July '75:

"But is he going to marry me?" the skinny blonde girl wails. "I mean, you told me all this great stuff about my life. But what I need to know is--what about him?

Her nails are bitten, as I noticed when I read her palm. She's just a kid.

"OK, I'll look." I close my eyes, wait for an image to form. I'm really trying. I want her to be happy, want to fix everything that's wrong in her life, hope I can assure her the future she's waiting for will come true.

I see the inside of a church. The skinny girl, her blonde hair under a white veil. Winter.

"Is he tall? Big? Dark? Blue-eyed?"


"Then it looks as though you'll get married by December."

"Oh, thank you, thank you!" she says, as though I'm bringing this event about single-handed.

"Listen," I say, uneasily, "wouldn't you like me to look at the relationship with this guy? Like, is it really good for you? Or--"

She looks at me in dismay. "Oh, no, that's all I wanted to know. I'm so happy. I don't want to think about anything else." She means, stop right there. Not another word.

Aug '03:

My client has written his first book, a historical novel. But now he's having problems delivering the manuscript to his publisher.

"I need to get the last details right," he says. "It's essential that I don't make any mistakes."

As my hands shuffle the Tarot deck, I relax my ears and eyes to take in additional information. I can't see him, because we're on the phone, but I can feel his agitation.

"It's also important that you complete this book," I say. "You're almost there and you're stuck on those details. I get an image of you riding a bicycle with the pedals going backwards--spinning your wheels, I guess."

"You don't understand. If anyone finds an error, I will feel terrible. It's always been very important to me that facts be accurate."

I'm looking down at what I privately call the "yes, but" card. "It's so hard to be a perfectionist," I say, needling him a little because he needs a nudge. "You cannot get this book absolutely right. You can't control everything in your life. You're trying to protect yourself from the pain of uncertainty; you're afraid to expose your wonderful book to others' judgments."

I lean forward even though he can't see me. "You wrote this book out of what I'd call big mind, your fullest self. It was a work of love and deep creativity, and people will respond on that level. Don't let your small mind keep you stuck in fear. Send in that manuscript. It's time."

"OK, OK. I get it," he says. "I won't wait to get the final ingredient for the roast goose in the banquet scene. I'll send it in tomorrow."

I hope I'm right. Whatever right means. But what I saw and felt has touched what he knows himself. What he does with it is his business.

Sending a silent prayer, I ask that this reading be of service to him and that he be helped in whatever way is best for him. That's all I can do.

After almost thirty years of life as a professional psychic, I no longer accept food stamps as payment, I work wearing a telephone headset, and am still trying to decipher the workings of this mysterious place that Buddhists call samsara. No easy answers here.

The difference is that now I am a Buddhist psychic. What?

It wasn't as though I woke up one morning and said, "I think I'll be a psychic. Oh--what sort shall I be? A fake gypsy with a turban and shower-curtain earrings? A new age sweetheart who tells everyone they create their own reality and can have everything they want if they picture it?

"No, I think I'll be a Buddhist psychic. That sounds way cool."

It was not like that.

For one thing, I didn't mean to be a psychic at all. I didn't believe in such things. But, as my marriage started to fall apart, so did I and, like it or not, I began to have strange experiences--very strange. I spontaneously started to see and hear things that, objectively speaking, weren't there, and know things I couldn't possibly know.

Serendipity led me to a class where I learned to focus some of this chaotic energy, and do readings about people I didn't know which checked out for accuracy. This discovery put me in a cognitive bind. How can you be very good at something in which you don't believe?

What saved me was the realization that I couldn't be that different from everyone else. If I could access information in ways I hadn't believed possible, so could others.

And now I could feel the interconnection between every being, living and not, an insight that would eventually lead me to Buddhism. I was no longer a separate entity but part of something much larger--if I let myself feel it. Quel relief, actually.

After my divorce, almost thirty years ago, I began to work professionally as a psychic. I'd already been doing free readings for anyone who would sit still for them, and I just went on from there, starting with $3 palm readings at the flea market. At first I had no idea what I was doing, but clients seemed to appreciate whatever I told them.