The barber’s chair has always been a fascinating place of discovery, humor, and beyond but a recent experience reminded me that my gift as an empath can be useful in the most random moments. Yesterday, I decided to go to the local barbershop and since I never have an appointment, it is luck of the draw of who will be doing me a solid. A barber named Jim was the next available and I had seen him there on all of my prior visits. He was loud and boisterous, and usually was the one driving the social scene in the shop. Yet something had always energetically put me on guard about him. So hesitantly, I sat down. He immediately had me “laughing” and it took no time to establish some of the male humor that are hallmarks of such places: when asking if he should trim my overgrown mustache, he insinuated that he could help me “please my woman” more by trimming down my ‘stache. And so with that, I figured this would be a run-of-the-mill experience and I settled in for the usual.

“Everything is energy”

About 10 minutes into the cut, however, something incredible happened. The conversation somehow wound into his personal life and he began to admit to me that he believes in energy and that his mother recently told him he is crazy and needed to see a “shrink”. I told him this is the world I inhabit. Immediately, the vibrato was gone, shed, and replaced with a passionate, quiet, excitement to tell me his journey. In hushed whispers, he began to explain to me his balance of belief in religion (as seen by the Jesus tattoo on his forearm) against his belief in science. Jim’s takeaway: it’s all about energy. “Everything is energy. The mountains, the earth, you, me.”

Just that very morning, my girlfriend and I had been speaking about the energy work she is doing with a healer and western doctor here in Tucson, so I smiled inwardly at the universe for putting Jim in my path. It was implicit confirmation in the incredible connectivity that occurs as I tap further into my true nature as an energetic empath. I went on to ask him what he wants to be his legacy in the remaining days he has on earth and he told me that goosebumps had just surged through his body. I could feel the emotions coarsing through his body as he began to give himself permission to connect to his true nature.

“I am uncomfortable around people”

I took a risk and mentioned to Jim that I have seen two versions of him during my visits and he didn’t miss a beat, “Yes, the loud person is an act, a shell, because really, I am super uncomfortable around people.” I fully understand this. I used to be the life of the party, needing to be the lube that made everyone comfortable. It is a burden. And it may not be who we truly are but over decades, people come to learn this as who we are and so that is who we become. I expressed to Jim that about 5 years ago, I decided to stop being that guy and that he could too. It was clear to me, Jim doesn’t want to feel crazy and that his belief in energy and our interconnectedness is his true gift to the world, delivered through these shared moments in his barber chair.

Our dialog covered numerous aspects of our spiritual experiences, all done in the privacy of whispers amidst the hustle of a packed barbershop. At the end of the cut, I stood up, took out my wallet to pay, and he began waiving his hand, “I feel I owe you,” he said gratefully. “I am so glad you sat in my chair. Thank you.” I hugged him and left.

This encounter with Jim has stayed with me. We have the ability to light up the world wherever we are. I will check in on Jim to see how is doing but I realize how grateful I am to him for being a man willing to break through the commonly-held mandates and expectations of how men are supposed to communicate with one another. It takes courage beyond physical strength to admit you feel, as a man, in our society. I witnessed Jim go through a transformation that afternoon. And my heart is happy for him.

(Photo by Michelle Boeschman)

Alok Appadurai

Alok Appadurai

Humanitarian. Global Project Developer. Father.

Alok helps clients all over the world build emotional brand stories, websites, and projects that make the world a better place. He believes in the power of humanity to uplift those in need, is moved by stories of human resiliency and our collective ability to overcome tremendous obstacles together.  www.Alok.Life

Alok.Life Digital Agency For Social Good

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