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Note: This is part of a Sway series, in which our writers try things outside of their comfort zone. Today’s installment: a Gong Bath at Thatcher Healing House.

It wasn’t until I plugged Thatcher Healing House into my GPS that I realized how many times I’ve passed it while driving around downtown. Before pulling into the small gravel lot out front, I actually stopped in the middle of the road and wondered how I had never noticed this little oasis before.

Actually, I guess it’s not that hard to see why.

I know how it sounds when I say that I felt more relaxed the moment I stepped foot on the secluded path, but this little place really does exude some intense zen vibes.

When I entered, I knew this was going to be something … different. There was a man in work overalls. A woman in a velour suit. A lady in jeans, and another with gems on her head. And, way in the back, there was a girl wearing the same look on her face that had to be on mine. We exchanged a knowing glance and returned the welcomes of those around us. And after the instructor explained a little about what to expect — and that we were fine to leave at any point if needed — we dove right in.

Screaming Affirmations

Somehow, I ended up front and center as the instructor began playing a lyrical song on her iPad, instructed us to dance, and immediately started bouncing and flailing her arms. The less we participated, the more aggressive she got. I found myself hopping around a bit, and then full on bouncing and flailing too. Then we arrived at my favorite part, when we were instructed to move our arms as though we were air traffic controllers.

You know what? It actually felt good. And then, she told us to shout out our wants and fears into the universe.

Oh, man.

Part of me wanted to declare myself healed and leave right then. But then she started beating the gong. And with each bang, shouting affirmations into the room. And before I knew it, I was screaming words like Confidence. Strength. Hope. I began to unravel, and I could feel others behind me doing the same.

Drums of Life

She advised us to lay down on the provided mats, and some people wrapped themselves in the provided blankets like it was 30 degrees outside. I felt a bit uncomfortable so I just laid down, and then the drumming began. I succumbed to the sound, letting it wash through me, and immediately thought of other people in my life who needed this experience, too. The drums lasted a long time but not long enough. I lingered in a space between sleep and awake until a soft ringing of chimes signified that the practice had ended.

Leaving in Peace

The final part of the class ended up being the only part I could have done without — a celebration dance. But I took it all in anyway as part of the experience.

While putting my shoes on, I made eye contact with the same girl from the beginning of the class, who took a deep breath and told me she didn’t know what to expect, but she was so glad she went.  She also found out about the class from reading The Sway. 

I laughed and said, “All I know is that when I went in this class, I was extremely frustrated with my husband and now I feel like I can go home.” In response, she told me all about how her insurance had spiked because of a ticket and the two hours she spent on the phone fighting it — that it had set the tone for the whole day, and now she didn’t even feel it at all.

Here’s to banging a gong in 2020, friends.

Our January swaylution is to get out of our comfort zone and try classes we may have heard about, but have never been brave enough to try. What should we try next? Let us know at hello@itsthesway.com.

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