I learned the hard way that it is always imperative to ask permission before sharing intuitive information with someone.

In 1993, ahead of my first marriage, my stepmother and I were in Crate and Barrel setting up a bridal registry.

The young woman who was our sales assistant guided us around the store, showing us how to select products and fill out a form which would later be entered into a database and which our guests could print out in the store to use as a guide while shopping for us. I had agreed to this outing reluctantly. I didn’t really like the idea of a gift registry because I wasn’t comfortable being that explicit about what I wanted for gifts. In my mind, a gift was something to be received, not something to request. It felt like suggesting what to buy us was too transactional. My stepmother felt this was ridiculous and enlisted the sales assistant’s help to explain to me that by working off a list of things we had selected, people would appreciate knowing they would be buying us things for our home that we really wanted or needed.

There was another reason I was feeling uncomfortable and that had to do with the growing sense that maybe I shouldn’t be getting married in the first place. Choosing gifts made my engagement-which I had thought I wanted-very real. I had been shoving those feelings way down deep for months (so stay tuned for another blog post about that)!

As we moved through the store and listened to the sales assistant giving us explanations of products and showing us what was popular, I became very, very tired. I started thinking about how boring her job must be. I hadn’t given any thought to what it would be like to work there, but it pulled at me deeply as if I were the one actually having to do her job. It was mind-numbing, exhausting.

What was happening was that I, in close physical proximity to her, was having an empath’s first-hand understanding of her experience and feelings.

Then images began to drift into my mind. I could see her husband at the hospital where he was doing his medical residency. Where he was most of the time. I knew that’s why they lived in L.A.

She had taken the job at C&B because she knew it wouldn’t require too much investment and it would be easy to leave it when he finished and they then moved on to wherever he would complete his fellowship. As I thought this, my body was again consumed with exhaustion, followed by sadness and homesickness for…..Chicago.

L.A. had been a bit of culture shock.

She had gotten married with the understanding that the priority was her husband’s medical career, so they had gone where he needed to go, and would again. Perhaps she was beginning to realize that she had put herself second too immediately, or hadn’t considered that there were other configurations of their relationship and careers that would work. But I did know that for her, L.A. was just horrible. She hated it there. Her husband was working all the time. She didn’t know anyone, her job was boring, her time off work was also boring….there was nothing to do, she missed her family and friends….She was struggling.

I felt compelled to help her. I didn’t particularly like L.A. either, which is why I lived in San Diego. But she was stuck in a loop of homesickness that was turning into depression, and she was losing the ability to focus on the positive or be curious about the possibilities around her. She was shutting down.

This moment landed me squarely in a crossroads. Should I speak up?


I’ve heard of a TV intuitive who crafted what was considered a very compelling shtick. She would approach people on the street and just launch into giving them messages from loved ones who had passed on. This idea, that a complete stranger can simply walk up to someone and give them detailed information about their lives or pass messages on from the beyond, is pretty dramatic. And it offers evidence for the accuracy of what we do, even if it supports the stereotype that intuitives are able to do something that most of us can’t.

But it’s just so wrong. Any releases that these unassuming folks had to sign notwithstanding, there is a sacred contract between the reader and the readee. If a client makes an appointment for a private session or comes to one of my workshops, they are tacitly giving me permission to observe them and their lives using my gifts. That permission is key, and inviolate.

When I’m out in public, I’m rest assuredly focused on my own life. (Example: once, just once, I would love not to forget something on my grocery list. Still hasn’t happened). Generally, I keep the volume on my receiver turned way down. I can’t completely control how much information I pick up from any of the people I come in contact with in public, but I can tell you I most definitely do not go looking for it. It’s not just invasive to approach someone like that, to ambush a stranger like that is rude, unkind, and disrespectful. Without providing context or support for their own intuition, it completely writes them out of the experience and is self-serving in the extreme.

I’m an intuitive to help other people. I do not do what I do to show off or impress. It’s hard enough to make sure the information I get lands in a helpful capacity, mostly because I have absolutely no control over that. Over the years I’ve learned to trust that if I’m meant to be the one to help a client, I will be given all the information possible to do that. I will communicate it in the best ways for them to understand and leave feeling empowered.

However, sometimes what I say makes them uncomfortable. And occasionally I tell people information they refuse to believe. If I have learned anything it’s that my clients’ reactions are not the best indicator of whether I should say something or not. I’ve gotten too many confessional emails and phone calls over the years from people who were convinced I was wrong who are reaching out to tell me I wasn’t. So I begin every single session by coaching clients to expect at least one or two things to come out of my mouth that may make no sense whatsoever to them.

Occasionally I have to make sure my client understands nothing I see can substitute for the actual living of their lives. My seeing it does not act like a magic wand, and it doesn’t mean it’s proof that they will never again grapple with the issues that make life complex. And sometimes, (although mercifully this has only happened outwardly three times in over 30 years), I had to be the bad guy. Instead of being met with appreciation for clearly articulating what someone has been lying to themselves about for years, I discover I’ve inadvertently stepped on a land mine, causing my client to write me off completely.

Which is exactly what I did when an intuitive told me two months before that first wedding that she saw two marriages for me. I wasn’t rude to her. I just assumed she was inaccurate.

She wasn’t.


Looking back now, that moment in Crate and Barrel defined some crucial boundaries I would be forever committed to going forward, not because I fully understood why they were important, but because I blundered it so thoroughly. I wanted my critical and skeptical stepmother to approve of me, so I opened my mouth and told the sales associate, “I’m a psychic. And I know you hate it here in L.A., right now it’s boring and lonely–I know you miss Chicago and your family….but it is going to get better. I see you making some friends and–”

I stopped. She looked like she was about to start crying, and I could sense she was furious. And then I literally heard her think it. “I literally cannot wait to get out of here. This truly is the land of fruits and nuts”.

I’ve told this story many times over the years, and a few people have pointed out that there’s a very good chance that despite her reaction, she might have been comforted by my words afterward. I might have also shocked her out of the fog she was in. She might have been able to begin challenging herself outside her comfort zone.

It doesn’t really matter. I didn’t ask for her permission to share what I knew (including the best part, that her family would come visit at least a couple of times and it would be really fun), and because of that, I lost her. Would she have been an open audience if I had asked? Possibly. But I robbed her of the dignity of her own choice to believe me or not. Either way, I never got to show her that despite her suffering she hadn’t fallen off her path, there was a way to navigate these challenges to find herself at the end of them, and most importantly, that the Universe definitely had not forgotten about her.

But she hadn’t asked me for any of that.


In its truest form, a session with an intuitive is never intended to fix you or your problems. What you decide to do with the information I give you is entirely up to you, including rejecting it. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though. Totally cool that you might be messaging me at some point in the future. I will take it in stride gratefully as I’ve always done, with love and humor).

Just remember, even when I’m right I’m not right. I can see your life clearly because you’re ready for it, but you are the best judge of your way forward. The experience I had that day more than any other shaped my desire to never be the dancing bear in a tutu. I mean, I love tutus. But the reason I love showing people what my intuition can do isn’t about me. It’s about you.

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