Yesterday, I intended to take it easy until time to meet a friend because I had worked all day in my hot dirt-floor garage the day before. My friend said she’d phone after her appointment – dental, not another chemo. Just as I was setting up my shake for breakfast, I heard Kali growl. Someone was at the door.
It was the young (20-ish) drifter with many names I met two summers ago when I hired three homeless guys to do odd jobs in the yard because the sign his friend was flying at the exit from Wal-Mart stated, “Will work for money.”
[Here, based on what I know about him so far, I’m calling call him “Heathcliff” (from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte).]
Heathcliff came back last summer for more, and I hired him for yard work. Of the three, he was the one who showed promise for change.
There are all kinds of homeless people, homeless for different reasons. Heathcliff is the kind who left home to get away from his parents and who believes his lifestyle is mystical. With my experience*, I could relate: he wants to heal himself.
So when he showed up yesterday, I was happy to see him and said I had some time to share, but at noon I would have to be excused because I had to get ready for my girlfriend from another town. I invited him inside, offered him some tea, and put on the kettle.
I asked how he was, and Heathcliff talked the most since I met him – update and where he’d been, including Oregon … fragments about some guy who gave him a car and let him stay in a small log cabin … sleeping in the parking lot at Wal-Mart … worry re’ his dad and his sister … the busted romantic relationship …
I said, “What do you want to tell me about your family?” He said he was raised by Moonies. Replying to my questioning eyebrows, he explained what that meant for him.
My take: he doesn’t know who he is or what he believes. Going back to the car/cabin bit, I asked if he felt safe with that man.
He said he was so confused … didn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s stuff (or the guy?) … and that he didn’t think he was lovable …
When he stopped talking, I summarized what he’d told me, and applied that to relevant Inner Child work. As an Alchemical Hypnotherapist, I share the perspective that we all have a group of personalities inside our minds – e.g., Inner Child, Adult, Victim, Rescuer, Judge — and they don’t always agree. That’s when we say something like “A part of me wants to do X, but another part wants to do Y.”
He lit up, said, “Yeah, dancing, hanging out, partying…”
I explained how the Inner Child is not only the part of us who likes to play, but who is the one we call on before a hypnosis journey because the Inner Child senses truth.
I stressed that the Inner Child needed to feel safe and protected and loved and that the only one who could do that was his inner Adult. “That’s you.”
He had nothing to say for the first time in an hour.
And so, I said, “Go sit quietly on the deck and try to imagine yourself as a child. If one appears, introduce yourself. Ask how he’s doing and if he needs anything.”
He smelled so bad! When his tea was ready, I took it out to the porch wearing my sunhat and sunglasses. No chance he was coming back inside. My apartment is too small, not well-ventilated, and I had set the hygiene boundary the first time we met.
After he shared his experience, I said, “Your Inner Child is the most potent part of your inner selves, but you need to protect and take care of that child – beginning with taking care of your body. For example, I need an hour to get ready for my friend to also deal with my finger and toenails, dirty and rough from wearing water sandals while working in the yard.”
I mentioned that I had interviewed the guy at Manna Soup Kitchen who told me about the vouchers earned for showers and gardening, etc.
He said he knew about it.
“So, before you leave, do you need work?”
“Yes.” He said he would work for whatever exchange I wanted to do.
Setting boundaries, I said, “Money works for me, but we’ll have to start tomorrow, preferably after 9 a.m.” He agreed.
“Okay then. How do you plan to spend the rest of your day?” He said he’d go to Manna and see about the shower, etc.
“Better earn at least two shower vouchers because working in a garage with a dirt floor is filthy work. Since I started the garage project, I’ve had to shampoo several days in a row when my hair prefers once a week in this dry climate.”
And then he said he’d better be going to give me space to get ready for my friend.
Before we parted, I said, “Sometimes I talk too much. It’s okay for you to say ‘Got it;’ I’ll get the message.” That earned a big smile.
Watching him walk away, I was thinking, “Thank you. You knew I needed help and you sent someone easy to work with.” Re-connecting with the young drifter was going to be fun as we checked off my September list, beginning with the garage project I had been so ready to abandon. I flashed on what others might think for a nanosecond, but with my upbringing, there was no choice — something about “if you see a poor person on the street, it’s Me.”
Will the drifter with many names show up tomorrow? I’ll let you know.
*2 Years 1 Paycheck 0 Plans
Pam journeyed for two years seeking healing from career burnout and spiritual crisis. Because she had sublet her home, she had no place to live for at least another year. In an epic leap of faith, she plunged into the unknown.
Till next time,
Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi