"But what if I can't see?" interrupts a young woman with long, gypsy hair and matching clothes.

As a professional psychic who also teaches people how to access their own intuition, I've just begun my workshop. I'm about to suggest she wait until I get to that part of my introduction, but I can't resist such a heartfelt cry.

"What makes you think you can't?" I ask."I took a class, and all we did was view stuff on our `inner screens,' as they called them, and I couldn't do it at all. Isn't there another way?"

"Why don't you start by telling us your name," I say. "And is there some way in which you feel connected to your intuition?"

"I'm Maria and--I'm not sure if this is what you mean--I feel stuff in my body. Like right now, there's probably someone here with a stomachache. For whatever that's worth. It's not really intuition, I guess."

An older man clears his throat and says, "Actually, I had too much chili last night."

When the laughter has subsided, I ask Maria, "OK, so you pick up other peoples' body symptoms. That can be very useful, and it definitely is a form of intuition. How else do you experience it?"

She thinks a minute. "I get--this is hard--warnings. Like, if I'm about to really screw up, my throat will get really tight, like I can't breathe. That means there's something wrong."

"Don't do it, whatever it is?"


"So," I say, "anyone else who operates at all like Maria?" Another hand slowly goes up."Now, who has another way of getting information?" I ask.

A young guy with astonishing tattoos hears voices, which gently give him spiritual advice. An older woman just knows, things "come to her." Three others think they see things that aren't there, though they aren't sure.

The rest of the group either doesn't know how they do what they do or doesn't consciously do anything at all. Yet they've been interested enough to come to the workshop. That means they will almost certainly get something out of it.

"You're a real psychic, right?" asks the kid with tattoos. "What about you?"

That was supposed to come later in the presentation, too, but that's OK. "Well, a little bit of everything. I see, hear, sense things with my body, feel energy, and sometimes I just know. But originally I also thought I was supposed to see, period. It took years to realize that I was doing all these other things, too. Some of them didn't count in my mind, and some I didn't even notice."

I continue, "You know, the stereotype of the psychic is a woman--who looks like Maria, actually--looking into a crystal ball. Seeing. But there are innumerable ways to give ourselves information. One size fits all most definitely does not apply to accessing intuition. We each need to find out what works for us. And sometimes it's a combination of things.

So here we temporarily leave my students. (A middle-aged man in a killer suit with a briefcase is just about to confess that since childhood he has pictured a giant typewriter which picks out and sends messages to him when he really needs them. He has tried to switch to an imagined computer, without success.) If you were in my workshop, maybe this is when I'd look right at you and say: "You know, learning to tap into your psychic ability is important. I'm glad you're here, because we can all help ourselves so well, so simply. We don't have to be professional psychics, either."As children, we were all open and curious. Over time most of us were told that we didn't really feel what we felt, see what we saw, or know what we knew. We were scolded for having overactive imaginations or bad manners. Often the adults who tried to close us down were merely attempting to help us fit into polite society; sometimes, like my mother, they were themselves uneasily psychic, often unconsciously, and had been taught to keep quiet about it. Past-life memories of oppression can add to the fear in many cases.

It often takes a shock, like a death or major crisis, to help us reclaim our awareness as adults. In my case, first I was softened up by a near-death experience; then, as my marriage fell apart, I really opened up. Things were so bad anyway, I wasn't afraid of visions, voices, or any of the other events that might have spooked me while I was still trying to pass as a normal young woman.If we're not going to wait for that tunnel of light or the moment when we face a divorce court, there's a great deal we can do, either to start ourselves off or to encourage the process already underway.

The simpler, the easier, the shorter the method, the better--otherwise we won't bother. You can customize this method as you prefer. But, remember, the simpler you keep it, the easier it will be to fall back on when you are at work, on a commuter train, or on hold with a phone call, and when you need to access your intuition right away. You don't need to light a candle and incense, adjust the lights, chant, or find your ritual dragon scarf.

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