I'm kind of addicted to psychics. Kind of. My first experience with an intuitive person was in New York City.
It was the summer after my sophomore year in college and I was interning at a large advertising agency right in midtown Manhattan.
I hadn't yet turned 20 and my life up until that point had been full of questions and pain. I was still in the throes of an eating disorder that took up much of my attention, the rest of my focus dedicated towards the normal awkwardness of figuring out who you are.
I was standing outside a deli that afternoon, waiting for a fellow intern to get his lunch, when a petite brunette woman approached me. She had an indistinguishable accent and said quietly, "You. You are confused and feeling lost right now, yes?"
I looked around me, the bustling midday crowd bumping into my back and shoulders as I stood still on the cement sidewalk.
"Are you talking to me?" I asked.
She sidled up to me so closely it was almost as though she were about to take my hand. She seemed meek, yet apparently read people quite well, for she targeted me that day and then brought me up a side alley staircase to a dingy apartment, where she reassured me that I would have my future told.
My intern friend Jordi came with me. Born and raised in Jersey, he had a slightly more realistic sense about what was happening, but figured he would indulge me and it would just be our entertainment for the day.
When we walked out of the psychic lair into the bright August humidity, Jordi asked what I thought about the reading.
"It was so accurate!" I gushed, excited that she invited me to come back with more money later that day, so she could clear out all of my family's karma. I desperately wanted the chaos from my childhood to disappear and this woman promised she could do it.
"Really?" said Jordi. "Because a lot of what she said was so general, it could apply to me, too."
That should've been my first sign that things were askew, but I was blinded by hope. I went back without him, hundreds of dollars in hand, a big deal for a starving intern in New York. Something in my gut told me it wasn't right, but I forged ahead.
Luckily, I later told my friends what I had done and they got angry on my behalf, returning with me to the psychic once more to demand my money back. (She returned most of it.)
Fast forward many years later. Bulimia was still in my midst, broken relationships with parents and significant others, and an insatiable drive for a successful career.
"Perfectionism" was a euphemism for how I approached life. I found myself in Shanghai as an editor of the leading English-language magazine, yet also at the lowest point of my life.
In search of more guidance and reassurance, I asked a colleague of mine to take me to one of the Chinese psychics I had heard so much about.
Tracy stayed in the room with me, helping me translate Mandarin into English. When we were through, it was like déjà vu, where she echoed Jordi’s sentiment from years earlier about how generalized the predictions were.
All I took away was the fact that the intuitive said, "Everything will be golden, except for your love life.” Her clanging words became a self-fulfilling prophecy for the next seven years.
When I returned from China, I entered into an intensive outpatient eating disorder program. As I finally confronted much of my past, it opened the way to explore my future.
Little-by-little, I was returning back to center. I also found my way back to yoga, a practice I had eagerly left behind for a bend here revealed an extra fold of skin and a quiet moment there inspired worry rather than peace.
Bringing my hands to my heart hurt to see how far I had fallen; moving through powerful practices reiterated how dedicated I needed to be in order for things to improve; sometimes, it was really just hard to see how far I had come, because I kept meeting the truth again and again that I was indeed more afraid of my potential than my inadequacies.
Finding yoga also re-introduced me to a sense of spirituality I had forgotten since I was young. It wasn’t that my family was religious; it was that I knew at an early age that there was a force greater than myself in existence.
After eating disorder therapy, I made my way to the gorgeous North County San Diego coast, which also happened to be a hub of a growing spiritual revolution. I now live a short bike ride away from gorgeous meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship that Yogananda created decades ago. And, I felt more confident to pursue a dream of becoming a yoga teacher and a Reiki practitioner.
Now, I even more regularly crossed paths with metaphysical practitioners, intuitive healers, Tarot readers, and psychics. By combining my love for writing and wellness, I recently interviewed Sanjeev Verma, a man renowned for his Vedic astrology readings and teachings on Hindu mysticism at the Chopra Center. He offered to read my birth chart, to which I readily agreed.
"You're in the middle of a move right now, yes?" he asked.
I laughed, affirmed his question, and listened as he continued to reveal my present, past, and events to come. As he did so, I could tell that familiar need-to-know creep up until I was asking so many questions that it was Sanjeev’s turn to chuckle.
"You know, Judy," he sweetly admonished, "sometimes it is good to live in the mystery. We are not meant to know everything."
And he's right. Through meditation, writing, Reiki, yoga, and the simple art of having fun in nature, I have learned that part of the most magnificent wonder in life is that we actually do not know how it will all turn out. This idea no longer terrifies me, because now I have a voice.
I have a warrior within. I have soul strength. And I have learned that it's all about perspective in the end — things will inevitably happen, but it’s up to us how we choose how to see them, how we respond to them, how we grow from them.
Those experiences in my past that caused me to so eagerly seek reassurance from others were actually what drew out my inner light. Through hardships and heartbreaks, I came to trust my own intuition and fully understand that the Universe has indeed always been on my side, even when I couldn’t sense it at the time.
By fully living the questions, I now find my way into answers that affirm a deep love for myself. And, when I dive into the unknown with an open heart, I simply see them as opportunities to practice my faith. As the Zen saying goes, "Leap and the net will appear." Now, I don't need a psychic to tell me that.