The eponymous bestseller cum blockbuster certainly tapped into the zeitgeist of a generation of women who want to have their chakras aligned and eat cheesecake too. But everybody – men included ‘ are trying to find meaning and purpose to this journey. If you want to take the Julia Roberts route, Trinidad is, surprisingly, a very good place to eat, pray and, if the Gods smile on you, love.
For sure the food part is covered. Putting on 30lbs is no biggie here. Italian fare is readily available ‘ from pizzas to penne pastas; as well as Indian, Chinese, Creole, Arabic, Mediterranean, Jamaican, Thai, Japanese, Mongolian, French, Caribbean, fusion. The only problem may be in getting rid of said extra 30 lbs’.
Trinidad’s spiritual landscape is a mish-mash of ideas and beliefs, many with ancient roots, such as Yoruba worship of ancestral spirits, and Eastern yogic meditation. Finding a guru, shaman, imam, pundit, pastor, sadhu, yogi or psychic is as easy as finding a hairdresser or masseur. In fact, PURE Holistic Health & Beauty Spa offers both!
So, get this, you can have a Psycho-Astro Introduction Consultation, an Indian head massage, a facial, and a haircut from the inimitable Clem Lue Yat. You can also get your chakra balanced or your third eye opened. The Psycho-Astro reading is a real mind trip. Sonia Roach-Duncan, former Marie Claire columnist, takes your birth chart, asks a few questions, and then totally freaks you out by telling you intimate stuff you hoped no one would ever find out.
Depending on your spiritual quest, you can find someone to help you locate the path to enlightenment. Nothing will make you sweat toxins out like holding the lotus headstand for an interminable two minutes.
Rastafari has also found a home here. In addition to Twelve Tribes dances and Nyabinghi drumming sessions, another sect of Rastas, the Bobo Shanti, has a commune in Maracas, St Joseph. You will notice many followers, their locks wrapped in turbans, selling nuts on the east-west highway.
While there are no known ashrams, Hindu mandirs and temples abound, as well as many mosques and churches. T&T can contend with Jamaica for the world record for number of churches per square mile: the last decade has seen a miraculous growth in ‘small churches’ run by evangelical pastors backed by a full orchestra playing the latest gospel music, including dancehall and Soca numbers.
Hmm, it’s a tough market here too, really where isn’t. The difference in Trinidad maybe the chance to open one’s mind and allowing oneself to learn and accept other races and religions. Perhaps it really boils down to primarily loving oneself. The eating and praying could potentially bring personal clarity, thereby realising that love is possible; only if one is willing to do the ground work.