Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Past Life as a Fortune Teller

My past life as a fortune teller
When I say "past life" I mean, it was many phases ago.  I've been many things, lived many lives in this one lifetime.

When I was very young and living in another country, my older brother bought a deck of tarot cards.  He was fascinated with the mystery of them.  He tried to scare and intimidate me by saying he was messing with something evil.  I wonder to this day if he really believed that or if he was just trying to scare me as older siblings often do.  It was just a deck of cards.  He made it seemed like it was scary to look into other people's fortunes.  I guess there is a fear factor involved, depending on who you are.  I was never one to scare easily.  That is the only thing about me that is creepy.  Perhaps this is the reason why I saw things so clearly.  I could see through people.  I was not moved by fear.

I was given my first deck of tarot cards in high school.  One of my best friends became fascinated by them.  We studied books on the tarot, on the symbols and what they meant.  My friend was going through a very tough time.  He was coming to terms with the fact that he was gay, something he had denied all his life.  He never wanted to tell me, but I figured it out and kept the secret.  To his surprise, I didn't freak out.  I simply saw it as news, nothing more.  I was never one to judge people but this was high school and kids could be cruel.  He picked the card "The Devil" to represent him.  Looking back, it was the perfect card.  At the time, his whole world was unfolding and it must have seemed like such a temptation and he must have felt like the greatest outsider.  But cards change as we do.  They are only phases and represent our own attitudes at the time.

He liked to study astral projection and gave me a book on it.  I suppose he wanted to escape the world.  I never understood the need for people to escape their body and try to understand some other astral world before being able to understand what is right in front of them.  Even when I accidentally succeeded in it, I still didn’t see the point.

Not long after graduating high school, I visited The Psychic Eye Book Store and was drawn to a beautiful tarot deck.  It was called The Tarot of the Old Path and the symbols spoke to me.

I spent a summer working at residential camp.  I taught programs there.  After 10PM, I had some time to myself.  The counselors got an hour off from manning the cabins.  We'd go to a little dorm area with a lounge and chill out.  I'd take out my deck of cards and study them, their symbols, what they meant and what I felt from them.  I started reading for people but I told them I was just a novice, just learning.  Every once and while I'd have to refer back to my book.

The funny thing is, I'd ask the subject if they had a question for me, and they always would.  But they never want to disclose what it was.  One boy was very excited about an upcoming venture but he wouldn't tell me what it was.  I told him that if he did what he was going to do, he would get what he wanted, but it wouldn't be worth it. 

The next morning, I didn't see him at the camp circle.  He had been replaced by the gofer boy.  I later learned that he snuck off to see another counselor who he had a crush on.  The only thing is, she was camped out with the other kids at the time.  He was fired for this transgression and so was she. I learned my first lesson, that people won't ever heed the warning of a fortune teller.

When I was younger, I started writing in a journal.  I'd write my dreams only to learn, later on, that many of those dreams came true.  Dreams are easily forgotten.  So imagine my shock when I went back to read those papers only to find that some dreams, that seemed so surreal at the time, were just images of a future I would never have imagined for myself.

I saw things such as the destruction and falling out of my martial arts school due to conflicting belief systems and the falling out of my parents’ marriage, and the great 95 quake that shook and tested the mental capacity of many Sothern Californians before they happened. I was so young then and these came to me as impressions and dreams and all were frightening at the time.  One lady gave me solace.  She was a yoga instructor and fortune teller herself.  She told me I had to learn to help those who I felt such bad energy from.  She said I had a gift and that I'm a healer, and that I couldn't run away from that.  But I didn't know how I could possibly help anyone.  When you are young, all change is scary because you don't know yet, that things happen for a reason.   So I left

I moved to NY to seek my fortune.  I lived with some roommates in the ghetto.  I would read for them just for fun.  I remembered some neighbors coming over to hang out.  One guy was curious, the other had to leave.  He just walked out.  He thought what I was doing was evil and I sensed such a great and irrational fear from him.  I still find that funny.  I recall my brother's first impressions of the cards.  This man had similar impressions, but he was scared out of his mind.  He believed that something bad would happen if he had anything to do with them.
Funny how what is evil and scary and dangerous to one person can be a friend and nurturing companion to another. Also, I learned that fortune tellers themselves have impressions.  A fortune teller told a friend of mine that she would meet a man full of chaos and to stay away from him.  Years later, she married that man and told me he was the best thing that ever happened to her.  She thought she couldn’t have kids and this man gave her three.  Their marriage lasted over ten years before they got divorced.  So, I guess the question is, was he or wasn’t he good for her? Fortune tellers can’t answer these questions.  No one can.

I recall the first time I read for one of my roommates.  She wouldn't tell me her question but I did the reading anyway and tried somehow to answer.  The symbols and the way they set themselves in the spread were dark.  I saw bondage, knives, lots of knives.  I looked at her in awe and asked her what her question was.  She said, "why?"  I said, "Because there is a lot of conflict, fighting, knives, bondage, feelings of being trapped.  "That's weird," she said, "I just wanted to know who killed my uncle."

"How did he die?"

"He was stabbed 29 times"

I don't remember if I solved her mystery for her.  I just remember that was as dark as it got.  That was not the reason why I stopped reading the cards.
I guess there were many reasons.  I got bad at it is one.  I lost my touch.  I fell in love, moved on, became very focused on my own life.  How can we be there for others if we are not together ourselves?  I became practical.  I'm still practical.  'Cause really, what does it matter if I know the future.  I saw 9/11 as clear as day.  It didn't make any difference.  We have the power to change things yes, but I don't think I am making the most progress by knowing the future.  We can misinterpret the future anyway.  Things that seem like bad omens can turn out to be blessings in disguise.  No one ever heeded my warnings when I read their fortunes.  They went ahead and had their little disasters and learned their lessons on their own.  It never made a difference what I said.  I stopped reading horoscopes.  I stopped looking into people's hearts, none of my business anyway.  I'm done being a sadistic voyeur.  This life is a mystery and whether I know the future or not, I am a fool to think I am anywhere near grasping it.  I think it's a waste of time.  So read fortunes and have your fortunes read.  Do it for fun.  But don't take it seriously because you will never truly understand the future until it happens.  The present is what is important.

I still have that old tarot deck, wrapped up in silk.  I wonder if they print it any more.  I pulled it out a few times but really didn't get much out of it.  It's just a piece of nostalgia now.  I have completely blocked out my ability to make any more of the cards than good art.

I might still have it though.  One day I decided to take a restorative yoga class.  The lounge for the center was situated outdoors and it was a windy and cold night.  I thought I'd sit inside, by the desk.  I had never been to the place before.  I knocked and the instructor's dogs came to my door barking up a storm.  The instructor appeared, annoyed that I interrupted her class and told me to wait outside.  This is what I get for being early.  She rubbed me the wrong way so I, being in a yogic mood decided to try to find something I liked about her.  I held the poses in class just enjoying the quiet.  I saw a vision of the front of the room.  Someone was sitting there.  Perhaps it was her but my days of interpreting my visions are long gone.  I saw a figure of a tall man with a beard and a great cross coming out of his back bending over to hug her as she sat there.  I made nothing of it, just another vision as many I have had.  But something told me to tell the lady about it afterwards.  Maybe she could get something out of it that I couldn't.

When I did, she was aghast, almost in tears and I wondered if I had described someone who passed away.  No, that wasn't it.  And I was wrong to ever make any assumption in my mind.  She was to be baptized the next day and she believed the figure to be Jesus. She said that she felt that she was being hugged, as in my vision, that whole month.  She thanked me so much for the vision.  I guess I still got it if I want it.  But really, I don't.  Or do I?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why I Write

Last week I spoke to a book promoter.  We all know that it is easier to promote non-fiction than it is to promote fiction.  She asked me why I write fiction when I could obviously write about a subject that I am an expert in and use my book to promote my business.  I told her that I’ve been writing fiction since I was a little girl. I still have several unpublished works that I would like to get out there.  I started writing before I ever started doing what I do for a living.  She gave me the sound advice to write a book about my job (which shall remain anonymous).  I already have a following and writing a non-fiction book about my practice will enhance business sales and help me save up money to promote my next fictional work.  

This was very sound advice and she was right.  Hec, my husband has told me the same thing.  Unfortunately, I have two personalities.  There is the very knowledgeable lady who makes money being an expert in her profession (which shall remain anonymous).  This lady is very sane, very practical and very focused.  But then there is my other personality, Lacey Reah.  Lacey Reah is wild, outrageous and passionate about life.  Lacey Reah cries at movies and her eyes shine when she sees something inspiring.  She reads books and gets lost in them.  She loves a good story.  Lacey Reah is who I am when I’m not making money and she has always wanted to write fiction.

After speaking to this book promoter, my two personalities started to collide and I started looking into the idea of focusing more on my business.  Then, I read something beautiful and I watched a movie that took me away.  What is wrong with fiction? What is wrong with escaping into the life of another person and seeing the world in a different perspective?  What is wrong with writing a story, with reading a story that challenges the imagination and inspires others in a non-conventional way?  When I indulge in my hobby of reading, or watching a play or a movie, I remember the reason why I write.

I don’t write for money or to get more clients. I write because I have to.  I write because deep down inside me is a boiling pool of passion and if I don’t write about what I feel like writing about, I will explode.  I write to preserve the beautiful moments in my life in symbols or in stories I make up.  I write because it feels good.  I write to experiment with ideas and philosophies that are important in life. They may not have a place in the office or in my profession but they make my life richer.  I write so people may read my works and laugh or cry and think.  

In my struggles to tell the world about my novella, Fireflies, a novella that is erotic with a great plot and characters, I asked myself if the novella is not successful, would I do it again?  Would I give up writing?  I’m almost done writing a story that explores faith, prejudice, religion and society.  It was a struggle to write but if it isn’t successful and I went back in time, would I write it again?  Absolutely.  I had to write it.  It helped me to deal with issues I could never understand if I didn’t make up a story about it and put myself in the shoes of characters who are not me. 
Why do I write?  I write because I have a voice and if no one is there to hear it, I’ll still write.  I’m a writing fool I guess:

I end with a quote from Faulkner's speech at receiving the Nobel Prize:

"I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

I'm curious, why do you write?