It was a wonderful, crisp Saturday afternoon in March, 2006.
I had just awakened from a nap in my wonderful, crisp Boston townhouse. As I opened my eyes, a raven flew up from beneath the floor, brushed its wings against my face, said "it's time"...and disappeared into the ceiling.
Now. You should know that this was not a normal occurrence. Ravens did not rise up from my bedroom floor...or any floor, for that matter.
Mine was a very Type A life (think that really uptight co-worker who makes everyone stay late in his maniacal quest for perfection...or...think...you?!). Life was extremely scripted. Every detail was planned. Every move anticipated. Every outcome controlled.
It's what made me successful at everything I did. From raising money for politicians to helping clients get controversial development projects approved. From throwing great dinner parties to caring for sick relatives.
It's also what made me happy. And I was extremely happy in March, 2006. With my marriage. My friends. My politics. My life.
Which is why, after the raven had sayeth what he said, I simply rolled over and went back to sleep. Where I promptly dreamed about a wolf of a woman with a borderline maniacal laugh who was pointing to a caged jaguar in the back of her station wagon. "Yeah, it's time," she chuckled.
Fast forward two days later and I was at Boston's Sports Club/LA. It was Monday which meant that I had a 10 am appointment with my $125/hour trainer and a Noon appointment with my $110/session private yoga instructor. In between, as was my routine, I spent exactly 50 minutes on the elliptical machine.
Madonna was on my iPod (natch). At about minute 25, Ray of Light came on. While Madge sang that, quicker than a ray of light, she was flying, I noticed that I, too, was. Flying.
As in lifting up off the elliptical, through the roof of the SportsClub, up through the Ritz Towers and across Boston Common. I could feel the sun on my face and see the people below. Then, as I headed out over the harbor and East Boston, the ocean became a field and beyond that field was a burial ground. It felt peaceful there. I circled around a few times and then made my way back. As I settled back onto the elliptical, Madonna was singing Keep It Together. The irony was lost on me.
When I went to see Noel, my yoga instructor, I was bursting with energy.
"Wow," I told her. "I was really in the zone out there." I then told her what had happened, noticing Noel's face change from curiosity to wonder...to genuine concern.
"You weren't in the zone," she said. "You astral planed."
"Astral plane. You know, when you leave your body and travel to another dimension." No. I did not know.
I didn't even know how to spell astral plane (I thought Noel had said "astro-plain"--like astro turf). And I sure as hell didn't know anything about traveling to other dimensions.
South Beach? Yes. Other dimensions? No.
But something definitely was happening to me. By the time I walked out of the SportsClub that day and took a left onto Tremont Street, I found myself knowing everything about every person who walked by. I knew what he had had for breakfast and what she was going to pitch at her next meeting. I knew who had cancer; and who was cheating on her husband.
"This is kinda cool," I thought. "It could be good for business."
That night, after dinner, I made a particularly strong gin and tonic (which is saying a lot) and headed into my study. I turned on the computer, took a big swig of my drink, and googled "astral plane". Now, neither Google nor Wikipedia were in 2006 what they are today.
I found that two types of sites talked about astral planing. There were the 1-800 psychic sites with what we would now call cougar-ish bleached blondes. Or the sites that had grainy images of under-washed, over-fed flower children cavorting in the woods with dirty, matted hair.
Each promised the answer to whatever you sought. For a fee.
"I don't even want to ask these people the question," I thought as I finished my gin and tonic. In one gulp.
As I came out of the study, my husband asked me "Did you find what you were looking for?"
"No," I answered. "I did not."