The 8 Biggies
Answers To Your Most Common Questions
About Your Loved Ones in Heaven
“You’re a what?”
“A psychic medium.”
“What exactly is that?”
“The dead talk to me and I talk back.”
I’m a medium.
And, like Lady Gaga sings, I was born this way .
Communication with the other side has been a way of life for me for the last couple of decades. During that time I’ve given thousands of readings and because people bring the same questions to their readings I’ve decided to write this short book addressing those most commonly asked questions. I will be giving you real life examples of how deceased loved ones have answered them in hopes that you will also receive the answers to questions you may have.
I’m so often asked to explain how I first knew I could communicate with the deceased that I’ve decided to include a quick overview before I dive into the details of the questions. I’m starting way back in my life and so if you’d rather bypass this introduction and go straight to the questions, I won’t be offended, scroll down to chapter 2.
As a child I saw what I’ll call semitransparent people. I didn’t fully understand it then, but I’ve come to realize that I was seeing inhabitants of the spirit world, the place people and animals transition to upon death. It’s all around us. I know this flies in the face of the conventional belief that heaven is somewhere far away, but this book is about my experiences, not a regurgitation of others’ beliefs.
As a young girl I thought it odd that people cried so hard after the death of a loved one. I could see the deceased standing close by and looking absolutely radiant. If I could see their dead loved one, why couldn’t they? I would be a long time before I understood the answer to that question.
Today I’m often asked, “How do you do that? How do you see and hear the deceased?” It’s a good question and my answer is “I don’t know.” It’s actually much less of something I do and much more of something I experience. Other mediums I know say the exact same thing. We have no idea how spirit communication works, it just does. When I sit with a family member or friend who wants to connect with their deceased loved one I focus on a certain spot in the middle of my head and wait for the message to begin. I know that sounds simplistic and way too easy. And though not always simple and certainly not always easy, it’s the best I can give you. Sometimes simple is complicated and easy is hardest to get to.
In early 2000, when I decided to get serious about exploring my ability to communicate with the spirit world, I assumed I needed some outside guidance and so I found the few available “new age” books on mediumship. Basically, they explained that the development of mediumistic ability required natural talent and a “high spiritual vibrational frequency.” They went into depth on exactly what one must do in order to attain and maintain this rarified state. I became convinced that mediums were a unique and special breed of exceedingly evolved humans who constantly meditated on love and light, never allowing a bad thought, let alone a bad day. According to that definition, I was quite low on the spiritual ladder. I certainly couldn’t possibly be a bonafide medium, and so, even though I was pushing myself forward by giving messages to others from their deceased loved ones, I was constantly battling self-doubt about whether or not I was a “real deal” medium. I know that sounds confusing. Welcome to my brain.
Back then I ended each reading thinking “gosh, I hope that wasn’t the last time that happens…I sure hope “it” happens again.” After 6 months of going back and forth with confidence, no confidence, I finally asked a good friend if she thought my new found ability would ever suddenly go away, possibly evaporate forever.
“Seriously,” I said to my friend, “what if I sit down to do a reading and I get nothing…no names, no faces, no details. The family would be let down and disappointed. I’d be so embarrassed that I’d never, ever try to give someone a reading again and even if they begged I’d say ‘no!’ I’d never speak of mediumship ever again…” (And yada, yada… the drama.) My friend casually shrugged her shoulders, “It’s the way your brain works,” she said. “I suppose if you got a head injury with some sort of brain damage maybe that could make it all stop.”
Oddly, that one observation still gives me the courage to sit down and let "it" happen, “spiritual” or not. Today, I continue to believe that my ability to communicate with the other side is a fluke in how my brain works, albeit a fluke I have figured out how to have on demand.
Oh, and I stopped confusing myself ...no more “new age” books.
Today for me, the spirit world is like elevator music, a soft melody faintly playing in the background, noticed only when I pay attention to it and then the volume automatically raises and I connect with the spirit world. When I was young the volume button was random and outside of my ability to understand or manage. Today, I firmly control the knob.
Dear reader, my intention for the following pages is to answer the most common questions you have for me about your deceased loved ones. I’ll include where they are now, what they are doing and what they want you to know now that they have gone home to the other side. This book is based on a class I give at the local community college. I intend that it be a concise and easy read. All of the stories in this book are true. Because I am often asked how I came to know that I am a medium, as well as, when I first began giving readings, I have included personal stories of what has brought me to this point. If this doesn’t interest you, please skip the first chapter.
If at any point I come off as giving personal advice or spiritual lessons, I apologize, that’s not my intention. This book is about my experiences and only my experiences. If you’ve read or heard information about the world of spirit contrary to what you read here, use your own discernment. I’m not asking anyone to believe anything I say. Ever. I also won’t be addressing “new age” thought. And, just so you know, I’m about as “new age” as a bacon double cheeseburger.
I have changed all names and most of the places to protect the privacy of my clients. So let’s begin.
How I Began Giving Readings
Tanya lay face down on my chiropractic table. I ran the heavy duty massager across her upper back and shoulders, relaxing her muscles after her adjustment, completing her treatment.
I took a deep breath as I flipped off the machine and returned it to its hook on the wall.
“I hope this doesn’t sound weird,” I asked, crossing my arms, “but do you know a guy named Richard, nice looking guy with dark hair, died when he was young, maybe 24 or 25?”
I hoped she couldn’t hear how nervous I was feeling. “No, why?” she responded as she raised herself up of the table and turned and faced me.
Oh great, now what? I thought.
This was my first experience with sharing this kind of information and so I had no idea how to deal with being completely and utterly wrong. I had known Tanya for 10 years as a chiropractic patient, not on a personal level and certainly not well enough to chit chat about messages from the dead.
I took another breath, “In my meditation the other day a deceased guy named Richard showed up and asked me to give someone named Tanya a message. You’re the only Tanya I know.”
“That’s really cool,” she said as she picked her purse up off the chair next to the table and slung it onto her shoulder, “but I don’t know any Richard who died.”
I felt a little foolish and a whole lot relieved that she had been so nonchalant about the whole thing. Now I could forget this whole mediumship thing and the bizarre scenario leading up to it. I could drop this crazy burden I’d been carrying for the last two weeks. Phew, case closed.
As I said in the introduction, I’ve always been sensitive to the other side and to the people who live there. As a child, my parents took me and my four siblings on long, cross country camping vacations. We slept in the homemade canvas tent my dad had sewn together on my mom’s 1960’s Singer machine, and we ate at the best, most scenic picnic tables all across America. Along the way between California or New Jersey we’d stop at old forts and historic monuments. These sometimes crumbling and always dusty places fascinated me. I could usually count on seeing at least one semi-transparent person, in period clothing, moving around the grounds. I surmised that these people had a connection to that place and my young mind supposed they were either visiting or they still lived there. They always kept their distance and sometimes waved. I’d secretly wiggle my fingers at them in return.
Growing up I also loved visiting my grandparents’ farm in North Dakota. Grandpa and grandma would take us all to visit nearby friends relatives and there was usually at least one see-through person (hereafter alternately referred to as spirit person) visiting at the same time. I decided that spirit people liked to hang out in old places.
I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized that I was the only one seeing them. I think it simply dawned on me in a general way when no one else seemed to notice them. I decided that the spirit people lived amongst us solid people, just in a different way, because I never saw any details of their day to day existence. I never saw them eat or do work. Did they live in a house just like I did? Did they play games? Did they get called home by their mom because it was time to come in for supper? And, what about that nice man, the see-through one, wearing the cowboy hat who ‘kind of’ lived in the basement in our house in Valley City when I was 5? That friendly guy, the one who liked to visit with me…ask me about my day. And, why did they only show themselves when they wanted?
Once I started school seeing the spirit people became rarer. When I did occasionally see them I still had no answers as to why they showed themselves and if it meant anything in particular. I was busy being a child, and looking back, I think the spirit world was respecting my space to grow up with the feeling of being “normal.”
When I turned 11 a wee glitch developed in the whole “feeling normal” thing. My mom decided it was time to leave the neighborhood Methodist congregation and committed us all to joining the local fundamentalist Christian church up the road. Don’t get me wrong, the members of the new church were wonderful, kind and for the most part happy people. However, the teachings weren’t exactly supportive for an adolescent like me. I quickly learned that there were a whole lot more ‘absolutes’ and rules in this new place. There were no gray areas about who would get into heaven and who would be left out in the heat. According to the teachings, the only place where people lived were here on earth, in heaven with God, or in hell with the Devil. For some reason, at least to my understanding, the church considered any type of message from the deceased to be demonic trickery. I especially remember one sermon where the minister warned that if you saw or heard from a dead person you were no doubt being led astray by the devil, marked for possession and most certainly in need of being prayed over.
It was made abundantly clear that those who purposefully communicated with the dearly departed ‘ought to know better the dangers of dabbling in 'that sort of thing’ and would be most deservedly called out and severely chastised. The dire warnings rained down from the pulpit and flooded over my terrified preteen ears. The preacher said that those who ‘conjured the dead’ (whatever that meant) were full on witches and that Satan was voraciously nipping at their heels, eagerly salivating, hoping to inhabit their bodies and claim their pathetic lost souls.
It was scary, as in…‘If I keep seeing dead people I’m going to go to hell where I'll be tortured for all eternity, and that's only after a life of being horribly demonically possessed’...scary.
(Don’t even get me started on those who claimed to communicate with angels. A hint? It won’t end well for them, either.)
My dad wasn’t much into going to church and I wasn’t sure if he had an opinion one way or the other about afterlife communication. My mom, on the other hand, fully adopted the church line and when my mom had an opinion there was nada… zero…zilch…wiggle room for us 5 kids to have an opinion of our own. In that environment no sane child would risk getting caught exchanging waves with semi-transparent people. As for me, I was sane, and so, even though the deceased people were always gentle and friendly, I decided that it would be in my best interest to distance myself from them. And so, shortly after joining the church, even though they rarely came around, I asked them to completely stop showing themselves to me. They kindly obliged and I stopped seeing them altogether.
It was right to send the spirit people away but that didn’t squelch my curiosity. The preacher said that the appearance of a deceased person was a reason for fear because it was a trick, and that the 'deceased' were actually demons in disguise. I was conflicted. It didn’t feel right to call them evil. There just had to be more to the story. If only a select few went to heaven and everyone else went to hell, then who were all these spirit people and why were they hanging around? Did that mean heaven and hell was all around us, or were these people somehow different and didn’t belong in either place. Regardless of this Devil guy, I was going to have answers. I’m a Sagittarian. We don’t take kindly to being told how or what to think. (And by the way mister minister, even your deceased loved ones are only a thought away, no ‘conjuring’ necessary.)
I've always loved, loved to read. So when I turned 12 and was finally old enough for my own public library card I was in curiosity bliss. With its endless supply of volumes on every imaginable subject, the library was my heaven.. On Saturday mornings I’d stop there on my walk home from piano lessons and check out two or three books for the week. One morning I stumbled upon the section on paranormal phenomenon and I knew I’d hit the jackpot. Surely, if there was a book about people from the past who could show themselves to me in the present it would be there…somewhere between Bigfoot and UFOs.
There they were. At least 7 of them. Every Saturday for months I squirreled these forbidden books to the far back corner cubby and studied them where no one could see me...not my mom, not the preacher...no one. No one would know.
The authors called people who communicated with the deceased “gifted” at doing what was called “spirit channeling.” People who had died and were now eager to communicate with the living were interchangeably called “the deceased” and “spirits.” I learned that those on this side who could communicate with the spirit people were called “mediums,” named for their place in the middle between this world and the next.
According to the authors, mediums operated in different ways. Some mediums can hear the deceased in their heads. These mediums would direct a question to a specific spirit person, somehow write down the responses and then put the writings into books for the public to read. The questions were usually about what life was like on the ‘other side’ where the deceased person now lived. I was happy to finally find some answers.
According to my research it seemed that once someone died they continued to be fully ‘alive,’ just in another place. Though I no longer saw the deceased, the idea of spirit channeling as a way of communicating with them fascinated me. The problem was that I didn’t know any spirits that I wanted to talk to, nor was I drawn to experiment with letting strange deceased people talk into my head. I would leave that to the experts who wrote books.
There were a couple of books written by British authors which described mediumship as “the act of ‘conjuring’ up the dead” (there’s that word again) during special gatherings called séances. For some reason just because the medium was in the room the spirits could levitate tables, bang on walls and speak loudly through trumpets independently floating around darkened rooms. These books from the Brits described some pretty unique ways which mediums expressed their gifts. For example, I remember reading about one medium who brought forward spirits by extruding copious amounts of a white substance from her mouth. It oozed down her front, poured over her lap and pooled at her feet. From there it would rise up and form into a person…I think. The white gooey stuff was called ectoplasm.
There were pictures. They weren’t pretty.
At the end of my research I felt no connection with this thing called mediumship. To my 12 year old self it sounded a bit scary, somewhat shadowy and potentially ectoplasmically disgusting. I felt little connection to this thing called mediumship. With my curiosity satisfied, it seemed like a good time to let go of the whole topic. And I did.
Indulge me for one more moment to confess that while I hold an unwavering faith in God, growing up I was never a very good fundamentalist. I tried really, really hard, I just couldn’t get the hang of it. (Please don’t tell my mother about this book, she thinks I’m still a chiropractor.)
So back to answering the question of when I first knew that I could communicate with the other side. I always knew that on some level there is communication that happens between the physical world and spirit realm, but, the ‘how to’ came 31 years later. Here’s ‘how.’
I was first introduced to the famous, now deceased, psychic Sylvia Browne in spring 2000 when I watched her give readings on a popular day time television talk show. Audience members took turns standing up and asking her rather personal questions. She answered quickly and effortlessly, telling these strangers about their talents, finances, careers and love lives. Everyone looked so happy to receive Sylvia’s answers. I was fascinated. During the show she said that we all have the ability to do what she did and that it was the topic of her newest book. I needed to know more and so after the show I ran down the block to Hastings Booksellers and bought her book and easily gobbled it down that evening.
Sylvia’s secret was that she had a personal guide living in the spirit world that she telepathically communicated back and forth with. The guide’s name was Francine. Francine lived on earth centuries ago and it was she, now living in the spirit world, who gave Sylvia the answers. It worked like this: someone asked Sylvia a question and Sylvia would then mentally pass it on to Francine. From her position in the spirit world Francine somehow came up with the answer and mentally gave it to Sylvia, who then passed it along to the questioner. Sylvia explained that we all have at least one spirit guide who’s willing to answer all of our questions. She wrote that it was simply a matter of meeting them and went on to describe exactly how to do it.
Like many people I currently knew, I had received random intuitive messages for myself and others all of my life and I’d always wondered where the information came from. Maybe this was the answer I was looking for. What would it be like to meet my own guide? What would her name be? And what would it be like if she really did have access to all the knowledge in the universe and could give me answers to all of my questions? I’ll tell you what it would be…it would be handy…very handy. I had been living in the left brain world of chiropractic medicine for 20 years, but I’d also had enough experiences with helpful inner voices to suspect that spirit guides were probably real. Here was a book telling me how to meet mine and get direct guidance on demand. What could be more perfect?
And so, on a warm evening in May 2000 I stepped out onto my back deck to meet my spirit guide. Thunder was rolling in the distance and the air smelled sweet with ozone. A powerful Nebraska spring storm was approaching from the south and I estimated that I had 30 minutes before the sky would open up. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect. I sank deep into the cushioned patio chair, nestling and wriggling, shooing away all tension that could distract me from my mission. I had memorized Sylvia’s “how to” instructions laid out in her book and was eager to get started.
First, I needed to make myself relaxed and comfortable. Check. Second, I was to imagine myself sitting in a peaceful, beautiful place of my own choosing. Then, once fully immersed in my imaginary landscape I was to glance around at my make-believe surroundings and watch for a friendly ‘someone’ to magically appear. The ‘someone’ would approach me, introduce himself or herself as my spirit guide and we would begin a profound and deeply meaningful conversation. I was already experienced with guided imagery technique and this sounded easy.
I closed my eyes and put myself on an exquisitely beautiful ocean beach, somewhere in southern California, on a warm summer evening. I sat cross legged on fine, soft white sand and deeply inhaled the moist salty air. In the distance hungry seagulls noisily vied for their dinners. I allowed imaginary waves to rhythmically lull me deeper and deeper into a profound and serene oneness with the vast ocean before me, visually pulling me further and further into the distance, my eyes finally absorbed into a fiery orange sunset.
Sufficiently tranquil and ready to receive my spirit guide, I turned my imaginary gaze to my right, expecting to see a luminous being gliding towards me from afar, joyous and radiant, smiling with arms outstretched, beckoning me into a loving, long awaited spirit world reunion.
I saw an enormous cloud of dust and emerging from it a determined horde of hundreds of people of all ages and sizes stampeding directly towards me. Shocked, I stood up and turned to run. But when I turned to my left I saw the same thing, a huge out of control mob, charging towards me, sand flying everywhere.
Luckily, on a pretend beach you can do anything you want, so I quickly created a tall boulder and jumped onto it as the human swarm closed in around me. As I looked down at the sea of faces I was amazed and beyond pleased that I had so many spirit guides. I was expecting only one, but with so many at my beck and call I knew there wasn’t a question in the universe that couldn’t be answered…and believe me, I had lots and lots of questions.
Bless you, Sylvia! This is going to be amazing!
I happily surveyed the crowd, expecting ethereal smiles and wise faces gazing up at me, awaiting my questions, eager to offer their wisdom.
Once again, not quite.
The faces looked more anxious then excited, more desperate then eager. It hit me pretty quickly.
“You people aren’t my spirit guides...are you.” They shook their heads from side to side.
“You’re dead people…right?” (Tact has never been one of my strong suits.) They nodded their heads up and down in unison, as if wired to the same machine.
“What are you doing in my meditation?”
Clearly, Sylvia had forgotten to mention this possibility in the instructions.
They all began shouting, the gist of which was that they knew I could hear and see them. They let me know they had important messages for their families still living on earth that they wanted…no…needed…me to deliver. Basically, because I could deliver their messages, I should, or more accurately, because I could, I would have no choice in the matter. Their words, not mine.
Hmm, let me see if I had this correct. Imaginary dead people, which I had just now met on an imaginary beach, wanted me to find their specific living loved ones currently living in my world and pass along messages to them. Hmm.
Granted, I knew there was life after this one, but I’d long ago stopped thinking about it and how it all worked. It was May of 2000 and everyone I knew allowed for two, and only two, accepted beliefs on the matter of life after death.
Belief number one; after we die we dissolve into the ground, so no one left to talk to. End of story.
Belief number two; we do and say the approved things and when we die Archangel Gabriel escorts us, garbed in a new afterlife body, through the pearly gates of heaven, then promptly slams shut the door behind us, and we're never to be heard from again until some future date when the righteous gather.
Anything other than these two scenarios was just plain crazy talk. Further, anyone attempting a two way conversation with the dead was considered to be a misled wacko into Ouija boards and séances. I wasn’t interested in rocking any boats, including my own. I’d long since stopped thinking about what happens after we die. I was busy. I was a happy mom and doctor living peacefully in the rational scientific world. I came to this beach to meet a handy know-it-all spirit guide, end of story.
But, what if…
What if these imaginary people were who they said they were? What if deceased people actually did communicate with the living and this is how they did it? And what they were right about me and I could do what they said I could do? It was obvious that these imaginary people thought it was me who could help them and not the other way around. What they were proposing was quickly becoming interesting but, at the same time, way too scary to even consider doing.
I announced to the imaginary people that I didn’t know who their loved ones were or how to find them. I added that delivering messages from deceased people in an ultra-conservative place like Lincoln, Nebraska wouldn’t be received well. I pointed out that I had no idea how to get messages from their world to their loved ones in mine, and further, I had no intentions of making a fool of myself while trying. I suggested they go find Sylvia. She seemed like a nice lady and she would no doubt help them.
Once again, they began shouting that I needed to try because there was no one else they could turn to and that I just had to do this. (Imaginary people can get real pushy, real fast.) The softy inside me, the one who can’t resist helping others, started to give way. Heck, what harm could come from giving in to pretend people. Pretend people who, by the way, were becoming pretty darned real.
“OK, OK,” I waved my hands over the crowd, quieting them down, “I’ll agree, but under these conditions.”
I pointed out over the throng, “One of you step forward and give me a message to deliver. It has to be for someone I feel comfortable delivering the message to. The message has to be perfectly clear and the person in my world needs to easily understand it. Understood? Now, who has a message they want delivered?”
A young man eagerly elbowed his way to the front of the crowd. He said his name was Richard and he had a message for Tanya. He said to tell her that he is OK, he knows about the baby, the baby is fine and it’s all good. One of my chiropractic patients immediately came to mind. Tanya was 30, personable, open minded, and hopefully, someone who wouldn’t hold one weird question against me. Since it seemed that a momentary embarrassment was the worst that could happen I told Richard I’d give his message a try. But, I warned him, if the message turned out to be hooey I’d drop this whole subject. He and his buddies on the beach wouldn’t get a second chance. Not from me.
Richard agreed and then added a caveat of his own. Slowly pointing to those circled around him, he said that if it successfully played out in my physical world I had to agree to start delivering messages from his side to mine. He said that the spirit world needs bridges and, since I am one, I am obligated to help out and do the work. Though I had absolutely no idea how I would carry out what I was agreeing to, I did anyway. I agreed to deliver Tanya the message.
It seemed OK at the time to make the bargain, though looking back, it was a pretty huge commitment to make on a whim. Even if it was to pretend people on a make believe beach existing only in my head.
“So you don’t know anyone named Richard who died years ago?” I repeated my question to Tanya.
I switched the massager off and returned it to its hook on the wall. It was obvious that there was no message from a dead man named Richard to be delivered to a living woman named Tanya. I felt a little foolish and a lot relieved. When it came right down to it the idea of putting myself out there as someone who communicates with the dead felt overwhelming. I was convinced that my chiropractic practice would evaporate if my patients learned I talked to the dead. Except for two close friends, who would stand by me no matter what, I had zero support. I was glad it was over.
Fast forward two weeks. I was lying face down receiving a bodywork treatment from my massage therapist, Tony. I had known her and her family as patients for nearly15 years. Her heart is as beautiful as she is gorgeous and I always felt comfortable around her.
Half way through the session it occurred to me that Tony wasn’t her given name. My office submitted insurance forms for her and they require that the patient’s legal name be used. Tony’s birth name is Tanya. I’m sure you can see where this is going. I flat out told Tony about the meditation and asked her if she knew the young, nice looking, dark haired guy named Richard who showed up in my meditation saying that he knows about the baby and that it’s all good. It was the first message I’d ever delivered and I didn’t know what to expect. Her reaction, though now common, surprised me.
She burst into tears.
Between sobs she explained that her best friend Richard, who she called Richie, had died when they were 24. He was the only person in her life, including her own family who, to this day, ever called her by her given name of Tanya. She said that she was beyond happy and relieved to hear that Richie and the baby were fine. While I waited for what had just happened to sink in, I heard a distant and familiar male voice saying in a sing song tone... “You prooomiiiised.” Tanya thanked me for the message and we never spoke of it again.
I was stunned. I honestly didn’t see how mediumship could work like that. Was it really that easy? With such a clear confirmation from Tanya, and despite my fears, it felt right to keep my bargain with the spirit world. I mentally told the spirit people that I would do the work but that I needed them to help find me some guidance on how to carry out delivering the messages. I didn’t have long to wait.
A week later, while channel surfing, I ran across a guy named John Edward. He was delivering messages from deceased people to members of a huge audience. I should try that, I thought, and made detailed mental notes of how he organized the information coming to him. Over the lunch hour the next day I grabbed my office manager and told her I had added a new duty to her job description titled “guinea pig.” We closed the door to my office and I gave her my first ever reading. Out of nowhere names, pictures and feelings effortlessly flowed to me and I told her what I was receiving. Each time she validated a detail as belonging to one of her deceased loved ones (hereafter referred to as DLO) such as, their cause of death or a shared memory, I got more and more excited. Perhaps this was something I really could do and be of service to both the living and the dead.
After that I grabbed anyone who trusted me enough to experiment on and gave them practice readings. I’m very appreciative to friends who early on, patiently and graciously, donated me their time. They created a safe space for me to fine tune my skills and figure out what it means to be a medium.
It has been over 17 years and I’m still learning and evolving. I have studied with pioneering western mediums James VanPraagh, Doreen Virtue and John Holland, as well as the famous British medium Tony Stockwell. It’s been challenging and rewarding and I wouldn’t change a minute of it. Now, on to the questions.
“Are They OK?”
The new age fair was in full swing. Noisy laughter and perfumed incense swirled playfully around fair goers crowded around vendor tables, set in four long rows running the entire length of the hall, enthusiastically admiring the crystals, artwork, jewelry and other colorful goods offered for sale. Having given readings for less than 2 years, I was constantly looking for new ways to hone my skills and the fair offered the opportunity to challenge myself. I’d be giving rapid-fire readings to strangers who would pay me $20 for a quick 15 minute session. I rented half of a 4 by 8 foot table and 2 metal folding chairs. I covered the table with a purple table cloth, propped up a sign listing my name, services and fees and opened for business. I reasoned that if I could connect with spirit amidst this chaos I could easily do it anywhere.
The other side of the table was rented to a bejeweled silky robed older woman selling yummy smelling homemade soaps and lotions. I don’t remember her name, but I do recall lots of gold bracelets clanking whenever she reached for something. I also recall that she was pretty curious about what was being said at my end of the table. Now and then, she’d slowly lean towards me, jingle jangling all the while she moved her jars around as if tidying up her display. Once her ear was sufficiently filled she’d suddenly straighten up and jerk her gaze out into the room, as if she’d noticed something important ‘over there.’
It was midafternoon. The thirty something woman had been pacing in front of my table since lunch, nonchalantly attempting to overhear what being said. Finally, it was her turn. While setting her purse on one of the chairs, she lowered herself onto the other. She had an intense and anguished, yet, hopeful look on her face. It was a mixed expression I had grown accustomed to seeing when someone came looking for help, hoping I was the real deal, praying that I could alleviate some of their painful grief. She thrust her hand at me and said her name. I softly clasped it while giving her mine.
I closed my eyes and waited. Within seconds I recognized the familiar sensation of a spirit approaching. I relaxed to fully invite the spirit person closer. I felt it enter the right side of my head, and as it gently slid further and further into my inner awareness, a picture formed.
“I’m seeing a short, stocky, 30-something man. He’s bending towards me and smiling. He’s pointing to…and now tapping on…the top and center of his very shiny, very bald head. How do you know this man?” I asked as I slowly opened my eyes and looked at her.
Eyes wide and filling with tears, she was staring back at me, motionless, her face bright red from holding her breath.
She squeezed shut her eyes and covered her face with her hands. She gulped in some much needed air and nodded, “That’s my husband.”
After a minute or so, she dropped her hands and slowly opened her eyes. While wiping her hands across her now wet cheeks and with a fitful mixture of laugh and cry said, “I used to help him shave his head. It was so much fun. It made us laugh really, really hard. I miss him so much.”
I gently offered her a tissue and paused to give her time to absorb what she had heard. Dropping her hands into her lap, she looked straight into my eyes as her face relaxed. Her sobs turned into sighs of relief. A solid connection had been made. Her husband was OK.
I think that those asking “Are they OK?” are actually asking, “Does my loved one still exist and how can I be sure they are in a good place?” I think it’s only natural that this is the first question needing to be answered by the grieving.
Unfortunately, some belief systems teach that if we fail to live an exemplary life our souls may be condemned to eternal punishment. Others speak of in-between places where the dead are required to aimlessly wander as they await some type of second coming event. The popular “Tibetan Book of the Dead” describes a complicated afterlife landscape fraught with dangers and distractions that must be navigated before eventually finding one’s afterlife destination. With such conflicting theories, why wouldn’t we angst over the whereabouts and safety of our DLOs?
We spend tremendous physical and emotional time and energy caring for and protecting our loved ones while they are alive. Worrying about them after their death and out of our reach can be overwhelming. We want to know for ourselves, absolutely and positively, that they’re fine.
Mary, a petite, 40-something woman with a warm smile and easy manner strode confidently into my office. Her hair looked newly done and she appeared every bit a professional in her flawlessly tailored designer suit. Though her makeup was impeccably applied, it couldn’t disguise the look in her eyes, the look of being tired of being sad. I gestured for her to sit in my comfy burgundy recliner in the corner by the window.
“Have you been to a medium before?” I asked, settling into a matching chair directly across from hers.
“No, but I watch one on TV,” she replied.
“Let me guess, the Long Island Medium?”
“Yes!” she smiled, “Have you seen her?”
For those two or three of you who don’t know, “The Long Island Medium” is a television reality show starring an outrageously entertaining wife and mother living in Long Island, New York who also happens to be a professional medium. It’s an incredibly popular show and I swear it must have the largest fan following on the planet today. When I ask a room of 40 to raise their hand if they follow the show, all but two hands will go up. The show’s star is a terrific medium and week after week she gives flawless readings. However, allow me to point out that it’s an hour long show with 3-4 readings per show and so, for entertainment value, we are shown the most jaw-dropping accurate four or five minutes of each reading. What is left on the cutting room floor are the awkward silences and quizzical looks exchanged between the medium and family member as they try to interpret what the DLO is communicating. Let me explain.
No psychic is more than 80-90% accurate. Don’t get me wrong, the information coming from spirit is 100% true, but spirit needs to use the medium’s body, senses, and mental frames of reference to get its messages across. The majority of the time, at least for most of us, the information comes as symbols. A medium must hone her ability to receive and pass along messages by becoming an expert at translating her own inner symbols. This takes time and practice. The more adept the medium is at deciphering these shortcuts the more seamless the communication appears. And, eventually the medium’s brain is able to quickly translate the symbols into words and recognizable situations for the family.
Let me give you an example. When the DLO puts a picture of white gloves into my mind I have learned that going to Sunday church was important to the DLO. How did I learn this? I was shown white gloves and I mentioned them to a family member who then said that he “didn’t know what white gloves would possibly have to do with (his) mother”…she never wore gloves…didn’t own a pair…no idea…sigh. Later in the reading I found out that his mother was a devoted church goer. The next time I came across the inner image of white gloves in a reading, remembering the church reference, I will mention that the DLO ‘tells me’ that she had spent a lot of time in church. The sitter will say “yes,” amazed that I knew this. Not so amazing, the DLO ‘told’ me by showing me white gloves, and since then, white gloves mean ‘church goer.’
At any time spirit people can send a new symbol. Last week a deceased grandfather sent me the feeling of extreme pain in every bone in my body. Not sure what this meant, I asked the family what it was that was significant about deep pain in his bones at his passing. They told me he had died of cancer that had metastasized to his bones. And so, from then on when a DLO makes my bones hurt in that specific way, I know that it is a clear validation that a loved one passed with cancer that had metastasized to the bone.
I have identified hundreds of mental and physical symbols over the years. The gloves is an example of a mental symbol. Physical symbols are sensations sent by the DLO and used to validate something about themselves while alive or as a cause of their passing, such as the bone pain. Other examples include, pain and tingling in my legs and feet means the DLO was diabetic in life, a thin line of pressure running from my forehead to my lips means I’ve connected with someone who passed because of cancer, and if I spontaneously burp the DLO liked beer or whiskey shots while alive. DLOs get a kick out of knowing they can make me belch.
The easiest messages are those with no symbols to interpret. I might simply hear the words “I’m her mother” in the middle of my head. Those who can communicate this easily were usually known to be excellent communicators in life. DLOs constantly send me new images, forcing me to ask lots of questions, continually enlarging my catalogue of symbols.
Back to Mary.
It works best for me to avoid small talk when I meet with a client. I don’t want to know anything about who the client has come to connect with. It just makes my job harder. This might sound counter-intuitive, but information about who they want to connect with makes my mind run in circles looking for evidence to support what the family member told me. If my mind is yacking at me it makes it tougher for the DLO to penetrate my thoughts and deliver the message.
I closed my eyes, relaxed, and waited to accept the connection Mary’s loved one would offer me. In less than a minute I felt the familiar warm, rippling sensation I get whenever a spirit enters my awareness. I felt pain on the right side of my forehead that traveled down my right arm, a physical symbol letting me know that I had connected with someone who had passed traumatically in an automobile accident. I heard the words, “this is my mom and she needs to hear from me.”
Most children coming from the spirit world to connect with a parent introduce themselves to me with those words. I knew from experience that this reading would be emotional and at the same time incredibly healing for Mary. I told Mary what I felt and heard. She nodded and began tearing up. I handed her a tissue. The connection had been made and I waited for the next piece her child would offer me.
“Tell my mom that it all happened so fast. Tell my mom I didn’t suffer. Tell my mom that grandma came and got me and that it’s beautiful here and I’m happy.” I told Mary. She vigorously nodded while wiping her eyes, “That’s what I came here to find out, that’s what I needed to know.”
t turned out that her 17 year old son had recently died in a single car accident. Mary came to the reading wanting to know if her son was OK, whether or not he had suffered before his spirit left his body, and to be reassured that he wasn’t alone on the other side. Her son knew this and led with answers to those questions, letting her know he is OK.
Our deceased loved ones always know what we need to hear to help us heal. Always. It’s my job to simply pass along what the DLO is communicating, keeping it as clear and as accurate as possible.
So, what does it mean to be OK in the afterlife? How exactly do we know that they still exist and are alive and well on the other side? By my insisting that the DLOs give me unique information that only they and the sitter (the person coming for the reading) would know. Simply put, if your DLO no longer existed I wouldn’t have any information to pass along to show that I’m communicating with them. To me the definition of OK is that they continue to exist as a conscious being with the memories of the person they were before passing.
Let me go back a step and give you another example of how a DLO let a living family member know that she is ok by answering what her husband needed to hear before he asked.
Saiid made it clear from the moment he walked into my office that he was a skeptic. Without so much as a “hello” he brushed past me, plopped himself into my chair, crossed his arms and legs and declared, “I don’t believe in people like you but I’ll give this stuff a try anyway.”
Fortunately, DLOs show up regardless of whether or not their living loved ones believe in what I do.
Iquickly established a connection with his deceased wife and we received some general validations including, how wonderful their marriage was, their sharing in the raising of 2 sons as well as descriptions of multiple deceased pets she now had with her on the other side. Saiid responded to the information by saying it wasn’t what he expected. He said that he was disappointed and didn’t want to hear more. He wanted to leave.
His choice, no problem. (And yes, he would still need to pay me for my time :)
As he stood to leave his wife showed me a beautiful ruby ring that he had given her in life, telling me that it was still sitting on the corner of their dresser. Saiid agreed this was true, but it didn’t slow his progress towards the door. His wife suddenly prompted me, “he has a question, make him ask the question.”
If it were up to me I’d have just let him keep on walking out the door, but when spirit speaks, you pretty much have to listen.
“Saiid, your wife says you have a specific question for me. So, before you leave, what is it?”
He stopped, turned, shrugged his shoulders and said, “OK, ask her what she’s doing right this minute."
I responded with, “She’s showing me that she’s outside, sitting in a wheelchair next to a large water fountain and enjoying the sunshine. She’s living in some type of medical center. There are attendants in white robes caring for her and she says they are healers who are reminding her how to use her arms and legs again.”
“What did she say she was doing?” Saiid asked, suddenly very interested.
“She says she’s with healers who are reminding her how to use her arms and legs again,” I repeated.
“That’s it! That has to be her! She was paralyzed from the neck down for the last 12 years of her life,” Saiid beamed, apparently finally satisfied.
Was Saiid’s wife actually in a wheelchair being attended to by heavenly therapists? I don’t know. What I do know is that she knew exactly what her husband needed to hear to get her point across to him that she was OK. If she needed to prompt me into getting him to ask for it, then prompt she would.
Carol came for a reading to connect with her recently deceased mother. Her mother began by showing me a brightly colored 3D picture of Julie Andrews swirling on the mountain top in the opening scene of The Sound of Music. With my inner ears I heard her mother say, “This is how I feel now.” I hesitated to tell Carol what I was getting. I couldn’t decide if this was a new symbolic image for me, or if her mother was actually now living in some heavenly version of 1940s Austria. The scene seemed kind of generic, not to mention, who wouldn’t feel like that on the other side? Plus, the scene seemed a bit corny to me and I tend to avoid corny.
I decided to ignore Julie Andrews and keep moving forward, but her mother wouldn’t have it. She just kept twirling and swirling and singing. Finally, corn be darned, I told Carol what I saw. She smiled and said that The Sound of Music was her mother’s favorite movie and the family had played that DVD in her room through the night as she passed. With this simple scene Carol’s mother sent a beautiful message to her family that she was no longer racked with pain from cancer and now throws out her arms and spins to her heart’s content.
Once the DLO has established a strong connection with me they spend most of the remaining time giving validation after validation that they are alive and better then ever.
Everyone who dies is OK.
Everyone goes to heaven.
Everyone. Yes, everyone.
This takes us to the next question. Who have they seen on the other side?
Chapter 3 is on it's way...not as easy to download from Word as one thinks it would be!