Renee Baribeau answers the question:

What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?


For me to answer that question, I thought I would take a wind walk, and a wind walk is when you go outside, you ask the wind a question, you wait until you get a nice little kiss upon the cheek, and then you start to walk. Well, as I began to walk, the wind took me on a journey, and it was a long, long wind walk because what I realized is nice gestures in my life are like the pebbles of sand that the wind will pick up in the desert and bring forward a windstorm. All these nice gestures were leading me to a place where I was humble enough, ready to receive the book Winds of Spirit.

I just wanted to mention a couple of the people that I met along the way who really impacted and shifted the direction of my life. The first of those was when I was a child, my mother had to work nights, so a lot of my friends' families were really very nurturing. One of my good friend’s mothers, she told me that I was worthy enough to go to college, actually helped me fill out the application, and then got me a scholarship. So I became the first person in my family to ever graduate from a 4-year degree, because before that women could be secretaries and all of that. I remember her fondly.

Then, a little bit later, after I had graduated, I had a farm-to-table restaurant and I was about, I don't know, 15-20 years ahead of my time in this small town, upstate New York. I'm talking five hours out of New York City. My father, the day after my grand opening, had a massive stroke, and he was my banking connection. Really soon after this, a doctor's wife came into the restaurant. I was struggling. I didn't have a clue about being in business; I was a talented chef, but no business sense. Well, I had a business sense, but I just spent more money than came in the door. She had a series of four or five dinner parties in this small restaurant, which really helped pay the mortgage. So Lorraine, I'm sending you blessings. 

Then, in my life, there's been a series of Ls: Lisa, Lindas, Laura, all Ls. I call them the Tree of Ls, and they've been shimmering lights in my life, always handing me another olive branch when I was lost in a storm at sea. So I want to thank them. Then the rest of them...

How I got to have [a trout dinner in Peru] with the woman who would one day become vice president of Hay House, that's the wind. How the book got to Hay House, again, the wind. The bosses who gave me the space to write the book, the wind. So I'm not taking credit for any of these things. I believe that when you have a big enough destiny, which was what I heard in a lot of your talks, then the doorway just opens up and, if you're ready, the wind will push you right through. 

Then I really want to thank Sandra Ingerman. We were doing a podcast one day, she didn't know me from Adam and she said, "Wow, my spirits just told me we should do a weekly podcast." From that, The Shaman's Cave was born. The wind went from Hay House to worldwide Hay House, and now I'm sitting here talking to you, Phil, about how things come into your life that are unexpected, not from your family.

The biggest gift the wind gave me through all of these random acts of kindness was giving me back my family. For many, many years, I was really disassociated from them, and sure enough, when I thought things were just status quo, the wind brings something else and now I have a healed family relationship. It seems to be growing lately, and that's good too. So thank you for asking me that question.

Renee Baribeau is The Practical Shaman, a Wind Whistler, and Hay House Author. Renee is the “go-to” Soul Coach for innovative change-makers. A dynamic spiritual keynote speaker, she injects humor and practical wisdom into her inspirational Wind Work® workshops. Renee guides individuals toward an enlightened way of life — and their true purpose — through the wind’s knowledge.

The wind gods have guided Renee’s life in many directions. A former chef, in 1987 she opened the first farm-to-table restaurant in Central New York. Renee served as the Resident Shaman at We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs. Since 2013, Renee has worked for Foundations Recovery Network, a national system of residential treatment facilities, as Marketing and Community Outreach Coordinator.

Renee developed the Awakening Compass© that's featured in her book, Winds of Spirit. It's a navigational tool designed to provide guidance, focus, and clarity of direction in your life, no matter which way the wind is blowing.

She's also a featured contributing blogger for Elephant Journal. Renee has contributed chapters to the anthologies, Pearls of Wisdom: 30 Inspirational Ideas to Live Your Best Life Now, and The Five Principles of Everything. She makes her home in the California desert, and on Whidbey Island, Washington.

Click here to visit Renee’s website.

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This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 23: Visionaries Global Summit