Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Psychic Mama

From as early as I can remember people have always asked me, "How did you know that?" To which I would honestly respond, "I'm psychic."

It's been said that all mediums are psychic, but not all psychics are mediums. Mediums are the psychics who can see and talk to dead people, empaths can feel what others feel, clairvoyants see the future, and telepaths can hear the thoughts of others. I was born into a family of psychics going all the way back to my Native American ancestors, and each person had a specialty. My specialty is that I am primarily an empath with medium abilities.

I tend to converse with people as if I've known them my entire life and know most things about them through years of shared experiences, even if we've only just met. Many times I cannot decipher what I know based on actual knowledge and what I know from simple intuition. My daily life feels like what the majority of people describe as déjà vu. Most everything in the world feels familiar to me.

Sometimes I use my other five senses to perceive information psychically, like hearing a voice or seeing a picture in addition to smelling, tasting and feeling the information but none of it comes through that literally. The best way for me to describe how I receive information is to use the word sense. I simply get a knowing sense about something, and names, words, colors, numbers, faces, pictures and impressions fill that space between my ears with what I like to call validation markers.

These are bits and pieces of what many would deem useless information that only the client would know. When I am able to tap into that information, it validates for both the client and myself that I am tuned into them. It's a way of letting me know that I am on the right energetic track or that I am indeed talking about the same person my guides are.

The real significance comes after that, when the person receives valuable information confirming their own instincts and intuition about which path in life to go down next. I'm not the one with all the answers. I just seem to be the one who is able to translate for the client the wisdom of their own higher self to the practical applications of their own worldly self.

I'm often asked if I'm not just a mind reader, to which I say it's possible. And if it's so, then it means that we all know the answers; but perhaps only some of us know how to read, interpret and transfer the information.

When I'm working with people hands-on I often feel what they feel. If they have a backache, I will have a backache, without them even telling me. I often know when my child is going to have a fever because I start to feel feverish first. This type of empathy used to make leaving the house problematic and sometimes it still does, which is largely why I never wanted to pursue being a psychic as a job. As my Papa used to say, "Not every hobby has to be a career. Some abilities may be meant to be kept private." He was also a psychic.

Growing up in a family of psychics was like living with a bunch of paranoid loonies on truth serum who are addicted to vices of escapism to drown out the thunderous volume of information overload. Some were addicted to the obvious and typical: alcohol and drugs, others to more creative and less destructive remedies: fantasy and humor. The number one addiction in my family was gambling, because, let's face it, when you're psychic, you tend to win.

Everything in my grandparents’ house was something they had won, from the furniture and electronics, to the appliances and Encyclopedia Britannica. They won trips and cars, backyard accessories and new wardrobes — consolation prizes for carrying the gift and burden of knowing the future. One parent won a quarter of a million dollars on an Indian Reservation Casino, then blew it all on Lottery tickets. Even still, my family collectively has won more times playing the California Lotto than probably most people in one entire state do collectively.

Personally, I don't gamble, take drugs, drink excessively or indulge in the escapism of fantasy. I'm an overly responsible mother in the 21st century — I don't have time for an addiction. I've done my best to cope with my psychic abilities in the way my psychic Native American antecedents would have, by accepting them and integrating them into normalcy as best as I can. I feel drawn to use them for goodness and shy away from frivol. I would feel naked without them, unrecognizable, as if all my extremities were suddenly amputated. Yet, I was never in a hurry to embrace and promote them for profit.

Conversely, when one has a child it's not as easy to make personal sacrifices for the sake of our integrity if it means going hungry because of it. I have never been one to believe in consequentialism, but I am a believer in personal responsibility and creative resourcefulness. When the situation demands it, we have to do what we can to put food on the table.

My child was born with some moderate, but persistent, health challenges that led to some major fulltime care. Both my husband and I had to take time off from work to take turns caring for the baby around the clock. Then the industry that we both work in underwent a major strike that limited our work potential even more severely. We found ourselves out of work with a sick baby and no future income in sight.

Even though I was accomplished in my chosen career and had devoted over half of my life to it, I was willing to wait tables if necessary just to earn an income. I put feelers out into the workforce for every conceivable employment opportunity that was possible. Unimaginable road blocks arose to each potential prospect. In spite of this, the thing I resisted the most kept coming to me readily, inviting and enticing me with illusions of ease: working as a psychic.

Mary, an old roommate from 20 years ago, who knew of my psychic abilities and also of the financial distress we were experiencing, called me with a proposition. "I have a friend who needs your help,” she said. “She's willing to donate money to a college fund for your child in exchange for your services."

Being a psychic was never a goal or a real interest for me. I had been offered many times to work for hire and had declined most offers. It can be very draining work and the name "psychic" itself has a negative connotation. I did not want to be put into the same category of the late night $3.99 per minute Jamaican psychic Cleo. Integrity has always been a key proponent in my life. I didn't want to be associated with a profession that was surrounded with labels of con artist, scam or trickery.

As Mary was speaking to me about her friend, I was already receiving specific information on her behalf: she has a brain tumor and needs to make dramatic changes in her life or else she will be dead within six years, etc. Mary confirmed the details. I figured, well, if I'm getting the information and I can help her, I might as well accept the money on my child's behalf.

Within a month, more referrals came my way and more people were asking to make donations to my child's college fund in exchange for a psychic reading. The problem was that we needed the money more for daily survival than we did for a future college fund and we needed to pay for our child's doctor visits too.

Mary set up a barter system between my child's doctors and myself. She also came up with a price list of what I should charge and helped me write text for a website. Within two months I had a new business and was working part time as a stay at home mom.

In our American society of gender inequality, my husband still had the greater earning potential of the family so we decided that he deserved more work time than I did, which meant that I only had a few hours a day to work. At first, my only time to work was during my child's naptime. I'd give a psychic reading while holding my cell phone with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other.

Now that business has picked up for me and slowed down for my husband we split all the work, caregiver work and career work, evenly. The upside is that our lives are more equal and I get to work which I have missed deeply and which I thoroughly enjoy. The downside is that I rarely see my husband anymore. Either he's working while I am taking care of the baby or he's taking care of the baby while I'm working. We're doing our best to find balance while knowing that it doesn't always come from standing in the middle of the seesaw but sometimes it comes from taking turns. One baby step at a time.

Eventually we hope to both work during the same hours with a child care provider who comes to our home who we can monitor throughout the day. We are blessed to both be able to work out of the house. We save on gas and only need one car for the entire household. We enjoy taking family breaks from work to share meals together and having the distraction of taking time out for playtime, hugs, kisses, learning something new, singing a song, reading a story or going on an outing with our child. We need to work but we also want to be with our child, and working from home provides us with the luxury of both. Sometimes we suffer from cabin fever, but having a toddler who enjoys the outdoors helps to break up the days.

I work on referral only and usually through email communication. I prefer if I don't see the clients or know anything about them. They send me questions and I send the answers and sometimes we talk on the phone. Most of the time I don't even know their names; and I never give them any information about me, including my name. Psychics can have problems with people who become attached to them and are unable to adhere to personal boundaries, which is why I am referring to my offspring only as child and not sharing unnecessary personal information with more digestible reading aids provided by pronouns.

In addition to personal clients I also work with doctors, private investigators, lawyers, business people and other professionals, and I go to their offices. Sometimes doctors know a patient is sick, but they don't know what it is or how to help. They enlist me to work with the patient and put my hands on them to sense what I feel.

I have private investigators that have contacted me about missing children and I do my best to help, but I find the tragic horrors of that work too emotionally taxing. I can't be a good mom to my own child if I am overwhelmed by that sort of pain, but of course I help when I can.

I spend most of my time working with business people who have a lot of money. They invite me to sit in on interviews for employees and help them choose the most honest person for the job. I help them decide where to invest their money, what advertising would be best, etc. They use me to run ideas by, and I use my intuition "gut feeling" to give them the best advice I can.

I charge $125 per hour, but I never spend the money until I have the information. Sometimes I am wrong — about 10-20% of the time — and I tell people that up front. They tend to focus on the fact that I'm usually right more than 80% of the time. It's a good hourly rate but I can only handle one client per day for what it takes out of me physically. My hourly rate does not take into account the work I must do to prepare for the reading and the work I must do afterward to protect myself from the reading. All in all, it's not that profitable to be a psychic unless you're in it for the fame and book deals and can take on the energy drain more than I ever could.

Being psychic is part of who I am, but it's not something that I choose as a career — it is not my passion. To me it is a job, something I am doing because I can. Even so, I derive tremendous pleasure when I am able to truly help someone through a challenge. Much of my psychic mentoring is centered on basic principles of simple wisdom, like holding joy in your life, expressing oneself creatively, good self-care, and encompassing integrity and love into every personal exchange.

Having a job centered on values of goodness helps me stay in my core of truth and practice what I preach. But the downside is dealing with energy vampires who can suck me dry if I let them as they keep asking the same question over and over again hoping to hear a different answer. People with negative energy from having non-human entities attached to them can also be terribly toxic. Being drained by empathy work can overtax my adrenals and compromise my personal health. This is all saying nothing of near daily and nightly visits from deceased loved ones who want me to connect to their live counterparts on this side, many of whom I have yet to even meet.

Not being able to connect with someone enough to give them a reading always deeply disappoints me. Especially when I actually am connecting with them but they are too obtuse to realize it — like my most recent client, a hairdresser willing to do a trade of services with me.

Psychic: Do you have an aunt named Lynn?

Hairstylist: No.

Psychic: Are you sure? It could be someone like an aunt, she's around your mom's age and she has the energy of an aunt.

Hairstylist: No, I do not have an aunt named Lynn. I'm sure.

20 minutes later I am still getting this strong message for her aunt named Lynn; and my guides were telling me that I was right, so I asked the hairstylist to think really hard.

Psychic: Maybe it was a great aunt, but I definitely feel that you have an aunt named Lynn and that I have a message for her.

Hairstylist: The only Lynn I know is my dad's brother's wife.

Psychic: (Dismayed shock covers me like the black cape collecting my hair clippings.) That would make her your aunt.

Hairstylist: Well, she's not a blood relative.

Psychic: That doesn't matter, she's an aunt; and I asked if you had an aunt named Lynn and you said no. You do have an aunt named Lynn. Correct?

Hairstylist: I guess if you call the woman my dad's brother is married to my aunt, then yes.

The humor colored the experience lighter but it did not lift the heaviness of fatigue that it created. I spent three hours with this woman and every question turned into a rerun of the one before. I wished I had just gone to Supercuts instead.

Being a psychic is an honest way to make a living if you really have the ability and always use it for the highest and best of all concerned. Nevertheless, as I make more of a living doing the things I really love, I will spend less time doing the psychic work. For now, it's a way for me to have an income by helping others, which affords me the cherished opportunity of also being a stay-at-home mom.

As a writer, I turn every client exchange into a story; and while I may not always have clients as fodder for my stories, I will always be a psychic mama — and to a psychic child no less — and there will forever be a plethora of stories to come from those unique circumstances.

jd smith is a writer/performer and an advocate for equality who just happens to also be a psychic medium. She teaches chess to children and in her spare time enjoys creative methods of archiving.

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