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She briefly returned to manage the horse farm, but soon moved to Manhattan to drive limousines — the first in a series of out-of-nowhere transitions. Sure, she had an artistic bent, wore tie-dyed clothing, and loved hanging out with musicians. She liked expensive restaurants; she wanted to own a boat and to travel. When the talk-show host began proselytizing about , Kirby took notice.She managed a restaurant, then a ceramic studio, then took a restaurant job in Lake Tahoe. She moved into a house overlooking the ocean, among the lavish hotels favored by celebrities and Fortune 500 CEOs. James Arthur Ray had Oprah’s imprimatur, and his ideas, combining quasi-scientific spirituality with promises of great wealth, appealed to Kirby.Eighteen others were hospitalized with burns and dehydration, kidney failure, breathing problems, and heat exhaustion.
There was a small, man-made lake called Lake Nirvana in her backyard and hunting grounds within walking distance.
She started a business in high-end interior decorating that led to a sense of stability she hadn’t known since high school. She was curious enough to attend his free, two-hour introductory course, where he claimed years of training with a Peruvian shaman.
But he wasn’t just a shaman or a mystic, he said; he was also pragmatic.
Stooping under the low ceiling, they crowded into the dark, windowless space and sat in two tight rings around a pit filled with heated stones.
Many had spent more than ,000 to be there, in what Ray called his “sweat lodge.” It culminated five days with the self-proclaimed “catalyst for personal transformation” at Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat, a ranch near Sedona, Arizona.