Images flooded my panicked mind of internet police coming to Get Me and Punish Me, hoards of angry women descending upon my house and doing Bad Things to me, being banned from being online forever….

Friends Help Friends…

The first time a customer complained to me and told me she was really upset about trying to buy my first book, I got really upset, myself.

This was 2002. I was barely beginning to learn how to market my art, classes, and books online. Using computers was no biggie — I’d been into them since 1985.

But marketing? Whole new world. Scared me to death.

Remember, I’m the gal who was so shy I virtually never spoke out loud in public until I was almost 20. So to think about talking to people about my work — or heaven forbid, selling — put my entire nervous system into a massive dizzying tailspin.

I had discovered EFT, the Emotional Freedom Techniques, and used it to eliminate my suicidal thinking. My entire life changed from then on. Dr. Patricia Carrington, one of the prominent EFT experts, encouraged me to write a book about EFT.

So, I did. I wrote and published Change Your Mind with EFT, my first EFT book, and nervously sent the news of it out to my tiny little email list of a few hundred people.

People began to buy my book! I was so thrilled! I’d never written a book before, and to think that anyone would want and appreciate my words was astounding.


Back then, we didn’t have webinars or zoom, or even shopping carts, and paypal was an up and coming new phenomenon.

“I couldn’t get your payment thingie to work!” emailed the irate woman. “I was so looking forward to reading your book! Are you stupid or something?”

She raged on and on like that, calling me names I won’t repeat here.

I was so stunned I could hardly breathe.

Images flooded my panicked mind of internet police coming to Get Me and Punish Me, hoards of angry women descending upon my house and doing Bad Things to me, being banned from being online forever….

I called my friend Sophie, who talked me down from my fright. I had to shift the enormous zinging energy rushing through my body. We tapped together like crazy, using EFT to transform the fear into the ability to be present.


Sophie asked me something that I have used almost every day ever since:

“Angela, have you forgotten your original intention for writing and selling that book?”

It was as if a hand had come out of the air right in front of me and stopped me in my tracks.

Yes! I remembered my original intention: simply to do what I could to engage with and uplift people whenever and wherever possible.

My breath came back. Regained my center. Sighed big.


As I was recovering my breath, I suddenly remembered my trips back and forth to San Francisco in the ’70s, taking my pottery to galleries. On my way back, I’d duck into a diner-styled truckstop called Truckadero to have a bite to eat and rest from driving.

Picture every one of the waitresses wearing these itty bitty black uniforms consisting of skirts whose hemlines barely skimmed their underwear line, and bustiers that plumped their breasts out to here like ripe melons. Modest they were not.

One day, I was sitting in my booth watching the truckers tease and cajole one of the waitresses. They were like a bunch of school kids torturing the new kid.

She was barely holding it together — under her grim smiley-nice-nice act, you could almost see steam coming out of her ears.

She got to me, plunked my plate down so hard it scattered my silverware and spilled some of the food on the table and into my lap. She reeled back from the table, starting to apologize. Eyes brimming with tears.


It would have been really easy to shout at her, ‘hey be careful!’ and scold her for being so careless.

But I just had this feeling … so I said, “Looks like you’re having a really bad day. Anything I can do to help? Go give some of those rude truckers black eyes for you?”

Her fleeting facial expressions were priceless. She went from wry barky-reaction laugh to utter surprise to shock to self-pity to control, and finally, being present with me.

Her eyes met mine and her gratitude streamed like fire right into my heart.

“Thank you so much,” she whispered. “My 9-year old is horribly sick and I didn’t have a baby sitter and she’s all alone and I’m stuck here all day and I’m so worried…”


She went on a bit more. I asked her again how I could help, and she said something that stuck right into my brain.

“Thank you for seeing I’m upset, and for listening to me gripe!” she said. “It’s so amazing! I was feeling like I was all alone and there was no way out of my situation, and those idiot truckers are being such turkeys. Now maybe I can think straight enough that I can make some calls to people who can help. Thank you so much!”

I didn’t need to say anything more. She cleaned up my table; I ate, paid, and left. Feeling like something monumental had happened.


Imagine how it would have been if I had added my scolding to the teasing of the truckers. Horrible. I’d just have added to the emotional wreck she had become.

But even back then, way before I ever dreamed of being a coach — I knew that it was my path to help uplift whenever I could.

So now in 2002, so many years later, this customer of mine was raging at me about how my ‘payment thingie’ was not working. I felt like that waitress. Afraid. Disappointed in the system I was using, defeated that once again it seemed like I was a loser and a fail, not knowing where to get help…


When Sophie asked me what my original intention was, it snapped me right out of the self-pity track.

Change upset to uplift. Simple.

I can do that.

So I called the irate woman. Asked her what I could do for her. She was completely surprised, and even began to apologize. “I never dreamed you’d call me! You must be so busy with so many people…”

“Yes,” I answered. “But what’s happening for you is painful for me to hear — I hate that you’re suffering. Besides, your experience is feedback for me. If you can’t make the system work for you, how many others are there with the same problem who aren’t even speaking up?”

We had a wonderful conversation. And surprise surprise, it turned out the problem was a little glitch on her computer, not my payment system at all.

She thanked me and hung up. What could have been a shouting match disaster, turned into being able to help her … and gaining a solid fan who still buys every last thing I produce.


Do you even have one?

What would you like people to experience during and after interacting with you?

When people invade your space with their upset, what do you tend to do?

Do you get upset, too?
Do you blame them for upending your day?
Do you react harshly and scold them?
Do you maybe want to teach them a lesson about how they ‘should’ act?

Or do you have the presence of mind to take this upset and turn it into an opportunity to connect and uplift?

Are you a big enough person to be compassionate and ask if you can help?

Most times people feel better just by your having asked, and by your having paid attention to them.

Sometimes the energy is so intense it’s really hard to remember to slow down and understand that they are in pain, and the upset isn’t necessarily about you at all.

Helping someone feel seen and heard is one of the greatest gifts we can give anyone.

And what’s funny is that we usually don’t even have to do anything outright for them, even if we asked if we can help!

People — well, all of us, really — just want to feel like they matter, like they are seen and heard. That someone cares enough to notice them.

Precious stuff, this.

Keep on keeping on. No matter what.


Thanks so much for reading my story. I hope it lit you up. Or maybe it inspired you, or made you curious, or gave you a new perspective with which to view and appreciate your own life. Or maybe take on a new exciting scary fun adventure! That’s my wish.



Image: Friends Help Friends
text and image © Angela Treat Lyon 2021–2

The original of this image was a pen and ink drawing done in Japanese Sumi ink on heavy watercolor paper. If you’d like a print of this image, please contact me.


Original paintings, drawings, and prints:
Original paintings and stone sculpture:

I bet you don’t know the right way to write your book! Find out here:

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