In the summer of 2020, I started an essay series entitled An Ode to Self-Care. A couple years removed from my 2000-words-a-day regiment, I felt an intuitive urge to get back into shape. I used the My Summer Rewind, a 50-song playlist curated by Spotify, created by tracks I played the most between June and September.
My Summer Rewind took the scenic route. My plans were to write them all 50 essays in 50 days. However, I took my time. I downplayed “my dreams of being a music impresario” in one of the final essays; it was too lofty, and I gave it up, for a girl. Towards the end of the piece, I realized my dreams were only to be deferred if I allowed it to occur. Two days before my 35th birthday, I made the choice to become what younger Chad Milner always wanted and worked so hard for. One of the first places I started was how I dressed.
I began to dress the part, even when I had nowhere to go. Sure, the COVID pandemic meant I spent substantial time, dressed to the nines, at home, in my studio. And why the hell not? Look, feel, and be what I see until it comes to be, was my mindset. In June 2021, I felt I needed to have my nails manicured. The nail technician came up with a clever idea to put a gel coat, with two smiling faces on my middle fingers.
As I left one of my first appointments, I decided to drive a couple of blocks to a local crystal store. I saw an advertisement for a blue tiger’s eye bracelet online and was curious if this place had one.
“We do not have a blue tiger’s eye bracelet; but we do have the stone,” the clerk informed me, then pointed at the stones. They were gray with a blueish hue, much like grey pit bulls (Note: I always wanted a blue pit bull so I could name them Huckleberry Hound).
Underwhelmed with what I saw, I picked up two and continued to peruse. The clerk showed me a royal blue cube, with flecks and specks of gold and gray. It looked like a pseudo-cubed globe. “What stone is this?” I asked the clerk and she replied “That’s lapis lazuli. It’s a stone of wisdom and intuition.” I came to the store in search of what turned out to be false advertisement; yet I followed the path and it lead me to what I really wanted.
I picked up two lapis stones without consciousness, then picked up a few others, in pairs. I walked to the register and noticed the Herkimer diamond. Its display case mentioned the Herkimer Diamond is used for attunement, amplifier of your best intentions, provides an empathetic energy, and is considered the most powerful of the quartz crystals; this was all reflected in the small pieces’ separation from the others and its price tag. The merchant explained the Herkimer Quartz in more detail and I felt compelled to request three of them.
The Crystal Merchant placed each paired stone together and held each one in her right and left hands; then placed them to her ear to feel their energetic properties. “Who are these for?” the woman asked. Her tone implicated my choice in paring meant the stones were for more than one person.
“One set is for me, I guess,” I replied. The Crystal Merchant then asked, “Who are the others for?” I had not put any thought into this; with a reluctant-yet convicted tone-I told her “So I got this friend…” I did not talk about this friend whom perhaps these would be a gift for. She listened to the small parts of what I had to say, split each pair, and began to explain.
“I see where you are. You have an active root and heart chakra. But based on what you’ve told me, something is missing from your stones: love” the Crystal Merchant said, then walked towards the stones, asked me to follow, then said “Pick a pair.”
I felt drawn to a certain stone, yet I asked the Crystal Merchant to pick, curious what would be her choice. I am aware of salesmen and women, who know how to read into a person and close a sale. I deliberately did not stand in front of the one or make direct eye contact with the pieces. I read her body language and she picked the one I guessed. We both smiled, I picked up two, and paid my hefty bill.
“What is her name?” the Merchant asked. She wrote the first initial on a piece of paper, and placed it in a small bag with the crystals. The merchant picked the ones she felt belonged to each one of us as she spoke.
“The stones you have picked out are powerful. It seems as if in the change, the two of you cannot talk the same way. Use the crystals. Charge them, talk to them, and then give them to her when you are ready. They will always be connected. When the two of you cannot, then you talk to your stones and they will for you,” she said.
I asked questions in a time of uncertainty and the woman read it in my demeanor. The Crystal Merchant told me she felt I was ready to settle down, build a home, start a family; and this was the woman I all but would do so with.
“How do you know?” I asked.
The Crystal Merchant replied “Because you are here. You chose to come here. You told me your story and here is what I see. By you making these acts, it seems to be where your heart lies.” I showed surprise in my face, and she continued.
“There are no if’s, or maybes, only be’s. You are manifesting,” The Crystal Merchant said. Other than thank you, come again, and have a great day, these were our final words.
I placed both bags of stones inside the front pocket of my leather Coach bookbag and carried them everywhere: every studio session and shoot, meeting, and trip. Perhaps I felt I was “in my bag” with them. They became part of my travels and journeys as I pursued my personal legend.
I never gave her the stones. They sat in my Coach or camera bag every time I saw her; yet it never felt like the right time, so I followed my intuition.