Potholes, Life, and Hot Tar

When I was little, I loved those hot summer days when the street repair guys came along by our house. They had two trucks: one that carried gravel, and another that had a big tank of hot, smoking tar. There was a guy walking behind the hot tar truck, usually with a cigarette dangling from his lip, and I thought he had the most awesome job: he had this big thing that looked potholelike a gun with a long barrel, attached to the hot tar truck with a hose. When they came to a pothole, he would point that tar gun at the hole, squeeze the trigger, and spray smoking hot tar into it. Then, a guy from the gravel truck would put a couple of shovels full of gravel into the hole, on top of the hot tar, and pat it down.  As a finishing touch, Hot Tar Guy would then spray the whole thing over with more melted tar to seal it and bond it all together.  Within a day or two, the tar had totally cooled and congealed, and the pothole was smooth… and so was the ride.

At age four, as I watched the big trucks rumble by, with the workmen filling the holes and making the road smoother and easier to travel, my Dream was to be the Hot Tar Guy when I grew up.  But life often… usually, actually… changes our early dreams.

When I graduated from high school, I joined the Navy, intending to get highly trained in nuclear energy and be a glowing success (pun intended).  But, I didn’t have the science and math background for it then, and it didn’t work out. I transferred into the electronics field, and although the math was still there, it was not quite so daunting and actually made sense.

But working with “things” was unsatisfying.  I found that I preferred interacting with people, instead of spending all my time trying to make uncooperative transmitters, radar systems, and satellite communication systems cooperate with me.

Finally, in the last couple of years of my service in the Navy, I found a job that was immensely satisfying: helping people with drug and alcohol abuse issues as the full-time Command DAPA (Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor) on the USS Yosemite. And when I got out after over 12 years of active Navy duty, my intention was to go into that sort of work as a civilian.  But it was not to be.

Becoming a civilian addiction counselor would have taken me another 3 to 6 years of education, on top of my two bachelor’s degrees and my master’s degree. Add to that the fact that the pay for such a counselor was even less than I made as a sailor (and I had a growing family to support), so that made it impractical. But the desire to help others never left me.

I spent a few years doing a variety of things as a civilian: field engineer, technical trainer, technical writer, course developer, college instructor, public school teacher, writer, publisher… and while these things paid well, they were never as satisfying as the last job I had in the Navy—helping people deal with personal issues that were disrupting their lives.

A few years back, I had an accident where I was pretty badly injured, and had occasion to experience the healing and pain relieving power of Reiki. After that, I determined to learn more about this form of energy medicine… and I did, ultimately training and qualifying as Reiki Master in three different forms of Reiki.

As I learned more about energy therapy, I also discovered EFT, or tapping, and how powerful and helpful it can be in assisting people with both emotional AND physical issues.  So, I found a great trainer for that, and became trained and certified as a professional EFT practitioner.

Now, a large part of my life is once more about helping people deal with their issues. Sometimes the issues are physical: healing from injuries or disease, dealing with the side effects of conventional medical treatment, dealing with pain.  Sometimes the issues are emotional: dealing with past traumas, conquering disabling beliefs or fears, overcoming addictions or bad habits. And sometimes, it’s a combination of things: the memories, emotions and thoughts are often major components of the physical issues, so relieving one helps the other.

Just today, I was thinking about that Hot Tar Guy… the fellow that my four-year-old self wanted to be. As I remembered those hot summer days, with the smoke and scent of the sweat and the hot tar wafting through my mind, I had to smile.  Even though I’m not a guy in a dirty white tee shirt, muscles bulging as he manhandles the hot tar gun to fill up the potholes, I’m still helping to make at least a few people’s roads smoother… helping them to clear up the potholes that may be shaking them up emotionally or physically. In life, we can’t always avoid those kinds of potholes. But we CAN often make them so they are not jarring nor painful to run over.



Visit my website at http://www.hillside-holistic.com/

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