Everyone needs a good cult. I've been lucky enough to belong to a handful over my lifetime.
  1. Camp Tawonga
    Tawonga was my first cult. I really do credit this magical place for saving my 11-year-old life, and showing me that the world can consist of beauty and connection. It saved me many more times in the decades to follow--even now, as a somewhat peripheral member of that still-strong community, I feel tied to both the place and the people. It's the only cult I can keep coming back to.
  2. Malcolm 3
    College came at the exact moment that my father began to die. In July, he drove me to Davis to pick out a bike. In August, I left his comatose body at Stanford Hospital and made my way to the dorms. Malcolm 3 was a perfect home to land in during such blindingly hellish confusion. I wanted normalcy--and that's what my dorm-mates had to offer. Not one of them knew how to deal with the flaming hot mess that I was then, but that didn't matter. We all reveled in the chaos together.
  3. Band Aid
    New York. 22. Bartender. Rockstars everywhere. Some of whom wanted to date me and take me on tour. True story: James Murphy (who just to be clear I never dated) used to call me bird and sent me to get charcoal roasted coffee out of a noodle shop in Philadelphia. The cup of coffee cost $5. It was 2005.
  4. Angelika
    Yep. Gotta thank my dear friend Julie for roping me into the cult of Angelika--the reiki practitioner and "spiritual counselor" who pieced me back together after being dumped by said rockstar. She had me read Eckhart Tolle and Don Miguel Ruiz. She taught me the art of self-hypnosis, and for that I will be forever grateful.
  5. Burning Man
    More on this when I finally figure out what to make of my nine years out in that desert. Still grappling with what the hell happened there (to me, to the event, to a general, overall experience of wonder and possibility...)
  6. Bodywork
    aka, the Cult of Embodiment. Having worked intensively with Angelika, having discovered an alien-landscape in Nevada, and having followed a wide-eyed community of dreamers home from the desert, I found myself in Seattle. Little did I know that the Northwest is home to some of the best bodywork in the world. I ran away with the circus and signed up for a 1000hr program. I discovered how endless the body is, and realized that my whole life could revolve around learning about it.
  7. Academia
    The ultimate cult. I met a woman on a train who told me that I was not a psychologist, but a sociologist--and encouraged me to get in touch with her husband, who was on faculty at UCSF. Tomorrow was his birthday, she said, but he would love to talk to me. I called him up and spent the next year chasing medical sociologists around the country. I met the great mother of medical sociology at Cafe Colombe in Rittenhouse Square, and after she left, people came up and asked me how I knew her.
  8. ...and next?
    I'm sure there are more to come. As I get older, I am less obsessed with the desire to be a part of something. Sometimes this feels like growth--sometimes it feels like protraction. No doubt, however, there are many surprises in store. Who knows? Maybe I'll become a Hare Krishna next.