“Prepared with Love and Magic by House of Intuition” claimed the bottle of “Money Magic” bubble bath, half-empty and sitting on the edge of my almost-too-small-to-lie-in bathtub.
I had bought the bubble bath from a local Los Angeles boutique, House of Intuition (a self-described “metaphysical shop dedicated to helping people achieve healing, transformation, empowerment, and personal growth”), along with a space-cleansing powder called “Cascarilla” and a small, pretty bottle of calming Rose Water. At the register, I pushed my fiancé’s voice out of my head (“Money Magic bubble bath? Please tell me you’re joking”) and handed over my debit card.
Part of me always feels weird about mixing faith and finances by flat-out asking the universe for money, but my latest salary review left me desperate for change. A week before, I went into a one-on-one meeting with my executive editor, Jen, clutching clean, white pages of statistics and charts quantifying my accomplishments of the past year, along with well-researched analytics of the median salary for my job title and experience level.
Jen didn’t even try to conceal her condescending smirk-turned-chuckle when I presented my research and asked for an increase to my just-above-minimum-wage salary. “I can tell you no one in the industry is making that much,” she said dismissively. “Don’t get your hopes up.”
I nearly cried. I debated going home sick. I just knew I was worth more. Worth more than canceling lunch plans because my bank account balance was dangerously low. Worth more than stealing my neighbors’ spotty Wi-Fi in the days between bills due and my paycheck clearing. Worth more than eating a company-provided banana every morning for breakfast because I couldn’t afford my own groceries.
In that state of mind, I was powerless to resist the lean, inch-high letters beckoning me from the bottle’s label: PROSPERITY | ABUNDANCE | SUCCESS. A smaller sticker instructed me to:
Add water to a warm bath
Relax & enjoy
Lights off. Eyes closed. Candles lit. YouTube mediation music on repeat. As I sank into the hot, green suds, the water level rose, sending emerald waves sloshing over the side of the tub and rushing between the floor tiles. In my mind, I focused on my drained bank account and repeated a mantra in my head:
“I am worth never having to worry. I am worth never having to worry.”
I breathed in through my nose—inhale in the positive—out through my mouth in a whoosh of air—exhale the negative. In—the vaguely watermelon-scented air thick and hot—out. In—droplets of sweat and steam rolling down my face—out. Words, breath, and hot water lulled me into a dream world, neon colors moving against the back of my eyelids and bursting into balls of bright white light that shrunk and expanded with every inhale and exhale.
Ding! The sound of an incoming e-mail pulled me out of my trance, disoriented and panicked. My job at the time required 24/7 availability, making it nearly impossible to achieve full, total relaxation. Anticipating something that needed immediate attention, I snapped up, dried my hands on the closest towel, and grabbed my cell to slide open the message.
Message: Wanted you to know I haven’t forgotten about you and that raise we discussed. Mike will have final approval for us next week. So will have an update for you then.
I couldn’t help laughing out loud. 15 minutes in a financially-charged bathtub had prompted an “update” that I didn’t even know was coming. Something had changed Jen’s mind about giving me a raise, and, while I fully believe in the law of attraction, part of me knew that attributing a potential raise to a bubble bath was slightly ridiculous.
The bubble bath could just be a placebo—somewhere for me to place my faith, an object that I could assign power to. I mean, isn’t it easier to believe in the power of something outside of ourselves than to admit that the human mind might be capable of creating its own change?
The former Catholic schoolgirl in me likes this idea. It’s basically the new-age answer to transubstantiation—the portion of the Catholic mass when the priest prays over wafers and wine to “transform” them into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In actuality, the congregation is eating stale wafers and gulping cheap wine—yet they believe it’s been transformed, and that’s really all that matters.
The House of Intuition website includes a warning: “Our products are only meant to treat the spiritual causes of suffering.” Had I been suffering financially because my boss was a cheap asshole? Maybe. But maybe I was only suffering financially because I needed to unblock my root chakra and open my spirit to the possibility of financial success.