I recently commented on a blog post about the wellness industry. I do that a lot because, well, I guess one might say I am part of that industry since I am a wellness coach, a wellness coach educator, an aromatherapist and a practitioner of other complementary and alternative modalities.
I got called out.
I got called a charlatan, and a con and a seller of snake oil. I have been called out before by licensed professionals when I first came out as an Intuitive. I am used to controversy and my skin is pretty thick. I will defend myself to a point but when I realize the other side is not listening, is just slinging mud and doesn’t care- that really doesn’t feel like behavior coming from the light. I am all for a healthy discussion- even a debate. But I am not up for rude and unnecessary comments about my profession and my character.
I had the option of just deleting my entire profile which would have deleted all of my comments on the post. Instead, I decided to leave there, mud-slinging and all. I have learned over the years that people can tease through intentions. And I also know that people attracted to my services and who resonate with my voice will just slough it off as ignorance.
I did offer a few times in my responses that perhaps taking the conversation out of the public forum and approaching me for a one-to-one discussion might be more enlightening – and an effort to find common ground. No one took me up on that. Most of the people responding on the post offer no additional information about who they are- no bio, no website. Just anonymous mudslingers.
The Online Disinhibition Effect
Having written extensively about the Online Disinhibition Effect, I know that is it much easier to do and say things online that we would not ordinarily do or say in-person. The anonymity allows for this disinhibition to take place. We can attribute trolling and cyberbullying to this phenomenon as well. With blog posting and forums it shows up as a display of power in the mamer of commenting with rude authority and gaslighting. The blog comments I refer to here are no different. Any opportunity to take the thread completely off-topic is evident. And the disinhibition continues with guest posts offering no username, dumping their opinion like an emotional hit and run. Editorial vomit, really.
Gaslighting on the internet
But I digress. What was the intent of my original comment? I made the assertion that not all of the “wellness industry” is a capitalistic attempt at fraud against the general public. I assert that Big Pharma does a better job at that. And down the rabbit hole they went insisting with this comment and that comment that everything is capitalism. Okay, so then what is the point of this blog I wondered?
When I suggested that leading a wellness lifestyle was not necessarily buying into capitalism- that eating nutritious foods that are not processed and cleaning my home with vinegar rather than chemicals, I was given a lesson on what a chemical is. When I clarified with “harmful chemicals” I was told that ingesting too much water could be harmful. When I pointed people to the Environmental Working Group’s research page, I was pegged as easily conned and a sucker.
One prolific user (with no bio) then called me out as a charlatan. She apparently explored my website and then posted part of my own bio, with a link to my website. She then asked me to provide peer-reviewed literature about chakras and Reiki and the other modalities I practice. I posted a list of PubMed and Google Scholar publications. I was then called out for making claims that these alternative services work and therefore I should take the time to find the most relevant scientific articles for the group’s review. And others accused me of taking advantage of gullible, vulnerable and desperately ill people which makes me an evil capitalist. [BIG.HEAVY.SIGH] On the contrary, most people who buy anything from me are other students and professionals in the fields of mental health and coaching.
Diverting attention away from the issue
Notice if you will, that these sidebar sneers had nothing to do with the original post nor my original comment asserting that not all people participating in the wellness industry are doing so to promote capitalism. We are seeking wellness- optimal health. I invited all to read my story- that I came to this industry by way of my own illness, to which the medical community had little to offer in the way of treatment. At one point, the comment was, “So you are claiming that chakra balancing and Reiki do NOT always work, yet you charge people?” I replied, “That’s correct. I make no such claim. Just like aspirin and chemotherapy do not work for everyone (but a bottle of aspirin is not free and chemo has it’s own controversial price tag).
I am a Psychic
So, why am I writing this? Because the irony is not lost on me that on the very day I made the comment on the post about the wellness industry, was the day I first publicly called myself a psychic. Granted, even though no one in this particular blog commentary took me to task for the calling myself a psychic, I still find it interesting (amusing?) and serendipitous that on the day I finally decided to just come out and describe what I do, I am called to defend myself and I am named a con. I have called myself an Intuitive because in my mind, that descriptor does not hold the reputation of spell-casting or fortune telling like the term “psychic.”
After much inner searching, I decided that despite the negative connotation of the word; despite my professional degrees, publications and former career as a licensed mental health professional, I will use this term that many people DO resonate with and let folks know I offer psychic readings. I felt I was not reaching a lot of folks who might resonate with my writing and my services. And anyone that knows me understands that I am ethical about any services I offer. In fact I teach others how to be ethical in their own practice. I recently spoke to a group of psychotherapists about the very topic of merging intuition with sound ethical practice.
I am ethical and transparent. I do not believe one size fits all and that includes how we receive guidance and advice. I am here to be of service. One marker of a true lighterworker? We generally give more than we receive, especially from a monetary perspective.
Keeping good company
I am in good company though. One of the moderators of the blog I commented on responded to me stating Integrative Medicine has no scientific basis and Dr. Andrew Weil is a quack. I guess that is why he runs the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at University of Arizona and why the Center has a research program and 1500 alumni. At least the moderator is not discriminatory. He calls out Medical Doctors as well. At the end of the day, I am flattered. Oh, and I got quite a boost to my web stats too!
So there you have it. I think I will drink a cup of coffee now and gaze out at the fairy forest. Life is rich.