The Fortune Teller’s Daughter

Saturday my friend Candy and I went to see a psychic. After three hours spent sipping champagne, nibbling on salty organic chocolate, and refusing to play follow-the-leader in a painting class, we had two free hours to play before our holiday work party. Instead of doing something obvious like dropping into a bar and continuing our ride on the bubbly train, I suggested we get a psychic reading. We were right down the street from Vision Quest book store, a  South Scottsdale landmark that always has several professional mind readers ready and available to mystify, disappoint, and in my case, horrify. Candy was giddy. She had always wanted to see a psychic, but had been scared to have a reading, something I have heard lots of other people say throughout the years. Why would you be afraid to have a psychic reading? I asked Candy this question, and she shook her body like she was being electrocuted by the mere consideration,  she replied, ” I don’t know, because … what are they going to tell me???”

This still didn’t make much sense to me.  Of course, I had forgotten about the one disturbing prophecy I received several years ago. When I was in nursing school, a psychic told me that I would need to go on anti-anxiety medications or else I was sure to suffer a nervous breakdown from all of the stress I was under.  Her insight just added to my worry, and thank goodness I was savvy enough to consider the source of this “wisdom,” a woman who didn’t know me, who actually popped a pill right before she sat down with me, called herself a medical intuitive, and had no idea the stress I was under with relation to my family, finances, and school. She just saw my frazzled nerves, and heard me questioning my decisions about becoming a nurse, she then concluded that I needed to be medicated.  I don’t know what kind of pill she swallowed, it could have been an aspirin, but my psychic powers said it was an anti-anxiety agent. After careful consideration of her words, I came to the conclusion that she was projecting her own need for drugs onto me. I could have been wrong, but she was absolutely wrong. Here I am, done with school, I didn’t have nervous breakdown, and I didn’t have to take drugs.

Sharing all of this with Candy didn’t occur to me, because at the time, I had forgotten. I just giggled and told her it would be fine, it’s just for fun.

Then we had our readings and I think Candy enjoyed hers, but mine was mostly disturbing.

In my late twenties I started going to psychics.  I would go when I was feeling lost — when I wanted some vision of a future I couldn’t see, or some other version of a future I saw, but wished I didn’t . Mostly my questions would be about romance. I would come to the tables of various psychics with tales of the current Mr. Wrong, or lack of any Mr. at all, and plead with the oracle sitting across from me to tell me when Mr. Right would be arriving. Was it soon? Over the years, the answers were no. No. No. No. I’ve had scads of readings, I can’t say any of them have changed my life. Some have been helpful with some creative cognitive reframing on my part, but for the most part, these folks were laying down stuff I already knew, and sometimes  what they offered was complete bullshit. I started telling them that I was measuring their authenticity and talent by their ability to share with me something I didn’t already know. This  once caused the words, “You are one of the few people who have access to The Akashic Records” to fall from the stumped-mouth of one reader. I was growing bored with his predictions, “You are very powerful, you just need to focus your mind. Meditation would be good for you.” Duh. Really? Or, “You have an old soul.”   Shit, can I get a refund?  While being told I have access to every soul’s journey in the non-physical dimensions is cool and all, I really just wanted to know when I was going to get a boyfriend.  S E R I O U S L Y. When? This was something I didn’t know.  I was always told not yet. Not yet. It’s not time yet. You will have many suitors, many will be interested, but you’re not ready, you still have work to do.  Fuck work. Everyone I knew was losing themselves in some relationship and I was stuck smack dab in the middle of me with nowhere to hide. When it came to this aspect of my soul, I was so transparent that even the dimmest readers wouldn’t get this part wrong.

My mom's business card, likely from the 80's. The address is written in her handwriting. This is what I have left of my mother in the material world.
My mother’s business card with her handwriting. This is what I have left of my mother in the material world.

I was raised on the psychic stuff. My mother was a professional psychic, and by professional, I mean she had business cards and people paid her to be magic. She didn’t use tarot cards or crystal balls, because as she liked to say, the eyes are windows into the soul.  She just  looked right into your windows and told you what she saw, maybe she also made some shit up, it’s hard to say.  She also read objects, she could pick up all sorts of things about a person from, say, their hairbrush or necklace. Creepy, huh? I think she had something of a reputation for being at least a little good at her craft, because she did psychic fairs, and folks would come to our home to be told about what came before and what was likely to come in the future, and she was even a regular guest on a local radio talk show where she often warned against the dangers of gypsies, she said you could spot them easily by the glowing palm they used for advertisement. These “gypsies” weren’t the real deal, and according to my mother, they had a well-honed knack for telling you what you wanted to hear and then snatching your money away. My mother said they were an embarrassment.  Speaking of embarrassment,  when I was a teenager, my mother loved to corner my friends when they came over, and give them impromptu readings. Later, I’d  roll my eyes while they gushed about how fabulous it must be to have a mother like her, and wow, she’s really psychic!  And I’d be left to explain that, no it wasn’t cool having a mother like her. Not cool at all.  Considering my mother supplemented her psychic stuff throughout the years with food stamps, welfare checks, charity food boxes, and phone sex gigs, I’m not so sure we wouldn’t have benefited from a big neon hand hanging from the window of our apartment.  As a child I didn’t think much about my mother’s “job”, and when people asked me what my mother did for work, I told them she was a professional psycho. My young mind heard psychic, but it always came out as “psycho.” Out of the mouths of babes…

I haven’t been to see a psychic in a while. I think the last one I saw was in Boulder, Colorado about 3 years ago. I don’t remember much of what he said, except…”You have your own work to do before you get the soul mate.” And some other shit about focus and writing and having just gone through a personal devastation.  Stuff I already knew.

When we walked into Vision Quest, I had no expectations, I just thought it would be fun to share the experience with Candy. I didn’t really have any questions either, or so I thought. Candy went first and our mind reader whose poster stated she had 25 years of experience, pretty much nailed every situation and every person they discussed. She was winning. She didn’t use tarot cards, though she had a deck of them fanned out on her table. Maybe they were a prop,  or perhaps used with people who aren’t comfortable having a direct oracle. Whatever their function, they got no play with us. She was looking into our windows.

When it was my turn, she looked at me and said, “Do you have a baby?”  No, I don’t have a baby.  She said she saw me holding a baby. This brought up the adoption, and she tried to engage me with conversation about meeting my daughter, which I indulged for a few minutes, but then seeing that it was going nowhere I hadn’t already been in my own mind, I asked her if we could move on to something else.  Something else turned out to be romance, her choice. I’m over this topic. She told me that I would be getting married soon … to a rich foreigner… who had homes and business’ in Paris and London. She told me that he was tall, that I would poo-poo his advances at first, and he would have to chase me and eventually I’d give in, and then, happily-ever-after. She told me my time in Phoenix had expired and that I would  be leaving with this man … whose name wasn’t Ron, but I should look out for a man named Ron, because he would likely connect me to this man. She had a little yellow pad of paper that she jotted down names and other words that would occur to her in a flash. She wrote the name Ron, and then the word Ford. She started to talk about my future husband’s business and maybe it was in automotives, but she wasn’t sure.  To be honest, I didn’t believe her, with Candy she was so clear and right, but with me, I felt like she should have had a neon hand next to her booth to give me a heads up.

Maybe the champagne had caused my soul windows to be foggy, but I didn’t want to hear anymore of what I perceived as nonsense, so I redirected her to my writing. Basically she told me,  I would sell my memoir and it could even be made into a movie. She told me I was a good writer, but I could be better. How insightful. Then I asked her two questions about people I love. I didn’t like her answers. Both of them were like gunshots to my heart. I stopped her after she spoke to my first query, even though she wanted to go deeper, and with the second question, I allowed a bit more exploration, simply because I was curious. The truth is I have my own sense about these two specific people and situations.  My sense is that she was right, at least mostly, but I realize that it wasn’t helpful having a stranger tell me I was correct in my assumptions, because I prefer to live in uncertainty, which is, as far as I can tell, reality.

I  want to be wrong about my sense more than I want her predictions about Mr. Foreign Rich Guy, leaving Phoenix, not having to work, and the success of my memoir to be right. But none of this is up to me, I don’t live in The Secret.

What I took away from this experience is that having your fortune read is a sure way to throw you out of the present moment, which is the only place I want to be. Here. Now. I don’t want to know the future. If I believed her, why would I bother giving any man without an accent and a fat wallet a real chance?  My mind would forever be measuring my current situation with the one this person projected into my future. I would miss out on my life, because I was looking for something specific, instead of being with what is right here and now.  Obviously it’s up to me to keep myself grounded in the present, and I am so grateful for my meditation practice which has given me a deep inner stability and clarity. I don’t believe my thoughts. I don’t believe they can accurately describe reality, so I don’t believe anyone else’s either, including someone getting paid to interpret my coming reality based on whatever she uses to guide her. What I saw, at least when it came to me, was a random plucking of thoughts and ideas from the sea of her psyche that she thought might make her look good .  I will give her credit for saying at least twice, that she wasn’t a “perfect psychic.”  I shall happily eat my socks if what she said turns out to be correct, but it’s simply not helpful for me to believe her. The good stuff and the bad stuff just stirs up a bevy of head crap that steals my serenity.  Even the fact that I dreamed about having a code blue at work and then two days later I had a code blue at work isn’t something I want to dwell on. What for? What is it I  want? Peace now. Yeah, I’m probably psychic like my mother. But unlike my mother, I don’t plan to exploit myself and others with spiritual party tricks. I may be bitter because my mother is dead. I may be turned off to this stuff partly because I believe that my mother’s focus on her thoughts and the occult are directly related to why she isn’t here anymore.  But, that stuff isn’t for this post.

I’m not saying that some of what the psychic said on Saturday wasn’t true for me, but what was crystal-ball clear, what has been clear for quite some time, is that I needn’t look outside of myself for guidance, I don’t need any other teacher besides the moment and what is showing up presently to illustrate the truth. And in the present that was happening on Saturday, there was a psychic who showed me this in the most interesting way.

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