Let’s envision for a moment that everything in the world is normal. And, indeed, it will be eventually, and we’ll have to go back to the daily grind. What does that look like again?
The parking lot is nice today. The birds are singing and there is a hint of sunshine. Off in the distance, there are trees and water, and somewhere far away from here, children must be at play. People smile while walking down the street and the air is just crisp enough for a brisk walk in the forest. Everyone seems so happy and content.
The sigh you make as you glare at the entrance to... (shudder) work… is audible enough to disrupt the flock of happy, little birds near your vehicle, and they get the hell out of dodge. It’s going to be a long day. I’d say it was for the birds, but they know well enough to avoid the day in day out trudge through life that we “brilliant” humans have created for ourselves.
There has to be a better way.
Better or worse, there are bills to be paid and people dependent on what you do, so muscling through, you take your bad attitude indoors. On the last stretch between “outside you” and “regular you,” you try to remember to be good and thankful and full of gratitude and employ all the things you’ve learned about positive thinking. But, you’re not feeling it today, and you’d sooner put your head in a grinder than have to deal with your co-worker’s crap on a sunny day.
Look out, KAREN, here I come.
I recently explored the idea that understanding of the self provides a sense of alignment in how we work daily and what work we chose to do. The job itself (or any activity) can simply serve as a process that allows us to understand a deeper level of work, which is self-awareness and understanding. But, that can easily go out the window when the day is beautiful, and we’d rather be anywhere else.
Believe it or not, this is an area that I find to be the substance of real growth. It is when we pay attention to situations that we’d rather not be involved in that we can recognize different parts of ourselves and come closer to what really motivates us and gives us purpose.
That doesn’t seem like much help at first when confronted with the challenge of getting through the day without a tantrum or self-defeat. Who wants to go home and dissolve into a puddle of tears or constrict into a ball of rage. It leads to unhealthy actions, misplaced emotions, or obsessive self-soothing. (You’ve seen yourself destroy a sleeve of cookies. You know what I’m talking about.)
But, kidding aside, this is the type of unresolved frustration that leads people deep into depression and addiction. If the goal is not to fall into extremes – rage or retreat, agitation or anxiety – it is important to police your actions and reactions to find balance. It expands upon the process of self-awareness. In fact, the outside world becomes your testing ground for the self-development you do in private.
So, what’s the spiritual approach to such a conundrum?
Well, I’d be lying if I said there was one cure-all. And, I’d encourage anyone to be skeptical of any claims that say as much. But, it is simple for anyone to recognize the value of feeling out undesirable situations and becoming aware of your emotions and actions. It doesn’t just happen at work, but we spend a lot of time at our jobs and this creates a rich environment to monitor our behavior.
Be heartened that there are many tools in the workshop of spiritual goodness to help you deal with lousy workdays on sunny afternoons or any other agitation that could send you spiraling leaving your emotions in control of you and not the other way around. I can speak for one tool that I find particularly effective and Buddha approved.
Be mindful. Be present.
Yeah, you’ve heard that new age malarkey a thousand times. But, I find that many have a skewed concept of mindfulness. And, those that understand the basic principals often see it as a private practice and seldom bring it to the light of day where it gets the best use.
For those of you who might be newbies to the concept, mindfulness is a practice that allows you to achieve a mental state of peace by focusing your awareness on the here and now – the present moment. You recognize and accept your feelings and thoughts calmly and without self-judgment through awareness of your mind and consciously perceiving your body to create a sense of peace.
Sounds serene, doesn’t it? It sounds, kind of boring actually. Like you have to slow down and be super chill all the time. It feels like you need to neuter yourself against any sense of passion you might have in a situation that might call for passionate thinking. That’s where most people get confused about mindfulness. And, in my practice, I see so many people trying to cancel out their sense of humanity to become peaceful zombies – no brains on the menu, just love and light.
How does that fit into a day that feels like a s*#%storm?
No, don’t react with destructive actions or with untamed emotions, but learn to react properly. The practice initially calls for you to slow your pace down and become aware of your thoughts. That much is true. Start by taking time to wrestle with the big rocks in your head in private. Bring up the emotions and ideas that bother you and become aware of your body. You’ll notice that certain areas will react.
Feel the emotions physically and turn your attention to them. Like relaxing a muscle you can guide that energy in a new direction. Honor those thoughts and the energy associated with them without labeling them as good or bad. You don’t have to solve the problem, but you have to sit with it long enough to be aware of how it affects you.
Ask why it bothers you without getting lost in it. Breathe and visualize positive energy – white light, perhaps, though I prefer green – loosening and releasing the emotional energy. Be thankful that it came to you and let it go. Be aware that this feeling has given you the opportunity to know yourself better.
In this practice, you can dig deeper into the things you perceive as problems and come closer to your own core values by evaluating your thoughts in the moment. After this process, you can even take the time to write and evaluate the experience to ask why certain situations make you reactive. There are clues in that about what truly motivates you.
Then take it outside.
Karen is being a real tool again. Why does my solar plexus pinch every time she does that? Is that a chakra thing? Release the energy that would turn into a snappish retort and be aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. That’s when you react. And, you’ll find that you react not passively but honestly and without harshness.
Mindfulness is a practice of finding honesty in ourselves.
Taking the time to become aware moment to moment allows your soul to shine outward and speak purely and passionately. Try it on for size. I won’t tell. Don’t be surprised if after a few weeks you feel less phased, more involved, and prepared to take on the day.
What happens when we go back to the regular world after the commotion dies down? It’s not hard to recall just a short while ago when we were mostly concerned about work and home and fitting in just the right amount of playtime. Now, our work might be peppered with worry or we may not have work at all.
For that reason, I think it’s important that we remember the humdrum of our world before this global change and take a moment in silence to reshape our vision of it. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Let’s take a trip down a not-so-distant memory lane...
The recollection of the common stresses that chip at you through the day. The feeling of how they erode the essence of why you stepped out the door in the first place. And, when you think of it, why did you step out of the door at all? The morning coffee may have provided the jittery jumpstart, but it was more like a panicky shuffle than a march of intention.
Before all this, when was the last time you walked with intention?
Outside your door, you find traffic and agitation. While making a paycheck, you wonder what difference it makes other than paying for the caffeinated boost to get here and the quick meals that you forget to relish. The job itself may be helpful and somewhat hopeful, but like a great machine, it seems larger – much larger than you.
As a humble gear, you grind into place and turn with the other cogs to follow the motions of the mechanical device to which you’ve dedicated the larger portion of your life. It’s the machine. I’m the gear. I do the job. I get paid. I go home. It’s got to make some kind of difference, right? Right...?
You want to make an impact, but you also want to escape.
Yes, there are the occasional pleasantries – little joys that seem to make the day seem worthwhile. There are benefits to having the means to enjoy a few evenings treating yourself. (There’s always chocolate.) But, there is a different kind of nourishment that isn’t met when you have lost a sense of alignment with your work. And, when work has lost alignment with the goals of society.
The question hits you, “What is the purpose of what I do?”
I’m just a banker. I’m just a cook. I work retail. I’m a salesman. Who the hell cares? These are the monikers that we use to give ourselves an identity. I am… insert your job title here. Think about that phrase for a moment, “I am.” As if the work you do speaks for the entirety of your sense of self.
“Who am I?” you ask.
The world is going to hell, and I’m weaving hand baskets for a living. At least we’ll all go down in quality wicker even if it makes us all basketcases. (Pun intended.) The spiritual crisis when our sense of values meet the method that we produce our living far too often feels like a loss of identity.
And, it is. Not always because the work is wrong nor the manner in which we produce it, but because we fail to see the expression of our core selves speaking purely through the work we do. And, that is where our purpose is found.
So, how do you react?
Privately you might read a few books on spirituality and religion – perhaps a clever blog. With a bit of meditation, a touch of kundalini, and a dabble of reiki – you might feel better. “I’m doing something!” But, isn’t that simply adding a new title to shift your sense of identity?
Regardless of the profession, you still have to step outside the door and face the world. There is still action to be taken even if the work seems right. When the world seems to be in flux and on the brink of insanity, it makes everything feel like a drop in the bucket. And, shit, the world really does seem like it’s coming apart at the seams.
If you listen to the media, we are always flirting with global catastrophe. Whether there’s any truth in the headlines or if it’s just a means to advertise the products that other worker-bee machines grind together to make us feel better about the infernal decay of society, remains to be seen.
Take a breath.
Stop trying to fix the world. Stop thinking about the things you do and ask yourself who you are. It’s not a question that can be taken lightly because the answer eludes gurus and grunts alike. But, it is the reason we step outside the door every day. It is the great work. And, the things we “do” are the methods we use to feel out the connection of “I” to “other” and find the degrees of separation blurred in the process.
The world may burn around you and you will still see the flames and feel their heat. The job may bore you but where does that boredom come from – you or that? All of that sensation, all the wild worries and the fears about the state of affairs, come from your perceptions. Your perceptions are not you. They are the veil that we peer through – a warped lens that distorts the reality of our life’s mission.
What if we let go of those perceptions?
All the moments that pass throughout the day chipping away at you are truly eroding the parts of your identity that are false. This is where true work begins. Everything we perceive is a reflection of the self and everything we do is an expression of that self. The discordant harmony between action and reaction slowly become sweeter tones when we meet our daily work with a sense of alignment.
This happens when you do the real work, the work of self-awareness.
In time, outward and inward become interwoven in a dance that allows the flow of reality to move through us and each thing that we touch has intention. It is with this realization that we find purpose in washing dishes or drafting paperwork. Disagreement becomes the substance of growth and not disorder.
And, here is where the revolution begins. We can stop seeking to change the world and repair the broken systems and realize that understanding the depth of ourselves does change the world and fix the broken systems.
Understanding the essence of yourself changes the way you interact with everything. The job you hate suddenly makes sense and you either step in with renewed passion or realize it was wrong all along. The conversations between friends, coworkers, and lovers have a warmer and kinder (albeit unapologetic) honesty that allows you to step fully into your being.
I say this with experience. Not only for myself but for the numerous people that have asked me to help them understand their problems. But, instead of seeking the answer to a problem we seek the answer that lies in the self. There is not one question that isn’t answered by seeking an understanding of who you are. And, when that realization is made, mountains are moved.
Know yourself and you know the universe because they are one and the same.
With all the noise in the air currently, I find many (myself included) wanting to pull away from the global conversation about viruses and the economy and fixate instead on things that pique personal interests. For me, I feel most normal when I’m looking into the abnormal and playing with the cosmic forces that I feel we’re here to explore.
A little virus with a big impact makes one want to turn inward.
So, I explore my roots in spirituality and recall the books and conversations that have enriched my view of experiences like this pandemic. In the need for normalcy, I look up to the heavens with my feet planted firmly in hearty earth. There is a great peace considering the “great work” of growing as a spiritual being in a physical world with all its realistic constraints – restraints that might hit the reset button on this life and spiral us into a new incarnation.
It makes one consider how we view spirituality in this day and age and what we’re doing with it.
The airy-fairy hippie days of new-age thinking has approached a change in attitude. I’ll date myself by tossing in a back-in-my-day, but yes, back in my day getting information and knowledge about spiritual practices outside of the norm or away from a church was difficult and felt shady at best. Even Buddhism was a little on the iffy side despite the Dali Lama’s shining, happy face.
Forget talking candidly about being a healer or having visions or seeing lights and colors (energy) swirl around your vision. The word psychic has been tainted and exchanged with intuitive because of sketchy TV hotlines and “seers” with fake Jamaican accents. Show caution when talking about the big voice that creeps in your thoughts and knows just what you should do if you’d only listen. They might lock you up. They might see you as an outcast. I was certainly afraid to speak my truth.
When I was young, there were secret-ish bookstores with crowds of the curious, gothy patrons, Wiccans, and everything in-between. The common denominator among them is that they were all afraid to be outed because the neighbors wouldn’t just talk, they’d shun. A few were already shunned and simply lived as they pleased.
But, regardless the judgment was there. Do you believe in astrology, rituals, deities, and that malarkey? You might as well be a caveman. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to read more about immaculate conception, angels, and the greatest (supposedly) healer of all time. Frankly, I find those beliefs fascinating as well. They challenge my preconceptions, and with an open heart, I feel the intent that came from the origin of such stories.
Yet, the general sentiment from society was shame.
If you were lucky enough to find that little crew of questioners, you had the most brilliant of conversations. The essence of those magical conversations comes from uncertainty. To tread out without seeking an answer but simply delving into the questions. True wisdom comes from being aware of the vastness of the unknown. It’s a Buddhist principle, actually. It calls for us to keep a mind that doesn’t know instead of inserting fiction – the illusion – of our preconceptions. In not knowing, you find your true will and create a genuine effect.
Things have changed. In this “modern” day, we see so much connection happening between the digital threads of our online world and so much sharing of knowledge that many are realizing that the practices they were always curious about aren’t so much hocus-pocus. And, even still, we shy away from the taboo.
That’s what most people (back in my day) would feel about magical practices or energy healing or working with spirits. And, the use of that word is ironic. Do you know its roots? While it can mean that something is repulsive to a culture, it’s also a word for sacred.
Something can be considered so holy that it must be handled correctly or not at all.
I think that the holiest things, of course, are the ones we touch and feel. Holy is something that comes from our association with it. We know it when we experience it, and one can say that it comes from our inner self and is inspired by that which is outer. But, as I’ve grown in my practice I see that both are one in the same – outer elements enlivening the pieces of our psyche that resonate on the same frequency.
To me, the holiest of places have running water and ancient trees. You can feel exceptionally tiny there, walking off the beaten path. Then in a heartbeat, you can feel as large and grand as the rock spires that fill your vision. When surrounded by the looming power of the natural world it is difficult not to feel its sacred nature.
Do you know where that word derives from, sacred?
There are many sources for the use of the word, itself. But, one definition comes from the concept of leaving the safety of the village and stepping out into the wild. And, that’s what we’re talking about in spirituality, right? We step away from the known path and embrace something uncertain, something that makes us feel small.
Dwarfed beside mountains and rivers, standing among towering trees, and staring up at the immensity of the night sky, it is hard to feel anything but the sacred nature of the unknown and the powerful transformative nature of questioning.
I digress in a fantasy of the wilderness, but perhaps, you feel the same call for those wild places. Aren’t we all seeking a connection to them internally while here in our urban setting? Do you seek the sacred nature of your inner self by traversing the outer wilds or can you brave the wild places within? Are they any different?
It’s a tangibly beautiful and humbling experience doing so.
The landscape of the inner world is an equally fearsome badland, full of the pitfalls and wild beasts that would ravage us out in the untamed lands. There, the shaman would speak of fracture soul pieces, the healer of traumatic energy, and some might see ancestral baggage or karmic debts of past lives. Soul contracts and life purpose and enlightenment, oh my! What a breathtaking place to explore.
It feels the same as the wild places inside your spirit, and you can find yourself dwarfed by the enormous nature of your own inner world. Humankind, though, has a propensity to believe that we can control such places through systems and answers and definitive facts. These are useful for treading on sacred ground and help to dive in and back without losing one’s self to the feral lands. It would be foolish, however, to think we can tame our spiritual nature just as it would be foolish to think we can tame nature itself.
And yet, we try.
Energy work and energy healing have become more and more widely accepted in mainstream culture. Double-blind studies have been performed to showing actual physical healing from energetic work. Psychic reading and psychic phenomena are heavily documented and have been used by both the military and police force. Astrology apps run rampant and many business people use astrology to plan the direction of their companies.
There are even books that talk about the scientific aspects of magical practices, and many of the new age systems are old school witchery repackaged in a palatable box with a neat, tidy bow to satisfy our intelligent upbringing. The amount of research and data that supports our spiritual and magical world would make one feel validated. Though, hungry for answers, I think we miss the point.
Manifestation and law of attraction may seem like a new dawn of human understanding in the ways we connect and extend our will beyond the perceived sense of self, but to me, it’s just age-old magical thinking. The only difference I see is the refinement of the practices into easy to use daily work for someone that doesn’t want to have a cultural attachment to their spiritual pursuits.
The problem with it all is that we hope to find an answer.
Why does it work? That reveals more questions. The research and exploration that follows opens a vast world of curiosity. The pursuit of those questions with a passionate mind – one that is supple to change – is the foundation for personal and spiritual growth. You must embrace uncertainty to let go of the false realities that cause you harm.
Letting go of what you think you know can feel a touch insane, but in truth, abandoning a reality that tells us not to question is the sanest course of all. And, in all of that, I feel normal. The noise of answering the questions at hand can slip away into being a part of the moment – curious what the next step on this journey will bring.
Let go of your past and future. Let go of your knowing. Turn your focus here and now. Find safety in the sacred nature of living in uncertainty.
The global conversation is humming with talk about the sudden epidemic of CODIV-19. If you’re like me – empathic and psychically tuned, you don’t just hear about it, but you can feel the chatter humming in the collective noise.
It’s loud. Very loud. So, it's all I can talk about.
And while the sound of it seems to be full of a wide spectrum of differing emotions, it is clear that most of those feelings are turbulent. In it, however, I do sense the calming messages of guides and spirit that speak to the heart of the matter.
“No, everything will not be as you hoped, but hope is in your hands. This is simply change.”
As an individual that looks to practical and realistic messages from spirit and the hidden wisdom in the collective mind, I look to the nature of our situation as if I had a businesslike interest in how things are playing out.
I don’t feel that disaster comes to us from an angry planet or that our collected spiritual vibration generates a strike force of viral baddies to teach a lesson. Lessons are available to us at any moment in many different forms. Disasters happen daily, and viewing the universe as a cosmic check board that punishes us is an outdated model that needs to disappear from our dialogue.
I do, however, feel that when we live out of alignment with the natural rhythms of our bodies and the cycles that the planet has followed since before the inception of mankind, that we leave ourselves ill-prepared to engage with any disaster – global or local – without causing unnecessary discontent.
Let’s look at this through the simplest lense possible.
The entire globe has the flu – a more dangerous version of it – and the society we have created does not have the most basic structures in place to handle a simple timeout from our daily activities to recover. We push so hard we can’t take a moment away to heal without our economy and political stratosphere erupting into madness.
In the middle of this, we see people leading their daily lives worried about “the flu.” What happens when you worry you might get stuck with the flu? You grab the essentials and avoid getting sick. What happens when the media happens to make that flu seem like the apocalypse?
People lose their damn minds.
In fact, I don’t know that people are losing their minds or if it is more apt to say they’re worried everyone else is losing their minds. As a result, every shelf empty of toilet paper makes the world seem like a more threatening place. But is that really the case? It seems the simplest lens would be to step away from the microscope of Mad Maxian threat level and realize that where our intention goes our mind follows. We are hyper-focused on what will go wrong and not that this is us – as a global family – dealing with a really, really bad flu.
That’s where the conversation needs to change. Are we treating each other as a global family? If our neighbors are losing their businesses, jobs, and unable to get the food or supplies they need because of a bad bug, what does that say about how we have put together the inner workings of global household rules.
What happens at a regular home?
Shit, mom’s sick! Everybody pick up the slack with the chores. We’ll slide soup underneath the door and yell, “Love you,” from the other side. We don’t want that crud... especially grandma. I’m not sure her system can handle it. She’s older and a little fragile.
And, sometimes we lose grandma.
It happens every year with the flu. That is a reality. And, we shouldn’t diminish the reasons we are keeping this contained. In fact, we should have basic systems in place to handle a timeout for us all to contain a virus. I won’t make light of the situation, but it is better that this is a bad flu and not a life-ending mega-pandemic. How would we have handled that?
It would seem, then, if we viewed this without imagining that it is some sort cosmic lesson – we’d see that what it does, regardless, is point out the glaring errors in the way we’ve constructed our society. We can’t even handle a household flu without losing our shit. This is where I’d insert the slow clap and start reevaluating the chore wheel.
We’d better do something. This makes us look bad to the neighbor star systems...
The above scenario isn’t always true. Many families are less centralized. But, the point is clear. As a family, we should come together. We should have plans in place for a disaster without viewing any member as less valuable. And, if you’ve ever been in the unfortunate position of not coming together as a family, you can understand clearly what lesson we should be learning. We forgot why we made these rules.
So, what’s the solution?
Growth comes from disaster because it points out what does not work. Here’s the message I often receive from spirit when things are dark and seem foreboding. It isn’t pretty, but it’s almost always right. Don’t be hard on yourself, but handle your shit. We’re cheering. We’re pointing, But you’re in charge. That is to say, we hold all the cards. But, we need to play the game properly.
I find that very empowering.
The answers reside in the problems. Rebuilding broken systems that have allowed for a potential economic disaster lies with those who have the skills to do so. What I’m speaking to is the spirit of where those systems come from, the essence from which they are made. Without that, we create more broken systems.
We are a global family and we are not paying attention to our health. Healthcare is a system built in the spirit of having a healthy family. The economy is a system built to provide means for us to meet our needs. But without the intended spirit of those systems in place, our household is not functioning. If the heads of the household are too focused on making money and enforcing rules regardless of their benefit, there is no nourishment. The family falls apart.
The connection to the essence of our system’s intended spirit is not in line with our values. So, what can you do here and now? Don’t start at the top; start with yourself. Check your values. Find your honesty in that exploration. Then, whatever your role, do what you can. You’ll accomplish more if you connect your actions to the spirit from which they originated.
True honesty and true spiritual alignment happen when our actions harmonize with what we feel to be true at the deepest level of our souls.
Take the timeout, consider, stop hoarding the toilet paper, and wash your hands. Were you raised in a barn? The aliens are looking at us like we’re hillbillies.
The inner desire for change and evolve to ascend into a higher version of ourselves, to become that magical butterfly that emerges from the cocoon flapping its iridescent wings to the backdrop of a thundering waterfall landing delicately upon sunkissed floral petals – what a beautiful celebration of transitions it would be.
It’s a picturesque image. One minute you're a fuzzy little creepy-crawly, one maybe a touch pudgy from packing on one too many maple leaves. (It’s like the waffle house of the critter world. How can you resist?) In the next moment, you’ve become some sort of angel bug with a serious psychedelic fashion sense. You’re one hippy headband and a few sips of nectar away from floating away on a rainbow.
But, what about the little section between caterpillar and butterfly? You know, the chrysalis phase where the actual transformation happens. Have you given much thought to that? Do you know what happens?
Do you remember puberty?
It’s bug puberty, dude, only twenty times more epic. The caterpillar begins to digest itself. Basically, the body of the caterpillar dies and tissues from certain organs remain and begin to sprout the pieces that eventually create the body of the butterfly. It’s a sack of goop and guts after a major maple leaf binge.
Butterflies are angelic, little zombie-caterpillars.
From the snot of life, we are bequeathed with the widely viewed symbol of transformation and beauty. Butterflies don’t play no games, playa. Consider for a second what it took to get there. They engage in a process that is ugly and demands the release of their own body to step into the next phase of life.
Think about it. If you could choose to continue to wriggle around and enjoy a few sugary leaf treats, would you bother going through such a process? Or, does the idea of spreading wings and flying sound more appealing? When you get there, is it really what it was all cracked up to be? And, when you get down to it, did that little hairball, multi-legged tube o’ buggliness actually want to change or does it simply follow the path that life presents to it?
We marvel at them and seldom think of what they actually had to let go of and what they had to go through. How many times have you heard some cliche phrase about becoming a butterfly but never take the time to see the beauty in the ugliness that went through that transition – the little jelly-ball that could, our caterpillar hero?
Yeah, change is more like that.
It involves a will to go through it and engage with the process of being generally effed up while you’re figuring it out. Wouldn’t it be nice to settle into the process knowingly and understand that you are in the middle of SOMETHING and seeking life purpose is part of life purpose? You hear it a lot in the new age hullabaloo that you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing by being right where you are.
It’s an unsatisfying phrase, “You are exactly where you need to be.” It’s both comforting and leaves you with a freakin’ migraine at the same time. Here!? In this goo of transition fighting to pay the bills and raise a family and feel like I’m sane at the same time. This the metaphorical chrysalis!? When do I get to be complete and soar off on my epic migrational butterfly love fest?
You don’t. This is the love fest. Start enjoying.
Expending the effort to change and grow is what is meant by being exactly where you need to be all the time. It’s not about the wild end result. You’ve heard the term being mindful, right? Living in the moment means you have to engage with what you perceive as the negative as well as the positive. You have to embrace the moment which is always adapting and changing.
Try not to linger on it, but consider that when it comes to change we all often become awkward teenagers all over again – cracked voices and blemishes, weird fashion trends and all. We find another iteration of that youthful evolution over and over again throughout life. It leads to filling a perceived hole in what we do and how we live. But, this IS part of living. The change is part of the experience. And, what an experience.
Juice cleanses and kundalini yoga take the place of acne cream and feathered bangs – these, our one-up factors in seeking meaning. We try to hollow ourselves out and open ourselves up. We try new things and hope they make us feel more whole. There are times we retreat in sadness and disappear. This is the crap they write novels and movies about. Those “awful” transitions are the parts of life we look back on and say they mattered. Aren’t you suppose to enjoy that madness?
So, where does the struggle come from?
You might be reading and think, “Ok, smartypants. If the journey all it’s about why do I feel so much resistance to moving forward or lack the fulfillment that I desire? Are you just telling me to settle and deal with what I have, you depressing pain the wazoo?”
Well, first, you’ve got some mouth on you there, sassy. And, second, in my experience as an intuitive, I’ve seen time and time again the reason that people struggle is a refusal to recognize themselves as the creator of their purpose in life, and instead, they attempt to fulfill that satisfaction by pursuing a thing – a job, an identity, and so on – without being mindful of why they are doing so.
Recently, I wrote about life purpose and moments of clarity and reflection. I ventured a bold statement that life purpose – as in what we do in life not the meaning of life – was about understanding who you are an expressing it. Without an understanding of who we are, all the things we pursue fall short of aligning with our own sense purpose. We’re marching but haven’t been listening to our inner compass.
Why do I want what I want? What makes me interested in the things I pursue? What parts of myself am I willing to dissolve by engaging in the work of my own chrysalis transformation? These are the questions we tend to forget to ask ourselves in the process of understanding who we are and our purpose in life. Worse yet, we ask them, but fail to find the perspective necessary to find that level of clarity.
So, what do you do?
It’s not always a question that’s easily answered. Know thyself. You think it would be simple, right? You’re you. You should know what you want and why. But, “you” is a complex vehicle full of history and an intricate connection to the entirety of the universe. It seems like a lot to figure out and that type of thinking comes with the risk of overcomplicating.
Simple is better.
I work with clients on the spiritual level that want to know what to do when they grow up – how they fulfill their purpose and find joy in what they do. It’s absolutely necessary to seek a broader understanding of self by pursuing knowledge of the big and wide, but it’s my opinion that spiritual seeking is often a means of reflecting on the self by viewing the world outside and understanding how we relate to it. It’s often important to clear the clutter to return to your roots and reflect on the patterns that have led you to where you are.
It’s finding that center that starts to direct you to a clear mind and heart and a better understanding of our greater connection with the universe. That means letting go of the noise and to once again steal from the metaphor of the butterfly, dissolve into your baser pieces to allow a new form to emerge and trusting in the sometimes painful process of rebirth.
You have to trust your core and your center. You have to belive that you are here for a reason. You have to know the necessary parts of yourself that will need to be tapped into. In silence, you have to listen and hear your own voice. When you find that voice isn’t clear, seek those that can help recognize it.
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The sky seemed slightly larger tonight – wider, broader, more peaceful. It was much like looking into clear water and suddenly being greeted by a vast world that had once been obscured beneath. The openness of this evening seemed to reveal many potential worlds that were faded behind the distractions hidden in the atmosphere – the pollutants and light and materials that come between us and the cosmos
It stood to reason that, in the same fashion water – still and free of impurity – can be looked straight through into once mirky depths, the distant stars could be viewed the same way. It did seem that the crisp, night air knew nothing of the noise and mess that exists closer to the muddy ground. The separation from the usual chaos makes your mind feel similar to the night air – free to dive deeply into places forgotten, unseen, waiting to be revisited, or conjured up. The clarity leaves one suddenly connected to the vast.
Further up, one could only imagine how far you could see. With only space between you and the enormity of the universe, the shining stars and galaxies, light from eons past, would brush against your very being and impart stories of their existence if your mind was quiet enough to listen.
Lost in the clouds? Lost in space, perhaps. Danger Will Robinson.
Back to earth. One can dream of the stories and marvel at the possibilities of the far and beyond, but what about here and now. This tiny rock all the mysteries on it. It’s actually vast enough all on its own. What is the point? Where does the purpose lie? And where is the self the “I” in all of that?
Many late nights have served as echoless sounding boards for the same question in various forms. Why am I here? What should I do with my life? What do I want to be when I grow up? (Do we ever really feel grown-up?) And many have patiently waited for that empty space to reply back. (More on that another time.)
It’s not uncommon to look up and the sky and search for answers far and away from where, perhaps, we can feel clarity for something away from the mess. But, it’s the mess itself the motivates us and gives purpose. True clarity comes from bringing the pieces together in the middle of the chaos to find order and then recognizing that order can be set aside and allowing truth to be felt and lived – letting it burn warmly with intention in our every moment.
How does one keep that in motion?
The conundrum happens when we crash downward from the wonder of all the COULD and find ourselves feeling small and inadequate or adversely large and powerful but uncertain and uncoordinated. Stagnancy comes in the form of dreaming too big or not dreaming enough. We settle for enough or our thirst for success can never be quenched.
As a result, we make plans deciding what we want to be when we grow up well into our 60’s. In the search, we forget to be present. The action doesn’t flow because we forget that living in line with our purpose isn’t about what we do for a living or the things we can accomplish, but instead, about understanding ourselves.
We have jobs and families and bills, so it’s natural that we look to purpose as if it's defined by the job and career we take. It’s about what we get done. All of it needs to flow into this big version of who we are but isn’t the opposite true. What we do is about us and who we are. The actions around that – the jobs and accomplishments – are simply another level of expressing the self.
Life purpose – the action of life – is an expression of self.
It’s the ultimate way of speaking our truth if you think about it. Though it may not be the reason for life it is very much the way in which we seek to engage with the shared reality around us. The driving, motivating force behind our accomplishments all come from the foundation of what makes this body, this lifetime, light up and shine. It comes from what makes our spirit sing.
That joyous song can be heard and felt in the simple moments as well as the grand ones. We can change tides or change diapers, move mountains or move furniture, but we find purpose when we are true to ourselves and honest with our ideas. It also lives in the midst of that mess we keep avoiding. That mess is the material of life and we give purpose to it, not the other way around.
While we may be caught in the light of the distant reaches of spaces, we too often forget about the light that we create. Somewhere far off in those reaches, another soul may be staring towards just that – your shining light and wondering how they could ever accomplish anything so grand.
What makes your light shine?
More aptly, how do you know what makes your light shine? It seems like an odd question, one that should already know, but it often leaves us lost and questioning. We’ll explore further next time.
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That dark place, cavelike, where we fall, lost in the disasters of life – is purely inspirational.
There’s little to do in there but fiddle with the shadowy shapes of your haunted reality to create forms that seem more in line with your true self and desperate attempts to appear rational. Look at the word. “In-spir-ational” – spirit is only partly there and it’s tied up in what you rationalize. (See what I did there? Clever right?)
Rock bottom is full of excuses, most of which point your judging finger of blame back at yourself. Self-blame is an excuse to not love yourself or come to terms with actions and find peace with actions that we “rationalized” ourselves into this sad space.
Panic and fear become our greatest enemies and our greatest allies because once you’ve bottomed out into that cold and lonely place – you either find the spark to crawl out or feel the loss of will to move at all. For you, dear reader, I hope for the former.
The darkness is no place to linger.
So, what is it then that guides us and helps us correct our path when we’re locked, shaking, and unable to budge from the false safety of motionless misery? In my last blog post, Spirit 911, we explored the idea that, in extreme moments where we break and nothing seems unimportant, we become an empty slate and suddenly a message, a guiding spirit seems fantastically real.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had moments weeping alone eyes turned upward to searching for a way, and yes, in those moments something came to my aid. The very description of a tangible “otherness” with messages of comfort is a very real depiction of sudden – albeit unstable and unsustainable – flashes of messages from the whooziwhatits-whicheverwhere that I’ve experienced.
It can be hardcore, guys. Super hardcore. But it’s, mostly, not.
Getting messages from spirit is more often calm and less intense. And, I use the broad and whatchamacallit verbiage intentionally because where we draw our sense of spirit is something we all define differently. It should be. You could call it your higher self, spirit guides, angels, God, or just the complex nature of human psychology and physiology.
(Psychology and physiology, by the way, are the most magical and esoteric, bizarre and philosophical part of spirituality than any wand, crystal, or tarot card I’ve ever seen. Straight up interdimensional, quantum, epigenetic magic. But, I digress.)
Whatever you call it is just a name. I have mine and I’ll share them if you ask. The point is less about what it is and more that you’re listening. You’re curious and searching for a way to be a part of this whole weird, little fiesta we call life in the most wonderful way that you can. Cause happiness is what we’re all after, right? No use saying otherwise.
We. Want. To. Be. Happy. Say it, mean it, believe it.
Of course, that means getting comfortable with being sad and a lot of other things that you should be talking to that guiding spirit about. You’ll find that when you get in touch with it that there’s no judgement (that’s you), there’s always common sense and positive action (that’s it), and there’s never defeated or inflated ego (that’s you). It’s a voice, thought, feeling, or knowing that speaks for your greatest good with love and the highest intentions for all of humanity.
Doesn’t that all feel good to read? Join me in a moment of touchy-feely light and love. It does. It feels good and I enjoy the feeling that the universe has my back if I let it. But, what the fuck do you do with that knowledge? (Pardon my French… Is that actually French? Saucy people, they are.)
This is where a lot of bullshit comes to light in the spiritual world.
It’s easy to get lost in the light and love of it all and the good feelings and warm and fuzzies and forget how we connect and how we take action. Because sometimes shit happens. It could be part of a plan, sure. Or, a mix of the chaos of free will, maybe. It could be just occurrences that happen because that how the ball got rolling. I find it’s usually a mix of many factors, but still, shit happens. What do we do? How do we know what a message is and what to do with it? So, here I am, telling you what the fuck to do. (I must be part French… Sorry, guys.)
How do you recognize a message from spirit from the clutter in your mind?
This is a big topic. One that I’ve spent years understanding and honing. It’s why I do it professionally. (I’m totes professional, ya’ll, as you can tell from my grasp on the French language.) But, being professional isn’t for everyone. What is for everyone is the solace that if you take the time to listen for guidance you’ll find more happiness. That doesn’t take anything but you and your time and your effort. It’s a pretty sweet deal, guys, and the universe kinda just handed that to us.
Let’s take advantage of that gift.
To start with, you have to begin recognizing your ego. Now, we often think of ego as the cocky and pompous version of ourselves. But, it is also the self-doubting and self-defeating version. Ego is the falseness of self. It is the distilled essence of B.S. that we surround ourself with to define what we think we are instead of what we are. It is the side of our self that chooses to deny personal love and joy instead to seek an unrealistic reality where we “need” to be.
That ego is the voice you need to watch out for when you feel a sign from spirit. Why? Because it chews up a message that says be at peace with abundance and turns it into, “Stack up dollah bills, playah.”
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with fat stacks. It’s just that the desperation or fear or greed shouldn’t be a driving force. Because a message from spirit feels right. You welcome abundance and pay yourself the respect of receiving it gracefully instead of angrily seeking it with insistence against what your heart really speaks. You can seek what you need with a drive, passion, and fierce intensity in line with spirit and the best for yourself and all involved or roughly take what you want. See the difference?
Ask yourself are you receiving a sign from spirit or are you creating one?
This method works across all manners of scenarios – finance, family, love, and life in general. Are you forcing a reality or being receptive to the opportunities that reality presents? That means taking the time to start knowing your ego and what creates it. It means reflecting and taking the time to listen and hear your thoughts. Which ones are self-defeating? Which ones feel like that come from old patterns? Is there another feeling that you get that isn’t just hopeful but feels valid and right?
How do you get in touch with that?
Clear through the noise by listening to the noise. That means you have to listen to yourself. Take a quiet moment while driving or walking any such repetitive quiet action and listen to yourself think. Recognize your ego acknowledge and release the noise it makes, In the quiet, something different waits.
Day is greeted by the harshness of my clock. The beep-beeping that sounds to the start of each day, shifts my head into gear, and starts lists and to-do's as I find my bare feet shuffling, padding along the floor of my home. As usual, the day starts with a cry of movement and the noise generated from that widens, broader and broader like a drumbeat hammering out the ever-increasing tempo of each moment. The boom syncopates into many and the well-timed beats fall into a din a disarray of sound following me wherever I go.
Just keep moving.
It's all a blur – impossible to take in – as if my eyes cannot adjust well enough to make sense of the constant hustle of motion everywhere I turn. I’m in constant flux. My mind adapting to a thousand different stimuli. And, yet, a thought off in the periphery of my mind. Something... What was it? Nothing. Shut up. Forget it. Back to moving. Back to work. Back to noise. Lunch. Did I eat? Wait... yes, that sandwich. The clock is ticking toward five. My mind is ticking itself to the abyss.
Just keep going.
A moment and I'm driving then off the next thing, appointment, place, person, whatever. The din has risen to a volcanic boom and ash is all that fills my eyes – one motion to the next to the next to the next. The malaise creates a haze of numbness. And I stop feeling. That’s better. Isn’t it? Not feeling means I can manage. Who cares? It’s not like anyone notices. Success doesn’t waste time on feeling.
Just stop caring.
Behind the wheel again, the clenching of my jaw leaves my musculature knit into a finely meshed wire sack, and I slowly open and close my teeth for relief. And all at once I'm in the driveway – home – if you can call it that. How did I get here? When? The door of the car swings open as I find my feet falling much more heavily as I make my way through the front door. Inside, I breathed. Had I done that today? I must have. I'm still standing. I think that needs air, doesn't it?
Just keep standing.
Microwave. Scarfed food. Television. Facebook. All squished together in the few moments that I pretend that I’m catching my breath. Huh? Dressed for bed? Apparently, I had done that, too, and found myself tucked neatly between my bedsheets.
Just rest. Just rest. Just rest.
Then, all at once, it hits me. The sound I avoid every evening, the deadening quiet. It could go on forever until the tiny sounds try to fill in the widening sense of pressure. My heartbeat. My breath. They fill my ears as the last bit of light slinks away below the horizon and I become wrapped in the dark yet silvery embrace of the night.
No moving, no going, no standing.
All there was to listen to now was that little indiscernible sound of the inside of my head. Then, another small noise as a choked gasp and I recognized soft droplets of tears forming in my eyes.
Stop feeling. I can’t. Stop feeling. I can’t. I can't stop feeling.
The gasp builds into a shuddered wail from somewhere deep within. I silenced it – swallowing the feeling into submission where I no longer had to listen. Soundless as it was, I heard and felt it in my entire being. My body a rock of dense nothingness, and my eye stared blanking as if dead already. Wouldn't that be nice? It is in the noise of my sorrow that another sound in my head grows louder.
But it is different.
It encourages me. It whispers to me about what is possible. It tells me what I can do. It tells me I am worthy of love. It tells me all the things I should listen to and refuse to believe. I find myself in argument, preferring to wrap myself in the cold despondence of despair. I’m more comfortable there. That’s where I belong, after all.
“No, you don’t.”
It’s almost forceful, this thought, as if it is not of me not my own thought but from another source. I want to cry. So, I do. It is long and cold and ugly. Each tear sheds away a dream I’d lost and hope I’d never have and the silent death of a life that I wanted so badly. But, told myself I wasn’t worth having.
I startle at the sense of warmth.
It’s not me. I know it’s not because I try again to argue. Pulling out every tactic from the toy-box of my five-year-old self to throw the adult equivalent of a tantrum – trying to have it “my way” even if it means misery. I am in charge. And, I choose to be miserable.
“Yes, you’re in charge.”
I almost hear it this time. And for the first time, the room fell truly silent. I feel something nearby – offering comfort. It’s right there. I look in the direction and see a faint outline almost like when I see people against the white walls in the conference room. They call them auras, but I never really subscribed to that bullshit. I have real stuff to worry about.
Real stuff? This is real. Maybe I was full of bullshit, and this is real.
I can’t help it now. My need to reach out overcomes every sense of hesitation. “I’m in charge? But, what do I do?” I am finally ready to hear answers to seek refuge instead of hide in a sea of my sorrows. The conversation is long. It is all positive. It is all simple. It is a doable. It was there all along. This time I was listening to something that told me to love myself and leave behind the self-pity and self-defeat. It told me to assume that that I could and laugh at what I thought were mistakes.
That, dear readers, is an intense 911 call from your spiritual council. It comes in different forms for all of us, and often, is quieter as it hums in the background. Stay tuned for next week’s blog to understand what connection to spirit is like in daily life and how to recognize it from the chatter in your own mind.
Thanks for reading
It’s often I'm asked the point of seeking a connection with the spiritual and the reason to practice being intuitive. I ask myself the same question on a regular basis. What benefit does it really have in your life to ponder and manifest or learn about energy and chakras and spirit guides or whatever calls to you?
Really. What the eff is the point? How much of it is nonsense and how much is real and what does it matter? Is being lost in the clouds just being lost, and when you find the reality beyond the fanciful thinking, what do you do?
Being in touch or connected with what is “more” than ourselves, is essentially what is meant when I say intuitive. In the practice of expanding to it and opening to the experience, it becomes apparent how interconnected we really are. With an open heart (chakra) we can put that connection into a living motion.
It’s easy to sit on a spiritual cloud and meditate or namaste or whatever. Sitting alone in the quiet of your personal and well-defined sacred place with your favorite objects that make you feel at peace. Lost in a quiet room filled what you deem magically refined – tarot cards, statues, or crystals. What a place to forget the troubles of the world.
It’s quite another thing to take those same things out into the messy space where we all have to learn to “get along.” How do you float on a cloud when your boss has you on a deadline? Where’s your namaste when you step on that stray lego you told the kids to pick up… or else…? What lousy purpose does being intuitively connected help there?
Should you have “known” about the lego or felt the emotions of your boss and acted accordingly? Should you have gone more with the flow so none of it seemed to matter? That’s looking for perfection – the illusion of perfection – not reality. So, how magical do you have to be to bring spiritual thinking into reality?
It isn’t and shouldn’t be complicated.
I usually have a few crystals and stones floating around in my pocket. Not always, but mostly. I don't tend to work with crystals, but I like having them around as little reminders or because I just enjoy their presence. They make me smile.
I have a slight problem. I keep running into people that just "need a certain stone" and end up giving away ones to someone that needs a positive reminder, themselves. I've given out enough rose quartz that my friend – an owner of a crystal shop – offered to just sell me a batch at wholesale... I’ve just ordered some. I'm your local crystal dealer. (First one's free. Well... all of them are, actually.)
A found someone that has been going through a difficult patch, and though not particularly spiritual, she shared with me that she finds comfort in a "big stone" that she describes as very grounding to hold. She had a bad day, and we laughed that she needed her "stone baby" to hold when my hand found the palm-sized piece of selenite in my pocket and before I knew it, I had passed it on to her.
I stopped into a shop and picked up a piece of tourmaline. I wanted to keep it, but I knew it wasn't meant for me. Later that evening, I wandered into an opening of a business that is building a new Himalayan Salt Cave and has an Amethyst relaxation room. It was a really crystal-filled day – full of conversations and connection because of that interest.
Talking later about my happy-hippie moment in the "salt mines" and finally pulling out my little bag of crystals – rose quartz, clear quartz, and tourmaline – hidden in my pocket feeling the intuitive hit to let my woo-woo flag fly (slightly) free.
My friend – the one I gave the selenite – eyeballed the tourmaline. I figured... Literally not figuratively, “knew” that she’d like it. I bought it knowing she’d want it, and it has a new home.
I was sharing some of this story and realized with a deep sense of "aww crap" that I'm going to become THAT strange, goofy old man who gives away crystals and assures that they'll help you feel better. I was quickly corrected. I won't become that guy. I am already. I am THAT guy. (I ordered the rose quartz shortly afterward.)
As I think about it, though, I find a lot of joy in the idea of being “that guy.” Even if no one realizes what it means to me. No one I talk to needs to know that I can recite the qualities of the stones and crystals, and my friend didn't need to hear that selenite was a perfect fit for her excess mind chatter (empathically noticed), and her tourmaline stood out to me as because I just knew it would be at the store even though they were out just the day before. And, that I thought I might find one with the correct weight and portability which I figured it would help her situation. And the perfect (I mean perfect) piece and the correct pocket change was there in one concise mini-synchronicity.
No one needs to know that (I believe) I do such things because I'm wildly cancerian and love to care for the people very grandmother-like. They don't need to believe or know anything other than that I care, nor does what I believe need to be true – even if I choose to follow that thinking. I "know" I don't need to shove my mystical mumbo jumbo on anyone, but it's always nice to remember that it doesn't need to be understood to be shared with a general sense of fun. And you know what? It feels good. Really good.
I wasn't bearing my soul. Or getting touchy-feely and vulnerable. I was just having fun with my silly pocket rocks.
That is spiritual.
I followed a few little intuitions and actively let it creep into the land of muggles only to find – as I usually do – that there are fewer muggles out there than we think there are. There are a lot of folks that want to be or already are spiritual, ya’ll.
Anyone can pick up a pretty stone, pass it on, and tell someone to have a better day. Anyone can listen. We all have our own practices whether we call it magical or not. Being in touch with a deeper connection isn’t just about sharing beliefs or forcing them on others. It is about practicing the connections and following the hints from the universe to take action.
And, then, calling upon our free will we can answer that call or choose another.
It’s a beautiful world out there. And being spiritual shouldn’t even be called spiritual. It’s as natural as breathing. It’s a practice in curiosity and a method of opening up to the human experience. It is sharing the spirit of joy and the solemn nature of our sadness. It’s a whole lot more that can barely be described here.
It is not, however, passive.
So perhaps today find yourself a pretty stone, and let it make you smile. Take it as a gift from this earth, and if an intuition leads you into a conversation, let yourself be seen, really seen – crazy rocks and all.
Often lately, when I think of the sense of self, I'm reminded, instead, not to think about “me” or “I,” and return my thoughts turn to a vision of a flow of light and lines and pushes and pulls between what is considered my body and the things around me. The feeling of being confined inside my head starts to drift off, and as often in meditation, I feel an expansion, as if I am part of much more while still being separate.
It’s a concept I like to toy with and explore. And one that is valuable in when practicing Thinking less like am the little pile of bones and muscle and blubber (Oh, too much blubber…) that comprises my body, nor am I the energy or feelings or even soul that resides within that body. Instead, I am lost in nowhere just part of the reactions – the play between these little lines that connect “me” to all other things.
I enjoy my logical mind because it gives me the play to ponder these things and consider them carefully question their meaning. But, with that very necessary logical mind, there is thinking and thought - actions created by reactions, and it is clear that this not where intuition (universal connection) lies. There is a very different moment just outside of logic that happens clearly and precisely lacking name or form. A spring of insight. It comes from emptiness and needs to be given form to interpret.
The mind then turns to interpret with words, colors, sounds, smells, feelings and all the different worldly senses that give rise to the “clairs” – clairvoyance, claircognizance, clairaudience, and so on. In this respect, all senses including “clairs” are illusions - necessary illusions to define our interactions with the world around us. How very Zen. But not very helpful, honestly, because what do you do with that?
Again, it’s one thing to use logic and try to math and science your way to answers, but weren’t the answers there just before you started thinking about them? A clear intuition comes without need for explanation. It happens feels real and you respond, without getting in your own way. There was a very wise man once. He created landscapes and forms from nothing but paint, brush, and canvas. With a few sweeping gestures – a mountain, a lake, some happy little trees, and happy little mistakes. Mistakes that weren’t mistakes at all. His mantra was so perfect in the philosophy behind the worlds he created, “Just let it happen, just let it happen.” Good ol’ Bob Ross.
I joke. But, think of the parallel with him and other creators. They gave form to something from nothing. So, isn’t nothing or void or emptiness or whatever words you use to describe it where I draw that feeling of certainty in the guidance I seek for myself and others? The clairvoyance, clairaudience, claircognizance – don’t they just interpret that in the “real?”
Where am "I" in all of that? So many have felt it, right? That moment without moment when suddenly the feeling of self dissipates and you almost echo and become wider, part of a whole. It’s a big feeling, until I say, “I am big.” You've then given words to it, a shape and form and shrink back to the size of you leaving a shivering dust speck full of doubt over what just moments ago felt natural and right and without obstacle. The vastness felt seconds before seems so expansive all I can say is, “I am little.”
It’s here intuition gets stuck. “I am.” I am big. I am little. I am worthy. I am worthless. I am right. I am wrong. I am.
I think it’s quite a lesson to draw from that I am at my clearest when I am “not.” Nothing is broken, and nothing needs to be fixed. But, I don’t think that means that “I” isn’t there. There’s just a better definition of it when I let go. I can just settle into “I” and live effortlessly in between the bigs and the littles. Then, in the immortal words of Bob Ross, “Just let it happen.” Then, when I need to hear something, it will be heard. When I need to say something, it'll be said. Wouldn't that be so simple just letting it happen? Isn't that the essence of what is sought by growing intuition?
Maybe Ross had some intuition hidden under that fro of his. Are there any mediums in the house?