Morning practice on Wednesday was on the deck at the ocean. I watched the sunrise out of the corner of my eye, but I was in a total haze. I felt exhausted. More than exhausted. My body felt like it was smooshing through a Florida mud bog, my lungs inhaling half air/half clouds, my brain totally gone. I was beyond blissed out. I was nearly unconscious. And it wasn’t fun.
After breakfast my body felt like it weighed so much that I just went back to sleep. I thought maybe a good nap would clear me right up.
I woke up a few moments before afternoon yoga and I was not only still hazey, I was more tired than I was before. And, of COURSE, our practice that afternoon included some torturous activity that included my arms being parallel to the ground for more than 20 minutes. I also had to lie flat on my back, which it incredibly painful since I broke my leg because of an issue with my hip kicking my SI Joint out of whack all the time. Luckily I was so out of it that I didn’t really notice what I was doing, nor do I remember it.
Knowing it was Mayan Healer day, I decided to take a good, long, hot shower to try and wake up (not to mention clean my stinky yoga body before this guy healed it). I’d been informed that the healer came right to our hotel rooms, so once I was dressed I sat down and waited.
Do I go look for him? Does he knock? Is he psychic?? This is Mexico so there’s a good chance 1pm meant, “Whatever.”
Finally, I walked up to the small hotel office to inquire about how this whole healing thing worked. Instead of getting answers, I got Avalino, The Mayan Healer. He was having lunch.
“Oh, hi! I’m Erin.”
He began speaking in Spanish.
“Oh, I don’t speak that much Spanish…that quickly…”
He looked at the hotel receptionist and she began to translate. She asked me about any pain I had, any major surgeries, etc. I told her about my broken leg, about feeling very fuzzy that day, and before I could really finish he interrupted me in Spanish. Apparently he spoke enough English to understand what I’d just said. “What did he say?” I asked the receptionist.
“He say he already know what he will do to help you,” she replied in a thick accent.
“Oh! Oh. Ok. Great…”
I walked to my room, continuing to do this weird and VERY awkward turn-around-to-see-if-he’s-behind-me move. Once I got to my room, I sat on the bed. Then on the chair. Then I stood up. I pretended to start “doing” my hair until he walked in.
“What is you name?” he asked.
“Ok,” he said. He lit a candle that appeared to be from the dollar store, but not before he asked me if I “had fire” to light it, which I did. He looked around my small room, his white pants and shirt matched the white linens and mosquito nets. “Lie down,” he said, pointing at my bed.
Now, at this point I’m kinda freaked out. I mean, we’re alone. In my hotel room. The hotel itself is small, so I was actually thinking about how loudly I might need to scream for someone to hear me if it turned out his “healing” didn’t jive with me. I sat down on the bed and pretended like I was totally cool with everything when he interrupted my thoughts: “You a master?”
“What?” Because what?
“Master. Yoga master. You a master?”
“No. No I’m a student.”
“Oh. Master soon, though,” he said, like I was supposed to know that already.
I laid down with my head near the foot of the bed, and Avalino pulled up a chair and put his hands on my head. He began to breathe, deeply, eerily. I was completely freaking out.
“Thinking, thinking, thinking,” he said. “You need stop thinking all the time. Thinking in the shower, even…”
I couldn’t really argue with that, so I just breathed. And I relaxed.
“What is you name?” he asked. Again.
I immediately began freaking out. Why does he not remember my name? Why does he not remember asking me my name not 4 minutes ago?
“Erin, Erin, Erin…” he whispered.
He started moving his hands to my neck. He was rough. He pulled my head around, dug his thumbs into my neck. It wasn’t fun. His hands went down to my shoulders, my sides, my stomach, as if he was looking for something with his hands. When he landed on my stomach, his hands moved quickly and it TICKLED. I mean, it tickled like a mean big brother. Violent tickling. I had no idea what to do because I was literally trying to wriggle away from him and keep myself from laughing.
“Yes, yes,” he said and I was like YES YES WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
He continued poking my stomach until I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I started laughing. I laughed and I moved and I was completely uncomfortable and also so incredibly WTF. But I didn’t run. I almost just wanted to see what the hell would happen next.
He continued tickling my stomach and then SUDDENLY he stopped and went back to my neck. He pushed. He pulled on my arms. He wound my arms around and around in a tornado. He moved so fast that I didn’t have time to think before he put his hands back on my stomach and…
I wasn’t ticklish.
I wasn’t ticklish anymore.
When he began trying to tickle my stomach, he started repeating, “Thank you, thank you, ezactly, ezactly…” I wasn’t sure if he was thanking me or he was proud of me for not being ticklish?
He moved on to my legs and feet. He grabbed my left leg near the break. “Oooo…ooooo,” he said quietly as he continued to violently jerk and poke other parts of my body. “Turn over,” he commanded.
I turned over onto my stomach and he immediately began digging his fingers into my back. It was SO painful and SO tickley that I just wanted to stand up and thank him for his time and ask him to leave. It was HORRIBLE. I couldn’t stay still, I couldn’t enjoy what was probably supposed to be massage-like motions. I just continued to jump and wince.
He stopped altogether for a moment and began pushing into a spot on the back of my shoulder. I felt him tracing lines from places in my back to places in my arms, even down to my feet. He began pushing “buttons” and, when he returned to my back, I wasn’t ticklish there anymore either. His fingers felt good.
“Thank you, thank you, ezactly, ezactly…”
I was so confused.
He moved his hands to my lower back and literally jumped back off me and started shaking his hands. “WOOOOOAH,” he shouted. “Dats energy, oh it’s no moving. Oh, it’s too much.”
Ooook. What do I do here…
He slowly moved his hands back to my lower back, like he was afraid of it, and he again violently jammed his fingers around the area of my SI Joint and sacrum. It hurt. It hurt a lot. He traced a line from my lower back to the back of my left knee. He pressed. It tickled again. He pressed and pressed and pressed and finally said, “Thank you, thank you. Ezactly, ezactly. Feeling? Feeling?”
“Yes,” I responded. “Definitely feeling.”
Just then, a little bone there in the bottom of my back popped into place. It’s like it just sat down. And the intense nerve pain I’ve felt for 6 months suddenly went away.
As I’m trying to digest what just happened, he touched my right knee.
“BOOM!” he shouted. He looked at me. I looked at him. “You boom right here,” he pointed to my right knee.
“Yeah. Yeah, I did.” He was not pointing to my broken leg. He was pointing to the place where my right leg hit the boat when I got thrown back in from the tree. It doesn’t hurt. It’s not even a spot I point out to people. But I do have permanent soft tissue damage there. He worked very hard on that spot…for a good long while. Of course, he eventually whispered, “Thank you, thank you…ezactly, ezactly.”
At this point I felt like weeping. I didn’t really know why, but as he dug into that spot on my leg, tears filled my eyes. Not from pain. Not from anywhere I could source. Just…tears. He began to hum a little song. It turned into words and singing. I’m not sure what he was singing because it was in Spanish, but it felt absolutely perfect.
For the rest of the…experience…I laid still and comfortably. He tinkered with my wrists and ankles, messed around with my neck again, a little more around my knees…and he was done.
“Done,” he said.
I stood up to thank him and I couldn’t believe how I felt. I had no pain. I felt…clear. My body was clear, my mind was clear. I was lighter. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt no pain.
Avalino sat down in the chair.
“How do you know what to do?” I asked.
“Eeeem,” he began, “My granmother, she do dis. My granfather, he do dis. An they teach me I can do dis. An my fingers, they see into your body like eyes. I see where you blocked. An I fix it.”
I sat, quietly, wondering if he maybe had some kind of message for me. But he didn’t. He just got up, blew out his candle, and then…he asked to take a picture with me.
On his iPad.
That night I learned that every person’s experience with Avalino was completely different from mine. Some were calm and quiet. Some included more singing, some had none. There was no pattern whatsoever. I can’t say what he did, how he healed me, what he did to my back, how he saw my right knee hitting the boat… I know that later in the evening I laid flat on my back on my yoga mat without pain. I know that I felt so light that I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if I opened my eyes and I was floating. I was clear. I was home in my body.
I felt absolutely crazy and so incredible all at the same time. I couldn’t really imagine much else topping that experience.