My Reading with Red

I’d been reading Red’s column for a long time (since she started writing it, in fact) when I finally decided it was time to pick up the phone and get a reading. Unlike many people who seek psychic guidance, I had no specific questions to ask her – I just had this feeling.

You see, for at least a few months, I’d been overcome with the sensation that my life was running me instead of the other way around. Not usually one to blame circumstance (or see my life as anything other than my own creation), I was caught in the hamster wheel of my day to day, and (although I wouldn’t have put it this way before we spoke), I was looking for some purpose. I wanted to know about my career, my relationship and moreover about my life. What exactly I wanted answered I wasn’t sure, I just wanted to know something. Nothing was really wrong, something just wasn’t right.

I also happened to be going away that weekend – by myself.

After some hemming and hawing (Was she really going to be able to offer me anything I didn’t already know? Are psychics even real? Am I just crazy?), I scheduled an appointment for 11:00 that Friday. I figured I’d be well rested from my previous night’s flight and go for a workout before we got on the phone. Of course, I elected to have three Grey Goose and sodas Thursday night then come back to my room at 11pm to a DVD marathon of The Sopranos (Season Two) rather than tucking in early, so the next morning found me sleeping in and enjoying the luxury of my hotel room. But that was fine by me. I ran out for Starbucks at 10:30, came home and prepared myself for Red’s call.

The first thing I was struck by was her friendly, down-to-earth demeanor. Immediately, it was like she’d known me for years. She asked me what I wanted to know. I gave her very little information. Basically, I said I wanted some insight into my career, my relationship and moreover into myself. I heard her shuffle the cards. Immediately she started talking. She described my boyfriend (and our relationship, which had been floundering for some time), to a tee. She summed up our problems in two sentences and offered me advice as well as what she saw as the outcome. The decision was in my hands, she explained, and in my particular case, the positives of the relationship far outweighed the negatives – for the moment.

We moved on to my career – which has always been my major focus and of late had been going quite well (just not fast enough for my impatient tastes). Red consulted her guides, and just as quickly as she’d tapped into my romantic life, she broke down my professional situation. She knew the number of projects I had going (three) and explained two would go off without a hitch (beyond some power plays of which I was already aware). The third, she said, would be delayed and may come back around, but I probably wouldn’t want it. Sure enough, I met on this project after returning home, and it has disappeared indefinitely, though with promises that it’s not gone. She told me to relax and trust myself a bit more, explaining that I did, actually, have all my own answers. This brought her to my final area of inquiry: myself.

For the months that I’d been in the hamster wheel, I’d been trying to separate myself from my work. I’m a writer, and have been since I was seven years old. The fruits of my labor have recently begun flowing in, and as such, rather than allow myself to experience the excitement of achieving my goals, I’d met a dead end. Change, even when it’s good, is hard. And when I removed the struggle, the post-work nights spent writing, the living my life for the future (when my career took off), I found myself at a loss. Here I was coming into the things I’d spent the last ten years striving for, but I didn’t know who I was other than a writer. I saw this as a huge problem for my personal (and professional) development.

I didn’t tell Red any of this. I just said I was looking for purpose beyond my work. And it was this part of the reading that hit me more than anything else she had to say.

Red told me that I should stop trying to dissect myself and accept myself whole. She explained that as someone who is both creative and an A-type personality (which I am), my writing is not something outside of me – it is me. She told me that instead of looking for the obstacles, I should start setting new goals. Those new goals, she predicted, would be bigger than the stuff I’d been picking myself to death over (How do I like to spend my time? What do I do other than write?), and would instead be related to my own self-acceptance as a woman and a writer, one in the same. In other words, she said, I would find new satisfaction in my life experiences and in how I shared them with the world, both of which gave me purpose. (Little did she know I spent a lot of time beating myself up for the fact that my work is usually autobiographical!) My only obstacles, she said, were the thoughts in my own head.

There was more to my reading with Red than this, but without explanation, the details would be meaningless to anyone but me. What’s important is that she was dead on. So dead on in fact, that after my weekend, when a series of unforeseen events shifted my energy completely, my skepticism was gone and I called her again for a take. This time, it was on an ex who showed up and set my mind (and body) reeling. Once again, she zeroed in on the situation and told me what she saw – which wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but was, as she summed it up “some good news, some bad news, some choices and a bit of a test.”

She told me I could have the ex if I really wanted him (though not for some time), only in all good conscience, she felt it would be a bad move and would destroy (or severely delay) my purpose by focusing my energies wrongly on him. My purpose, after all, was what I had initially called her about… It took a few days, but I set aside my nostalgic delusions and realized, she was right.

Some of the predictions Red made for me have already started to come true (the work project I mentioned is just one of them). But regardless of what happens with the others, one thing about my future is certain; Red and I will be talking again.

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