I want to write about something that has me experiencing anger and frustration - the Snake Oil Salesman.
You know this one. He, or She, comes in many forms. And at some point, we have all been their victims, whether we like to admit this or not.
Their advice is often cryptic in nature and serves to do nothing but disempower you. (And fatten their wallets!)
This is such a disservice to us. Me, you, and particularly anyone that pays for their services regularly.
The disservice lies in this: People come to you for assistance in their lives. In all ways: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
In seeking this service, they are feeling vulnerable, possibly scared about a future outcome in their lives, and may be in a place where they are not facing some truth about the consequences of a choice they have, or have not made yet. Sometimes, they are even in a place of such self-doubt and low self esteem that they feel shattered with no clear vision of how to start putting the pieces back together for themselves. Perhaps they are even mentally ill!
Taking advantage of a "fragile" person by handing out metaphor ridden, false, and purposefully fearful messages in the guise of advice is unconscionable to me.
Why do people seek out, and keep on going to the "snake oil salesmen" repeatedly?
I can only surmise that they are not embracing a challenge they are facing, and not wanting to actually step up to plate and commit to change. Perhaps they want someone else to do it for them, to tell them what to do.
I have compassion for these seekers. There is much fear around change and self-empowerment in our culture. We are never taught how to take a leap of faith or about innovative thinking outside the box, or most importantly, how to look inside ourselves for the quiet space where insights come from.
In the long run, no one knows how to shift your life more than you. People can give you advice and tools to assist you that bring additional benefits to your life, but you still have to figure things out for yourself. (aka: Where does that belief stem from? Does it still serve me now, as it did when I created it? Does it keep me a prisoner or victim for other people to control or bully me? ETC.)
So, that all being pondered and written, here's a tool I use when I take a class, or go to a different practitioner for a service.
After the session, I take a moment and check in with myself: Does what they say to me make me feel like a dark cloud is looming around me and that I am on alert in fight or flight mode, or do I feel better, with more insights to move forward with more awareness? Does of any of what they are saying help me in ANY way? (I don't discount raising my spirits, that's generally a good first step for me :) )
Learning a simple self-empowerment tool might take a few times, but don't beat yourself up about it. We, as human beings learn by experience and trial and error.
None of us are perfect and learn life lessons the first time around!
To growth and moving forward.
Sat Nam, Lisa Kai
Lisa Kai is a licensed bodywork therapist in Chicago Illinois. She specializes in transformational bodywork including Lomi Lomi and Craniosacral. This blog contains her insights on bodywork and everyday tips for practicing Aloha for the body, mind, and spirit. Lisa also practices Aloha, is a nature loving tiki freak, digs jazz, double dips her veggies, is an artist, and embraces change.