In June 2010, I decided to take another leap of faith. I had been steadily experiencing more and more psychic awareness, and I decided to finally do something about it. Over the previous six months I had been accumulating teachers and advisers and other loving beings who saw that I was clueless about this transformation and had taken me in. I had stumbled upon a reiki master, a few mystics and a psychic adviser, all of whom sensed both my fear and my potential. My spiritual awareness was gaining magnitude as I struggled to make sense of all of the newness, as well as all of the trials and tribulations. It felt like I had been thrown on a roller coaster with no breaks; my only job was to hang on and go with it.
And go with it, I did, up to a Buddhist retreat deep in the Santa Cruz mountains. I was taking part in a five-day course headed by my dear friend and spiritual advisor, Julie McNulty. As my boyfriend drove me up the dark winding road, he expressed his concerns.
“Is this a cult?” he asked.
“No,” I said, resolutely, but not quite sure I believed that.
“Well, you’re not going to shave your head or anything, are you?”
“No!” I yelled, trying to sound offended, but pretty sure I was only sounding more and more terrified.
As we approached the retreat, his skeptical glances intensified to full-blown, glaring disbelief. I’m almost certain he contemplated leaving me there and never coming back for me; at that point, I’m not sure I would have really blamed him.
After he had lugged my bags up to my room, and kissed me good-bye, I watched the car drive away and tried to suppress a panic attack. What in God’s name was I doing there? Doubt crept in and settled deep in my chest. “Maybe I really am just crazy,” I thought to myself. “No one can really do this stuff. And who goes to a class to figure it out?” I felt like I was entering the dicey territory occupied by 1-900 “psychic operators” who lie in wait to prey upon the weak-minded solely for “entertainment purposes.”
I thought about leaving then and there. But I didn’t have a ride. And my cell phone didn’t work in the mountains. And the fees were paid. I was stuck. Damn.
So, I decided that, for lack of a better plan, I should just give myself over to the process. If it turned out I was actually crazy (or if it was a cult), at least I wouldn’t know anyone and I could go home in five days and pretend it never happened (so long as I steered clear of any spiked kool-aid). However, that was far from what unfolded. As soon as I sat down that first night after a meal of organic, vegan lasagna, to meditate with the group, it was as though the shades were lifted and I could see clearly for the first time. And it wasn’t terrifying, it was beautiful.
But then I remembered I had been before to this beautiful open expanse of psychic awareness. In 1995, in my Presbyterian church-going years, my youth group attended a massive youth retreat in Indiana. I don’t recall what the over-all purpose of the event was, only that it was the first time I had my heart broken and the first time I had ever meditated. The subject of the heart-break is inconsequential, but the meditation acted like a touch stone. I remembered, 15 years previously, I sat in a dark room with 7 other brooding adolescents. We were each given a lump of green play dough and instructed to sit quietly and let images come to us. Then we were to sculpt the image that came to mind. I remember sitting there, going deeper and deeper into my consciousness and feeling like I was on the brink of a great void. What is perhaps the most ironic thing about this experience was that, in spite of all of the bible-thumping, it was the single most spiritual experience I had ever had. Clearly, knowing a generic God was the only objective of our youth group “Spiritual Advisors.” I doubt they would have approved of my communing with the vast Universe in such a fashion, as was demonstrated by their droll scientific explanation of mediation later on.
Indeed, the meditation of my 30s is not at all like the drudgery of mediation in my youth. Now messages, faces, times and places morph out of the void to tell a story of the person for whom I am reading. Angels, aliens, loved ones and ascended masters move closer from beyond the void to deliver messages and healing. It is a gratifying experience.
I will never forget the first reading I gave while I was up in that Buddhist Retreat. After several long and arduous days of pushing myself farther and farther, I sat down with my new friends to practice our skills. One woman, who I had felt particularly drawn to immediately asked me to try to communicate with her relatives. I felt completely daunted by this task. Not only was she the first person to ever ask me so blatantly, but I could literally see dozens of her dead family members standing behind her trying to talk to me simultaneously. This was truly trial by fire. But slowly, and with increasing detail, her long-dead brother began to speak to me. Between the two of them, one living, the other dead, I was told an amazing story of family, love, betrayal and, ultimately, healing. The power of the information that I was able to translate from the spiritual realm to the living for my friend brought her profound relief. And at that point I understood. This isn’t about me or what I can do for “entertainment purposes.” Psychic awareness is about the ability to bridge the physical and the spiritual and bring forward information and experiences for the highest good of all involved. What I can do is help people consciously raise their own psychic awareness by giving them information that they previously never had access to. I can help them reconnect to their source, their purpose and the unconditional love of the Universe.