photo credit: Brian McConkey
It does sound a little insane I know - leave a good job with benefits and go out into the unknown. Everyone tried to talk me out of it. But at the end of the day, if you're miserable doing what you're doing, nobody can talk you into staying. I was getting up at three in the morning to work on the morning news show and I'd been doing it for years. Waking up in the middle of the night was taking its toll. I begged my bosses to move me to a later shift so I wasn't so exhausted, but they refused. So I took that as a sign that I'd be happier somewhere else.
Many of my former colleagues make assumptions that I'm some "psychic friend" because of the title of my books. They literally are judging a book by its cover without reading a single page. I went into this journey feeling it was my duty as a journalist to "out" any frauds out there, because so many people who are stricken with grief spend money on psychics and mediums. I was overwhelmed with grief when my Dad died, and I thought I could help people by exposing those who were not genuine. I made it a point not to reveal my last name with mediums or psychics I interviewed so that they couldn't google me. As the book title for Stay Tuned says, I'm a skeptic. But I'm also a story teller. I told my story, as it happened. It's very different telling stories in a book and writing a piece for the newspaper or for television news. In these circumstances, I am reporting on my experiences. I am not trying to convince anyone what to believe. That's very important. I just report what happened to me, and people can draw their own conclusions.
Therese Rowley is a CEO consultant and intuitive that I was told I should meet just after my father died. My massage therapist was raving about her and how she helped her with her relationships and gave her clarity on certain challenges she'd been facing. I made an appointment and just gave my first name so she couldn't google me. When I went to see her, I was blown away at what she told me - certain things that nobody could know about my relationship with my father. She said he was in the room. She described his wardrobe and his personality. She told me things that he thought about my professional life. At the end of the session, I wound up interviewing her and asked her when she discovered her gifts. She said that since the age of 6, she knew she had a connection to something greater than most and that she had to choose her audience wisely when discussing it as to not scare people away. She said that we are all wired differently and she encourages people to tap into their intuition. She is a very wise woman with unique gifts that I don't fully understand. I wrote about my first encounter with her in my first book Stay Tuned and I have heard from enough people who have seen her since reading my books that she has helped them get "unstuck". And not by being a phone line to the dead - because she literally will say that to people who make an appointment that she is not here to be the phone operator to the other side - but by helping them understand that we all have persistent challenges, or "soul lessons" that keep showing up in different costumes. We need to trust in our path and face our fears. And most of us have this burning desire to get our parents' approval - whether they're dead or alive - it literally drives our every move. And Therese is a practicing Catholic - she attends mass weekly, if not daily. So for those who are religious that have a judgment about someone who claims they can reach the other side, I say, you need to read the Bible a bit more thoroughly - because it's all about people talking to dead people and looking for signs. Why should that stop 2000 years later?? I ask for signs every day.
I first got wind of this philosophy from Neale Donald Walsch's first book Conversations With God. He talks about how if we say "I want" or "I need", it will literally create more want and more need. It's the energy of the statement. "I want more money" the Universe will make sure that you want more money. "I need a new job" the Universe will deliver more need for that new job. But if you thank the universe in advance for all you need in every moment, as if you already have it, you will change your life. So I started small with parking spaces and started thanking the Universe in advance for the parking space right where I need it. Since then, I have gotten what I call "rock star" parking spaces whenever I need it. We're talking 9 years later. I try to do this with bigger things too - but I've also realized that sometimes our wants and our true needs are not the same. So, now I thank the Universe in advance for showing me the next steps for my highest good and the highest good of all involved. "However that shows up, help me trust it." And apparently, my "highest good" involves great parking karma!
I have literally gotten a parking space every time I need one for the last 9 years. I couldn't even begin to give a figure - but I'm guessing it's in the 1000s. I stopped counting after about 450. And I was keeping a notebook in my car on this. As a reporter, we always have to keep track of things. I had a notebook in my glove compartment that tallied the spaces.
I work full time for the Chicago Tribune. My duties range from writing my "Lessons for Life" column once a week - to finding viral videos to share with our readers online. I'm also writing my third book. I was divorced a year ago which was very difficult, but Clay and I are very good friends. We are making co-parenting our son a priority. I feel blessed that we are able to keep a friendship after our divorce.
In my second book I'm Spiritual, Dammit, I met a woman who told me I was Nellie Bly in a past life. I didn't really know if I believed in past lives. I did some research on Nellie and found out that she was a journalist who faked insanity to study mental institutions from within. Her stories changed the way doctors treated the mentally ill. When she wasn't covering stories of merit and was put on the "society pages" beat, she was very frustrated.
Can't wait to read it, Jen. Thanks so much for talking with me. This was fun.