  2. This post was a bit mind-boggling. I feel purged just from reading it. 🙂

    I don’t see blogging as psychotherapy either, though I’m sure some view it that way. Depends on the subject matter, I guess. But I do spend a fair amount of time on scatological references, so perhaps there is some cleansing there after all…

    1. I usually wash my hands after reading what your son is saying on any given week…not afraid of germs, just a habit.

      I honestly didn’t mean for that one to spiral so out of control, but I think it just got away from me. My time surrounded by hippies in the Pacific Northwest kind of got me a little too amped up.

      Then I got concerned that if I posted it on a regular weekday, people would never get around to reading it.

      Not really any kind of therapy for me, though I did not let the delicious single malt scotch in the first pic go to waste last night. First I analyzed appearance of the swirling liquor, then I tasted it, and repeated.

        1. “Simple beer” does not necessarily apply these days. Personally, when the beer Gods call me, they do so with micro-brewed India Pale Ales such as Ruination I.P.A. or Firestone. Surely you don’t mean Coors Light or some such swill do you? Sorry…beer snob coming out in me.

          1. I do prefer a darker beer, but given the calories, I have to limit their quantity. Thus, an occasional light beer sneaks in. 🙂

            My husband likes ales, but I don’t. I tell him they give him piss breath. Ahh, the sweet compliments of marriage.

  3. I always forget about how passionate you are about colonics….But seriously, this was good. I almost got scared by the length, but it was worth it.

    1. I got carried away on the length…big mistake. Big length = big work to many readers, so I’m not getting the hits. It’s not all about the numbers, but writing something for 10 people to look at is somewhat disheartening.

      Not as disheartening as a colonic gone wrong. I go into that process looking for John Wayne style out-put, not just something I could achieve with Miralax.

  4. Ha! Don’t worry…you didn’t lose me at “Goddess Queef.” In fact, I can’t figure out if that or the last line was my favorite. Man, I’m seriously wishing I’d called my blog, Goddess Queef right now.

    1. As usual, a few complimentary words from CCL is all it takes to make a post worthwhile. I’ve already been following you since my earliest days on this site, so I can’t imagine that I would’ve started any sooner if you would’ve gone by that moniker. Still, I’m thrilled you liked the name. I’ve lived around hippies on and off for many years, and I’ve turned into something of an Eric Cartman when it comes to the counter-culture types (pardon the South Park reference).

  5. Your drink looks fabulous! If you don’t mind, I’m going to pin it to my Pinterest board titled, A Different Perspective. It took me awhile to figure out what the picture was… so that meets the criteria. I’ll title the pic with your WordPress blog and maybe get a few more people to follow you 🙂

    1. Help yourself! I’ll take all the free advertising I can get. It would have looked better with a better quality ice cube, but I didn’t think to take the pic until I had put some Macallan 12 year old single malt scotch in the glass. Then I took a sip and didn’t much care what kind of ice cube I had in it.

      1. I drink on again and off again. From a 4 month dry wagon I’ve had some wine and a few beers the other day. Think I stop drinking so I can revel in the reunions (also to give my tummy and body a break). I enjoy drinking and am aware of the “evils” it can do too. So many things can be considered an art form and I feel that the power, brilliance and mystique of alcohol can be captured and shared 😉

        1. In my younger years, I was all about quantity. As I’ve mellowed and matured, much like a fine wine or a well crafted whiskey, I’ve leaned more and more toward quality over quantity. I’ve gradually grown to appreciate the vintner’s, distiller’s and brewer’s crafts to the point where I can enjoy a glass or two instead of drinking by the keg.

    1. Glad you liked it. There’s plenty more old ones if you care to scroll back and find them. Glad to have you following me as well; I’ll try not to get us lost. I’m kind of amazed whenever I get a new follow, since I have no idea where in WordPress I can be found.

      1. Well, I found you because you kept turning up making interesting comments on other interesting people’s blogs that I’ve stumbled upon. Figured I’d check out what you had to say. Wasn’t disappointed. 😉

        1. Please don’t misinterpret my asking! I’m thrilled to have another person along for the ride. It’s just that with the recent (idiotic) changes to the WordPress site, I don’t think it’s very easy to find new writers. Even in the old format, I was often disappointed in what was categorized as “humor” or “writing”.

          I guess having good taste in the blogs I follow and witty comments has its rewards.

          I have a few posts that are just about ready to publish, I hope you enjoy them.

  6. I experienced a purge myself a couple of weeks ago, but it was induced by Bailey’s, not scotch. Bad memories.

    Your complete life story ended up being deleted by an aging hippie? I bet you were that kid whose dog ate his homework, right?

    1. Man’s best friend my ass! Damn dog!

      I lived around hippies at various points in my life, and I’m just a tad tainted about formal psycho-therapy. Scotch isn’t as therapeutic as I’d hoped, though I do have some life changing thoughts as I deal with hangovers. Feel free to check my archives for my piece on Hangovers…you won’t find it therapeutic, but then again, the price is right.

    1. I’m glad you found me too! WordPress has become difficult to explore. Feel free to explore the other stuff I’ve written, you may find yourself amused again.
      FYI, I’m participating in the 7 Deadly Sins competition on k8edid’s blog, but I also post my entries on my own page. Gluttony and envy are already done, next up is sloth – stay tuned!

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