Same Horse, Different Trails
Getting back on the show horse after two years in a very different world.
For eighteen years, I was The Travel Channel.
Virtually every week I’d pack my car, and on Friday (or Thursday for Canadian shows) I’d get behind the wheel and drive, drive, drive — to Boston or Valley Forge or Buffalo or Toronto from my home outside Albany NY. Sometimes the drive would be as far away as Tidewater Virginia or the very western edge of Ontario.
I listened to scores of audiobooks.
I became a regular at the rest stops on the New York Thruway and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
I learned to order a “double double” (two creams, two sugars) at Tim Hortons.
And the hotels would always look the same. Once I settled on the Hilton chain, I racked up points and became a Hilton Diamond, getting the Wayne’s World “we’re not worthy” salutation from desk clerks and an almost guaranteed upgrade for nothing more than a smile and a gentle inquiry.
Then the load-in at the show hall would commence, and like a well-oiled machine, I’d transform a bare table and ten-foot space into my psychic office, complete with banner and books and Ma Feathers, my chrysanthemum stone-and-rose-quartz raven, who presided over the table like a benevolent deity.
And once the doors opened, I crackled with excitement, my abilities paraded out like thoroughbred racehorses, reading person after person without a break, sometimes for eleven hours. I got what I call a “reader’s high” that kept me sharp and focused until the show closed for the night — at which point I’d drag myself back to the hotel room and collapse with room service or a GrubHub delivery.
Day after day, for a two- three- or four-day show, just like that.
And when it was over? Unravel the whole process: check out of the hotel, load out of the show hall, and drive, drive, drive home…to unpack, do laundry, repack and do it all over again a few days later.
It was 45 weekends and 45,000 miles a year on my car and, in my 40s and 50s, it was sheer unmitigated heaven.
Then came the Twin Tornadoes of a back injury in the summer of 2019, followed by the advent of The Year of Murder Hornet Bingo and Hold My Beer the following March.
And two years almost to the day of COVID-19 marching over the horizon like a protein-spiked Godzilla, the CDC has declared masking for the vaccinated Not All That Important, and I am venturing back out into the world.
I confess, my business did NOT take a hit from being strictly online. On the contrary, I did better in the last two years than I did for all those years on the road: people still needed consultations, and overhead plummeted.
But ZOOM and phone readings don’t have the same visceral delight, for me, as sitting across from a client and working with them to dismantle blockages, find their passions or connect them with those who have passed.
So I’m re-learning everything that used to be instinctual for me — with new boundaries. Driving no more than three hours one way. Doing no more than one or two shows a month. Paring down the gear I carry so that my herniated disc and pinched nerves don’t send me flat on my back again.
More importantly, how I work has changed. How could it not, with the way the world has irrevocably careened from normal to chaotic?
There will be answers I can no longer give — five year projections are laughable with war, climate chaos and political polarization as 24/7 companions. There will be ways to deal with reality that need to be adjusted. And there will need to be courage and resilience to be doled out with the card spreads and spirit guide conferences.
But, to quote James Taylor (on a more esoteric level), “That’s why I’m here.” Courage and resilience and thinking outside the box I have in plenty to share after 67 roller-coaster years on the planet. And so there is still value, much value, on coaxing the show horse out of the stable for a few more rides around the paddock.