Last night, I gave the worst reading I've ever had, and something I had hoped would never happen, happened: the client and I just couldn't connect. After 15 minutes of trying to identify two spirits who had come through, I was forced to stop the reading and issued a refund with a recommendation of other mediums who may do better than I was able. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that there was nothing happening with the reading, it was more that the client couldn't recognize either spirit, and the spirits weren't giving me a lot of information to work with. We weren't getting anywhere, and I didn't want to waste the clients time trying to make something happen for them. This was a phone reading, and when I hung up the phone with the client (who was very gracious and understanding), I broke down in tears.
I take what I do very seriously. This work affects other people and their emotions, and they're counting on me to help them. So having "failed" at that, I took it personally and my mind immediately went to a very dark place, and the negative self talk began:
You're a fraud. You don't know what you're doing. That was terrible. You've lost your gift. You should just quit.
I know this negative voice, and I've worked hard to silence it and not give it power. But there it was - screaming at me. It took a while for me to calm down and break down every bit of that negative self speak to see what was really going on. And this is when I realized that being a medium is not easy, nor is it perfect.
That was terrible: well yes, it was to me. But it could have been worse. I could have tried to keep the reading going and made myself look even more a fool, and wasted a lot more of the clients time and their money. So I'll accept it was bad, but I did the best I could do at the time.
You've lost your gift: Actually, no. It wasn't that I got nothing. I was connecting with 2 distinct spirits. And I was communicating with my spirit guide the whole time. If I'd lost my gift, that wouldn't have happened at all.
You're a fraud: See the note above. And also, I offered the client a refund, which is a pretty honest move - not something a fraud would do.
You don't know what you're doing: Well, this is true most of the time. It's why I like to say "I'm just the messenger." Its not about me and what I can do, or having a "gift." I literally am the person that tells you what I see and get. I don't know how that works. I just do it. But I also work to hone that, and improve that, so the messages come through clearer and more complete. And in that, I do know what I'm doing: learning and growing as a medium.
You should just quit: Not going to happen. I made a promise to my spirit guide that I would dedicate my life to helping others connect to spirit.
And just like that, Miss Negative Nancy voice was silenced and I was able to look at the situation objectively.
When you watch the shows on TV, the medium always gets it right, and always has all this information at their disposal, with clients saying "How could you know that?!!"
In reality, mediumship is a lot like putting together a puzzle. You're given little nuggets of information and it's up to you to put them together in the right order. On top of that, you're like a translator who needs to listen to one language, while speaking another at the same time. It's not easy, and no - we don't always get it right. Imagine seeing the following images flying at you:
With each image, you're also given a feeling, and sometimes a few words. It's up to you, the medium, to figure out what this all means and to deliver that information to the client in a way they will understand, and a way that is meaningful to them.
As you can see - with a lot of information flying at you so quickly, it's easy to miss something, or to get it wrong. Did you see the man standing in the cut out on the left side of the family scene? Maybe that was the detail that was the most significant to the client, but instead you picked up on the fact that it was Christmas because of the tree.
Did you see the basketball and tell the client that the spirit played basketball? Maybe the client played basketball? Maybe they watched it together? Maybe the ball was a gift. Maybe it's not about basketball at all - maybe the basketball signifies "sports." But watching sports or playing sports? These are questions that I ask my spirit guide, and the spirit to clarify for me - so I don't have to ask the client a million questions, but can communicate to them the intended message.
That said, there is always human error, and interpretative error, and we never get it all right. I once heard my mentor, Lisa Williams, do a cold reading for a stranger. She didn't know the reading was for a high profile case involving a kidnapped 16 year old (still living), her mother, and her younger brother, who were deceased. Lisa connected to both the mother and the boy. She understood from the mother that there were 2 kids: one boy, one girl. She understood the girl was living. She heard "16" and then was shown the boy. She assumed the boy died at age 16, when in fact the mother was giving her the age of the living daughter, and then focusing her attention on her son.
These mistakes happen. We are human. But hopefully we get enough of the other details right to forgive the mistakes.
Then, there is the other aspect of mediumship: the client. We trust that you know your family and friends well enough to pick up the traits and put a name to a face. A lot of the time a spirit will come through and the client will not know who it is, but then contact you a few days later to tell you they remembered! They just didn't think of them at the time of the reading, because their mind was so focused on wanting to connect with someone else.
So as you can see, being a medium is not easy. And to have one bad reading among hundreds of great readings is understandable, and even expected! It just serves to reminds me to keep working and keep improving my ability so that I can continue to give top notch readings in the future. And really, this horrible reading was truly a blessing and meant to be - because there was a lesson I needed to learn in what to do when it doesn't come easy. So even though it was bad, it was ultimately good because I learned something that I can apply to my practice in the future.