Spiritual advisor, counselor, guru, therapist, resident philosopher, teacher – all terms for someone who gives you guidance mainly by listening without judgment, perhaps interjecting just the right words of wisdom. Many people pay for such guidance but most of us find them in the most unlikely places.
My “advisor” happens to be my hairdresser. Always listening in a nonjudgmental way but occasionally calling me on “my stuff”. Of course he didn’t call me on my stuff until he knew me better and he found I was open to his taking on such a role. He will share with me a book he just discovered that he thinks will be of interest to me. Once he gave me a CD of some lovely inspiring music. I always leave his shop with some new perspective.
I started looking around to see who else fills these roles. I found that a lot of people rely on their hair dresser for such counseling and some of my friends tell me that their massage therapist often fulfills this function. One of my friends found that her massage therapist was able to reveal hidden emotions just by the way she held her shoulder or turned her head but often it was the equivalent of talk therapy.
If you judge by movies and TV shows, it would appear that bartenders often play this role. I wonder if this is true. Do today’s bartenders really exist in places where “everybody knows your name”. Is there such a thing as a local pub where people discuss their deepest thoughts? I wonder. Maybe this is worth an exploratory adventure.
Some of these encounters might be very brief. I have had brief spiritual counseling by a checker in the grocery store. Brief but a lesson was there. Coffee shops? Not my experience in the bustling Starbucks of today but perhaps some have found an inspirational barista. Years ago I frequented a coffee roaster. They insisted they were not a coffee shop but everyone would hang around there anyway until the owner reluctantly added bar stools. Philosophy was definitely handed out. One day when someone asked the clerk how she was doing she replied: “I’ve got my health, I’ve got the Lord and my car runs.” That gratitude statement has served me over the years. Spiritual guidance in the coffee shop.
As I contemplate this idea, it occurs to me that we can find guidance most anywhere if you take time to truly interact with people. The hairdresser, barber or massage therapist is holding you captive for a set period of time. There is nowhere else to go. Nothing else to do. So you engage.
What if you make it a habit to engage more people? The person in line, the receptionist at your next appointment, the grocery clerk? They each have their own wisdom. All we have to do is tap into it.
Be open, listen. Engage. Find your spiritual guidance in an unlikely place.