Author Archives: Cacky

Shamans and Psychics and Coaches Oh My

My rolodex, once filled with the names and contact information for CEOs, executives, very wealthy individuals and philanthropists, movers and shakers, influencers, and other supposedly very important people, is now painted carefully and colorfully with the names and contact information for intuitives, energy healers, Reiki practitioners, acupuncturists, psychic channels, life coaches, and the like.  I meditate at a Buddhist Monastery, I attended service at the Spiritual Living Center, I go to talks at the Self-Realization Fellowship and Unity Church.  I talk about things like Energy Medicine and Karma and animal totems.   And I put on nice clothes and conservative earrings everyday and I go to work after I drive my daughter to a private school.  Funny the way my life has turned out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this fact as I prepared to see a Shaman, which I did last night.

I made my sister go with me because like me, she’s a seeker and embraces these non-traditional forms of spiritual guidance.  And because unlike me, she’s not even a little afraid of them.

I am.  I’m a little afraid of them because I don’t want just anyone going and messing with my energy.

But off we went, to see a Shaman.  In Stone Mountain, Georgia.  He has a strong southern drawl, heavily trained in Peruvian Shamanistic traditions and influences.  He’s probably in his late 60s and sports a long white ponytail, jeans and a t-shirt.  His home is hidden behind an overgrowth of bushes and weeds. There’s old furniture cast aside on the front porch, which is also covered in cobwebs.

I’m a little freaked out, but too exhausted by my own life and my own mind to argue with myself anymore about being afraid.  The truth is I’m not afraid in that moment.  All that’s left in me is some instinctive level of self-protection, and that’s okay.  I’ll keep that.

He greets us both with a big hug, he remembers the story I told him over the phone when we talked, the story of how we were orphaned, the story of what’s happened since then, that life seems never to give us a break, the kind of breaks we really need by now, the kind that mean just a long moment of comfort or peace, of knowing that you can handle most, if not all, of what comes your way, that life might include health and prosperity instead of constant suffering and sickness and loss and reminders of loss.

He calls me by my name and pronounces it correctly.  And he calls my sister by hers. This amazes me because so few people, especially ones that we’ve just met, can do this.

He takes us to his healing room, the smell of burning incense or something I can’t quite place is strong and the room is filled with animal skins, spears and swords, a carefully arranged Mesa, or altar, filled with rocks and statues and crystals and animal skulls and more spears.  I’m wondering what he’s going to do with those spears.

He invites us to look around and ask if we have any questions.  What I want to ask is what do you do with all those spears and swords and where the hell did all these skulls come from.  Instead I politely ask about the objects on the Mesa, about what the healing session I’m there to experience will entail, imagining that he will come at me like a crazy man with one of those damn spears, but then I remember that’s part of the reason I have my sister there.  She will either stop him or at least bear witness to my untimely demise.

I tell him I have some anxiety, that I’m feeling very protective of my energy right now, that I’m feeling especially vulnerable what with being an orphan and my recent gut wrenching break-up and abandonment issues and all.  I think about Greg and wish so much that I could tell him about all of this.  He would like it here.  He would have a million questions.  He’d want to rearrange his altar at home to include some of these influences.  I wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to tell him about Sam, the Shaman in Stone Mountain.  For the first time in many weeks, maybe months, I feel a sense of peace and love when I’m thinking about Greg, and my desire to tell him about all of this.

Sam suggests that we break the healing session up into a few different visits so that I can gauge my own comfort level.  This sounds pretty good to me.  I only like a half dose of any kind of medicine I’m taking, including the energetic kind.

I sit in a chair in front of the Mesa and he asks me to notice a few items that call out to me.  I do this without knowing, of course, what my selections will mean, and then we review them together.  The items I’ve selected:

a beautiful ornate conch shell that’s had intricate designs carved into it

a statue of a woman, looks like a Peruvian Goddess, I noticed her when we first walked in

a beautiful crystal with a pointed tip that reminds me of something from my childhood

a pendant that I think has a seahorse on it, but turns out it’s a mermaid

another statue of a woman with a full belly and breasts, she’s painted in blues and greens

and another statue, that has its back to me, but for some reason is calling to me so I include it

And so here’s what they all mean.  Here’s my diagnosis.  I am in a time where I will reach my full potential.  The women, all of them represent the manifestation of one’s full potential. The crystal represents a bright star (opposite the crystal I chose was a selection of dark stars, but I liked the shiny beautiful crystal bright star.  Yay.)  The mermaid, a Goddess of the water, she communes with dolphins and whales, and the evolution of mankind.  One of the feminine statues says she will take great care of you but don’t go messing with her.  The shell with the ornate carvings represents full balance in all things. I am coming into a time of great balance.  True dat.

I feel a great sense of relief about this diagnosis, both because I’d actually gotten essentially the same diagnosis from an intuitive I’d met with just the day before and also because it’s opposite from the diagnosis I might have given myself which would sound something more like I’m all fucked up and sad and lost.  But that’s a different story I will tell at a different time.

He had me stand while he held a huge condor feather, he took three bottles of liquid, blew into each one, sipped out of them, and then spit the liquid all over me.

No for real.  That’s what he did.

I really wished he had warned me he was going to do this before he did it.  But hell by this point I didn’t much care, except I did wonder for a minute if it was poison liquid or if it was going to make me hallucinate or something.  It didn’t and it smelled interesting. Then he took the feather and swatted away the negative energy, even stopping for a moment to suck out some remaining dark stuff from my 3rd chakra.  My eyes were closed and it was a good thing because I’m not sure how I would have reacted if I’d seen him leaning into my solar plexus and inhaling so hard to suck out the bad stuff.  He’d in part been casting off any witchcraft or evil spirits that might have been put on us, considering all that we’ve been through and infusing me with more contact with the spirit world.  I’m good with that.  Thank you, Sam.

Then my sister went through the same process.  He gave us each a small carved amulet to take with us so we could carry the good spirits with us and so that he could continue to send healing to us.

He called us by name.  He hugged us goodbye.  We would return soon for the next part of the healing session.

We both feel very relaxed and peaceful.

We’re not sure which roads to take on the drive home so my sister turns on the GPS which is directing us in a way that doesn’t seem right to me.  My sense of direction wants to take us in the opposite direction than the GPS is pointing us but I decide to go with the GPS and see what happens.  My internal compass is broken right now and I know it.  I’m having to rely on other kinds of machinery to lead me where I need to go.  I’m having to rely on messages I’m getting from other places, not from my own mind, to remind me where I’m heading.  And so the GPS leads us straight to the road home.

Which, as it turns out, is exactly the opposite of the place I’d been heading.


Home Grown Tomatoes My Ass

Last night I went to a lecture with the Douche Bag (aka semi-retired boyfriend person, also formerly known as Rain Douche, a title bestowed on him by none other than Pap Finn himself, a kind of combo Rain Man and Douche Bag).

Anywho, Douche Bag and I went to listen to this lecture given by a monk at the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF). (An editorial blog about these jokers and also about my recent run-in with a Catholic priest is forthcoming.  Stay tuned.)  At the end of the lecture, Brother Joker Jackass told a story about a woman he’d counseled.  She really wanted to pursue enlightenment via some Kriya Yoga techniques the SRF people tout as a kind of scientific, proven route to enlightenment.  The woman was having difficulty finding the time in her day to work in the practices.  Brother questioned her about her schedule and as it turns out, she spent her time each morning before work tending her garden of home grown tomatoes.  She was reluctant to give up that practice, she really loved those tomatoes, and so Brother’s response was something along the lines of “You have a choice between enlightenment and your home grown tomatoes.  The choice is yours.”

I’m gonna have to call Bullshit here.

I mean seriously, what the fuck?  Really?  In my book, that makes these jokers no better than all of the other religiously insane idiots wandering out there preaching salvation, but only to a precious chosen few.  Give me a fucking break.  Give the poor woman her tomatoes.  She loves her damn garden.  Not to go all Life Coachy on everyone here, but if I were Brother Fuckhead, I might wonder about her resistance to carving out the time.  In reality she could easily carve out the time if she wanted to.  She doesn’t need to be told to give up her damn tomatoes.  Maybe tending those tomatoes is her meditation.  If she wants to do the Kriya yoga, she’ll find a way.  Or maybe Brother Asshole could talk to her about what she really wants to do, what brings her joy, what brings her closer to her version of God.  She probably wants help figuring out her own resistance, she just doesn’t know to call it that.

Okay so the tomatoes led to another one of those conversations with me and Douche Bag about his “priorities” and once again, it was made clear to me that my rank is low on the list.  Yes yes yes yes YES Douche, I know I come after God, art, and probably a bunch of other stuff on your now famous “list.”  After way too much discussion, I decided to take a new route and just see if changing up the language might help, or at least make me feel a little less like pulling out his eyeballs.  So I suggested that instead of pointing out to me how important to him I’m not, he try giving me some verbal feedback about something positive.  In other words, instead of focusing all the damn time on me not being first, share with me what he does value about me and our relationship.  Give me some props damn it.

The next words out of Fuckhead’s mouth?  “Not to compare myself to Steve Jobs, but do you think he was a very present husband and father?”

Oh for real.  I’m not shitting you, this is what he said.  He insisted for the next 10 minutes that he was sure Steve Jobs had neglected his wife and kids in the name of progress, in the name of all he’d brought us, in the name of his “purpose.”  And Douche really wanted me to understand that that was okay, in fact that was the model of what a strong, purpose driven man is like.  And let’s not overlook the really personal affront here.  I just got through asking for some props, asking for something that didn’t include reminding me that I’d never be at the top of his priority list.  Literally the words had just come out of my mouth.  And his response was to launch in …again… about how unimportant relationships are to important men who are doing things.

I don’t need to hear, again, about how unimportant I am.  I pretty much have that one ingrained in me now, thank you very much Douche Bag.  And let me say it one more time: home grown tomatoes my ass.  I frequently find my God doing all kinds of things that have nothing to do with meditation or yoga or church or synagogue.  I have, in fact, frequently found my God while tending a garden.  And I really do wonder if God and enlightenment are so important to the dude, where it all fits when he’s sitting me to down to explain to me that there is no God to be found between us, what since God is first on the list and I’m third on a good day.  I wonder what God would have to say about that, and also about home grown tomatoes.

It’s Decorative Gourd Season

Today’s guest blog is brought to you by Colin Nissan on McSweeney’s.  Okay, so it’s not really a guest blog, it’s just a link to someone else’s blog, which is friggin hilarious.  I laughed so hard I cried; I can’t not share it.  Note to reader: not appropriate for children.  There might be just a little profanity…

What To Do When a Bug Pees On You

It was a lovely September evening.  Pap and I were sitting at a little red table on the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop, enjoying a cup of tea and some conversation.  Oh sure, we’d later dub it the “sidewalk of a thousand smells” because the odors wafting around ranged from freshly welded metal, to especially foul-smelling dog poo, to what might have been someone smoking a big doobie just a few feet away.  And sure, the conversation wasn’t exactly light, what with me needing to vent about my estranged brother being at death’s door in the hospital, and about my break-up with the dude, and about work worries.  That Pap, he’s a good listener and we managed to laugh some anyway.

And then it happened.

I felt a little something wet on my left shoulder.  “Strange,” I thought.  “It’s not raining.”

I looked down, only to spot one of these

sitting on my shoulder.  Peeing on me.

For real.

I kind of hollered and spastically swatted it away.

It left behind a bug-size pool of pee on my arm.  It was yellow and everything.

For real.

I gave the obligatory “Ewwwwwwwwww!” and wiped it off.

Perfect.  Like my break up and my dying estranged addict brother and worries about work weren’t enough activity for one week.  A Stink Bug had to pee on me.

On the walk home, my dear sweet Pap remarked that I seemed to be in good spirits despite everything going on.

Here’s the thing.  I find myself thinking about happiness lately, and whether it’s foolish for me to decide to just be happy – or at the very least peaceful — in the middle of big, hairy, ugly, painful life events like break ups and loved ones falling ill and bugs peeing on you.  Is this denial?  I don’t think it’s denial, because I feel pain over these events (except maybe the bug, that wasn’t painful, mostly it was just kind of disgusting and also very weird).  I just don’t feel suffering over them, at least not most of the time.  Author Haruki Murakami says “Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.”  And I think it’s true most of the time.

So that’s it.  I’ve decided that I’m not suffering today, in the midst of some of my life’s greatest unknowns.  And that, sports fans, is where it’s at.  For me anyway.  For today.

And if a Stink Bug pees on you when you’re hashing out some of life’s ugliness with your best friend, here’s what you do.  Holler, spaz out, clean yourself off.  And move on.

I want it to be me

In January of 1977 I was seven years old.  And in January of 1977 Walt Disney Productions launched The New Mickey Mouse Club.

I was sitting in our family room, a cold exterior room enclosed by jalousie glass on two sides, a front door, and a wall that opened into our dining room.  My parents called it the solarium.  My brother, sister, and I called it the solary-room.  In that room there was a cold brick floor, a twin bed that was set up like some kind of day bed, but really it was just a twin bed that we’d lay around on while watching television.  And the wooden rocking chair where our mom would rock us and tickle our backs while we watched The Love Boat and Fantasy Island with all the lights turned out.

On this particular night, the producers of The New Mickey Mouse Club were announcing the name of someone from the viewing audience who was going to be selected as one of the new Mouseketeers.  I think the announcement was being made as part of a half-time show for the Super Bowl.

And I was sure they were going to say my name.

I was so sure, that when they called someone else’s name, I broke down into sobbing, heaving, gut-wrenching seven-year-old tears of disappointment, the kind of disappointment that you just can’t understand.  The kind of disappointment that makes you cry so hard you can’t breathe and you start hiccupping and all you really want is for someone to hold you and rock you.  I ran into the kitchen in my polyester pajamas and bathrobe and flat slippers.  And I cried and I cried.  One of my parents came to console me for a moment – was it my mother or my father?  I can’t remember now.  They said that really all the boys and girls watching were going to get to be part of The New Mickey Mouse Club, so really it wasn’t all that bad, I could still be a Mouseketeer.  In my little girl mind I thought to myself “You don’t understand!  It’s not the same.  I wanted them to pick me.  I thought they were going to PICK ME.”

By that point in my life my mother was already sick with cancer.  And just 18 months after that my father would die in his sleep.  Already at seven, I understood some things about life and soon I would also learn some things about death.  But mostly what I understood right then was about wanting to feel special.  Wanting to feel chosen.  I wanted to be picked.  I wanted it to be me.

At the time of this writing, I’m three hours shy of 42 years old.   I’m thinking about a man I love, a man who is uncertain about making a 12 week commitment to do some work on our relationship; a man who is uncertain about his feelings for me; a man who – I suspect — is uncertain about his feelings in general; a man who told me I would never be at the top of his priority list, that God and his work would always come before me.  I’m a Life Coach, and so I’m onto him.

And – don’t worry — I’m onto me too.

I ask myself why I’m hanging on in the middle of the uncertainty.  There are a lot of possible answers.  I care about him, and I know that he cares about me, even if he’s not sure whether he loves me.  I imagine a future with him.  I think and feel that I’m better when I’m with him than when I’m without him.  But really, none of these are the real reason I’m sticking around, pondering whether he will wake up one day and magically want to give me what I need, whether he will suddenly become emotionally available and that a 12 week commitment won’t scare him, whether I will be able to compete with God or work on his ‘list.’  No, those questions are good and interesting and important.  But they’re not it.  They aren’t the things keeping me around.

It’s because I want him to pick me.

It’s because he’s 48 and he’s never been married.  And he’s an artist and an architect.  And he’s kind and gentle and funny.  And he’s handsome and healthy.  And his longest relationship was seven months.

It’s because I want to be the woman that he picks.  The one who finally wakes him up from his sleep.  The one who rocks his world to the point that he can’t imagine life without me.  I want to be the beautiful, smart, charismatic, charming, elegant, quirky, edgy, funny, wonderful woman of his dreams.  I want to be the one that re-writes his history.

I do.  I want him to pick me.

And so the question, tonight: what do you do when you’re seven – or about to turn 42 – and you want to be picked.  And really the odds just aren’t looking so good — from the television view of the 1977 Super Bowl or through the lens of a 42 year old heart that just wants…to be picked.

The Coach, and the Mom, inside of me knows the answer here.  Pick yourself.  Choose yourself and your own integrity, your own heart, above all else.  But the would-be-mouseketeer in me really just wants a hug.  I can coach myself right out of the false beliefs that would keep me hanging on to an impossible situation.  But actually, just for this moment, I’m going to hang out with that seven year-old little girl in her polyester pajamas and flat slippers.   On to the self-coaching tomorrow or maybe the next day.  But for now, I’m hanging with my seven year-old me.

on being snarky

Dear Pap,

I’m in the throws of trying to deny my own snarky impulses.  What is it that makes me want to be so snarky?  And why such a strong need to rise above them?  After all, I think I might feel better if I was just a little snarky.  Maybe only for a moment.  Then I’ll go all enlightened and see the interconnectedness of all of humanity, and I will know that in being snarky towards my semi-ex-douchebag-boyfriend, I will have really been snarky to everyone.  And I’d really rather be enlightened than snarky when it comes down to it.

The problem is that I try to skip over snarky entirely and try to go straight to enlightened, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  And what I’m finding is that this doesn’t really work.  So where’s the happy medium?  Where’s the compromise?

I know the Douche may be reading this someday, either as a reinstated boyfriend, lover, or one day partner.  Or as a permanently retired memory of yet-another-failed-relationship.  In any case, let me just add the caveat that he’s not *always* a douche.  Au contraire.  He is really quite lovely much of the time.  He can be kind and gentle and he’s fun and funny and handsome.

But for today, I’m feeling douche more than I’m feeling any of those things.

So here goes.  I’m going to let my inner snark fly.

Dear Douche, everyone – everyone – thinks it’s really kind of weird, if not appalling, that you have now repeatedly sat me down to explain to me that I’m not now, nor will I ever be, first on your list of priorities.  Yes, yes, I understand that your relationship with God and your work will always come before me. But really.  Why do you feel the need to say this? And why do you think it’s okay to say this out loud, repeatedly? And more importantly – what do you expect me to say in response?  What outcome are you really expecting here?  Really?

And another thing, Douche, thank you for sharing that you think it would be “good for me” to sign up for the month long special at Decatur Hot Yoga because yoga makes you feel connected to the world.  Because you seem so connected.  Not.  Well you know what I think would be good for you?  THERAPY.  Lots and lots of THERAPY.

Ahhhh.  I feel so much better.  Lightened at least, if not enlightened.

Love and peace to the world,