Op-Ed
Published in

Op-Ed

Regulated

I’ve been taking clients and reading about peoples’ trauma.

https://www.shutterstock.com/g/benjavisa

I feel unqualified to address their problems but at the same time they are desperate enough to approach an astrologer. Desperation is often used in this way that has a negative connotation so I want to be clear that is not how I am using the word for the purposes of this journaling session.

It reminds me of when I worked at a health food store and elderly people would ask me for advice on how to take care of themselves. I wasn’t even old enough to buy alcohol. When I first began working there, I was completely in over my head. I had no idea what I was signing up for the day I walked in to apply for that job. In fact, it was a total chance encounter. My friend was submitting her application to work at SunTrust Bank, which was right next door in the strip mall. I am not even sure what compelled me to walk into Peachtree Natural Foods, but on that fated day I stepped into one of the greatest decision of my life.

For the first few months, I was required to study learning modules that were based on recordings of Duke and the Doctor radio show. Dr. Jan McBarron is a board certified naturopathic/bariatrics physician and, with her husband Duke Libertore, she co-hosted a talk show back in the early 2010s (before podcasting was hip). They were an odd pair to be living in southwest Georgia. They dressed like they were visiting the strip in Vegas and once a co-worker asked the doc if she had to feed her furry purse. Despite the peculiarity of their style, I appreciate the fuck out of them for bringing their flare. Not only was I able to learn so much about natural supplements and my own personal health, but they distributed that information widely. The community benefitted from their presence.

So I spent weeks and weeks reviewing the tapes and filling out test questions to prove I’d been listening. At the time it seemed trite and sometimes even arduous because certain supplements contained certain constituents, and I was tasked with learning the difference. Not only that, I was required to know the ‘why’s’, because, inevitably, I would be asked. I was not an ordinary sales associate. I was an advisor. Over time, I got really comfortable with this role. When a customer would walk in the door, I knew what they were looking for almost immediately. I knew the precise location of things in the store, I knew all the best brands, and I had all the lines locked and loaded.

“Nothing in this store is regulated by the FDA, but they do follow DESHEA guidelines.”

“Its called ‘good manufacturing practices’, so just look for this GMP emblem on the label.”

“This particular probiotic supplement contains live specimen which is why it needs to be refrigerated. There’s also a patented oil-matrix delivery system that ensures the microbes make it to your intestines without being broken down in your digestive juices.”

“Yeah, you want gluten free water?” (this was a joke because gluten-free became a trend REAL quick).

After about five years working in the industry, I had learned so much I was a walking encyclopedia. But people ridiculed me. They thought everything in the store was snake oil. They mocked me and insisted I was just peddling pills that would result in nothing but expensive urine. I wanted very badly to attend a Naturopathic school to become a physician, myself, but never took the plunge. Instead, I tried to use my degree in biology to get me a job working outside in nature because I never intended on working in the health industry.

I later went on to have a job in the corporate world. I worked for a revenue center that was tasked with the administrative paper work that goes along with dialysis treatment. I read through the provider notes for many patients and it was devastating. They were debilitated, unable to work, and often times just hopeless and waiting to die. I could do nothing for them except translate their diagnoses into insurance codes so that they were not responsible for the absolutely ABSURD cost of treatment. My life became meaningless as I droned through my workdays, listening to guests on the Joe Rogan Experience talk about epic adventures and projects. I knew I needed that inspiration in my life, but I felt stuck because I had grown attached to the benefits that my corporate job provided. My dental, health, and eye insurance were all linked to my job. They also matched my 401k contributions up to 6% so I was putting away money for my future. I was so brainwashed into thinking that life was about retirement. I no longer felt empowered; I was living from a place of fear. Fear of what the future would look like if I didn’t have money.

When I left the corporate world, I never intended to get back into a job helping other people. I found astrology because I was desperate and in need of guidance. I had also left a 10-year relationship and spiraled into a manic depressive state. Good friends, family, and Astrology saved me. I watched countless videos on how to read my chart and it became a part of an elaborate spiritual practice. I started meditating again and began to take random philosophy courses. I de-conditioned myself but still wasn’t aware of that fact. It wasn’t until I started taking clients that I realized how much this language had helped me. I was just expecting to discuss natal charts, but people usually come to the table with problems. They don’t need me to tell them about themselves, they want to know next steps. They need answers for why.

The dilemma has always been that I’m not credentialed and for someone coming from a scientific background there’s a weird gatekeeping peer-reviewed tenured professor inside of my head saying, ‘quit pretending’. But then I am reminded that the universe existed before science was here to prove it. Herbs were here before pharmaceuticals. Astrology is why we have astronomy. Just because science isn’t able to explain it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. I hesitate to think that way, only because post-modernists attempt to dismantle everything that is real. That isn’t what I’m attempting to do here. I really would like to understand reality but what I am learning is that it has a lot to do with what I believe at any given moment. I allow myself to change without becoming attached to any single line of thinking, but I don’t force my thoughts on other people. That is the difference, I think.

“If the world goes against the truth, then I go against the world.” — St. Athanasius

Originally written in Collective Journaling at The Stoa

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store