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September 21, 2014

30 Days: New Age

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Aug 17th 2006 9:55AM

(S02E04) This episode focuses on Tom, a 37-year-old salesman from New Jersey who has problems managing the stresses in his life. He's got a high-pressure job, he's divorced with a 7-year-old daughter, and his girlfriend Misti seems to be somewhat of a controlling type of person.

Tom decides to try out some New Age healing practices over the next 30 days in order to reduce his stress and hopefully improve his outlook on life. Misti is skeptical because she thinks that Tom will be supplanting his Christianity for "black magick" and other practices. Tom then meets with a life coach who will help map out a strategy for the next 30 days and to open his conciousness, which means attending and participating in a number of New Age rituals.

After choosing a tarot card with his life coach, we see Tom engaging in all sorts of rituals in order for him to achieve some sort of spirituality. Some of the activities include attending a Spring Equinox Ritual where he has to "respect the circle" and to write 4 things on an egg. I have to admit the egg thing was eyebrow-raising. Misti thought it was rather weird too when Tom told her about it.

New Age is a big business. According to Morgan Spurlock, it brings in $50 billion a year in the U.S. alone, however the publisher of Skeptic magazine says it's all a crock. There definitely is quite a bit of skepticism around about these practices, but somebody is doing it from the looks of things! Tom engages in more rituals such as tribal dancing--the look on his face while others are dancing around like The Three Stooges was priceless!

After the dancing, Tom hurts his back and goes for acupuncture, which makes him feel a lot better. Misti notices the marks on his back after "cupping" and freaks out. She definitely is suspicious over this whole thing, and it is certainly affecting Tom.

Tom visits the life coach to talk about Misti's attitude, and later Misti goes with Tom to visit the coach. Tom wants to make sure that Misti isn't feeling jealous or thinking that Tom wants her out of his life. The visit to the tantric sex expert was funny, and both Tom and Misti looked extremely uncomfortable.

Eventually, Tom and Misti move to their own house, and along with the life coach, engage in a ritual of spreading salt and ringing bells along the perimeter of the house. (Imagine seeing a new neighbor doing that in front of your eyes! What would you think?)

After a couple of more rituals, Tom is beginning to accept that some of these practices can truly help him, and it looks like Misti is much more open to it, and even participates in a firewalking ritual with Tom. He now integrates some New Age practices into his everyday routine, and it seems he has become much calmer and more able to deal with life's stresses.

This wasn't a scintillating episode to say the least, but it was interesting to see how some of these New Age practices that I've only just heard about put into some sort of action. Would I personally engage in some of these rituals? Outside of the accupuncture and the firewalking (always wanted to try that!), I'm not too sure about the rest. But hey, if it helps you feel better about yourself, more power to you.

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John Smulo

I love this show, but this episode didn't grab me as deeply as previous shows. Perhaps this was because Tom (and even girlfriend Misti after a short period) didn't appear to have a difficult time living for 30 days exploring another lifestyle.

Previos episodes were more compelling because they involved people come from very different places seeking to understand where each other is coming from. The result was a greater depth of interaction.

Michael I also found it interesting to discover how big the business of New Age is. Morgan Spurlock's comment about Americans spending 50 billion dollars per year only covered alternative and complementary medicine spendings in the US. I wouldn't be surprised if the number doubled when all of the possible New Age commodities, such as books, seminars, etc. were included.

August 17 2006 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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