I was at a friend’s wedding recently when someone asked the typical icebreaker, “So, what do you do?” Just a few years ago, I would have answered it easily and concretely: “I work in urban planning and economic development, helping to grow industries in New York City.” Now I hesitate, my mind going through flowcharts of what I could say and what their reactions might be. The couple looks expectedly in my direction. “I’m a life purpose coach,” I say.
My husband laughs and adds, “Oh, she’s a psychic.”
Or maybe it was just awkward for me. You see, the last thing I ever thought I would be was a psychic. It started nine years ago, when I was at MIT getting my master’s degree in city planning and I had a spiritual experience that opened up psychic gifts that I never knew were possible.
To make a long story short, I was leading an affordable housing development project and on the day the deliverable was due, everything went wrong. We were in danger of missing the deadline — imagine, months and months of hard work, potentially down the drain. Just hours before it was due, one of my colleagues called me, blaming me for our situation and said some things that triggered me. I hung up the phone, standing alone in my apartment and just started sobbing, hyperventilating. I felt the burden of the world on my shoulders, like I had let everyone down, including all those people who could be impacted by this project — people who don’t have the financial means to live in a good home. This especially hit hard as my family came from that background as well.
I noticed a robin had landed on my windowsill. I had one of those windows that push out just a little bit, so it took effort for a bird to fly underneath the lip and onto my windowsill. I went up to the bird, barely able to see through my tears and thought, “You’re so beautiful, you’re so free. I want to *be* you.”
In that moment, an incredible rush of peace went through my body, from my head to my toes. It felt solid, physical, like a force field of peace. I then saw things in my mind’s eye, heard things in my ear, and felt a deep, knowing in my heart that everything was okay, that I was at peace.
Then, the robin flew away.
I had no idea what happened to me, but it gave me the space to make some phone calls. We were able to submit our project and months later, it turned out that we won. It was a competition and we won some funding for the non-profit that we were working with. Yet, this all paled in comparison to the knowledge that something otherworldly had happened to me. What was going on? Was I crazy? Did I miss the one class in college that could have taught me that psychic abilities were real?
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At this time, I was experimenting with the Law of Attraction — the idea that your thoughts and more importantly, your feelings, create your reality. I had seen it transform my life already, from manifesting my dream job to getting into the top graduate school for my field. While I was a huge skeptic, the experiments and results from my life were so blatant that my inner doubt had quieted down significantly by then. Still, the idea of psychic ability being a real thing and something that pertained to me was in uncharted territory until that very moment.
After I graduated with my Master’s, I decided to learn as much as I could by studying books I secretly ordered off of Amazon. By day, I still worked in tech and economic development, but by night, I devoted my incredible work ethic to spiritual development. I read about everything from tarot cards and angels to how to connect to your spirit guides and harness your psychic gifts. Deep in my heart, I knew that when the authors said that everyone has intuitive ability, and that it is our purpose to discover the divinity inside ourselves, that they were telling the truth. While reading these words, I felt it as truth in my body, and sometimes it brought tears to my eyes.
To exercise the intuitive muscles, one author suggested writing down questions to your spirit guides, meditating, and then opening up your mind to receive answers. I asked questions like “How do I deal with a boss that I don’t really like?” to “What advice do you have for my career?” Answers appeared clearly in my mind and I wrote them down in my journal. It was a little difficult at first, but as my confidence in the process grew stronger, it became easier to “hear” my spirit guides. It blew my mind that there was a two-way communication between me and Higher Beings that had far greater perspective to my life than I did. Sure enough, their advice helped me navigate challenging work situations with a sense of peace, grace, and understanding. While many of my colleagues seemed mired in fear and drama, I became the calm eye of the hurricane at work with this newfound access to wisdom.
I learned that this is called channeling. My strongest sense of clairaudience (which means clear-hearing) lets me subtly hear thought forms from my Higher Self (my own connection to the Divine) to my spirit guides to those who have crossed over. The guides speak to me with their own cadence, style of speech, vocabulary and sense of humor. Sometimes they speak to me with a new word that I’m not sure what the exact definition is, and I have to Google it!
Fast forward a few years, and I now channel from the Guides of the Akashic Records (imagine a huge library of information about every soul — including their thoughts, feelings, dreams and purpose in life). I’m like a scribe, typing pages and pages of information on my laptop as I’m channeling, even before I’ve even met or talked with the person I’m receiving the information for. I then share these messages with them word for word to help them understand their life purpose.
When I channeled for myself, I discovered that my own purpose is to use my voice: to share my story, to build a family of spiritually empowered people, and to sing. As an extreme introvert, it had taken me years to actually find my voice and build the courage to use it. During this time, I had started becoming disenamored with my job and had the strong feeling that I had to move on and come out of the “spiritual closet.” I knew that another promotion or a similar job in public service, while impactful, was not aligned with my purpose. I knew that it would not make my soul sing.
It took at least a year before I made the big decision to leave my job and career. I finally embraced what my inner voice and my spirit guides had nudged me towards: that it is my responsibility to share what happened to me and what magical possibilities exist for living a life of purpose, discovery and joy. I started my coaching and empowerment company, Being My Purpose, to help people to understand why they might be successful on paper — their resume, accomplishments, multiple degrees, or family life might look perfect — but deep down, they’re either unhappy, unfulfilled, lost or trying to figure out if they’re missing something really important in their life. In many ways, I had found my own life purpose through my spiritual development and the Akashic Records and now empower others to know and express their own purpose with courage and creativity.
I truly believe that when we are aligned with our purpose, which is a state of being that we channel through everything we do, not just our career, that we feel less stressed. We’re happier, healthier, and do more good that makes an impact not only on us as individuals, but on our families, communities and the planet.
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All of this spiritual development has helped me completely shift my perspective of what is possible in the world. It’s helped me explore everything from the power of intention to what our soul’s purpose in life is, to bending spoons (which, is by far the coolest thing we can do that convinces our rational brain that mind is really over matter), to understanding how to relate to my husband when we have some rough patches in our relationship (especially now that we have a toddler).
Despite all of these positive developments, it has taken a lot of courage for me to even tell my close friends, family, colleagues, my fellow college or grad school classmates, even random strangers about what I do now and what career shifts I’ve decided to embark on.
Why does it take courage?
Because of the roundabout nature of my career. I wonder why I loved (and still love) urban planning enough to work in the field for 10 years, to get a Master’s degree that I’m still not done paying off, to now do something completely different. In many ways, it would have been easier to stay on the same career path, vying for the next promotion, continuing a trajectory that was seemingly successful and that other people knew me for. When I drafted the farewell email to 400 people on the company mailing list, I spent 30 minutes debating whether or not to share that I was leaving to become a psychic coach. I decided to share and shakily pressed the “send” button. I was surprised to receive notes from people I didn’t even know saying that they admired my courage, that they were inspired to take steps to find their own purpose, or that they were intrigued and wanted to learn more.
Because in spiritual work, I’m oftentimes the only Asian person in the room. I wonder whether there will be more people who look like me or even people of color in the empowerment field to balance out the stereotypical pretty, white woman doing yoga or meditating that we often find on magazine covers or Instagram posts.
Because historically and culturally, our society has been ingrained to discredit psychics. Though many cultures have always had medicine people, religious leaders that spoke to God and the like, the modern connotation with psychic makes people think of a storefront scam-artist in a headwrap with a glass ball. While this is shifting, I wonder if I will always be slightly embarrassed every time I say the word, “psychic” even though I’m on a mission to use it as often as possible, to dispel the negative connotations that it often draws. I want people to understand that psychic means a connection to a deeper layer of intuitive communication with ourselves and spiritual beings that can empower us to live with courage and authenticity.
I realize that I will continue to grapple with being known in this way. At my 10 year college reunion, where it seemed like everyone else was a doctor, lawyer, or MBA graduate, I was hesitant. To be honest, I was afraid of how other people might judge me. Every time I speak to someone new or someone who knew the ‘old’ me, my innermost thoughts swirl with a mixture of uncertainty and also an awe and admiration for how the Universe works. I feel buoyed by my knowledge that it’s my purpose to learn how to use my voice and to speak with confidence in every part of my life. I’ve learned that I have to embrace my fears to express my purpose everyday, and that it is a moment-to-moment choice. It’s a perpetual work-in-progress.
I haven’t wanted to tell my general doctors, for example, because I don’t think they would understand. I worry that medical authority figures will question my own experiences with my body and mind, invalidating or dismissing my voice because they only understand the science side of the equation. It doesn’t matter that I love the intersection of spirituality and science, and am actively connecting with scientists and researchers who play in that arena. In fact, I’m collaborating with some researchers at Yale University who are studying psychics to help them understand more about mental health and spirituality.
When I do share, I’ve found that some people are incredibly interested. They ask questions about my experience and find it intriguing that they can learn to be intuitive as well. They understand the implications that it has for human potential, education, business, happiness and well-being. Then, there are also some people who pretend that I don’t exist and move on to meet the next person, or who just prefer to just ignore that psychic abilities are possible and change to a different topic of conversation.
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What I’m learning is that with any identity shift, there is first a path of discovery, exploration and courage for you, the self, to understand and embrace. Then, there is the experience of sharing this newly forming identity with others, in the face of people who don’t accept your experience as real and in the face of people who may be afraid of you or what you stand for.
I’ve shifted my approach to conversations with people. I try to put aside my own assumptions about their judgments and fears. Instead, I focus on connecting. When I can do this successfully, I see each person I talk to as a spiritual being, someone who could be like the “old” me who was skeptical and didn’t have the frame of reference to understand what I now know is real. If someone does reject me outright (which is actually very few and far between), I have compassion. Though spirituality is not new, the research on this is at an emerging frontier. More and more scientists are exploring the edges of fields such as consciousness, intuition, and quantum physics. I remember that for years, people thought the world was flat and the people who thought otherwise were not accepted in society.
I see each person I speak with as having their own Higher Selves who are yearning to hear what I have to say because it can then open up the possibility for healing and knowledge, especially if they feel if they are stuck, unfulfilled or in mental anguish. Some people feel relieved when they talk to me because I give them hope in their own personal power. For others, knowing that they have a unique purpose and that their life challenges were meant to help them grow and empower others, they regain the will to live.
This is a path that I walk with more and more strength each day. Looking back on this journey so far, I feel blessed to have experienced the contrast of living life rationally and intuitively because it makes me value both. What I hope for is that each person I encounter be open-minded enough to discover for themselves what it means to live an inspired life with the unseen support of something with immense intelligence and capacity for love. Now that sounds like a magical way of being.
Julie is an intuitive life purpose coach, founder of Being My Purpose and the host of the All Possibilities Podcast, which explores the intersection of spirituality, business, and science. She lives in New York City and is a graduate of Yale University and MIT. She is looking to connect with people interested in spirituality, science, community service and social change.
Image: ‘Contrast (Order and Chaos)’ (1950) by M.C. Escher