It was a warm, sunny day in downtown Sykesville.
I sat on the patio of one of my favorite local cafes with one of my favorite people. As we were chatting and catching up, sharing the triumphs and challenges in our lives, my friend alluded to feeling hurt and saddened by all the craziness going on in the world, by how all the anger and hatred was negatively affecting people.
She was feeling emotionally drained, but thoughts of needing to sometimes put herself first triggered feelings of guilt.
I, on the other hand, vented about feeling misunderstood. Despite my degree in journalism and my work as a writer, I was struggling to accurately express myself, my words — both written and verbal — were routinely being misconstrued.
After polishing off our brunch, we strolled down Main Street, wandering in and out of the various shops, until eventually finding ourselves in a store that specialized in what might best be described as “earthy” items. Incense, crystals, and diffusers, organic lotions, hemp soaps, candles and essential oils abound.
As we sniffed and sampled the items, the charismatic store owner approached. Noting our interest in the essential oils, she asked if we would like a chakra reading.
A chakra what?
Now, being a yoga instructor, I am familiar with chakras — the seven centers of energy or spiritual power within the human body — but I’d never considered that chakras could be read. Palms? Yes. Fortunes? Yes. But chakras? Curious and intrigued, we eagerly accepted the offer.
The owner proceeded to procure several small, unmarked glass bottles of essential oils and lined them up in a neat row. She then explained that — one at a time — we would each sniff the bottles and identify which scents we liked and which ones we disliked.
My friend went first, taking a thoughtful whiff of each bottle and sharing her feedback and observations. The owner took notes and arranged the bottles in order from favorite to least favorite based on my friend’s preferences. When the order was determined, the owner took a discreet peek at the underside of each bottle and jotted a few more notes. Then she repeated the process with me, reassembling the bottles in no particular order and choosing each one at random.
In my first go-round, I honestly didn’t care for any of the scents. We were encouraged to sniff the bottles as many times as needed, so I was eventually able to note subtle differences in each fragrance, ruling out those that continued to be disagreeable and identifying others I was more drawn to. Ultimately, one scent stood out as the most appealing.
More notes were scribbled and, satisfied with her findings, the owner then asked my friend and I if we wanted to receive our readings privately or together.
As we were on this adventurous little journey together, my friend and I stood side by side as the owner consulted her notes one last time, leveled her knowing gaze at us, and proceeded to share the shocking results of our readings.
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Columnist’s note: This column is the first in a three-part series on chakras.