A Shaman walked into a dentist office….

By Haven Lindsey  in  blog  on  08.27.2013

It’s not the start of a joke but perhaps it ought to have been. Months later the whole silly ordeal still makes me laugh out loud.

I didn’t notice when he arrived, whether or not he was there before or after I walked in. Initially I didn’t notice him at all; what I noticed was the turtle. That’s where my attention was…trying to determine if the turtle was lonely in the tank that sat in the waiting area of the dentist office or was the turtle experiencing solitude in the tank. It was a subject of which I had become increasingly interested in; the contrastive nature of people who experience loneliness when alone and people who experience solitude when alone.  I was a million miles away pondering the nature of the turtle when I became aware that someone had approached and was also taking an interest in the turtle. We talked about the turtle and the loneliness vs. solitude theory and watched as he/she followed my finger as it moved on the outside of the tank, up and down, back and forth. What does that mean? Why is the turtle following my finger?

I turned my attention to the man talking to me and found him to be interesting and bright and then became aware of how good he felt on my eyeballs. I had been out of practice from any eyeball gratuity measures for many years.

I had married my first and so far, only, love. I’m aware of how quickly our world moves today although I haven’t joined the fast and furious set. The companionship-at-all-costs-existence is not a suit that I’m interested in wearing; although I had every reason in the world to let my eyeballs enjoy themselves over the previous years. I had been cheated on, lied to and repeatedly deceived by my first love who I eventually and tearfully found the strength to ask to pack up his problems and let me live again. He did and I am but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. I had spent more than half of my life with him and there was some healing to do.

I intentionally gave myself time to feel the hurt and grieve the loss in order to allow my heart to fully heal.  In my mid-40’s, I was experiencing my first-ever heartbreak and my tender, older heart deserved time to heal. There were no imposed deadlines or time limits. “Broken heart? Take whatever time you need, we’ll wait.”  Meanwhile my eyeballs had been patiently waiting for my heart to be ready; they’d not put pressure on my heart and had respected the process. It’s as if they had come to an agreement: the eyeballs won’t look until the heart is ready, the heart won’t open until the mind has clarity and when all systems are go then we’ll collectively venture out together.

As I waited to have my teeth cleaned with the background noise of dental drills and loud piped in happy music assaulting my senses, I ventured toward the turtle, quietly swimming in the tank when the pretty man approached.  My healthy heart gave the long-awaited signal to the eyeballs, “Hey eyeballs; I’m good to go, you can enjoy the pretty man”. And they did.  Obviously the pretty man and I had a connection or you wouldn’t be reading this. We exchanged contact information and it wasn’t long before he and I were communicating. He mentioned he was facilitating a workshop the coming weekend and invited me to be his guest. Despite an aversion to the fast and furious I am adventurous (which intrigues me that those two groups are oftentimes mutually exclusive). I looked forward to the workshop, despite having no idea what it was….which reminded me of Evelyn.

Years ago, Evelyn was a client of mine who has since died and who I think of frequently and fondly. I miss her laughter, humility and acuity. I often chuckle at the memories we shared. I don’t think Evelyn would have qualified as a chronic hoarder but she was most certainly a chronic holder (she didn’t like letting things go). While working with Evelyn to de-clutter her closets and organize her home, one of my favorite memories of our time together is holding up something and saying Evelyn do you need this?” , and she would without fail respond by saying, Yes!…What is it?” . We laughed every time. My mindset when invited by the pretty man to be a guest at his workshop was essentially the same, “Yes!…What is it?”.

It turns out the pretty man was a Shaman. I cannot do Shamanism justice by attempting to explain so I won’t. It is something I can appreciate and respect but not something I can articulate. However, I wasn’t nearly as interested in the Shaman part of the workshop, as I was interested in the pretty man part of the workshop.

Being a good ol’ southern girly girl, a great deal of consideration can go into the outfit selection process. It had been 26 years since the eyeball, heart and mind systems were collaborating their efforts toward someone other than the man I married and the other man I divorced (despite being the same person).  I wanted just the right look, the right shoes with coordinating belt; I probably spent 15 minutes selecting which bracelets to wear: “One isn’t enough, but two seems too matchy-matchy, three seems good like I’m not trying too hard, four is an even number, lets go back to three.”  All of these highly critical decisions take time and all systems were enjoying the process.

While all this was going on for me, the workshop was beginning for everyone else. I mistook the start time and with my outfit and bracelets and whatever else I deemed important attire of the day, I walked in precisely one hour late. And made a big scene. If you ever want to make an entrance and ensure everyone will notice, show up an hour late to a group sitting on the floor in a circle with no room to sit unless the circle widens to include you which means every circle member has to adjust their position. It also helps if you are dressed like no one else in the room.

I’m not sure what all went on during the Shaman’s workshop. He was serious, they were serious, I wasn’t so serious. After 26 years of not looking, my eyeballs were having a great time looking at the pretty man who just happened to be a Shamanic healer facilitating a workshop. They didn’t care how serious he was, or what he was saying or what we were doing with journeys and spirit animals and lying on the floor covered in blankets and letting our heart sing to a drum; all legitimate, worthy Shamanic practices. But my eyeballs could not concern themselves with any of that; they just wanted to watch the pretty man.

The outfit selection process had resulted in being dressed as if I could have easily been transplanted to a Parisian Cafe for déjeuner avec du vin and fit right in, oui oui merci garçon (I suspect the French are strong proponents of the three-bracelet look, I even wore a scarf!). I guess it’s fair to say if there was a fish out of water that day, I was the fish. In hindsight the Shaman probably didn’t like fish – he was more of a turtle guy.

By the time the five-hour workshop (five for me, six for everyone else) came to an end, I had developed a friendship; not with the Shaman but with Susan. I suppose the pretty man decided he wasn’t interested in a girl who showed up an hour late to attend a Shamanic Workshop dressed for the Champs-Élysées and I decided Susan had way more potential for fun and friendship; I think she thought so to. She was warm, witty and bright and I found myself wanting to interrupt the workshop so she and I could talk.  We didn’t quite fit in, we were two peas in a pod who happened to be in the wrong garden.

Other than an obligatory and pithy, “thanks for coming”, I never heard from the Shaman again. Luckily, with all systems healed, healthy and functioning, my eyeballs were happy to have enjoyed the pretty man, my heart was happy to find a new friend so comfortable and familiar she referred to us as “starting in the middle” and my mind continues to feed me with laughter over the memories created from the experience.

I’m not sure I could ask for anything more.

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven

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