Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tapping into Something Beyond Ourselves

... from the all knowing sense to an awareness so deep the skin crawls...

Today's guest, Julie Ann Shapiro, is a freelance writer, novelist, short story author and Pushcart Nominee with over seventy published stories.

Her first novel, Jen-Zen and the One Shoe Diaries is published by Synergebooks

What many people may not know about me is that I’m intuitive and often pick up on people’s energy. This sixth sense can be helpful as a writer and at times pretty eerie or creepy depending on your perspective.

I think this intuitiveness has probably always existed on some level for me, but being consciously aware of it is another thing. One of my earliest memories is being in elementary school and knowing my friend would be moving far away. She was really bummed and I was too, but something about knowing it in advance just took her thunder away. I think I kind of filed that information away and told myself “people don’t want to know the ahead of the moment stuff” with the very kid like directive… “don’t be a weirdo.”

Years later as a teenager I wrote poetry with wisdom and philosophy that spoke like a classic in kind of an embarrassing way, considering I wanted to try and be “normal”. Of course, that never happened, not with a friend who believed she was reincarnated as Ann Bolyn and that her feet had been eaten by a shark in another life. Together we’d theorize about past lives. Her mother even hypnotized me and I found a couple of those former selves. In one I did something with humanity, and held a scroll…Maybe I was a writer back then. I saw myself as an architect in another with huge calluses and the last one that made me cry showed a beautiful feudal estate and being forced into marrying someone and saying goodbye to my true love.

At the time my friend and her mother believed that I tapped into my past lives and that it explained everything. I assumed the images came from reading or a movie. Yet, the thought that I was someone else in another time tickled the imagination… and invited me into the world of stories. Since then people often say I’m an old soul. I just smile…maybe I am…or maybe I’m writing a story or living the story that I wrote before. Wink…wink…nod…nod…

My intuitiveness and self-awareness of this “other knowledge” became much stronger as I got into fiction writing. I found my destiny and believe it found me. It emerged in a big way with my novels. One of the whackier validations was when a photographer like the guy in my book, Jen-Zen and the One Shoe Diaries contacted me. He embodied an artistic vision like the character. The novel itself is fictional, but I know I tapped into his energy on some level. One of my clairvoyant friends said that,” it confirmed that what I'm doing is real.”

The past five years this “other sense” has been getting stronger. I know it’s there on a conscious level now, but don't always understand it. It’s part of the mystery and one of life’s sweet surprises. Sometimes it takes me a while to get the messages. It’s all the more reason to write.

A few months ago when we experienced the bad fires in San Diego, I saw an image of an Indian stirring smoke embers. I knew right then the fires would be put out soon. A month later I had another vision, while meditating. I saw umbrellas falling from the sky, which I thought was really strange, until it rained the next day.

Now all these incidents may sound pleasant and a gift, that’s what I think too. But sometimes it can get very creepy. Over the weekend I was at a Writers Conference and had severe chills as a woman read a horrific story about sexual abuse. I felt like she not only wrote about something bad, but that tapped into something evil. Yet, I kind of felt a message...that I needed to do something good. I was at first more concerned with not being so darned scared by what she read and the freaky shaking going on in my body.

Often when someone tells me something with an epiphany or deep insight I get the chills for a second or two, but nothing that’s ever lasted ten minutes. I literally had to move away from her table. Friends in the room got concerned about me and tried to make me laugh. I described what was going on and then another woman read a very beautiful historical fiction story that took me into another world. It was the best writing I'd heard in years and the kind of story that made me want to become a writer years ago. I ended up nominating her for recognition at the writers’ conference. When they announced the awards at a banquet the next day I just knew she’d win and she did. That felt incredibly good. It seemed to counter balance the awful negative energy that I felt emanating from that other woman. I could feel a good presence around this gifted writer. I hugged her as she thanked me and it felt like I was hugging all that is good in the world. It was the best feeling. As for the other writer... the next day she approached me and thanked me for validating that what she wrote about was real. I could feel still this awful presence around was like she wasn't all there. The rest of the weekend went peaceful and was actually fun and back to quote or unquote normal.


Marta Stephens said...

Julie, thanks so much for your contribution to MB4.

Your article made me think of all the times that I sensed both good and bad things were about to take place. Feelings that came out of nowhere, but were so strong that I could neither explain nor ignore. I've learned to listen to that little voice; it has often served me well. :)

Julie Ann Shapiro said...

That little voice is pretty amazing. It's helped me so many times.


Julie Ann Shapiro said...

Little insights are all over the place. Sometimes they are very minor. Like knowing a friend is going to call the moment before they do.

Unknown said...

I very much like what you have to say here. It resonates for me.

What I like is when I think of someone that I have not seen in a long time then suddenly there they are just like that!

Empathy can be a gift for a writer, and a burden.

I was in Eastern Poland and after days of hearing about the Holocaust and an afternoon learning about Chernobyl I woke in the middle of the night screaming for the plight of people thrown away. It keyed into my own personal sense of a discarded person let loose on the world. And that experience of empathy provided an emotional rush that took me a few years to acclimate myself to.

Sometimes a whole sense of place feels as if it is filled with voices.

Kim Smith said...

Hi Julie! So wonderful to have you here! Your intuitiveness is amazing, and I find this subject fascinating. I think everyone has this ability to some extent, but maybe don't like to share it, or have never accepted it.

Thanks for sharing!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Wow, Julie. This is fascinating. I loved hearing about your memories from previous lives - that kind of thing always resonates with me. I swear I lived in Claude Monet's house or village, or maybe was one of his children or gardener. I have such an affinity for the Giverny house and gardens - it's magical. But I don't have the talents you do about sensing things in people. The most I can do is to surround myself with kindred spirits and avoid the negative folks - that's just draining. Thanks, Julie. Great piece. ;o)

Aaron Paul Lazar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julie Ann Shapiro said...

Hi Gabriel,
So nice to hear your perspective. I miss our conversations. I know what you mean about a room full of voices. Gives me shivers all over and a warm fuzzy too.


Julie Ann Shapiro said...

Hi Kim,
So happy to meet you and be here!

Julie Ann Shapiro said...

Hi Aaron,
Your story fascinates me too! I'd love to see a story of your Claude Monet angle.


Marta Stephens said...

Julie, anyone who knows me well has heard me say a million times: "All things happen for a reason and in their own time." Kindred spirits (to quote Aaron) do gravitate to one another. And whether it's due to a sixth sense (which I believe in wholeheartedly), a past life connection, or our spirituality, I believe we are drawn to certain people or they come into our lives for a very specific reason at just the right time. :)

Julie Ann Shapiro said...

I wholeheartedly agree that people that come into our lives at the right time and often when we're ready for them. I was meeting with a new busines client today and was thinking how with some people I can just tell within ten seconds that on an energetic level that we complement each other. I actually was talking about this in the meeting. I know it's kind of new agey thing for business, but this is San Diego. So many people here are in this space. I knew my client was just by the way he was talking and it was no great surprise when he showed me project notes from another consultant who happened to be a friend of mine, one I'd been meaning call. We'll all be working about synchronicity.

I think intuition is used a lot more in business than people realize. We sure know it's used here in writing and in book promotions. Probably is part of entrepreneurs, marketing, sales, and inventions. I wonder what other professions use it...maybe the theatre.

So much to think about.

It's been fun talking to you and making new friends. I'll come back to visit. If you're on Facebook stop by and say hello.

Julie Ann Shapiro

Marta Stephens said...

Julie, thanks again for your post. Hope to see you here again!