I get asked all the time "How did you get into this line of work?' and "When did your intuition start?".
I have been an intuitive since childhood. I could see things in people and in my surroundings and thought that everyone had the same experience. It took years before I realized that the experiences, although not singular, were not common. By the time I reached my early twenties my energetic sensitivities grew to the point where it was difficult to function like everyone else. I was bombarded with intuitive perceptions of others out in public, and in private I could hear the constant mumble of the world. I realized that I had to learn how to control my gift or it would control me the rest of my life. I enrolled in a four year full-time program in body-centred, mindfulness-based psychotherapy, studied under three different shamanic psychotherapists, took various workshops in other therapeutic modalities (Cognitive Behavior Therapy- CBT, Narrative, Dialectical Behavioral, Emotion Focused), and started a master's degree in counselling psychology at the University of Toronto.
However, before I started my practice and my new life of cultivating my gift, I had to let go of my old life and old identity. While all this was going on I was trying to have a "mainstream" life. I was working in corporate marketing, young and full of ambition. I finally scored my big break job that was going to fast track my burgeoning career when the universe came calling. I got sick, really, really sick. My immune system started breaking down practically overnight. The truth was I wasn't happy with my corporate job. My brain said, "Look, just stick it out and stay on this path and eventually you'll like what you are doing" but my heart wasn't in it, and wouldn't have any of it. I believe our gifts, and the challenges that come with them, determine our path in life and I don't think I was given these gifts of reading energy and people to be in marketing. When we are on our path we can make most jobs serve the good in the universe. This just wasn't right for me.
The problem was I was afraid to surrender to the path that I knew was calling me. I didn't want to be "weird". Without a psychic or intuitive role model, I didn't know what was involved. Back then, before the plethora of tv shows and movies now on the subject, the only images of intuitives were cheesy crystal balls, Whoopi Goldberg in "Ghost", and "gypsy" women at carnivals from the 18th century. Who would want to be that? Poor, ostracized, a caricature, or hunted. Nobody wants to feel disempowered. So I fought my calling and the more I fought, the sicker I got. Finally, I surrendered. I didn't know what the future looked like for me but I thought anything was better than sickness and pain.
With time I learned that I could define for myself what an intuitive looks like and does with their gift. Fifteen years have passed and I know what the purpose of my gift is: empowering people by helping them connect to the universal flow, in themselves and around them. When we do that we come to accept ourselves more lovingly and everyone else too.
Now I wouldn't change a thing. My sickness was the best thing that happened to me. Or more accurately surrendering to my nature and my path was the best thing I have done for myself. Kind of paradoxical that surrendering to service has been so freeing but it has been!