Doing energy work takes lots of energy. And after a few bad weeks where everything seemed to go wrong, I felt as squeezed as a well-worn tube of toothpaste. I needed a break – no, more than a break. I needed to go inside myself to regroup.

Everyone has those kinds of weeks: one missed connection after another; a logjam of deadlines that needed to be met yesterday; every other person you meet is grouchy about something. In my line of work, a frustrating week means a string of clients that refuse to take responsibility for the bad choices they’ve made in their lives, or people who come to a reading with such high expectations that I’m going to solve all their problems. And several no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. I get great satisfaction by linking my clients with loved ones in spirit. I like it when my words help people understand that they can change their life for the better. I even enjoy sessions with sceptics, because at least they come to see me with an open mind.

Anyway, a month of seeing grumbly naysayers – plus some personal issues I had to deal with plus a CRA payment I needed to make – left me more frazzled that my hair on a muggy day. I needed a break, and it had to be something more calming than an afternoon of sipping genmaicha tea while reading a Nora Roberts novel.

Thinking about retreating from life for awhile made me think of going on a retreat. I liked the idea of going somewhere to recharge my spiritual batteries. I know one medium who, every year, takes two weeks off to stay at a Buddhist monastery where he remains silent and meditates several hours a day. Plus, he chooses to help out around the facility by sweeping floors, washing the monks’ robes and preparing rice for meals. He does these menial chores, he says, “as a way to remind myself that my first duty is to serve.”

Checking around Toronto, I found intriguing retreats located at former convents, Buddhist temples, rural farmhouses, yoga centres and in renovated schools. I chose a place that offered a silent retreat in a comfortable 100-year-old facility that seemed an ideal place to unplug, unwind and uplift.

When I registered at the reception desk, I requested a vegetarian, gluten-free meal, and the coordinator told me that would be no problem. I was free to use the labyrinth in the garden (a great idea but at 2 degrees outside, no thanks), and there was a small chapel available for prayer, if one so choose. She then led me to my room, a Spartan rectangle painted beige with a window overlooking the garden, a cane-backed chair before a wooden writing desk with a reading lamp, and a single bed. Though the place had been built in the early 1900’s, it was spotlessly clean. Before the coordinator left, she said several women of various ages were also in attendance (however I never heard them!).

I spent most of the day journaling and in quiet contemplation. Looking out the window at the labyrinth, I recalled the words of French philosopher Blaise Pascal: “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” Truly, this was the purpose of a retreat – to conquer the fear of being alone with your thoughts and, instead, embrace the wisdom of the higher self that speaks to us all the time.

I thought about my work and why things weren’t happening the way I’d liked. What was missing? And why was mediumship beginning to feel like such a chore? Then I heard the whisper from my higher self: You’re doing the best you can. You’re not perfect. And not everyone who sees you is willing to believe that their loved ones in spirit even exist.

As I reflected on my life of delivering spirit messages, and especially my very stress-filled month, I came to realize that it’s not my job to make people believe. I am just a part of the spirit communication equation. Every message needs a willing receiver. Not everyone will benefit from this type of work. And when they don’t, as one of the Four Agreements so aptly states, “Don’t take anything personally.”

And, most importantly, I need to constantly remind myself “that my first duty is to serve to the best of my ability.”

If you have any questions or comments on this subject or on any other spiritual matter, feel free to write me at mail @ And please visit me again!


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