Money Madness

On Why I Do and Do Not Charge

Would you ever consider not enlisting the services of or think the following were a fraud if they called the work they do their calling or a gift, or, say, charged for it:

  • massage therapist
  • mechanic
  • podiatrist
  • pediatrician
  • photographer
  • pharmacist
  • herbalist
  • nail technician
  • hair stylist
  • maid
  • chef
  • florist
  • delivery service
  • veterinarian
  • grocery clerk
  • farmer
  • gardener
  • doctor
  • landscaper
  • painter
  • plumber
  • artist
  • musician
  • trainer
  • coach
  • therapist
  • dancer
  • hooker
  • preacher
  • teacher
  • doughnut maker
  • engineer
  • electrician
  • barista
  • bartender
  • seamstress
  • tailor
  • butcher
  • baker
  • candlestick maker

And, if you’re rolling your eyes because you don’t think any of the above have a ‘gift’, I call bullshit.  You pay more or drive farther to, say, get your hair done by the gifted girl who does your hair ‘just right’ and ‘gets’ you because you’ve met those who aren’t gifted. Same with the others. We’ve all had experiences learning the difference.  Heck, you also pay the preacher and tithe at least 10%, right?  However, I digress.

I got knicker-knotted last week when someone in the community essentially accosted a client of mine for choosing to work with me.  And, again (because it happens at least once a year) one of the arguments/derisions was, “Why would anyone who claims to have a gift charge?”  Well, now, let’s ponder that for just one hot second.  Could it possibly, maybe be that we also need to live?

Before our communities ‘advanced’ into their current state, those who do the work of shaman-healer were supported by their communities (and in other places in the world, still are).  People who relied on healers made sure they had homes, those homes were roofed, and the larders within stocked.  The healer’s role in the community was not merely a revered, mystical role but one that nurtured a symbiotic relationship to help ensure not just health but cohesion and communication for everyone.  There was a recognized symbiotic relationship. We do not live in those types of communities any more.

In fact, those in that role now are lucky to live in communities that actually believe in ‘the work’. So we pay for gas, food and other living stuff just like everyone else.  And, to do that, I work.  My gift is my work, more than it actually.  It is who I am. It is what I was born for and survived some of the most shitty stuff humans to do others humans for.  And, so I charge a fee.

Except when I don’t.

The other knotted-knicker issue arose last week when a friend said, “You just need to stop working for charity.”  And, my response–after I made sure she hadn’t grown two extra heads–was, “NO.”

All work I do for military service personnel (active and veteran) is for free always.  Many pay but I make it clear they do not have to. I do that because they are my tribe and I will do everything for them.

However, I have never, ever turned someone away because they cannot pay.  Three-quarters of the work I do, I do without charge and do so because how the universe works through me is for everyone (just sometimes not when they think they are ready for it) no matter color, religion, faith, bank account or lack thereof.

My work isn’t just valuable.  It is invaluable.  Within a single breath or a series of sessions, people move from wanting to put a bullet in their head to wanting to ‘really, really live’ and know exactly what that means for them.   Some forever walk and dance without pain or medication ever again.  Some sing with joy at learning a new way to see themselves and the world around them.  Some get to spend years longer with death-sentenced animals.  Some have an awakening experience that connects them to their god in a fashion that completely changes their life-path.  Some learn that they aren’t who they thought they were and then learn anew their purpose and passion.  Some realize that there was never anything wrong with them in the first place.

An interesting human lot we are.  Why the myth of martyrdom for those with ‘gifts’ is perpetuated is beyond me.  The Starving Artist or Monkish Mystic or the Pauper-Healer. We’ve become ‘advanced’ in other ways but not in this regard.  We still won’t hold them in much regard while they’re living but will saint ’em after they pop their clogs.  I’m convinced that it is one of the reasons the arts struggle to survive and alternative methods of healing will never be mainstreamed.

To say to anyone ‘you never pay for that kind of work’ does a couple of things: it diminishes the gifted nature of the work as well as the other types of work and it ignores the larger picture entirely. I’ve sarcastically written before, “What am I going to do? Send a Navajo god an invoice?”  Well, no. However, I’m not going to show up to a Navajo hand trembler or hatali without cash in hand.  To know I have the gift to heal people with a touch and some water, I paid $300. In the old days & ways, I’d have paid with a sheep or something else suitable. If I ever need a Yébîcha, I know to expect that’ll be about $10,000–that’d be a lot of sheep.

I’ve been excoriated for ‘advertising’ my spirituality or expecting an exchange by folks who claim a particular Cree way and, by others who have adopted the same way, I’ve learned through their teachers that, in addition to asking appropriately with tobacco and a blanket at the very least, you also show up with cash. All of this is to say that, historically speaking, whether one paid for services somehow related to spirit or Spirit, is culturally based.

I have tried to find a balance of being in service to others while living somewhat comfortably.  Most folks don’t know that I chose to become homeless two autumns ago so I could more easily follow my path & get to people who need me.  When I travel, I often sleep in my car.  That’s just the way it is has been. For a while, it was my way.  I tried to crowdfund when I appropriate and I actively reached out to those who can pay while seeking to work with those marginalized populations that can’t.

I’ve set some very clear boundaries lately that have made some folks uncomfortable. When medicine men have asked that I participate in ceremonies far away, I’ve said no.  When others, especially friends, have said, “Hey, could you…?”, I’ve asked them to consider some kind of exchange because I realized that some of my poverty is my own doing. I’ve chosen to work with anyone, no matter their bank account or lack thereof. I’ve chosen to remain afraid of asking for financial help. I’ve judged those whose work creates vast monetary wealth for them. I’ve judged myself as being wrong, not doing things ‘the right way’, being ‘at fault’ or otherwise ashamed of needing or asking for help. My boundaries have shifted to reflect that I must be sustained for the value and growth of the work to be sustained. I think the language created around the fees for healing is reasonable and the fees for things outside the ‘healing’ are not ‘what the market will bear’ but are fair.

And, I’ll still do free work. For military service personnel, all the time. For those upon whose front door I knock because their Great Uncle Walks on Water sent me, always.

Our current culture does not support the shaman-healer in the way former communities were structured and taught to do. Those of us of this gifted way  of being either need to be supported in that ‘old way’ or in the ‘new way’. That includes recognizing our own responsibility in shaping things so that can happen.

And, for fuck’s sake, tip your waiter.  Money matters and money manners.

 

 

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Traveling Lightly to the Blackfeet Nation

Traveling Light has officially begun. Helena, Montana the aim.   It was merely the first stop in Big Sky Country but it’s still two thousand four hundred and ninety-eight miles from home.  The urgency was such to get here that I drove the whole thing just under three days as soon as I had enough money to make it.  Until now, I’ve felt the need to keep my reasons for Montana being the first bit of the Traveling Light adventure close to my chest.  I needed to protect one person’s anonymity, to evaluate the calling to engage with a particular organization and its place on the planet, and to keep looky-loos, nosey Nancies & hokey healers from creating interference for the ultimate reason I’m here.

Although this apparent connection to Montana began the morning of January 12 this year, it really began for me in May 2008.  On a date I can’t quite remember, I had my first vision as an adult (I talked a little about the childhood one here). In a period of time where I felt physically threatened and unsafe on a multitude of levels, two years before the healing gift and work with spirit as I know it now began, this trip to Montana truly began.  While driving to a therapist appointment of all things, a male Native American face appeared before me on my left for several minutes. His visage was stern and ferociously protective and, in that moment, I felt safer than I had in months.  He didn’t say a word but didn’t need to for me to know his presence wasn’t a figure of my imagination or stress-response to a threat.  I later thought (or hoped, maybe) that I could find who he was in the historical record.  I could not, though, discern who it was at the time. I did, though, find my protector on the afternoon of January 12, 2014, as I tried to put the pieces of this mystery together. Complete with the hat I saw him wearing was this man: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aatsista-Mahkan.

Not entirely unlike the vision that led me to Connecticut, this calling (and connection to 2008) began with a non-mystical or -metaphorical call as I was making this year’s first trip across the country  helping my best friend move from New Joisey to Seattle.  A person, another healer dude, reached out for help on January 10.  Our initial interactions were first limited to texting and the decision on both our parts that in-person work was necessary.   However, on Sunday the 12th, things changed course with a remote session to address an immediate need.

During that couple of hours I was ‘plugged into’ this other sensitive soul, the sensations that flooded through me opened the avenues that took me to Helena, Feathered Pipe Ranch, and, now to the heart of the Blackfeet Nation.  The lovely man, another super-sensitive empath, who initiated the rolling-across-the-country-in-a-blizzard-of-blowing-snow was being directly effected by an energy mass that was ground-based but human-related (and, y’all, you don’t have to believe it for it to be true). They spoke (by not speaking, actually) clearly enough for me to know without any other information exactly who and where they were and why I was reached in the wild way I was.  And, one of their brothers settled in beside me.  Although I didn’t know who he was at the moment of contact–it was hard to miss him getting comfortable as he sat down beside me.  An hour or so later, I learned that he was Pat Kennedy, a Cree elder with distinct connections to the Feathered Pipe, the healer I was connecting with, and the Blackfeet Nation.  My discomfort in the travels of the past couple of weeks has been mitigated by knowing he has not left my side since that day.

Part of an article from the January 27, 2014 Great Falls Tribune will fill in part of the blank:

On the morning of Jan. 23, 1870, a combined force of 347 U.S. Army regulars and civilian volunteers attacked the winter camp of Chief Heavy Runner. The operation’s commander, Col. Eugene Baker, had been ordered to find a different band of Blackfeet, led by Mountain Chief, to “strike them hard” and to arrest five Piegan warriors wanted for murder.

Baker’s scout told the commander he had the wrong camp, but it made no difference. His men had made a hard four-day march in subzero temperatures and were ready for blood…

Baker’s official report listed 173 Blackfeet killed and 140 captured. Other witnesses placed the number of dead closer to 220, the vast majority being old men, women and children, many sick with small pox.

After the killing was over, the soldiers burned the tribe’s belongings, then left the survivors behind with a small supply of Army hardtack and bacon.

More Blackfeet died in the following days, either succumbing to their injuries or freezing to death in the bitter cold.“It was our 9/11,” said Mike LaFromboise, culture/language chairman for Blackfeet Community College. “It’s the same traumatic experience we experienced today as they did back then.”

So, 144 years later I am in Browning, Montana, in the Going to the Sun Inn not-so-eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s 40+ mph winds and the blowing snow that slashes at your face in the same.  I’m going to go to the place where I’ve actually been called for quite some time and I’m going to listen to their hearts.

Any time I have any doubt about why I am where I am, I’m reminded to stay the course in some fashion.  In Saturday’s sweat, that was the message—“Patience.  Stay the Course.”  Sometimes, though, when I feel alone in all this or I think things are quite clear enough, I get pissed.  Royally so.  Yesterday, while frightened about what laid ahead and experiencing emotions not entirely my own, I yelled at the rafters (seriously, the rafters), “”SHOW ME!! Just fucking show me something I can understand!!!” Then I got in the car and drove the three hours from Helena to Browning. And, no, the rafters didn’t respond.

And while I moved up the highway, riding parallel to the Rocky Mountains majesty, I wept. I wept a lot.  I cried for me because I’ve no  idea what this is about, only that I must.  I cried because I don’t understand why I’m not frightened when by all measures of grown-up sanity, I should be quaking in my boots. I cried some more for me–what the fuck is happening in my world, why am I going, what if I’m wrong, how can I be wrong, why do I have to do this alone?  I cried for those who no longer can cry for themselves or others.  I cried for those who have been beating the drum in my heart.  I cried for a healer who is afraid to reclaim his power & is holding onto fear like a lifeline.  For a people  I’ve never known but always known.  And, over and over again I said out loud: “I’m coming.  I’m coming. I love you. I’m coming” to no one and everyone in particular.

The tears only lasted 30 miles or so.   When a reassuring hand laid on my head (Pat’s, I like to think) and I no longer felt alone and anguish morphed to stillness, the sobbing subsided.  Three hours later I landed in Browning, the home of the Blackfeet reservation.  I  made a stop at the local community college’s library, got the data I needed and asked for a cheap place to stay.

There’s not much of a seque here but I need to backtrack a month to January 18.  I had an appointment with a friend who ‘just knows’ in a way I highly respect.  (Simon‘s a cool dude who works the magic and plays with spirit in his own unique way.  You might want to check him out.).   He, without having any information beforehand, confirmed everything I’ve written above and also told me to be on the look out for a dude with a scar across his face.  He described the scar in detail.  Guess who is the proprietor at the warm & toasty Going to the Sun Inn?  Ayup–the man with the scar.  I asked to be shown.  I was.

And, I’m here.  Maybe to do nothing in particular.  Maybe to do something specific.  I don’t know.  They only thing I do know is that they called and I came.  So tomorrow, I head 60 miles east if Mother Nature will open the way and I will respond to their call.  Lao Tzu reportedly said, “loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  It is this love, the deepest, the love for which there is no real emotional definition in the way we think we know it,  the kind that needs no other explanation and requires no return that has given me the courage to come this far.  To them and theirs that have come before and after:  I’ve come.  I love you.

I am Healer, Mystic & Gun Owner

The nature of this post has changed a bit since I first decided to write it in light of  Newtown, Connecticut.  At this point, I’m not sure what the impetus was (something about human desperation) but in light of personal interactions since the shooting, I’ve felt the need to let this morph into something both personal and political.  Bear with me as I try to make my points without rambling.  To me the thoughts behind them and resultant ideas here are intimately connected but I may not be able to articulate them as such.  I am intentionally not going to address the 2nd Amendment in this post.  My interpretation of it is literal but, in my opinion, bears no relevance here.  Later, possibly.  Now, no.

I am a healer, a mystic and part of our gun culture.  In my opinion, we all are in this country whether we own & use guns or choose not to do so.  In my case, I own and use.  I have two silent sentries, that until I apply a determined, measured squeeze, remain quietly in their respective spaces.

I have found it very interesting (and sometimes unnerving) the responses I get when initiating discussion about gun issues.  Friday evening, while discussing Sandy Hook, I was told through spittle and ire, “I’m not going to argue with you!”  I’ve been told I can’t possibly be a healer or I need to decide which side of the fence I want to be one–healer or destroyer.  Each time I’ve had a response along this vein, it has come from people who don’t know me and think that I should fit into their blueprint of how & who I should be: either in terms of healer or gun owner–not a multi-faceted person whose variety of life experiences have led to unique choices.   The implication from my end is two-fold. First, that because I’ve (we’ve) been pre-defined, anything that doesn’t fit said definition is dichotomous to who I’m (we’re) supposed to be. Second, because it doesn’t ‘fit’, any options or life-choices are not ‘right’ or ‘valid’ and that must be communicated loudly, with scorn and derision.

Thus my first point of this post:   Judge not. You don’t know me.  And, because this goes beyond an individual experience, you don’t know others or how they have come to their own conclusions about life and why they choose to move through the world the way they do.

Here is how I can be a life- and world-changing healer who is proficient in firearms use:

Before this healing gift landed in my lap I was a civilian law enforcement consultant and before that a kick-ass probation officer, criminal justice shit-pot stirrer, social programs developer.  My areas of expertise included community capacity development, gang intervention, the mentally ill in the community and criminal justice system & corrections, and community supervision of sexual offenders.  I learned to shoot not to fulfill duties of the job.  I learned to shoot long before I entered that career for reasons deeper than that.  As a child, I spent a lot of my time worried about my physical safety.  As an adult, I realized that I could take control of that so I learned guns.  I learned proficiency with said weapons, though,  for an entirely different reason.  As a female in the male-dominated world of law enforcement, I felt the only way I could gain a measure of respect and be accepted for my skills rather than my tits, was to out-think, out-drink, out-run and out-gun my male colleagues.  And, although I’d like to think that self-confidence, intellect, empathy, grace & occasional goofiness had something to do with how I moved through that community, in large part, my skills with a weapon (and my capacity to to change situations so weapons were not necessary) led to my success there.

My comfort level with guns is one of the factors that helps me plan my trip to central Africa next year.  While I move through the DRC, Uganda, potentially both Sudans, and Rwanda, I will be responsible for my own safety.  And, if needed, my weapons will be used to protect my life and those of others.  With deadly intent and accuracy for my plan is to come home.

If you only knew me in that context, with only that information, how would you judge my decisions regarding firearms use and ownership?   Would that change how you communicated your thoughts and opinions with me?  Would that create the opportunity for and willingness to listen openly, respond measuredly through your own life lens?  Does my opinion become more or less valid?  Does it validate your own?  Would you ask questions or merely attempt to shut me down?

My second point:

One of the things that has struck me most in the follow-up of the Sandy Hook murders is our unwillingness to engage in dialogue with others. Whether it’s my own interactions immediately after the shooting where someone said with disdain & spittle, “I’m just not going to argue with you”, watching couples I know skip simple differences of opinion to move directly into “I’m right” mode or seeing via media the insta-experts appear ad nauseum in full argumentative armor.  It seems to me that we (yes, I’m using a large brush here) don’t want to discuss, share or learn.  We want to be ‘right’, correct in all manner and expect that our views be the ones others hold in esteem.  Even before Newtown, I’d noticed more intolerance of others views in things spiritual, food, non-profits, celebrity, and other things of arguable importance.  It’s as if, even in the littlest of things, we are so hell-bent on being validated that we can’t see how we denigrate others or choose to do so intentionally.   Instead of , “So, can you tell me what you mean by that” or “What inspires that conclusion” we revert to “It’s a fact”.  Superiority and hostility or coy cynicism seem to have supplanted humility and openness.

I think that before there can be significant change in our culture–particularly in relation to something that appears to be so divisive as our relationships with guns–there must be a willingness to share opinions respectfully, in a way that engages individuals and larger communities.  I feel that can only happen if we are willing to acknowledge that our experience of the world is our own, and that while we may share it a bit with others, their experience is their own and no less valuable.

Does the fact that I own and know how to use guns make me less of a healer?  I don’t think so.  Does my willingness to use a gun or any weapon limit my humanity?  I don’t think so. Do I believe your opinion about gun ownership (or health care, abortion, GMOs, style of dress, sexuality, cooking, football, civil rights, etc) or use limits either of us?  No.  It’s just an opinion.  I don’t take yours personally.  I appreciate it and you.  I believe the derision of those people with whom you don’t agree, however, does limit all of us.

A Baby’s Hug

A Lesson on Judgement, Openness and Love sent by a friend via email and I thought it worth sharing!!  Thanks, Jackie!

We were the only family with children in the restaurant.

I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, ‘Hi.’ He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

 

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment.

It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes.

His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed.

His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.

We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

‘Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,’ the man said to Erik.

 

My husband and I exchanged looks, ‘What do we do?’

 

Erik continued to laugh and answer, ‘Hi.’

 

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, ‘Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.’

 

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed.

We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

 

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot.

The old man sat poised between me and the door.

‘Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,’ I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s ‘pick-me-up’ position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.

 

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes.

His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.

 

I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice,

‘You take care of this baby.’

 

Somehow I managed, ‘I will,’ from a throat that contained a stone.

 

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain.

I received my baby, and the man said, ‘God bless you, ma’am, you’ve given me my Christmas gift.’

 

I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, ‘My God, my God, forgive me.’

 

I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul,

and a mother who saw a suit of clothes.

 

I was a Christian who was blind,

holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking,

‘Are you willing to share your son for a moment?’

when He shared His for all eternity.

 

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me,

‘To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.’

 

Inspired by a new friend and following through

Funny how the electronic age and all of it’s twits, tweets, Faces and other gizmos, whatzits, and widgets have helped morph my definition of ‘friend’.   A couple of weeks ago, I ‘met’ a woman named Shea McGuir (follow her here because she’s just that cool–@happybranding).  What’s followed is an e-conversation inspired by a few questions she posed to me.  With her permission, I’ve included parts of our conversation here for a couple of reasons.  One, she asks what others don’t and the answers may help explain things for them.  And, two, Shea’s asking of just a few questions has inspired a bit of writing that I’d not had recently. Heck, I’d not had at all.  Her inspiration has led me to do something really whacky like take my own advice and do the same homework assignment I give others: Write.  Period. Just write.  Whuddathunkit?

Shea: Hi Ingrid. I just peeked at your website and am very curious about your gift! When did you discover this? Is it energy work? Psychic? Did you have a Kundalini awakening? A lightning bolt?

My first response (w/ some editing):  This week got a little nutty toward the end and making time to type just didn’t happen!  So, I’m not quite sure where to begin w/ all of this.  On that note, I’m just going to let the fingers flow and if it starts to wander, I promise it will connect back!

Anywho–you asked about a Kundalini awakening.  I’m not sure if you can call it that primarily because there are so many explanations of the experience that I’m not sure where, or, if, I fit into that. And, to top it all off, I’ve not adhered to a ‘practice’ of any kind.  Ever.  What has come to the forefront for me in terms of ‘healing’ or ‘lightworking’ or however you want to define it wasn’t in my realm of experience at all until very recently.  Eighteen months ago tops.  In fact, until only a few months ago, it wasn’t a conscious exercise at all.  That changed with my first interaction w/ Panache Desai (google him & you’ll hit his website).
Getting to him, though, and connecting to what I call the Gift began when I was a kid.  I just didn’t know it.   I’ve been an empath all my life.  Something I knew-sorta- but didn’t know how to communicate with others.  In addition to living w/ childhood psychic abilities I lived with a very brutal mother.  I was physically, mentally, and emotionally brutalized until I went to college at 17.   My first suicide attempt was as a toddler.  And several occurred after that as I grew up.  Obviously, though, I’m still here.  I also experienced a series of six car wrecks that should have put my bod in the ground.  And, yet here I am.   I began questioning sometime in that whole mess o’ crap why I was here.  I’d scream, cry “Why I am here?!”  “What the fuck are you doing this to me for?!”  But just kept plugging along. And, at each crisis would ask the same thing but life went on.  I graduated finally, began work in the mental health field, transitioned to criminal/juvenile justice, partied hard, worked harder, and then got married.
The marriage was the catalyst for the current path.  You know how folks complain about their partner changing once they got married?  That happened to me. A 180 degree turn in personality, behavior, etc on the part of the hubs.  The short version of that is that I knew I had to leave w/in a year of getting married but didn’t for 2.5 more.  My leaving was part conscious decision and part a push from something outside of me. I didn’t connect to it at the time but that’s how it played out.  When I left, I came to VA putting 1700 miles between me and the now ex.  What occurred after was the creation of a fairly clear path for me that, somehow, I knew to pay attention to.  Again, I’ve no background in spiritual anything but just ‘knew’ to pay attention.  The synchronicities around me were just blatant.  Everything from people I met to a ‘for rent’ sign in just the right place to…you name it, it happened.
I also began experiencing very odd intuitive things that were particularly acute when related to my physical safety.  For instance, I was driving a friend to a doctor’s appointment one day and just got this very strange sensation that the ex was coming after me.  Out of the blue, I just ‘knew’.  I called a couple of friends and asked for some clarification to make sure I wasn’t just making it up and the confirmed it (one a psychic and one the neighbor who was to watch his cat while he was out of town!).  Odd, no?  Other stuff like that but not nearly as dramatic.  Visits in the night  from what others might call spirits, poltergeist activity (for a few weeks, my bed would shake me awake in the morning.  Not in the TV/Movie violent way but in a gentle, “Hey, get your booty moving” kind of way.)  I had strange physical things occur that might otherwise be related to disease or mental illness but I just knew they weren’t–what appeared to be anxiety/panic attacks, mystery pains, a couple of instances of what a MH clinician would call dissociation where, while awake, I (or components of me) separated from myself (an odd way to have a dinner out!!), etc.
When I finally settled here into my first home, I went to the local metaphysical shop and asked the owner if he knew person who did readings and he referred me to a woman who gave me my first reiki session.  During that session, all sorts of things happened. I levitated, she clearly sensed and then saw St. Michael (who I’ve always associated w/ because he’s the protector for those in law enforcement (a community I worked w/ very closely for many years) and Kwan Yin with me.  At the time, I didn’t know really who that was. I mean, I’d obviously heard of her but didn’t know anything about her.  Anyhow, Patricia asked me after the session how I felt.  I just looked at her and said, “I think you just woke me up!”  And, I had no idea what I even meant.   Afterwards,  my vision changed.  Notsomuch physically but deeper than that.  I just ‘saw’ differently.  And the other stuff continued in very odd ways.  I have to add that during all of this I was never afraid.  Fear didn’t even enter my mind.
At the time I was doing intensive in-home mental health work for a local for-profit agency and also ‘just knew’ when I was going to get canned.  I was in a position to use the court system to get a local department of human services to act for a child’s welfare and my bosses didn’t like the political repercussions.  So, I got sacked.  I got fired and found myself doing the “Now what the hell am I doing?”
When you’ve got nothing but time on your hands, a lot of strange things can happen.  Mine strangeness just was more extraordinarily odd than others, I think.  At one point, while laying on the couch doing the dozing in front of the TV thing, I got a ‘ping’ at the crown of my head.  Seriously.  Like an invisible someone gently (well, not really) hit my skull.  Right at the sweet spot.
Then, somehow, a book called Quantum Touch ended up on my desk.  I mean, I had to have ordered it.  I know that.  However, I don’t know why I’d have been interested in that at all.  Again, nowhere on my radar, really.  Then, interested enough, I signed up for a class.  I bitched and moaned the entire time.  I was unemployed, how the heck was I going to cover the $250, what the hell was I wasting my Saturday for…  Silly me.    Within 10 mins I ‘got it’. Within one class, I knew that ‘modality’ and ‘rules of engagement’ didn’t apply to me, too.  I ‘just knew’.  And, I started playing w/ the energy.  Healing the dog. Working on a friend’s torn rotator cuffs and other odd stuff w/ miraculous results.  Eventually word of mouth had others trickle in to me.  Those on a similar path in many respects and those w/ physical/mental health issues.  And they’d attempt to explain to me their experiences but couldn’t.  I had no frame of reference until this summer when I went to see Panache.  Similar to the book incident, I’ve no idea how he hit my radar but he did.  I knew that I needed him as much as I needed air. I ‘just knew’.  I drove like a bat out of hell for 14 hrs, saw him, turned around and came home.  What happened in the few minutes of contact w/ him was the ‘taste of my own medicine’ that taught me what I’m to do, showed me the importance and responsibility connected to it.
And, there you have it!  There’s more to it, really, but so much of this is ‘that for which there are no words’.
Recently, the energies flowing in and around me have begun to intensify significantly.  I shimmer when still, feel as if levitating, become ‘formless’ (I don’t know how else to explain it!), become paralyzed (wrong word, but again, don’t know how else to describe it), spontaneous stuff that occurs during sessions w/ people.  I’ve had the opportunity for a second person to sit in on individual sessions and observe.  During it, I ‘disappear’–become nothing more than bright light.  When I’m really still and go to what I call ‘no think’, I sense it happening as well.  Odd, indeed.   That coupled with the things that I say that I’m pretty sure aren’t of me (either that or they are latent w/in me and just wait for the opportunity to slip out!) seem to have me in the unlikely role of spiritual healer and teacher (although the ‘spiritual’ bit of that sometimes irks me!)
So, that’s how all this came about.  Or, at least the best way I can explain it.  At this point, I just bumble along thru it and try to maneuver through both worlds w/ something that resembles gracefulness.   I’m expecting to hear, “We’ve been waiting for you” at some point (although, I do hear it in my head every now and again).
Not sure what this is really all about or why.  I’m just riding it to see what happens and trying to get this magical,  mysterious thing out of the ‘woo-woo’ world and into the mainstream!
Thanks for asking me to tell you about.  This is the first time I’ve really ever put it into words before.  It’s strange reading it back to myself.  If you don’t mind, I might add to this to sort of fill in the blanks for myself.  If I were disciplined at all, I’d keep writing in the journal but…what can I say!  I’m grateful for the opportunity this provided.
Shea: But wow. Your story is crazy. I know you said you didn’t feel any fear, but what an experience… Trying to decipher this stuff as it’s happening? And trying to figure that stuff out mostly by yourself? No wonder you were like, “why are you doing this to me!” Crap, sister! I looked up Quantum Touch. Is this the approach that you’ve been using? Do people come to you with specific problems? And, can you sense/see/feel the difference between the presenting symptoms and the root cause? Maybe that question is too head-oriented. I’m just curious. Do you get words or other information to go with your physical experience of doing work on people?
Me: Quantum Touch was just the class I took.  I got really, uber-annoyed when after the class we were informed that we couldn’t call ourselves Quantum Touch practitioners until we’d taken one other course (really, a series of) to the tune of over $1K.  That, and, during the class I realized that their ‘rules of engagement’ were bogus.  I mean, other people may ‘have’ to breathe in a specific pattern, etc, but that kind of stuff didn’t apply to me. It was one of those ‘just knowing’ things.  So, I just bagged it and started playing w/ it. 

I mean, I’d like to learn new things, but paying out the ass to do so just doesn’t make sense.  I mean,  folks want hundreds and thousands of dollars.  At one level, I get it.  I mean, I’ve chosen this as my means of income, too. But, really, it ain’t all that special.  Nifty, awe-inspiring, Awe-some, magical, miraculous, moving, transformational, and all that is Divine but it’s my belief that everyone (and I mean everyone) has access to this and can do it.  If that’s the case, setting ourselves above everyone else (in part, by charging so much), we’ve missed the entire message.
As to the ‘fear/figuring it out’, I know this is going to sound ‘tarded but…I really am not afraid.  Even the rather disconcerting moments are only just that. I just pay attention and watch (sometimes that’s not the right word!)  I think, again in part, that I’ve not been afraid in this process because I don’t feel the need to figure it out.  On the way to finding the path, at one point I had to just surrender–it was ugly and not directly related to this (or maybe it was).  That surrendering led to the recognition that everything really ‘just is’.  Trying to figure it out, define it, label it, make it try to fit in mine or others’ little ‘boxes of life’ just wasn’t going to work.  That said, I do have to say that there isn’t some level of curiosity:  why me?  why am I to do ‘this’?  What’s my larger role or significance in the world?  I have no freakin’ idea and, so far, no one else has been able to tell me. I’ve got enough on my plate trying to do what I call the ‘real world’ stuff like bring in some income, navigate moving in w/ the honey and his adult daughter, and keeping wood chopped so my feet don’t freeze!  🙂
As to the folks that come, they kind of fit into three categories:  one group is experiencing something uncomfortable physically–chronic/acute pain, diagnosis of disease, wanting to avoid or have something conjunctive with modern, Western medicine;  a second group comprises those experiencing mental health/emotional issues–chronic/acute, wanting to avoid meds/traditional therapy, or have something to work with the last two.  The third, and most interesting, is those who just show up.  Nothing in particular is bothering them, they just know they need to come.  Some don’t even know why but they’re drawn like a moth to a flame.
And, yes, I can sense the differences b/n presenting and root. In fact, given the moment to do so, clients can, too! Generally, though, we don’t even go there because I’m of the belief that despite one may be experiencing a crappy time of it, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with you.  Whatever ‘it’ is, is often released either spontaneously or over the course of a short period of time.  Physical and emotional ‘healing’ is often the most tangible, palpable, experience but…insert drumroll…the shifting and transformation that occurs within that is freakin’ amazing!  Forget shingles disappearing, knee cartilage regenerating, fibromyalgia and addictions disappearing.  That’s all neat and fine, but I can only describe it as people experiencing life differently.  For whatever reason and somehow, they become more open to ‘the good stuff’.  Life changes so ridiculously spectacularly!  Sometimes spontaneously, sometimes gradually but…Yeah, I don’t know how else to describe it!  Pretty cool, indeed!    For everyone, I sometimes get ‘messages’ to share, sometimes not.  Sometimes I’m ‘chatty Cathy’, sometimes not.  Sometimes it’s ‘me’ speaking, sometimes not (although I wonder of late how much what other people call me ‘channeling’ some Master (just plain ol’, regular dead dudes in my book) is really something just latent in me that I didn’t know about.  Either way,  I’ve learned not have any expectations whether with individuals or in a group.
If you don’t mind too much, I’d like to include our email exchange in my FB notes and in my blog.  A lot of people ask similar questions but not in the engaging way you do.  For some reason, this exchange with you has really allowed me to communicate a lot that goes on w/ me in a way I’ve not been comfortable doing before.  What do you think?  Is it okay if I use your name?
More later!  Really, I do hope so!  I’d like to learn how you got into this ‘magical mystery tour’ yourself, who you work with, and some of your experiences!

What do I do?

My boyfriend’s daughter asked him this past weekend what I do. As in what’s it called. Her mother apparently mentioned that it should be called something. As happens a lot of late, I said, “I dunno, really.” Not that I don’t sometimes think the same thing. That ‘it’ should be given a title so that people understand what I do in a word or phrase. Doctor, accounts manager, hedge fund analyst, therapist and the like. We ‘get’ those things.

I generally call myself a healer but that isn’t quite it because it is SO much more. I sometimes call myself a catalyst but that only seems to make sense to me, not others. I might consider calling myself a Transformer if it didn’t bring to mind robotic machines of the same name. Others call me healer, guide, teacher, counselor, coach, channeler, mystic, magic. I just really, honestly, don’t know what this should be called.

I often feel whenever we try to pigeon-hole this Gift with a specific title it’s enormity is lost. I’m not one to trademark it as others have. I find that rather annoying. Although it’s the most amazing, awesome, awe-inspiring, moving, transformational miracle-making, magical, mystical, WOOOOHOOOOOO experience, it really isn’t all that special. It just is.

I just do what I do. Or, rather, I’m a vehicle that something else works through and does through me. I breathe, get mySelf out of the way, and let the God/Source/Universe-thing works its wondrous-ness!

In the same manner that I don’t have a pretty certificate, the Universal HR manager hasn’t given this a nifty job title. There’s not job description except to ‘just do’.

And so I do.