When I first started Mother Earth Medicine, I was at loss as to how to get clients, so I went to see one of my teachers for guidance.
He closed his eyes and started reading my energy. About 5 seconds later, he opened his eyes. “Have you tried talking to people about what you do?” He asked.
I hadn’t. I hadn’t really told anyone about my new practice, because I was afraid of what they would think.
You see, I hadn’t fully “come out of the closet” as a psychic.
Even now I still get self-conscious from time to time when I am with people who don’t know me and someone asks what I do for a living. It’s harder than you’d think to look someone in the eye and say to them “I’m a psychic.”
Obviously, how hard it is for me depends on the person I am talking to. Some people think it’s a legitimate profession, and some people even think it’s interesting or cool. There are, however, a lot of people out there who react in not-so-affirming ways. I get a lot of weird looks, side long glances and even snide comments. Then there are the psychic jokes. Don’t even get me started on the psychic jokes…
Our culture frowns upon psychics and all other things “woo-woo”. (Even the term, “woo-woo”, often invoked (even by myself) to describe someone or something that is connected to spirituality, energy and the unseen world, is pretty pejorative.)
We have all been fed the stereotype of the totally whacky, crazy new-age person who is completely out of touch reality and just plain ridiculous. Furthermore, society tells us that anything that has to do with energy is just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
Thankfully, certain energy-healing practices have slipped through the cracks and made it into the mainstream. Acupuncture is one example. Yoga is another. Psychics, however, are still way out there on the fringe, and to mention such a thing, in public, with any seriousness, conjures up a whole lot of negative connotations.
As an interesting (I hope) aside, I have a lot of clients who don’t tell anyone that they see a psychic. It’s kind of fascinating to me. They too, are worried about what others would think of them if they knew.
I totally understand where these clients are coming from, and I support their choice to keep it on the down-low. However, I do think it’s interesting that there are a bunch of people out there in the world who are “woo-woo” and keep it in the closet. I didn’t realize this was going on until I started my practice.
Now I know that I can get a little over-zealous with the conspiracy theories sometimes, but I can’t help but wonder if the stigma our culture has around being “woo-woo” is actually a form of systemic oppression. High quality energy work in any form liberates and heals us, brings us into our power and helps us to wake up. If being “woo-woo” (I just don’t have another term for it) was something that was actually supported in our culture, imagine what kind of society we would live in!
Anyhoo, I have been “out” as a psychic for a while now, and even though I still cringe sometimes when someone asks me what I do for a living, I am learning to take it all in stride.
In fact, once I decided to come “out” as a psychic, I realized that I had an opportunity to make real a commitment to being myself and to living from my deepest truth, despite what society may think. Making this commitment has turned out to be one of the most powerfully healing and transformative things that I have ever done for myself.
Of course, when we live from the deep truth of who we are, we will almost certainly have to live outside of the box of convention and let go of the need to be “normal”. We will have to let go of our need for approval. We will have to be willing to be true to ourselves, even when it means going against the grain.
I have discovered that life requires this of us, least our souls suffocate. It can be challenging, for sure, but it’s absolutely worth it. Why? Because being ourselves is the main ingredient for a meaningful life.
Being who we really are is even possibly the the very meaning of life itself.
Maybe being ourselves means becoming a psychic, or doing something else that society deems unworthy or strange. However, no matter what we end up doing or looking like, we certainly end up feeling satisfied, inspired and deeply alive.
When we live in this way, we also inspire others.
As life coach and comedian JP Sears puts it; “I guarantee, nobody has ever inspired other people by excelling at normalcy.”
I will admit that, during some of the more challenging moments in my career, I have thought to myself- “maybe I should just quit all of this craziness and go get a normal job.” Then I picture myself behind a desk in an office somewhere, with a 401K and paid vacation, and I get incredibly depressed and even slightly nauseated.
Why? Because that’s not me. It’s just not. Putting me in an office would be like trying to stuff a guitar down a bathtub drain. (That’s a very weird analogy, but it’s the only one I could think of).
However, for me, the biggest challenge in all of this hasn’t been making the commitment to live from my truth, or letting go of the need to be “normal”. That was a pretty easy sell, honestly. My real challenge has been, and continues to be, figuring out exactly how one goes about executing that commitment.
I am still figuring this one out, and maybe I will be for the rest of my life, but I would like to share what I’ve learned so far:
One of the things that I’ve discovered is that living from my deep truth is really about maintaining healthy boundaries.
Many of us think of healthy boundaries as the ability to say “no” to things that are not right for us. This is certainly part of the equation. However, we can take it a step further and see that to really live from deep truth requires saying no when our answer is no, but also requires saying yes when our answer is yes. When we do this, we develop an internal locus of control. This is what actually defines healthy boundaries. It’s a sense that we are the captains of our own ships, if you will.
When I am the one steering my ship, then I can unapologetically bring myself to the world.
In addition to this internal locus of control (a.k.a. healthy boundaries), I have realized that I must also develop a sense of personal value.
If we subconsciously (or consciously) believe that we are worthless, or that our value is only based on what we produce or what we do or who we become, then we will be hard-pressed to assert and live from the truth of who we are. We must learn, know and believe that our value is intrinsic in who we are, and that we don’t have to produce or do or be anything in order to be worthwhile. Our value is inherit in our existence, period.
Once we understand this, we can relax into who we really are and know that we don’t need anyone else to approve of us.
For many of us, myself included, both healthy boundaries and this sense of inherent value fly in the face of what we have been programmed to believe.
That’s where spiritual practice comes in.
Spiritual practices of all kinds offer us mindfulness and inner listening as tools that allow us to dismantle this harmful programming and find another way.
For me, these tools have provided a technique for honoring my commitment to live from my deepest truth.
Mindfulness and inner listening is a kind of spiritual practice, but you could also just call it paying attention. In this case it’s paying attention to the way that we treat ourselves and noticing the ways that we might sell ourselves short for the sake of appearing normal or receiving approval from others. It’s listening closely to our inner impulses and choosing, in a moment-to-moment kind of way, to say a courageous “yes” to all of who we are.
When we say yes to who we are, we risk rejection. Honestly, the more closely we live to our deepest truth, the more rejection we are likely to face, but perhaps that’s not such a bad thing after all.
The timeless teachings of the Tao (traditional Chinese spirituality) echo what I’ve written here and tell us that, in order to realize our wholeness, we must emancipate ourselves from our need for approval from society.
I’ll leave you with this verse from the Tao Te Ching that sums it up beautifully:
When the wise man learns The Way
He tries to live by it
When the average man learns The Way
He lives only part of it
When the fool learns The Way
He laughs at it
Yet if the fool did not laugh at it,
It would not be The Way.
Indeed, if you are seeking The Way
Listen for the laughter of fools.