Monday, June 7, 2010

A Personal Feature by ©2009 Erica Welner

You’re looking for a dream catcher, a beaded curtain, a crystal ball in a window—any indicator, really, that the intended destination is near. Driving down Route 22, you are on the alert for a schmaltzy storefront or, failing that, an overpowering whiff of incense that will point you in the direction of this storefront. You are searching for Linda Lauren’s Embracing the Universe Metaphysical Center, and if your eyes are open for a hole-in-the wall abode, you may well pass it by.

Psychic Medium Linda Lauren runs her business from the Smith Williams House on Route 22, a red brick building that appears small beside the modern Asian restaurant constructed along that same stretch of road. The historic house looks as though it should contain a collection of doctors’ offices or law firms and is as unlike a tumbledown New-Age shack as anything you can imagine.

Within its walls, Lauren says, she uses her gifts to advise clients in the areas of “romance and finance,” among others, as well as to contact the dead. Minutes into speaking with her—perhaps after she has correctly intuited your significant other’s birthday or provided you with a detailed, spot-on description of your own personality after 10 seconds—it becomes apparent that Lauren is as far from a stereotypical, phony “psychic” as the Smith Williams House is from a fortune-telling booth on the boardwalk.

Lauren claims to possess psychic and clairvoyant abilities. While many people may wonder, “What would I do if I were psychic?” most never have to definitively answer the question. Lauren, on the other hand, says she does, and she has decided to use her gifts to bring positivity into the lives of those who seek her guidance. Helping others, Lauren asserts, is what she likes most about her job.

“I can teach people how to create a better world for themselves, how they can reach their goals, how they can talk to the other side,” she says. She has had quite a few years to contemplate how to apply her insight: Lauren is fourth-generation, aware of her abilities since childhood when, according to her website, Lauren’s imaginary friends turned out to be deceased relatives making contact from the world beyond. As far as intuitive gifts go, Lauren has hit the jackpot: She says she can discern information about the past, present and future as well as communicate with individuals who have passed on. Such is the benefit of being both a psychic and a medium.
“It’s a way of helping [people] to see guidance they might not see,” she says of sharing her foresight with others. “I’ll give them the tools of meditation, certain ways to be, certain practices that would help them,” Lauren elaborates. “And then I’ll tell them what I see in their future, or in their present that could help their future.

“As for ‘medium,’” she says, “That’s strictly talking to the other side.” For Lauren, mediumship is not a matter of electing to contact the dead—the dead find her, although this reality is not nearly as ominous as it sounds.
“[Mediums] do not see [dead people] like you see them in “The Sixth Sense,” no matter what anybody tells you,” she says. “It is my experience that the dead are “normal people who just want to talk to you. They want to come in and talk. Do you actually think that one of your relatives who passed away…is going to come back as an axe murderer because somebody’s in their house? No!”

That being said, the constant presence of spirits can overwhelm at times.
“As I’m passing down the hallway, I have to be distracted,” Lauren admits, referring to the corridors of her father’s nursing home where she is sure to encounter the deceased. “But nine out of 10 times, I’ll happen to look…and I’ll see the same little old lady that I waved to in a wheelchair, and right behind her is a man standing with his hand on her shoulder.” Lauren says that she will know this man to be the woman’s late husband.

“But I can’t give her a message. I can’t say to her, ‘Oh by the way, Tom’s standing behind you, and he really loves you and he wants you to know everything’s okay.’ I can’t say that.”

However, frequently it is appropriate for Lauren to relay messages from her supernatural sources. Spirits make contact for a variety of reasons and on occasion this psychic medium will get an especially helpful heads-up. She recounts how once, during an audience reading, the spirit of a man came through to give lottery numbers to his sister. She won.

A well-timed psychic vision can likewise change a person’s life, or prevent that life from coming to an abrupt end. Lauren says that, in one early demonstration of psychic ability, she dreamed of a plane crash before it occurred.

“I saw the [flight] number—everything—and I woke up screaming,” she says. Yet the young Lauren dismissed the nightmare, provoking her mother to respond, “‘Linda, nothing in this family is just a dream.’” Lauren remembers that her grandmother had been scheduled to take the flight but canceled her plans in response to her granddaughter’s prophecy. Later, when the aircraft crashed, Lauren’s grandmother was fortunate enough not to be among the fatalities.

A person hoping to similarly keep one step ahead of fate might be interested to know that when he or she sits down with Lauren, the psychic medium may be taking in more than the individual’s checkered pants or daring AstroTurf handbag. Lauren says she sees color emanating from a client’s person. More specifically, she says she tends to see the “panic” within the color, which she later helps to soothe.

“Purple might tell me that you are…trying to work with stress, but by the same token you are in a place where you are open to receiving help,” Lauren explains, leaning forward in her chair. “I might see red, and red would tell me…that you are looking to move on, but that you are having trouble doing it.

“Green might be that you need healing,” she says, adding that this hue could also mean a client’s financial future is looking sunny.

Color, however, is only one of two unusual qualities that Lauren claims to intuit upon meeting someone new. She says the second quality is energy.

“Energy is a vibration. It’s something that you feel,” she describes. When sensing an individual’s energy, Lauren explains, she may momentarily take on that person’s emotional baggage or physical aches and pains. These sensations “don’t stay long,” she says. Nevertheless, be sure to check any flimsy persona you had planned on presenting at the door. Lauren cautions that she can pick up on states of mind “immediately. People can’t hide that from me.”

The psychic medium says that those not born with supernatural abilities still feel the effects of energy: Energy is the uneasy feeling that has you hightailing it out of a seedy club, or the friendly vibe that draws you to a certain store. According to Lauren, seemingly five-sensory individuals can be taught to focus in on positive energies and to avoid negative vibrations.

“Everything has energy, and you have to use it to your advantage,” she says.
Who, exactly, is “you”? Does Lauren have a prototypical client? “Don’t laugh,” she begins, smiling. “I’m going to say it this way, and it is with a sense of humor, okay? A lot of my clients are antsy.

“Finance and romance,” she chuckles. “So that would be the biggest thing—finance and romance—in terms of the guidance aspect.”

Lauren pauses, then notes that since 9/11 requests for contact with the other side have increased. Popular areas of inquiry aside, it’s a grab bag when it comes to the actual clientele. An equal number of men and women seek her counsel, no one age group drops by most often, and a businessman is as likely to pop in as a college student. To anyone expecting a disproportionate number of billowy scarves in the waiting room: Let it be known that you will be disappointed.