In Times of Adversity...

A small bio and editorial on the affects adversity have on the psyche, soul, and overall perception one has of the 'self'. Nature vs. Nurture.

In Times of Adversity...
NYC via the Water Taxi crossing the East River 2019
In Times of Adversity...

Some of you may know me from being a presenter on SPtv as a Palmist, card reader, and a bit of ‘other’. But between you and I? There is so much more to me than meets the eye.

I was raised in a small town and can honestly say I knew I had to leave to follow my dreams. I do not say that with any malicious intent. But that is the true unfortunate reality of this part of Ohio. Once known for its industry such as Steel Mills, Potteries, etc—these were jobs or professions- that were carried down through families in the form of an unspoken expectation. That expectation? Do what I do lest ye be judged.

And it is with much respect that I recognize how soundly built the foundational ethics and principles shaped all of ‘my’ communities and even my “self”. But now? What is progress?

The 1970’s happened. My father a welder, burner, substitute teacher, trumpet player, went through 4 jobs in 5 years because companies were being forced to close.

The house I grew up in was the first house built to establish my town. Created as a ‘Home for Wayward Boys’, there is also a small unmarked cemetery on the property. And none of us know exactly where it is located.

200 year old houses hold many, many secrets (as some of you already know). I saw and felt those secrets every waking moment of my childhood including the frantic undercurrent financial crises creates in a home surrounded by 150 acres of forest, fields, and orchard.

The stories I could tell… A home full of relatives I never met in the physical, experiencing Dryads, First Nation Spirits, finding arrowheads in the dirt, driving my great grandfathers tractor by myself at age 5, laying on mounds of moss and feeling the heartbeat of the land, looking for morel mushrooms I sensed being pushed to the surface after fierce thunderstorms, on and on it goes…..

This is where you can thank, (or blame), my Mother for acknowledging my idiosyncrasies. She saw in me that which she suppressed and held secret about her ‘self’ from others. Yes these ‘gifts’ run in families.

I was shown what to do and what not do in Nature. I was witness to the lightest of light in humanity and unfortunately the darkest of the dark. And through all of this I studied each with due diligence to understand their secrets. I know Janis Joplin said “Sometimes all a woman has left is to be a b----’. But I am going to also change it a little to “be a b---- with patience”.

What Mom didn’t know was just how much she was preparing me to leave home and break away from the “expectations” of others. How many parents out there would go above and beyond so their child could not only leave a town of 350 people, but also move to NYC to attend and what is deemed an ivy league art school (Pratt Institute)?

My welder Dad, and sculptor Mom.

I loved NYC! No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn! And that was my life. 23 years of Art, Galleries, Museums, Night Clubs, Drawing, Painting, Stone Lithography, Backdrop Design, and of course Palm Reading…. NYC was a non-stop Mecca of expression for the self in the fine arts 24/7 combined with freedom and youth. Think Saturn + Apollo + Jupiter + Mercury, personality wise in that order.

Then one day I felt it. Something long forgotten. Next thing I knew? I had stopped creating abstracts, and started painting landscapes! After being in a city where everyone lives on top of one another with a million heartbeats past and present, I began hearing one heartbeat get louder every day. One heartbeat I spent years listening to. My ‘personal turf’ in Ohio.

That should have been my warning. But I just wasn’t able to understand the fuller context of what was happening. Perhaps I was a bit rusty in connecting with my higher self? Hindsight is always 20/20—even though I now wear bifocals!

And so it began---the powers that be put me smack in the middle of terrible non-stop traumatic events at rapid fire speed. Yet I still did not leave. Even 9/11/2001 -feeling every lost souls pain, fright, sadness, anguish, I could not shake- along with the smell of the lower levels acting as a crematorium of sorts burning for weeks afterward--I still clung to my life that I fought so hard for without seeing how fragile the fabric of it all had become. (And yes I still smell and feel it all to this day).

Health. That is what finally did it. I had so many physical ailments that no matter who I went to, nobody could make a diagnosis. Then one fateful day my then therapist yelled at me during a session and that was the icing on the proverbial cake. Right then and there I knew I wasn’t meant to be in NYC anymore. For as much as I may have been speaking? I was no longer being heard.

It was now time to go and begin writing the next metaphorical book in the series that is my life.

So here I am again. Ohio. The Rustbelt, land of allergens, suppressed rage, old folk wisdom, and a livewire of spirit that nobody ever talks about but everybody feels. Its kind of like a private club everybody born around here is a member of.

I admit it took a while adjusting to being back in Ohio. I left my dream job, 95% of my possessions, packed up my cat and some bags of clothes, rented a car one way and drove the 475 odd miles in 1 night to get here.

The date as I write these words is 9/11/2021. Twenty years ago I experienced something that I know will never leave me. Strangely enough, the day before I was at a place called J&R Music World around the bottom of the WTC. Suddenly I remembered my dream from the night before. I turned to my then boyfriend and said “I had a dream last night that 2 huge fireballs blew up the WTC towers.”

He said “great now you tell me!”.

Now I finish this little, tiny peek into who I am with these words:

Never underestimate adversity. There is a higher meaning to it. Yes, you are right, I said “higher” for a reason. Because one must be above the situations at play in order to create the win they want. Sound cold or callous? Really it isn’t. And if you can’t see the forest for the trees, how can you find your way out?

Remember my tiny preceding life snippets contained herein when in need of understanding why you are an empath. And know on this the 20th memorial year of 9/11 WTC, I now realize quite epiphanically, we are shaped by adversity and ones’ “self” realization that we will all persevere.

Boundaries and balance my friends. You are the light you seek.

In the immortal words of Dave Gilmour, “Shine on you crazy diamond!”

Blessings

Rachel Galbreath