Friday, September 9, 2016

"Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it."
~Mary Oliver

What the hell is an "accidental psychic"? In my case, it's someone who had an experience in childhood which altered the way her brain processes information.  The terms "near-death experience" and "out of body experience" are tossed around loosely these days, and thanks to the pioneers of the 1980s and 90s who wrote about such strange concepts, we have woven these terms into our social lexicon and tend not to sneer or snicker as much as we once did about this sort of witchy-woo-woo talk. Okay....the snickering and sneering still happen. I, too am guilty of cynical eye-rolling during certain conversations about the "new age".

Being a psychic was not a career aspiration, nor did I invest much time into learning how to read energy or memorizing metaphysical parlor tricks with which to astound friends and family. The realization that I possessed a certain ability was present soon after a near-death experience I had when I was eight years old.   At the time of the experience, my mother was not interested in my new-found ability to tune into the feelings of others or to be able to occasionally "see" what was going to happen in the future. I learned quickly that this topic was dangerous territory, and that it was better to observe silently than to share what I was sensing or "reading" in the people around me.

Around the time I turned 13, my mother discovered Catholicism and its tales of  the long-suffering saints as well as a new-found appreciation of and resonance with martyrdom. Once she had hopped aboard the Jesus train, there were many discussions about heaven and hell ("hell is the punishment for our bad choices", she would intone gravely with pointed looks at whomever she believed might possibly be making "bad choices" at the moment) and the placement of a Virgin Mary statue in the basement where she would kneel, pray tearfully and swear she smelled roses. Before the arrival of the Mary statue, the finished basement was where I would go to listen to records and mope about boys I had crushes on who didn't know I existed (or worse, DID know I existed, but didn't care). There was a telephone down there as well, and many hours were spent giggling and gossiping with friends out of the earshot of my mother. Once she began using my sanctuary as her personal prayer room, I moved the stereo into my bedroom and shut the door on her spiritual suffering.

By observing this particular brand of spirituality (a word I was not familiar with in my teen years), I began to turn my nose up at anything that felt religious or full of dogmatic rules. I was still able to feel or sense things about the people around me, but with Mother Martyr in the house, it was not comfortable to do so. I turned the dial on my ability way down in order to avoid feeling my mother's angst (which was fueled by a steady stream of Franzia boxed wine on ice) and my father's simmering rage (which was doused only by regular infusions of Wild Turkey).

When I turned 40, I was invited by a friend to learn a technique called Remote Viewing which is a fancy term for reading the energy of people, places and events. I innocently walked into that workshop not knowing that it would be the thing that would kick the mental door down that I had locked when I was a teen. As I practiced the technique, it felt like I was waking up to who I really was...which was frightening. I was working at a medical office at the time and began to know things about the patients that the doctors seemed clueless about. If I volunteered an opinion about the true origin of someone's neck pain, they would look at me as though I was possessed by demons and quickly change the subject.  On the occasions in which it was discovered that my intuition had been correct, a new look would cross their faces....sometimes confusion, sometimes fear, sometimes astonishment.

Absolutely none of this was comfortable for me. It felt like a re-visitation of my childhood in which I was either tippy-toed around or brushed aside. Except that this time, the Genie was really out of the bottle, and it wasn't going to be silenced or ignored.

A funny thing happens to folks when they believe you have access to information that is hidden from most people. They begin pulling you aside to have whispered conversations about their very private experiences and asking you what you think is going to happen next. They show you a suspicious mole on their shoulder and want to know if it's cancer. They ask you for the winning Lotto numbers. They want to know if George Bush will be re-elected to a second term. They look at you strangely and treat you differently.

On one hand, it was a magnificent thrill ride. Always a reclusive person with an aversion to crowded places and emotional situations, I was now being encouraged to give readings to people who wanted to know about their past lives or future events. At first, I stuck to the Remote Viewing protocol and refused to speak to people face-to-face. I asked them to email me their questions, and I would write out the replies by hand, which was a laborious, exhausting process as some of the sessions rambled for 20 pages or more.

These hand-written readings were proving to be accurate as well as fascinating, but the labor-intensive protocol I was rigidly adhering to was wearing thin. My fear of speaking to someone in person and answering their questions was daunting. What if I gave them the wrong information? What if they didn't like what they heard? What if I had to deliver terrible news about a health situation? All of these fears nearly brought an end to my blossoming business, and I laid awake at night wondering what I was getting myself into.

Fast forward twelve years. I left the medical office in 2002 and allowed myself to claim my gifts of intuitive knowing. I found that the word "psychic" made me cringe and imagine a wacky woman in a caftan and turban, gazing trance-like into a crystal ball, so I refused to use that word and called what I did "Intuitive Guidance". Nobody complained. As the years went on, I had the presence of mind to collect stories from thousands of sessions which seemed incredible to me, and perhaps they will to you as well, Dear Reader.

I hereby invite you on an anecdotal hayride in which names have been changed and situations amalgamated to protect the identities of people who have shared their stories with me.

(Warning: Fragile flowers, Nervous Nellies, anyone about to enter a convent or seminary, those who are mortified by the discussion of sexual proclivities and perversions, offended by raunchy slang and/or profanity or shocked by frank discussions of the various and sundry body parts and their functions are hereby cautioned to click away immediately.)


  1. Susette! Thank you for sharing your story about your beginning. I look forward to this blog very much!

  2. I really enjoyed reading your first entry and am excited to read more!

  3. I love your story, Susette. Thank you for sharing and including me on this journey

    1. Thank you, Sharon! It's been an interesting ride. :-)

  4. Hi Susette - found your new blog today, and the date listed on the above entry caught my eye - at least on my screen, it shows a future date (Wednesday Sept. 9, 2015), and that date just happens to be my birthday - now how does that work? Very good entry, thanks for sharing this background about yourself, looking forward to future episodes!

  5. Hi Lisa~

    Putting a future date on that post keeps it at the top of the other posts :-) The fact that it's your birthday is just a bonus!