The camera takes a first exposure of your physical self and a second of your energetic overlay.
In most areas of life, I'm practical, bordering on being a cynic. I don't believe in ghosts and don't fret if an umbrella pops open inside. I quit being Catholic when I realized I was actually supposed to believe all the "body and blood of Christ" and Heaven and Hell stuff.
I over-prepare for everything. If I want to lose weight, I rely on the old calories in/calories out approach, not those vibrating ab belts from infomercials.
But, every once in a while, I PayPal as much as most women spend on a new pair of shoes to a Jaycee, aka "Miss Energy Healer" (a law school classmate, turned consultant to hip-hop artists, turned certified energy healer and Reiki master), and she works her magic on me I while sleep.
Seriously. My aura, my chakras, my vibrations, all that. There's no touching, even: She does the "distance healing" from her home in LA, and e-mails a lengthy report on my spiritual status by the time I wake up in the morning. I read it in on my phone between morning work emails and the day's headlines.
I swear I'm not crazy. A good-sized handful of my friends do the same. These women, I might add, are totally normal people: professionals who go to the gym and vote and volunteer and chitchat about how totally ridiculous that last episode of "Basketball Wives" was.
The only way you might be able to distinguish us from our peers who get their religion from Sunday service (or happy hour, whatever) is by the crystals some of us wear around our necks. Jaycee sells them on the side.
They do things, energetically speaking. Don't ask me to explain. A couple of girls stick them in their bras, because they don't exactly look great with a lot of outfits (Yes, that's mine in my bio photo. Give me a break, I was wearing green! It matched . . . kind of.)
We call her our "guru" and laugh, because, well, we live in the world. And we know this is unconventional, on a whole different level from talking about astrology signs or subscribing to a daily e-tarot reading (Guilty). But we're not exactly kidding.
One woman -- a snarky PhD candidate -- posted on Facebook, "Jaycee is the TRUTH." A bunch of our fellow "Jaycee groupies" liked it. Another friend, who oozes poise and professionalism, says she initially sought out Jaycee's services because she "knew she wasn't a crazy delusional liar" and was willing to try anything to get her work life in order. She attributes a successful career transition to some healings a few years ago, and she spoke for most of us when she summed up her sentiments about skeptics: "Eh, f--k 'em."
Yet another asked me to omit her name from this piece because of "side-eye reactions from non-believers (aka losers)."
Here's how it works: Jaycee asks you about your "intention," which, in our cases, usually involve the trifecta of young women's issues: career, love, and beauty (I want a satisfying job; I want to get over this jackass once and for all; Why the hell am I breaking out at 30 years old?) Then you go to sleep.
The next morning, you wake up to the cheery and somewhat rambling e-mail in which Jaycee talks about what she "picked up on," what "came through," and what she worked on and "moved." It's eerily accurate. You're not an idiot, so you compare notes with your friends to make sure this isn't some copy and paste scam. It's not.
You begin to feel better. You think. You doubt. But no, you really do. That very morning, and then more in the coming weeks. She checks on you, asks if you need any "adjustments." She doesn't request payment until you hassle her a couple of times about how much you owe. Her emails burst with affirmations and "LOL"s and include "drink lots of water!" and always wrap up with "sending lots of positive energy your way!"
Somehow, it helps that Jaycee isn't a cliche. She adores Jay-Z. She goes to Vegas. She, like many in my group of friends, was once a miserable corporate lawyer who had to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.
The woman is certainly not scamming us for the money: She 's somehow accumulated celebrity clients, and the Facebook pictures and Twitter feed to prove it. They undoubtedly pay her more than our "friend" rate (basically, the amount you fork over if you've never been featured in US Weekly).
Her favorite healing story is about when she rushed to the emergency room to save the leg of a popular rapper's manager who was shot by mistake. I know, I know. I wouldn't believe it either if she didn't have pictures of herself with the Kardashians, smudging their living room in a brown maxi dress, or bunned up with a hip-hop artist at her birthday party. She treats these things as casually as her good-natured blogs and facebook statuses that overflow into the comments about her green smoothies, her past heartbreaks and the Universe's sense of humor.
With vastly different spiritual backgrounds, my friends and I are simultaneously believers and tickled that we're believers. My mom's been "putting a white light around" me when I travel for as long as I can remember, and my grandmother encourages me to pray to Saint Anthony when I misplace my keys or phone (which I do only as a last resort, so it always seems like it works).
Another friend meditates and says she's always been open to the possibility of spiritual healing but is skeptical of organized religion. One of the girls who hides her crystal in her bra attends a Baptist church. Another one rolls her eyes and complains that she has to "Jesus-fy" her house when her mom comes to visit.
One member of our group, who's decided to get a yearly healing around her birthday, was raised by such a stark atheist that her first date screening topics include (in addition to the usual, "Have you ever been to jail?" "Are you married?" and "Have you ever slept with a man?"), "Do you go to church?" The correct answer would be no.
But her only concern about Jaycee's services was, "I was scared because I think some of you guys had thrown up the morning after?? I didn't want that to happen to me!" Yes, two of us did in fact vomit the morning after having Jaycee "cut cords" with guys who were no good for us. We share stories like this in hushed, awed tones.
Remember when Jaycee detected and called out the not-exactly-prescribed pills taken to focus during a work all-nighter?
Remember when she inexplicably knew about the way so-and-so had a panic attack at a wedding during the vows, and called her to discuss her fear of commitment, and did a healing, and now so-and-so is engaged?
There's no control group here. Quite possibly, we'd all be in a better place now than we were before our long-distance healings, even without any assistance. I wouldn't push this service on anyone because I certainly can't prove that it works, and I don't get into arguments I can't win.
But when I PayPal my fee over to Miss Energy Healer's account, I do it gladly. Thankfully, even. Life's big and small dramas (even they amount, in the grand scheme of things, to no more than yuppie problems) call for some hope and a little magic, whether it's from some Steve Harvey book on how to date like a man, antidepressants or one of those vibrating ab belts.
As long I have my club-hopping, crystal-dispensing, LOL-ing long-distance spiritual guru, just an e-mail away, I don't think I'll need any of the above. And that, I'm less embarrassed all the time to admit, is worth it.