How to Get True Healing – Unlock the Root Cause

Have you noticed how life speaks to us through our symptoms?
Sometimes the message is obvious. (My foot hurts and I don’t want to “take the next step.”)
Sometimes it’s not so obvious. (What’s up with my sore teeth?)
Sometimes I reach for Louise Hay’s 1982 classic, Heal Your Body, which presents the meaning behind a symptom and offers affirmations to relieve it.
Have you played with this book?
(Hmm – Teeth are about decisions, she says?)

How many of us (like me) jump right into the affirmation without thinking twice?
And it does not bring relief.
After all these decades it finally hit me: I need to think twice.

I need to find out why I am holding onto the issue before I can truly release it. (Louise does point this out in her opening pages, but I skipped over that in 1982.)

My body has a good reason for expressing this pain, this resistance.
A root cause sits underneath this problem, and I must face it.
What is my body telling me?

  1. Why do I “need” this problem?
  2. How is my personal opinion or belief causing trouble here?
  3. Can I release my misguided “need” for this problem?
  4. Can I forgive myself and forgive others on this topic?
  5. Does this problem/symptom give benefits that I like? (Sick days feel good, in a way.)

My dear teeth, are you feeling indecisive?
(Sheesh, I don’t know how Louise comes up with this, but let’s investigate.)
Am I facing uncomfortable decisions?
Yeah, maybe – there are so many unknowns and so many conflicting opinions in life.
Which decisions are bugging me? (Play the Jeopardy music while I ponder.)

Who told me I had to be decisive? (My inner critic and/or an authority in the distant past.)
Do I believe I must know everything, decide everything? (Yup.)
Am I pressuring myself? (Yup.)

Hey! My root cause just dawned on me:
I “need” to choose the one best decision.

I believe there’s only one best choice, and I’m afraid I’ll mess it up.
I gotta get it right, or else!
Or else what??
Or else nothing.
No big deal.
Hey, I don’t have to pressure myself with this silly belief in perfect decisions!
What if I make a bad decision? Is that the end of the world?
What’s the worst that could happen?
Mistakes help us grow, right?
Heck, let’s make some bad choices just to loosen up!

Now that I pulled out the root cause of this belief in “perfect rightness of decisions,” I can see more clearly. I can release it.
The problem will begin to wither without its root.

Next – my affirmation for my decisions/teeth.
Louise Hay handed me a line, but I wanted something personal so I made this one up:
I release “one right way” thinking, and I make choices that feel good to me.
I can’t get it wrong – there’s always another option.

And you say, “Gee Diane, why don’t you just ask your dentist about this?”
Well, there is that.
But the spirit infuses the body, and my mental habits affect my body.
The dentist heals from the outside in (with chemicals and such).
I want to heal from the inside out.
Because human life is an inside job.

How about your symptom?
What root cause is revealed for you?

Want another quick example?
My “need” for my headache is that I need everything to be perfect and be under my control.
That need is unattainable.
I struggle against reality and unwittingly squeeze my scalp muscles like a vice around my head. It hurts.

When I see what I’m doing, I feel silly.
Look where my views have brought me.
I squeezed my head only because I disagreed with “what-is” in the world.
I’ve been making trouble for myself.

Do I want this pain to continue, or can I release it and forgive it?
It all boils down to forgiving and releasing.

I forgive myself for being uptight and craving control.
I forgive another person for messing up my “perfect” plans.
I forgive the world for being in whatever shape it’s in.

Does any of this work for you? Are we onto something? Do tell.


See Pain Relief from Doctor John Sarno
Change your perspective with Byron Katie.

Diane offers energy balancing sessions and also meditation classes in Phoenix and Fountain Hills.
Thanks to pexels for this pic of sacred roots.

Sacred tree roots by pexels

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Gallbladder Pain Relief, How to Feel Better Now 

Removal of the gallbladder is one of the most common surgeries around the world, but the trouble can often be handled without surgery.
Gallbladder pain – in the upper right abdomen or the upper back – arises from gallstones blocking the bile duct. Symptoms may include indigestion, bloating, nausea and vomiting.
An episode might occur after eating fatty foods, but the issue may become a recurring pain. Do not ignore it. You need to calm it down. You need to reduce the inflammation, or it can bring serious consequences.

After you get it calmed down you’ll  want to release those gallstones with a natural cleanse using Epsom salt, olive oil, and grapefruit or lemon juice. (Yes it’s “free,” as many good things in life are. And you’ll get no cholecystectomy – gallbladder removal.)

First get out of pain:
– The gallbladder is in your upper right abdomen just below your rib cage.gallbladder pain relief spot (Don’t push on it too much.) Massage the spot just opposite to it, underneath your left rib cage (green spot in diagram). This may feel sore too. Press and massage it deeply for 1 – 2 minutes to stop gallbladder pain.

– Apply a hot damp towel, heating pad, or hot water bottle to your upper right abdomen for about 20 minutes. (Wet a small towel, wring it out, and microwave it for a minute. Don’t burn your skin.) This hot compress can reduce spasms, soften and open up the area inside, reducing that painful pressure.

– Drink some apple cider vinegar diluted in water or apple juice. (Use 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water.) This reduces inflammation. Apples contain pectin which softens gallstones.

– Peppermint tea can reduce pain, relieve nausea, and improve your digestion.

Now that you are out of pain, let’s talk.
Gallbladder issues usually arise from your diet, but you can change this.
It’s important for you now to stop eating:
– Sugar
– Refined grains like donuts, bread, pasta, etc.
– Fats and fatty greasy foods. Even stop eating nuts for a while.

Eat more fiber and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale. Get your leafy greens and your orange veggies each day. Eat an apple a day. No kidding.

You can take Choline and/or Magnesium supplements to relax the gallbladder.

Gallstones begin as soft lumps of cholesterol that accumulate over time. Often they are mushy, not really “stones” when a surgeon removes them.
Even if they’re not so soft, you can soften them up by eating more pectin, more apples, especially green apples, everyday.

You can pass gallstones out of your digestive tract naturally without surgery.
See the instructions for the gallbladder flush, which people have been using successfully for two centuries already. YES it does work.

Just make sure to drink tons of water to help the process along.
I recommend that in the week before you even begin preparing the flush process, start to drink Celtic salt water. This will hydrate and plump up all your cells, all your tissues, all your liquid communications throughout the body. It enhances all your digestive processes for smooth performance.

On the final day of the flush you’ll want to stay close to the toilet because your colon will expel many small lumps of cholesterol (a.k.a. stones) from your gallbladder.
(If you’re anything like me, you will see this as a beautiful healthy day. You may feel a bit worn out by the end of it, but it is so worthwhile. You can do this for general health every few years if you like.)

The word “gall” means bitterness, resentment, hatred. In olden times (or even now) a person might say, “That galls me.”
In healing your gallbladder, or even if you don’t yet have gallbladder trouble, find out what galls you.
What are you bitter about?
Then see what you can do to release that aggravation, resentment, bitterness.
Can you let go into peace on that topic, whatever it is?
Can you relax and forgive it?
You don’t want to make yourself sick over it.

I stand by my strong opinion that our body ailments are messages to us.
They are metaphors for what we’re going through in our life.

Have you ever done one of these flushes?
What is your experience with cleansing?
(I do have a photo of my cholesterol lumps lined up from small to large but I’m not sure I should share that one…?)
Let me know what you think.

Comprehensive Gallbladder Flush including dietary preparation

Diane does energy balancing sessions and meditation class in Phoenix and Fountain Hills
gallbladder pain relief spot


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Maybe Not a Random Shot – another wild story

One random day Zeta was shot.
Like a lot of other random people in the news, said her brain.
Not like anybody else, said her heart.

It had looked like a promising day. She woke up happy and didn’t know why. She couldn’t recall the dream she’d just finished, but some feel-good lingered. Beautiful morning, chilly but sunny.

A good day. Lately she’d had lots of them. Her work satisfied her. After decades she was quite competent and glad to contribute. Friends stood in every pocket of her life: work, book club, yoga class. It no longer hurt that her marriage had failed years ago, or that she was childless. Well. If she let herself dwell on those things. But mostly she did not.

She wasn’t a social climber anymore. Who cared, really? She could enjoy the people right in front of her face. She had no bones to pick with anybody anymore.
This level of comfort was priceless, she was finding out. Worth more than becoming queen of a small country.

That morning on her way to work, Zeta stopped at Tony’s to fill her gas tank. As the nozzle chugged, she tried to blow smoke rings with her frozen breath. Settled for white puffs. Never could do smoke rings, not even years ago when she smoked.

She felt eager to pop into the warmth of Tony’s store, grab a coffee and razz him a little.

A howl filled the air. It was a three-year-old boy whose mom pulled him out of their car toward the store. The boy wore a yellow stocking cap with buggy eyes. One of those cartoon creatures. Frustrated little guy, he wailed all the way in. Poor Tony had to listen to that.

Hmm. Maybe she would skip the coffee.
No, she wanted coffee. She bounced on her heels to warm herself until the scrolling gas pump numbers stopped.
She indulged in her numerology game, adding up one number for the gallons and another number for the price. Today these were nine and one, an ending and a beginning.
Completion on something and wonder what’s next, she thought, walking into the mini-mart.

The boy whined and tried to pull away from his mother’s grasp. Mom carried a couple of granola bars and juices to Tony’s countertop.

Zeta went for her coffee. And cupcakes, why not? Two packs. One for the little guy. She stood behind them. Beamed a sympathetic smile at Tony.

The boy whipped around to eyeball Zeta. He fell into an irritating rhythmic noise, “Aauhh, Aauhh.”

Zeta looked away and breathed deeply. Maybe the kid didn’t need cupcakes. Wouldn’t want to sugar him up.
Now the mother was having issues with her credit card.

A souped-up rumbling old truck stopped outside the plate glass windows. Its vibrations reverberated into the floor and rose up through Zeta’s legs.
The boy dropped to silence and stared at the truck.
The guys in the truck fussed around like they were arguing. They didn’t cut their engine.

“Ah, there it goes,” said Tony, his hand on the credit card machine. “It took it.”
“Yes!” said the mom.
The boy quietly glanced up at Zeta. And her cupcakes. She smiled.

The truck door slammed. A scruffy man swooped in, his arms rigidly pointing a pistol at them. “Empty your cash!” He took his first shot at the ceiling.

“Who do you think you are?” Tony yelled.
Zeta leapt and wrapped her arms around the boy. The mother dove down, hugged them both.
Whoops, shift this, said Zeta’s heart.
She lifted away and tucked mom in with her son.

Gunfire banged all over the place.

Two guns, one of them Tony’s, Zeta realized.

“Out! Get Out!” Tony bellowed.

Two bullets ripped into Zeta’s back. Warmth poured out.

Tony’s shout broke off into silence.

“Stop it!” cried a new voice. Zeta opened one eye to see the frantic driver, trembling like his truck behind him. “No time for this! Grab it!”

A scuffle, and the truck roared away.

Zeta lifted her head and strangely lifted her chest up and out from the back of her body. She looked upon her crumpled form.
Mother and son screamed and cried.
Zeta didn’t see any blood on them. She wasn’t sure what to do next.

Tony hovered behind the counter with the wackiest stunned look on his face. “Are we -? Are we -?”
“Yes, Tony, we are,” said Zeta. “Out of our bodies.” It felt uncanny and yet sublime.

The place filled up with other beings, coming in close, encircling the two of them.
“Well done,” they said. “Well-played, Zeta. And you, Tony.”

. . . Why?
It would take awhile to find out why.

(I would love to hear your whys and wherefores. Is this sort of thing simply random chance? Does this scene spark any interesting explanations to you? Do tell.)


written by Diane Langlois Stallings, 2018
Thanks to wikimedia and John Busuttil Leaver for the use of this image.
Floating_Spirit_by_John_Busuttil_Leaver wikimedia




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Blow Away the Veil to the Next World and Cheer Up

A couple decades ago shortly after my mother died, her sister said she talked with her all the time. Mom was helping her organize things at work.
“Hmm, weird,” I thought back then.
But now that I’ve talked with Mom for a number of years, it feels natural.

Our first contact was facilitated by a medium. (I won’t debate channeling here. Many of us have experienced trustworthy mediums and channelers.)
I smiled when the medium spoke with Mom’s usual tone, rhythm, and phraseology. She sounded exactly like herself.

In closing Mom said, “My dear, I love you, and I wish we could have a heart-to-heart talk. We have unfinished business.”
“Okay, what if I write you a letter?”
“Have you got a post office that delivers this far?
“Well -.”
“I’m kidding – yes, please write to me.”
“How about you look over my shoulder when I’m writing it?”

I chose a quiet day for this attempt.
Many spiritual sources gave the advice to speak out loud to the departed.
(According to sages, saints, and scientists, all worlds are composed of vibration, so to me it makes sense that the voice vibration would carry.)

There I sat, ready to give it a whirl, to type a letter to Mom on my computer and narrate it aloud as it unfolded. With the door shut. Locked. I spoke aloud her full name to invite her in.

“Dear Mom,” I began, voicing and writing some gratitude to her. Good memories.
But soon we got to the various underlying disappointments and frustrations. Tears streamed down my face as I spoke and wrote straight from my heart, barring nothing.

In my head I heard her replies, so I typed and spoke them aloud, too. I might have been making them up. I didn’t know, and it didn’t matter. I was getting a lot off my chest.

It felt like a real interchange.
Part of me wished she was indeed hovering over my shoulder, listening and reading my letter as it unfurled. Part of me said, Diane, it’s your crazy imagination, don’t psych yourself into this, stay logical.
In any case I was enjoying the process.

Eventually our conversation reached a resolution, a new awareness, a plateau.
I gazed at the words on the screen.
Suddenly a warm whoosh of energy washed into me from the empty air on my left side. Totally unexpected.
Her hug spread throughout my body and filled my heart.
“Oh, Mom!”
Such an unusual feeling from an unusual direction.
Not my imagination.  Real and uncanny.
I soaked it up.

Things are not what they seem on this earth.
Our physical body is the tiniest part of us.
There’s a whole lot more to us.
There is no death.

What is your experience of speaking with nonphysical friends and relatives?
Have you tried it?
Use their full name to call them in.
Speak aloud, and your words will be amplified.
You will get some kind of response.

I bring this topic up because

  • About 90% of us crave contact with our departed loved ones.
  • It is easy to communicate (prepare by calming your busy mind into listening mode).
  • Clearing out unspoken words, unfinished business, feels good for both parties.
  • Nearly all of us fear death, but communicating can dissipate that fear.
  • Life becomes deeper and richer when we relax and know that we are eternal beings.
  • Imagine how fun life would be without fear of death. Stress-related disease would vanish.

Let us know, what responses have you received from those beyond the Veil?

Departing or Not
Talking Through the Veil – Death part 4 

(Diane facilitates meditation groups in Phoenix and  Fountain Hills. She offers health coaching and energy healing sessions to balance and strengthen your aura, chakras, and meridians, all of which improve your wellbeing.)
Thanks to Wikipedia for this picture.
Barzakh_light_in_Doorway Wikipedia


Posted in Meditation, Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Powerful Breath to Give You Delicious Energy

Chaos, constriction, or pain got you down?
Out in the world or inside you?
Try this.
You will bring beautiful energy into yourself.
In India they call it Prana. In Japan, Ki. In China, Chi. In Polynesia, Mana. In Navajo, Nilch’i. This life force energy is known in virtually every culture on earth.

You might think of this energy as light.
New research says photons of light are indeed flowing through the Primo Vascular System, the meridians (acupuncture channels), of our body.

Whether you feel skeptical or not, allow your imagination to take you for a while.
It’s a universal concept that our attention enlarges what it rests upon.
This experience grows stronger as you give your attention to it.

Settle into your seat with your feet on the ground.
Imagine your feet sinking into some lovely rich soil.
Breathe into your belly.
With every breath allow your tensions to melt.
Let go.
Let your body be heavy.
Let the Earth support you.
Let yourself shift into limp relaxation.

Breathe up your spine: energy flows from your tailbone up to the top of your head.
Enjoy a couple of these breaths.

Now breathe down your spine. Every breath brings energy from the top of your head down to your tailbone.

Imagine a tube of vital energy flowing from the top of your head to your tailbone.

Your tube of energy extends miles and miles into the earth.
Can it go all the way to the center of the earth?
Let it lengthen as far as it wants to go. Send gratitude to Earth.

With your next breath, energy rises from your tube deep in the Earth up into you, into your heart.
With great love, Light fills your heart and spreads into every cell of your body.
Breathe fully and deeply from the earth to your heart and then to your whole body.

Now imagine that this same tube of yours runs not only deep into the earth but also high into the sky, into the heavens.
How tall does it go?
Maybe a few feet, maybe up to the clouds, maybe to the stratosphere or Beyond.
It’s up to you, whatever you feel. Imagine it.

With your next breath, energy flows from the top of this tube into your head, into your core, straight to your heart. There it spreads with love into every cell of your body.
Feel, sense, or imagine this. Breathe deeply and easily and deliciously.

Take your time.
Let yourself enjoy this sensation, this imagery of beautiful energy pouring down from above, into your heart, into every part of your body.

For the final step of this practice, with each inhale, energy flows from both the earth and the heavens toward your heart.
Your heart fills with sweet light and lovingly radiates this light into every cell of your body.
This frequency heals everything it touches.
Breathe and feel the flow of energy coming from below and above.
Bask in this energy sensation.
Be like a sponge, soaking up comfort, light, energy.
Take your time to fully enjoy this.
Refresh yourself with serenity.

When you’re sitting in uptight traffic –
you might breathe and open to the healing energy that rides on the breath.

When you’re waiting your turn at the complaint desk, and somebody is raging –
you might move your attention to your own connection to the big Earth, the big Sky, and inhale from both of them.

When a big tragedy unfolds in the news –
you might remind yourself not to react to the fear-mongering.
Fear stops the breath.
Fear depletes your energy.
(Fear does not help unless you’re running from a tiger.)
If you can’t do anything about the situation, send peace.

Bask in peace and let it to spread from you into the world naturally.
Allow healing energies to flood into you.
Light fills you to the brim and overflows naturally to your family, friends, neighbors, town, region, country, continent, hemisphere, planet.
Linger here …

This has been a public service announcement. Please share. 🙂


(Thanks to countless traditions for this teaching. And to Tom Kenyon and the Hathors.)

Inhale the Frequencies You Like – It’s All You  
More Energy through Breath

(Diane does energy balancing sessions in Phoenix or Fountain Hills
See these same links for our weekly meditation classes.
Max pixel and wikimedia commons provided the images for this composite – thanks!)
core light for breath max pixel and wikimedia commons


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Spark Your Life with Strong Steady Minerals

To feel great and live longer, do Minerals!
Over three years ago I wrote about hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), but I haven’t said much since then because frankly I felt discouraged.
For a slow metabolizer like me (and 80% of the population), it can take quite a long time for the body to adjust its minerals.
I was doing every anti-stress practice and eating every mineral-rich food, but my mineral numbers were not coming up to the levels I wanted. (It’s always something, ain’t it?)

Let me back up a little.  When I first got into the tissue minerals game, I was in crisis with my thyroid and adrenals. (I shouted, “Nooo! I don’t want to be old and sick yet. Ever.”)

I had mistakenly taken “good calcium” pills for decades. Now I had tons of calcium in my soft tissues. Yikes. As a hospital nurse I knew misplaced calcium could cause big trouble (bone spurs, stenosis, leaky heart valves, congestive heart failure, calcified aorta and more).

To counteract this downward spiral, I quit calcium and vitamin D (yes, you heard me), and I began to take the antidote, magnesium. Thankfully these two minerals came into some balance within about 8 months, although deeper balance is ongoing.

For the next 3 years I struggled with my inability to hang onto sodium and potassium because of weak adrenals. I took supplements, swam in coconut water (high in potassium) and ate potassium (potatoes, tomatoes, Swiss chard), but potassium would not stick to me. My energy level improved. But I wanted to bank up that potassium.

Sodium and potassium are another pair that balance each other.
Neither of them wanted to stay in my body. They slipped right out.
Their deficiency made my mineral ratios sad – the ratios of thyroid function, adrenal function, and stress level.
This pattern is common for us slow metabolizers (80% of the population).
But most of us don’t look at our tissue minerals.
We tend to slide steadily into mineral decline as we age. Gosh darn it.

Stress plays a big role in all of this.
We need to let go of stress on many, many levels. Meditation is our friend.
I thought I was letting go?
Sometimes I felt discouraged with the mineral project.
I took the recommended minerals, ate the super-vegetable and protein diet, but I could not find much movement in my numbers.

Last week – shout it from the rooftops – the hair tissue analysis revealed a big shift!
Finally now my body holds onto more potassium and sodium. The stress and thyroid ratios have improved.
(Do I hear a Hallelujah!?!)

My faith in this project is renewed.
When it all started, practitioners advised me that my Intensive Care job was too stressful.
I said, “Maybe some stress, but it doesn’t bother me.”
They said, “It drains your magnesium and potassium.”
I guess.
I’ve been away from the hospital for 2 1/2 years now. Perhaps I needed these healing years where nothing life-threatening was supposed to happen each day. Each dawning and each dusk, about 900 easy days? I don’t know.
Somehow the reduction of stress allowed my body to relax enough to produce soothing hormones and chemicals for deeper restoration of the Parasympathetic nervous system.

This mineral balancing thing is not for the faint-hearted nor for people who want an instant cure. Everybody wants an instant cure, right?
If you’re a fast metabolizer (20% of the population), your minerals could improve fast.

But we of the 80% need patience, persistence, and optimism.
Good balance may take years to come to fruition.
But it is a deep and lasting fruition.

Tissue-mineral-balancing practitioners have healed illnesses that traditional medicine says are incurable. I am impressed.

How do you know if you are a fast or slow metabolizer? It’s in the pattern of minerals, analyzed.
I can give you only a few cliff-notes here (copper is another major player, as is iodine).
There’s a ton to learn about minerals, if you wish.

If you want to get your tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), contact Rick Malter or Rachel Neumann, or other reliable practitioners.


What is your experience with HTMA?

(Check out our meditation classes in Phoenix or Fountain Hills on Tuesdays or Thursdays, respectively.  Here’s my recent HTMA enhanced by pics from public domain and pixabay.)

HTMAgraph for blog

Posted in Digestion Nutrition, Disease Relief - Prevention, Self Healing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spinster Phoenix – a story to Make you Smile

This blog offers healing, and sometimes a fun story can lift your heart or bring insight.  I’m feeling like sharing a story once a month. Let me know if you like this idea or not?
The Flash Fiction Press online magazine published this story for me (on 4-11-16, thanks to Les Weil).  Enjoy.

Spinster / Phoenix

“I can’t believe I’m this old, not married, no prospects, rolling into a dead-end life! My twenties are gone!”

“Take a breath, Michelle. Just breathe,” said my sister Colette. “Let the sunshine soak into you.”

We sat on a café patio in Phoenix, not celebrating my birthday because I felt queasy, turning the big three-o.

“You don’t know what it’s like,” I said. “You have Jim, for god’s sake, and you’re still dancing around in your twenties. Time is running out for me! All my boyfriends were losers, and now the pickings are slim! Guys in their thirties are the rejects nobody wanted.”

“Gosh, do you feel like a reject?” Colette’s eyes widened.

“Yes! No! Don’t analyze me!”

She sat back and stared at the sky over my head. “You should go see my fortune teller.”

“Your what?”

“Oh, don’t freak out. He’s a regular guy, but he gets results.”

“I can’t walk into one of those old houses with the palmistry billboard in the front yard. I can’t believe you did.”

“He’s not one of those. People find him only by word of mouth.”

I rolled my eyes.

“So forget it,” she said. “But he found Jim for me. Sort of.”

“How did he do that?”

“It’s hard to explain. You’re too freaked out, anyhow. It probably wouldn’t work for you.”

I shook my head. Craziness. But her words marinated in me. A week later I phoned her for the scoop. His name was Manny, and his fee was a hundred bucks. That gave me pause. Colette said he had tons of happy customers, known to her. Finally I rationalized my way into it and made an appointment.

Soon I was knocking on his door, glad to find him in a subdued home close to my neighborhood.

Manny was about sixty, a wiry little muscle man, with the sleeves torn off his T-shirt and a large crystal dangling on his chest. Junk cluttered his living room. He shoved a stack of newspapers off his couch for me, and pulled a molded plastic chair over for himself. His knees nearly touched mine.

Don’t panic, I told myself. Breathe. I smelled teriyaki.

“So what’s the trouble?” He angled his head like a bird.

As I explained my spinsterhood, his eyes worked into me. Was he listening? His face was intent, but something else was happening. Was he trying to hypnotize me? I didn’t need to lose my mind, on top of everything else.

The next thing I knew, the room tilted. Sounds crazy, but it did. I saw the ceiling and walls tilt down to the left and upright again.

Then Manny relaxed.

“So,” I said, “can you tell me my future?”

“Can anybody do that? No. I empower you to find your own way.”

I squinted at him.

“Let’s get to it,” he said. “I need your contribution of one hundred dollars, please.”

I invoked Colette: you’d better be right about this, sister. Handed my cash to him.

“Thank you.” He bowed his head and left the room. What now?

He returned with a tray of Chinese fortunes taken from cookies. Tiny strips of paper, some streaked with sauce, a big heap of them. He smiled broadly. “One of these is for you. Your choice.”


“Go ahead,” he grinned.

I took one. Slow down and see what’s in front of your face.

Manny was in front of my face, his teeth gleaming.

“Okay,” I said, “now what?”

“That’s it.”

“That’s it? That’s your whole show?”

“The Universe is always talking to you,” he nodded. “You’ll see.”

My heart caved in. “It says, slow down? I’m not paying you a hundred bucks for this!”

“Well. You may have another one.”

I clamped my jaw. Dug deeper into the pile. Friends appear when you open your eyes to them.

His eyes held mine for a moment. I did not tell him what it said. Where did he get off, in his scrappy little hut, charging this kind of money for trash?

“It’s up to you to listen. Keep your eyes open,” he said. Uncanny choice of words. But he probably said that to everybody.

“You have a lot of gall,” I said. “I want my money back.”

“Sorry,” he shrugged. “If I refund it, this session will have no effect.”

I roared out of his street, jerking to a stop at the busy avenue. Sunlight flashed in my eyes from a passing car. I made my right turn at the very moment when a big old truck screeched and swerved around me, spilling trash and old boards all over the road. He stopped on the shoulder.

Needles of fear pricked my skin. I gasped for air as my wheels crept through the trash. Geez! Thank God nobody was hurt.

The truck driver scowled at me. “Slow down!” he yelled. “Are you blind? I was right in front of your face!”

Oh. The very words. Trembling, I shifted to the slow lane. In a half-mile I heard whump whump whump on my right rear. Not a flat tire? Please, no.

I must have rolled over one of those old boards the truck had spilled into the street. I did not want to deal with this. I had one more mile to my apartment complex. I took it slowly. No choice. I hoped I could remember how to change a tire.

When I parked in my slot, I cut the engine and shut my eyes. Breathed. Took inventory. I was thankful to be alive and not maimed. I couldn’t believe I blew a hundred dollars on that stupid Manny. But how ironic, I was forced to slow down. Or did Manny put a curse on me?

Then came a tap tap tap on my passenger window.

I opened my eyes to see Robert, that dorky guy who always followed me to the pool and hung around. Months ago I’d told him, he wasn’t my type. That hadn’t stopped him.

Robert’s face crumpled with concern. “Your tire is ripped up. Want me to change it?”

I blinked. Friends appear when you open your eyes? I bit my lip.

He gently opened my door. “You look so pale. Are you okay?”

Puddle of nerves, I could say, but my mouth didn’t want to move just yet.

He reached for my hand to help me out. Strong arm. I liked the way he wrapped it around me.

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Holistic Nurse, Healer, strung out on 37 years of hospital shifts, Diane Stallings returns to the pen. (Not the barn. Digital ink.) Her past stories were published on paper before you were born (1980s, 90s). Check out her blog. It might save your life. Or not.

fortune from cookie

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