By Jennifer Shephard

Not long ago, my father, a scientifically-minded fellow, was asked by some of the fellows at work what his daughter was currently doing for a living. Was she still working as an actress, performing in all of those Shakespearean plays? Or was she teaching children's theater at schools across the state, as she had done a few years back?

My father paused, considering how he could best answer their questions. He had worked with most of these men for years, sharing statistical and computing tasks as a group of acoustical engineers working with submarine technology. These were practical, left-brained, people. Should he tell them the truth about his daughter's work? He took a deep breath and decided to go for it. "She's a -psychotic. I mean, a psychic."

How do you measure the sound of ten engineer's jaws dropping to the ground? Is it a matter of decibels, or do you gauge it on more of a, say, Richter scale, calculating the tremors of confusion on a scale from one to ten? In that case, I'd say their reaction rated about a nine. Wham! goes the sound of a right-brained paradigm crashing into a left-brained group consciousness.

There's a constant clash in our culture between right and left-brained belief systems. You're familiar with the right brain. That's that part of you that detests being on a schedule, the part of you that tends to savor long, unstructured Saturday afternoons, goofing off, dreaming and meditating. Your right brain gifts you with the occasional idea for a poem or screenplay, or inspires you to suddenly take up painting even though you haven't a clue about how to paint.

Your right brain gets you into long, rambling conversations with girlfriends about this and that, talking about nothing in particular, and yet somehow touching upon the deepest meaning of life in the process. Your right brain inspires you to stop and smell the flowers. Your right brain sees the interconnectedness of everything, how moments of synchronicity and cosmic coincidence bless life's daily moments.

Some people's right brain has atrophied. They live only in the left hemisphere. Life must be calculated, measured, exact. Left brainers detest loose ends and the apparent untidiness of living life in a more right-brained way. Left brainers concentrate on producing product, on attaining answers or results. Right brainers focus on the experience itself, not what the experience produces.

Left brainers don't believe in fairies or Santa Claus, even though they might wish that they still did. Left brainers tend to detach themselves from the spiritual, because they can't yet quantify soul under a microscope. The irony is, we actually have already done so. When you split the smallest subatomic particle into its components, you discover that there is merely this light and energy swirling around in these totally unpredictable, amazing ways. So there you have it. God/Goddess is right under your fingertips. You just haven't recognized it yet.

Looking at life through the filter of the left brain, all you see is separateness. I am different than that person. That group, religion, or ethnic culture is outside of me, unrelated to me.

The right brain filter sees the commonality of every man. That person has a spirit, a heart, and a mind just like I do, and is occupied by the same daily concerns and obsessions that I am. Gee, we really are all alike.

So how did the daughter of a left brainer end up so damned right brained, working as a psychic counselor, of all things? I dunno. I'm still figuring that one out. I do know that I was heavily involved with the arts since I was a child, happily favoring right-brained pursuits like playing the piano, acting, writing, and singing. There seems to be some scientific support for artistic people demonstrating greater psychic ability. Princeton University did a study some time back where music students from New York University split into twos and did remote viewing, where they tried to clairvoyantly tune into where their partner was standing. The study was carefully monitored, and subjects were scattered at various locations throughout the city and outside of it.

The results were astounding. Some of the remote viewers were able to describe, in exact detail, where their test partners were standing. They described the textures, the weather, the scenery that surrounded them. The results were well outside the realm of chance, and largely inexplicable according to normal scientific models.

This doesn't surprise me, as all of my friends in the arts displayed high amounts of intuition during my years of working as a professional actress. Not all of them had their psychic talents dramatically take off, though, as I had happen around the age of 21. I started giving readings to everyone I could lay my hands on, to thoroughly test and explore my abilities. I wanted to verify that the impressions I was picking up were real.

Through giving hundreds of readings to complete strangers, I learned that my abilities were not only real, but that they were getting sharper as I worked with more people. This was when my career jumped from the art track and onto the counseling track. I began working part-time at New Age and holistic festivals. Eventually, I was getting enough new referrals that I opened my own counseling practice, which I still operate to this day.

I do readings over the phone as well as in person at my office in Princeton, New Jersey. How does a reading over the phone work? Actually, readings over the phone are sometimes clearer and more effective than in person sessions, because to a large extent we can do away with your nervousness. Both of us are just sitting at home in our jammies (and in my case, bunny slippers, but don't tell anyone) having a conversation. There's no pressure to drive to this strange office and present yourself in front of this weird psychic woman.

By being relaxed, the most accurate psychic information flows into the session. And we can talk about many different subjects, from career to personal issues, and even do our best to explore the meaning of life, too. It seems that, once people begin to focus on their true passion, then the other parts of their life come into sharper focus. Everything starts to come together, forming itself into one grand pattern. The jigsaw pieces suddenly mesh into your personal Big Picture.

That's what I try to do as a psychic counselor. The goal is to focus in on what your special purpose is, your unique talents and spiritual gifts. Then the other things in your life begin to take care of themselves. And that's what we're all looking for - greater flow and joy in everyday life.

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