7 Questions for Helpers
The other night, I gave Tarot and Lenormand readings at the Alchemist's Kitchen as a service to the open-hearted, wide-eyed, wise people who gathered there to discover and uncover themselves under the nearly full moon. I consider it an immense joy to witness the process of these fine folks accessing and unlocking their hidden potential by putting their trust in vetted practitioners of divinatory arts. I have done this about once a month for the past two years, as part of the Alchemist's Kitchen's monthly full moon divination programming.
Before the event, I got a notification from Facebook. A friend and fellow reader, Darcey Leonard, owner/founder of the Tarot Society, posted about the event, kindly helping me promote my services. Her generous recommendation of my services was incredibly kind (all the entrepreneurs reading this know how valuable word of mouth can be!), but it was what she wrote after her recommendation that really struck me:
"Never get a reading from anyone you wouldn't ask for advice from in the first place. A deck of cards does not give the interpreter wisdom to read intrinsically. Be sensitive to whom you allow to tell you your truths."
Darcey's words touched something in me, and begged the question: Have I earned this level of trust from my clients? I think it's healthy to check in with myself about it, and by checking in I answered my own question. I am motivated by love and a desire to be of service, and I set aside daily focused time to cultivate myself and my skills so I can earn trust. This is true in all areas of my life, but especially when it comes to my clients, who come to me in moments of vulnerability, transformation, and growth. But does that intention alone make me someone who can be trusted?
I considered that much of my devotion and diligence could be chalked up to the fact that I closely identify with my natal Taurus moon and Virgo rising sign-- but I also know that having an Earth sign in my chart is only as good as the actions that I take to back it up. And here we are, days into Virgo season, with a Grand Earth Trine between the Sun, the soul-searcher, in detailed Virgo; Uranus, the habit-upheaver, in diligent Taurus; and Saturn, the boundary-maker, in disciplined Capricorn. On a full moon, no less!
Astrologically, it's a perfect time for taking action towards cultivating practical fastidiousness, unflinching service, and wisely-organized structures for habitual helpfulness.
Yet, while it may be astrologically true that we're in a great moment for practicality, structure and organization, evidence to the contrary shows that we are also in a time when chaos, disorganization, selfishness, and carelessness of people in power saturates every channel, every feed, and seeps into every corner, threatening to take our comfort away. And in times like these, I think of Fred Rogers' now-famous quote about what his mother told him when he'd see scary things growing up: “Always look for the helpers,” she’d tell me. “There’s always someone who is trying to help.”
Rather than questioning whether or not I am inherently worthy of trust as a helper, my question became:
How can I organize my life so that I can be as helpful as possible to myself and others?
Inside of this new framework, I discovered that I can maximize my impact by helping people become helpers themselves. It's a question I know is on many people's minds-- "With all this stuff going on in the world, how can I help?" I want to share my process for preparing to be of service. I engage with many daily routines. including all of my healing modalities. As a yoga instructor, I seek for how answers show up in the body, and as a reiki practitioner, I notice how the energetic vortexes of the chakras can help answer big questions like this. Some time ago, I combined these inquiries and came up with a shower ritual (Virgo does love cleanliness!) that uses the chakras as launching-off points for a meditation on 7 questions I use to prepare myself as a helper and a healer. I do this ritual every day to map my desire to serve on to my physical and energetic self.
How it works: Each chakra corresponds to an area of the body. In the shower, as I scrub each area, I ask myself that chakra's corresponding question. I envision any obstacles that might impede the truthful answer to these questions washing down the drain.
7 Questions for Helpers:
Root Chakra (legs, pelvis) --
Am I safe?
If my need to feel safe isn't met, I may be focused on fear rather than love, and will be less likely to bring my best helper forward. I do believe in the old phrase, "You can't pour from an empty cup" (or the more aerial, "Place your own oxygen mask on before helping others"). One tool for assessing my sense of safety and security is an acronym made popular in 12-step groups: HALT! Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If I find that these conditions are present during my shower ritual, I can make a mental note to eat, breathe, connect, or rest, so that I can fully show up for who needs me, knowing what my own needs are. Boundaries can be very helpful in creating a lasting sense of security. Setting clear boundaries involves knowing what you are able to do to help, and what will cause you to suffer.
Sacral Chakra (lower abdomen and genitals) --
Am I joyful?
Service isn't service if it's done begrudgingly. If what I'm doing doesn't come from a place of joy, pleasure, and desire to help, maybe it's not as helpful as it seems.
Solar Chakra (middle abdomen and back) --
Am I flexible?
Transformation is a key element of service-- being able to adjust to the needs of another, and meet them using any tools I have available. But what happens if I show up ready to use one skill set, and find that the situation needs demand another? If I'm not prepared to switch gears, maybe the help I'm giving is more about my ego around showing off my skills than it is about being of service. Keeping expectations in check, and reminding myself to be prepared to go down a road less travelled by, helps me be a better helper.
Heart Chakra (chest and arms) --
Am I loving?
This may seem obvious, but love and kindness are a particularly essential piece of service. Love brings us qualities of unfailing perseverance, patience, compassion, modesty, empowerment, selflessness, gentleness, forgiveness, honesty, protection, trust, and hopefulness -- all of which are instrumental when we seek to help others. It's important that I check on both my willingness to give love as well as my willingness to receive it.
Throat Chakra (neck and jaw) --
Am I generous?
Sometimes being of service means understanding that accepting help is hard on people's ego, so generosity to me means providing space for how people process and communicate. It also means giving people the benefit of the doubt when we don't know if we can fully trust them yet (while also keeping boundaries solid, of course! See the root chakra for "Am I safe?"). Generosity can also mean being generous with my vulnerable journey and my own transformative healing processes, so that I can be helpful while offering empathy and solidarity. It can also mean that what I offer in service is not expected in return. There may be an exchange (clients do pay me for my services) but I have found that having an eye-for-an-eye mentality isn't helpful at all.
Third Eye Chakra (eyes, nose, ears, forehead) --
Am I perceptive?
If I'm not willing to listen to others, how can I expect myself to help them meet their needs? And if I don't bring all my senses to the table, how can I expect to really hear between the lines? Asking for help is sometimes difficult, and not everyone is skilled at advocating for their needs. It takes a skilled listener to hear the ask behind the mask.
Crown Chakra (head) --
Am I connected?
If I don't make it personal, then helping others becomes more about some crusade for a "higher cause". Without meaningful connection, I may not fully show up for the human being right in front of me. Connecting on a personal, human level keeps respect levels high. When a personalized relationship is formed, service becomes simply an expression of the respect that we have earned through that relationship. Connection to myself is also a huge part of being a better helper-- knowing myself and how to stay strong in my own reality is hugely important, especially when helping people in crisis. If I'm not strongly grounded in a sense of myself, I can easily give way and absorb another's anxiety, and make matters worse.
It's a simple, daily ritual that doesn't require you to make any extra time, or buy any product or service. And it can impact your days in ways you can't imagine.
If you try it, my recommendation is to go slowly. Start with just one question, then add the next the next time you shower, and the next time add one more, and so on. In a week, you'll have a complete ritual added to your day. I'd love to hear how it goes for you! Please email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.