the Placeholders


The other day, for inspiration, I picked up Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, and, with my eyes closed, opened it to a random page.

When I opened my eyes I was looking at a section of the book called “The Placeholders.”

Some people, as they come into alignment with their purpose in the world, move into the spotlight. They have big lives and handle the million details with ease.

They have the universe behind them. I imagine them in a secret club who members are awarded more than the standard allotment of 24 hours per day. I wonder how they got in!

This is a thing I struggle with in the world of coaching:

smattered all over it is the idea that you must play big.

I was taking it to mean having a small life were cowardly and made you negligable as a human being. That thinking makes for a lot of unessecary and exhausting striving.

Stay with me.

The other day I sent you a link to the Heartmath people. They are doing things like measuring our personal resonances, and that of the earth. People like me talk about raising our vibrations. Many people take that figuratively. What if we really are vibrating? What if we can affect our vibration by the way we think, feel, and act? What if that vibration affects our lives, lives of others, and the planet?

In raising the consciousness of the earth, we are talking about raising vibrations. Eckhart Tolle says some people are meant to catapult forward, spotlighting the next steps.

Others are placeholders, holding steady, holding our ground, spreading that vibration over the planet like a growing garden of new trees and hope.

Ah relief.

I am a placeholder. My vibration in my small corner of Boston, and yours in the Back Bay, and yours up north, out west…our vibrations are necessary contributions. I don’t need a big life to play big!

Often emerging placeholders come to my office. They are in pain and overwhelmed. They ask for reiki. They haven’t understood their role yet.

The other day a new client came in, an empath needing grounding and sisterhood. We did eft/tapping before her reiki session. As she coaxed her nervous system out of fight or flight, with the tapping technique, she looked me in the eye and said, “I’m not broken.”

Hallelujah no my friend you are not.

She has chronic pain and autoimmune disorders because her system is on overload, unable to ignite the healing response with the force it needs. That is an overloaded system, doing its best. It is doing what it’s supposed to do. It isn’t broken.

It needs help. It needs to be acknowledged and supported. And loved. It needs the heart. This young woman felt it and she was brave to say it to me, a stranger. “I’m not broken.” And to herself. She felt her heart.

Playing big means to step into your power, even if that means your power wasn’t meant for the spotlight. We placeholders also have the universe behind us. Everyone does. You just have to open to it.


My parents were placeholders. They were pinched off from their power, though, stuck in the herd mentality of the mid-century, when we learned to land good jobs and keep up with the Joneses.

Are you pinching off your power?

I know I was. I’ve held my place, but like a new animal, all unsure and jittery, efforting* to stand. By grace and gratitude, my steps are getting firmer.

I guess it’s an echo from my childhood neighborhood that makes me feel stronger when I have an important title. Like Placeholder. And if we're honest, that world of fitting in, striving, and comparison sure isn't dead yet, is it? Since we still live in it, maybe I’ll start to shamelessly flaunt my title!

Maybe you could, too. What if we all did and the status of our title changed? Status is nothing more than a declaration of what's important to a neighborhood or a people, isn't it? Yeah, we could shift that.




*According to a post in the Columbia Journalism Review, efforting is recognized as a verb in both the Oxford English and the Urban Dictionaries. The blogger points out that the former calls it obsolete, and the latter is just wrong. Judge me if you must.

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