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Another Door Opens A Psychic Explains How Those in the World of Spirit Continue to Impact Our Lives
By Jeffrey A. Wands
Atria Copyright © 2006 Jeffrey A. Wands
All right reserved.
The Gift That Goes on Giving
Usually when someone asks, "Why me?" it means one of two things. It's either, "Woe is me. Why did this happen to me?" or, "Wow, how did I get so lucky?" In my case it's been a little of both.
YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE
I know now that I've been given a gift, but for a long time I was unable to see it as a gift. In fact, it sometimes seemed to me like a little bit of a curse. I like to think of myself as an ordinary guy, and I wanted other people to see me as normal, so for a long time I tried to hide -- and hide from -- my gift. I tried to fight against or just ignore my psychic abilities. But, as I've discovered, we can't always control the gifts we've been given. I couldn't just wrap up my gift and take it back somewhere to exchange it for one I thought I'd like better. And I couldn't control the messages that kept coming at me, whether I wanted them or not.
In my book The Psychic in You, I talked about messages I started getting and contacts I made with souls on the other side when I was a little kid. And, as I said, very often what came at me got me in trouble. Ididn't know where these "insights" or apparitions were coming from, and very often I just blurted out whatever popped into my head. I remember very well the day I made my sixth-grade teacher cry when I told her that her mother was standing in the room behind her wanting to know why she was so angry with her, and then I named the song her mother had sung to her when she was a child. I certainly hadn't wanted to make my teacher sad, but her response was just one of the many unforeseen reactions to things I told people that eventually led me to want to hide my light under a bushel, so to speak.
For a long time I was afraid -- and not without reason -- that people would think I was weird and I'd be rejected. Then, when I grew up, got married, and had children, I was afraid of the teasing and ridicule I thought my kids would be subjected to because of the work I do. As it's turned out, my kids haven't had a problem with it (in fact they have fun with it), and neither have their friends, but I didn't know that then.
ACCEPTING MY GIFT
It may have taken me a while to figure it out -- in fact, it took me well into my thirties -- but I now know that I don't have to be afraid of affecting other people's lives because it is precisely the fact that I can impact the lives of others for the better that makes my gift so valuable. When I finally accepted how much and how many people I could help, I was able to give up my need to be normal. "Normal" for me became helping people, and when I thought of it in those terms, I actually liked what I was able to do. I always try to act from a place of doing the right thing, and I do believe that most of the time I'm making a difference. The way I've finally come to see it is this: If I were a gifted concert pianist and I never played the piano, I'd be throwing away and dishonoring my gift. I never want to dishonor my gift. Instead, I now look upon it as a call to duty from the higher power.
In truth, it seems to me that the whole concept of "psychicness" has become far more acceptable, even mainstream, in recent years. When I began my work I couldn't have imagined that programs like Medium and Psychic Detectives would ever be drawing huge television audiences or that books and personal appearances by psychics would be selling in record numbers and drawing huge crowds. All of this has come as a pleasant surprise, and I like to think that my own work has contributed in some small way to that acceptance. When I think about why it's happened, I believe there are two reasons. One is that science has been able to accomplish so much that no one imagined possible fifty years ago, and that people are more willing to accept the "possibility" of many things they formerly considered impossible. And the second reason is that, in recent years, there have been so many large-scale catastrophes, both natural and man-made, that people are eager to find some meaning in life that goes beyond their short time on earth. When life as we know it seems so fragile, it seems natural to seek some larger significance for our being here at all.
Getting back to "Why me?" however, beyond not wanting to seem weird, I was also extremely uncomfortable with the power people seemed to want to give me. Until I started getting their feedback, I didn't really understand how much of an effect I was having on people. But when I began to get calls and mail saying, "You changed my life," instead of being pleased or proud, I was very upset. I didn't want that kind of power. In fact, I hated it.
For a long time, all those fears and that discomfort held me back from accepting what I was really supposed to be doing. Instead, I tried several different businesses. At one point I even opened a restaurant. But every time I tried to get away from my gift, whatever venture I tried turned out to be a disaster -- and I also wasn't happy or fulfilled.
If you keep running away from your gift,
you're really just cheating yourself.
Still, I worried about "going public," and it wasn't really until I appeared on The Maury Show for the first time in December 2001 that I knew I'd made peace with the path I was meant to follow. There I was, giving readings not only in front of a full studio audience but in front of millions of television viewers as well. I figured that was about as public as it gets. It was sort of like my coming-out party. But the experience also made me realize that through my work I was able to help more people than I could ever have done in any other profession I might have chosen, including the law, which had been one of my early career choices. Maybe in other circumstances I would have been a therapist, and in a way I am, because what I do is almost always therapeutic for my clients. It helps them to get a different, more positive perspective on what's happening in their lives.
I've discovered that the more I appear on television, the more comfortable I become with the process, and every time I'm presented with a new challenge, I'm able to rise to the occasion. On the humorous side, however, it seems that each time I'm filming a program outside the studio, something goes wrong with the equipment. The batteries on the camera go dead, or the lights don't work. Not too long ago, I was on an AM radio call-in program when, in the middle of the show, the entire phone system went down. I believe these "failures" are a result of the intensity of the energy emanating from so many souls wanting to come through as well as the intensity of my own energy.
I should also add here that I believe things are thrown in our paths for a reason, so that we are given the opportunity to reach higher and become better. An extreme tragic yet heroic example of this is the way Todd Beamer and his fellow passengers reacted on Flight 93 during the horrific events of 9/11. It was not accidental that those people were on that particular flight and, in their final moments, saved the lives of thousands by making sure the plane did not reach its intended target.
Learn to appreciate the value of the gifts you've been given.
Another thing that has made me more comfortable is my understanding that however much other people may want to think I control what happens in their lives, I really don't. I don't even control what comes into my own life by way of the messages I receive. And whatever I am able to tell my clients, they still are the ones who have to decide what they will do with the information. I don't know what the message is going to mean to the person receiving it, and sometimes I don't even understand the meaning myself. I'm just the conduit, the messenger.
People often ask me how I get my information from souls on the other side, and the best way I can explain it is that most often I see psychic photographs in my mind. The souls show me pictures or symbols or a name or a date that they know will have a distinct meaning to the person they're contacting. So, for example, when I was doing a reading on the radio for someone whose mother's name was Lucille and who had red hair, guess whose picture came into my mind? Of course it was Lucille Ball, and, naturally, the woman I was reading for recognized the meaning of that picture immediately.
But even though I now know I'm not responsible for the messages I receive, I've also learned -- since that day I made my teacher cry -- that I can't just blurt out whatever comes into my head. I am responsible for what I say, and I need to be very careful how I say it, because what I tell people can, and often does, have a profound effect on their lives. Even though messages from souls on the other side are always delivered out of love, they're not always the messages people on this side want to hear. I try to make all my clients understand that what I'm telling them is intended to help and direct them, but sometimes, unfortunately, they just shut down. They may not want to hear it or they may not know what to do with it, and very often they still want me to tell them what to do.
CHANGING YOUR PATH IS UP TO YOU
Even after all this time it continues to amaze me when I give someone a message and he or she asks me, "Well, what should I do? Should I do this or that?" All I can say to these people is, "This is what your loved one on the other side is telling me, and you have to make up your own mind how to act on it." I consider myself the facilitator who helps other people to realize that they do have a path and that, if they want to, they can change it. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the psychiatrist and well-known writer on death and the afterlife, put it most clearly when she said, "I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime." Often, however, people don't want that responsibility. They're afraid that if they make a change, they won't do it right, they'll mess it up in some way, and, therefore, it's easier for them to pass the responsibility on to me. Or, when I tell them as clearly as I know how what their loved one is telling me they should do, they go right out and do the opposite -- and still they blame it on me. For example, a young woman came to me recently who had been living with her boyfriend and was having difficulties with the relationship. She had issues with her father, who had passed, and now she was acting out that same relationship all over again. I told her that the spirits were letting me know she should let her boyfriend move out, give him the space to work out his own problems, and then they'd be able to sort out their relationship. Of course, she chose not to listen, and when things didn't go well, she called my office wanting to blame me for the outcome. Some people just want to prove that they can outwit the dead, but, as I've learned over the years, the dead always know more than we do.
Sometimes, though, their message comes through so loud and clear that just receiving it is enough for the person to make significant changes in his or her life.
No psychic can change your life for you.
That's something you've got to do for yourself.
One really dramatic example of this occurred after someone heard me on the radio. This woman had five daughters, and one of them, Donna, was not only in terrible trouble herself but was causing an enormous amount of heartache for her family. She came from a well-to-do family that had always struggled with her father's alcoholism. Now Donna was addicted to crack cocaine and was stealing from her own family to support her habit. It had gotten to the point where her mother and her sisters had to keep all their valuables locked up so that she couldn't get to them. So when the mother heard me, she said that something told her to take a chance. She called to make an appointment and brought Donna to me.
A very attractive woman in her early twenties, Donna was a Debra Winger look-alike with shoulder-length chestnut brown hair and big brown eyes, but I have to say that when she arrived in my office she looked pretty terrible -- and she looked even more shaken up when she left. What happened was that Donna's grandmother came through and started telling her not only what was going on in her life at the moment, including identifying the two crackheads she was hanging out with who had stolen the family car, but also where the family plot was, who was going to be at her funeral, and what she was going to be wearing in the casket if she didn't make some big changes in her life. In fact, Donna was on such a self-destructive path that she knew she wouldn't be here much longer and she'd already chosen the dress she wanted to be buried in. When her grandmother was able to describe it, Donna was shocked. But she also knew that the information I was giving her was valid, and it scared her to the point where she went into a forty-five day rehab program and is now on the path to recovery. Her grandmother was just giving her a heads-up that she was very close to joining her on the other side. Donna could have ignored the message -- that was her choice. But she didn't.
Your loved ones in spirit want to help you, so it's a good idea to listen to what they have to say.
The choice is yours to make.
Donna's been back to see me since then, and she's still clean, but, as I've told her, her grandma is still warning me that she isn't necessarily over the hump and she needs to do the follow-up work in terms of continuing therapy and staying away from her old haunts to make sure she doesn't slip back.
Donna's grandmother loved her so much that she intervened, but she couldn't make Donna change. Her granddaughter had to do that for herself. I believe that the grandmother made sure Donna's mother was listening to my radio program that day because she knew I'd be able to deliver her message in a way that would make Donna sit up and take notice.
Interventions of this intensity don't occur all the time, but when they do they have a profound effect. If Donna's grandmother had known that the path she was on was, for whatever reason, the one she was supposed to be following, she couldn't have changed that. But because she knew Donna was straying from her path and causing her family so much pain, she felt it was her duty to come through and intervene. And my duty was to keep my emotions out of it and deliver her message as clearly and directly as I could.
An equally profound intervention occurred when I worked with a woman named Sarah, whose husband, Lew, had suffered from severe bipolar illness. Sarah is a doctor who had helped a lot of people in her work, but, for whatever reason, she and her family had simply chosen to believe that Lew's illness was not as serious as it was -- until, one day, he just snapped and shot himself in the head. Now Sarah was distraught because she had two children, a son and a daughter, who had both inherited their father's tendency toward manic depression, and she was terrified that her son, Greg, would also take his own life. During our session, Lew came through and began to show me images of his son involved with photography. Sarah confirmed that Greg had recently begun to show an interest in film and had even asked for a video camera. Lew then made it clear that the boy wasn't planning to become a Hollywood director but was, in fact, videotaping the rehearsal of his own death. He told me there was a tape hidden in a shoe box on a shelf in Greg's closet, which is exactly where Sarah found it after our meeting. Now, because of Lew's intervention, Greg has gotten psychiatric counseling, is taking medication, and is on the road to becoming a successful artist.
IT CAN BE OVERWHELMING
Although I have, over the years, come to love what I do, I don't love having to give people information I know they'd rather not have. In fact, sometimes the sense of responsibility I feel for saying things just the right way so that people will be willing to listen and really hear what I'm telling them can be a bit overwhelming. I think I've learned to do that pretty well just because I'm so aware of it, and I can generally sense how much a client will be able to deal with at any one time. But, at the same time, I realize that people have to learn how to receive what I tell them. It doesn't do them any good to let their emotions get in the way, and I also have to make sure I don't let my own emotions interfere with what I'm doing.
I probably shouldn't, but I do sometimes still get hurt when people tell me I'm "doing the devil's work" or accuse me of using some kind of trickery. I know that getting upset doesn't do me any good, but sometimes I just can't help it. I don't try to make anyone believe in an afterlife or in my ability to communicate with souls in spirit. I don't make them come see me or attend my events or listen to my radio program; I just can't understand why they'd want to buy a ticket or tune in or call up just to tell me I'm a fake or, worse, that what I'm doing is somehow evil.
But if I know I shouldn't be angry or upset when people don't want to hear -- or just refuse to believe -- what I'm telling them, I also can't allow myself to become emotionally involved in other people's pain or to get all puffed up about the positive changes I can help them to make in their lives.
GETTING EMOTIONAL DOESN'T HELP
One of the worst things that can happen to someone like me is starting to think of myself as the one who's in charge. I call it the rock star mentality. To put it another way, I need to keep remembering that I'm not the violinist; I'm the violin. I'm the instrument that's used by those who have passed on to "play their music." I can't make music without them, and the only sounds that come out of me are the ones they want me to make. If I ever lost that sense of who I am and what I'm here for, I'd be straying from my own path, which would be just as bad as trying to run away from it as I did originally.
My work can be extremely emotional.
It's up to me to be sure that my emotions don't get in the way and block my senses.
Another problem I have to watch out for is becoming emotionally involved with my clients and their stories or problems. People almost always come to me when they're in trouble or in pain. If they're perfectly happy with the way their lives are going, they're probably not in the frame of mind to start shaking things up by consulting a psychic. To do my job -- and I have to keep remembering that it is a job -- I need to keep my emotions in check because emotions create a kind of barrier that prevents me from receiving the communications that dead people want me to pass on. Sometimes that's not so easy because I actually feel everything that's coming at me both from my client and from the spirit world. I feel the impact of the client's sadness, the happiness of the message, and even the physical pain of the way the soul who's coming through has passed. If someone died of a head trauma, I feel that trauma; if it was an embolism or a heart attack or a stroke, I feel the emotion and the pain. And sometimes those feelings are so intense that it's difficult to get back to myself when the reading is over.
The time it's hardest to control my emotions is when I'm dealing with a child who has passed, because I'm a parent myself, or when I have a close connection with the person I'm trying to help. When that happens, I just have to take a step back and do what I call a separation of church and state. That can be difficult, but it's something I know I need to do if I'm going to be effective. I remember, for example, when my wife's grandfather was in a coma after suffering a cranial bleed. At the same time, her grandmother felt so guilty about not hearing him and being there to call an ambulance that she suffered a heart attack and was also in the hospital. So when my wife and I went to the hospital to say good-bye to him, I thought the intensity of the emotional circumstances would keep me from connecting with him, but that's not how it went. I knew on a psychic level that he was going to pass the next day, and I sat there that night and reached into myself, telling myself, you know, this isn't about you. It's really about his wanting to release, and we have to help him because he's so concerned about what's going to happen to his wife that he keeps holding on. By telling myself that, I could take myself out of the equation and communicate to him that his wife would be okay and that it was okay for him to go in peace. And he did go the next day.
REMEMBER, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU
To stay focused on my purpose I have to constantly keep reminding myself that it's not about me -- it's never about me. And sometimes the best thing I can do for other people is to help them understand it's not about them either. A good case in point is a woman who came to me after her husband of fifty years had died. She simply couldn't get over the fact that he'd "left" her, and she was completely focused on her own pain and suffering. What she'd lost track of was that her husband, whom she'd clearly loved very much, had been suffering for a very long time and was now not suffering any longer. I was able to let her know not only that her husband was still and would always be a part of her life but also that he was now at peace and no longer in pain and that he wanted her to move past her pain as well.
Wanting to help us move on with our lives and, essentially, continue to follow our own path and learn the lessons we're here for is one of the primary reasons those who've passed over continue to communicate with us. Sometimes, as I've said, the death of a loved one can open a new door in our lives that shows us a new direction and really helps us understand our own purpose for being on this earth. But sometimes it can be such a blow that it completely knocks us off our tracks. And when that happens, we're in real danger of getting stuck.
Everything in life -- even death -- happens for a reason,
but it's sometimes difficult for people to believe that.
When people experience a tragedy, particularly if a loved one dies young, or of a terrible illness, or in an accident, or by violent means, they often need validation that the tragedy they've experienced has a reason, that it isn't just senseless. If these people are able to understand that whoever it is has died because his or her mission here was over or because it was part of the soul's path, they are usually able to come to terms with the loss instead of being permanently derailed by it. Most of the time, I'm able to give them that gift of understanding, as I did Fran following the death of her daughter. I'll let her tell you about it in her own words.
"I went to see Jeffrey for the first time a few months after my daughter Tabatha was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. What he told me during that initial reading was so gentle and so comforting that he gave me a real sense of peace.
"Then, as my daughter was getting worse -- I think it was in late May -- my sister called him on my behalf, and he told her to tell me to 'hold on until the middle of July and it will be over with.' When my sister told me that, even though I knew Tabatha was dying, I wanted to believe it meant that she'd be okay. Of course, it didn't mean that at all. Later Jeffrey told my sister that he'd delivered the message the way he did because he didn't have the heart to just spit it right out and tell me.
"Tabatha died on July 15, and she was totally at peace. My husband and I had spent two weeks with her in the hospice, and there was such an overwhelming peace about her the whole time that you could just feel it.
"My last reading with Jeffrey was by telephone. All I wanted then was validation of what I really already knew -- that she was okay. I just needed to hear it from her, and I knew I'd hear it from her through him.
"Jeffrey told me that she could have stayed a little bit longer, but my mother and father, who are both on the other side, made it go more quickly because she was suffering so much. She was so vibrant and had so much energy; she was counseling other women with ovarian cancer and their families over the internet, and she just never quit, right up to the end. She was angry, of course, but she was also very protective of me, and she kept a lot of what she was going through to herself.
"Jeffrey told me so many things that day that sounded so much like her, I was laughing and crying at the same time. He told me that I had to get myself together because she was busy over there "checking out the guys," and I was laughing and thinking to myself, that would be just like her, always looking on the bright side and trying to make me feel better. And she was also very adamant about my health. I have a lot of health problems myself, and sometimes I'd ask myself why I was still here when she wasn't. I just wanted to die and be with her. I didn't say any of this to Jeffrey, but he knew what I was thinking, and he told me I was here for a reason. 'You have a family. You have Mr. Wonderful' -- which is exactly what my smart-aleck daughter would call my husband -- 'and if you fall apart, he's going to keep falling apart.' And that was also right on the money because my husband had a small breakdown after Tabatha died. He was hospitalized for a short time, and when he sees I'm not in a good place it affects him. But Jeffrey has never met my husband and he couldn't possibly have known any of this. So Tabatha was telling me I have to take care of myself because I have a family here that needs me. She was a very strong person, and now I have to become a strong person.
"I'd actually been planning to go away and take some time for myself, which I think is necessary, but then I wound up in the hospital instead. Jeffrey told me that Tabatha said, 'Wherever you were planning to go, you need to go.' All I could say was, 'My God, I was sick in the hospital, give me a break,' and he said, 'Yeah, and it was your own fault because you don't take care of yourself,' which is exactly the way she would have said it.
"So, yes, Tabatha was a little angry with me because I'd promised her that I'd be happy and go on with my life. And I did, but it was difficult. When my daughter was sick, of course I wanted to be in control. I just wanted it to go away, but Jeffrey made me understand I couldn't do that and that I had to get to the point where I accepted that she was okay -- and I wasn't. When I hung up the phone that day, I was absolutely on a high because I knew in my heart of hearts that she was okay. I know we'll be together again. I just miss her physically. I'd never been to a psychic before Jeffrey, and for a while I was a little bit scared of the unknown, but now I'm completely open to it."
YOU NEED TO FIND YOUR TRUE PATH
It's fulfilling for me to know that I could help Fran come to terms with her daughter's passing and understand that she had to continue to follow her own path. That said, however, we humans can be stubborn, and sometimes we just don't want to see what we're supposed to be doing -- certainly I'm a prime example of someone who took a few detours before I was willing to acknowledge that none of those side trips was getting me where I knew I was supposed to be going. Yes, we all have free will, but we're really good at making mistakes, and we're also good at repeating our mistakes. We all come into the world with a particular soul purpose, but it can take some people a long time to figure out what that is.
As a way of understanding this, we can look at certain public figures and see that some of them "got it" pretty quickly while others had to almost self-destruct before they got on the right path. Bill Gates, for example, was so clear about what he knew he should be doing that he dropped out of college to start what would become the multibillion-dollar Microsoft empire that has effectively revolutionized the whole concept of global communication. But then we can look at someone like Darryl Strawberry, an extraordinarily gifted athlete who wound up following such a self-destructive path that he almost died twice -- once from addiction and once from colon cancer -- before he was able to turn his life around.
We humans make a lot of mistakes. It can take us a long time to "get with the program"
and figure out what we really should be doing to find fulfillment for ourselves.
To me this means that we can have a great soul purpose and just not be able to handle it. However, when and if we do manage to get on the right track, we'll feel fulfilled by what we're doing. When people achieve greatness, it's because they've found their true path. But don't get me wrong. I don't mean that if you haven't achieved "greatness" you're on the wrong path. Not every one of us is going to do something that puts us in the public spotlight or creates dramatic change in the world. What I mean is that once we figure out what's right for us and go with it, we'll be at peace with ourselves and with whatever comes our way. Although we sometimes hear about people who find their path and rise to greatness, fulfillment also comes in less obvious, more personal terms. To quote Elisabeth Kübler-Ross one more time, "As far as service goes, it can take the form of a million things. To do service, you don't have to be a doctor working in the slums for free, or become a social worker. Your position in life and what you do doesn't matter as much as how you do what you do."
Having said that, however, I should also say that if you've been getting knocked around, if things
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