"Do you want to go see Amma? She gives you a hug and a blessing," asked my friend.
"Oh, is that the spiritual mother? How much does that cost?" I suspiciously responded.
"It's free," she explained.
She said the magic words and off I went on my adventure to the LAX Hilton to meet Amma. Knowing little about her, I quickly learned that she has many devotees and is somewhat like the Dalai Lama of India. Her hugs are supposed to be transformative.
We got there at 4pm, got out tokens at 7 (it's like your number in a deli line), listened to Amma speak from 7:30-8:15 and then waited. While the celebs went in to get their hugs first, we toured the Amma bizarre and took in the lentil eating, patchouli smelling, barefoot people waiting to meet Amma.
For the record, I'm a designer clad, daily showering, delicately highlighted blonde who believes in no shoes, no shirt, no service. But being a frustrated, unemployed yet overworked-in-trying-to-generate- book-publicity-and-therefore-sales person, I need all the help I can get.
I was pushed into Amma's massive bosom at 1:45am. She whispered, "My daughter," six times in my ear, put the beads I was holding ($3 in the Amma bizarre) around my neck and I was pulled away. That was it. I felt nothing. Except exhaustion. And awe that Amma had been hugging for hours without a bathroom break (she's reportedly gone as long as 22 hours. Now that's a miracle.)
The next day, still nothing. When I got my mail, I received a tax refund check (it was mailed to an old address from 2 years ago despite the address being correct on my filing and wasn't supposed to come for another 2 months). I got a call from a recruiter. I felt like things were starting to go my way for the first time in a very, very long time.
All I know is that in the month since seeing Amma, I feel lighter, more positive and open. I have more courage in everything I do. Perhaps her hug absorbed my bad juju. Or maybe I just want to believe. Either way, I'm not questioning it. I just say, "Amma Mia!" as I lovingly touch the blessed beads that I now wear daily.
Amma travels the world giving free hugs while spreading her message of love and peace. (I promise it's not a cult). If you're interested, check Amma.org for more information.