I realized that my goals, choices, and interpretations, and the choice of where to put my attention, created my reality instead of reality being something imposed upon me. I found that the beauty of having worthlessness thrust upon you is that it requires you to find your own definition of worth. If you survive the journey, it is a gift.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Day. New York Times-bestselling author Laura Day has spent nearly four decades helping individuals, organizations, and companies harness and develop their innate intuitive abilities to create profound change. Laura has trained thousands of people and companies to use their brains, perceptions, and “sixth sense” in effective ways to realize their goals. She is the author of six bestselling books: Practical Intuition, Practical Intuition in Love, Practical Intuition in Success, The Circle, Welcome to Your Crisis, and How to Rule the World from Your Couch.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I am a psychic who works predominantly in the business world. At dinner parties, I say I am a futurist just so I don’t have to get into those discussions. Although I use intuition (non-local perception) and healing (focused intention) in my life in lots of esoteric ways that are not part of my work, in my work I stick to the evidence-based, scientifically studied, verifiable uses of intuition.
In the early ‘80’s there was a great deal of interest among the scientific and medical community in extrasensory perception and healing. I had always had a somewhat unique brain (ADD, head injury, trauma) and one that did not excel in conventional ways such as spatial tasks or memory. I was watching an interview about some studies on the extended capacities of the human mind, and I realized that what they were describing was something I did all the time. I called up one of the researchers out of curiosity (and too much time on my hands) and became a test subject. One of the taped experiments fell into the hands of the media, and I had an instant, and somewhat unwanted, following.
In the early ‘80’s there was very little of the kind of research on intuitive phenomena that there is now. I could barely tie my shoe competently and I had people insisting that I had the answer to life because I could tell them what was inside a sealed box or predict a future outcome. Even I know that there is no one person who has a monopoly on any human talent, so I became militant about demonstrating that everyone had some of this ability and could apply it to real life in an effective way. Different people/organizations would say “can you do X” and I would say “I don’t know, let me try.” In this way others trained me in using intuition.
Some of the things I was asked to do were very strange. Some turned out to be, in retrospect, illegal (like finding buried antiquities in Rome), and some were so far above my pay grade that they scared me. But through the process, I learned how able and flexible perception could be.
I was able to take these risks because I had no pony in the race. I didn’t care whether or not these abilities existed. I was simply enjoying being part of the process of discovery. I was blessed by the lack of “belief.” When I teach intuition, my language does not include the word “believe.” I say, “It is my experience” or “Research demonstrates,” because belief has nothing to do with my training or my practice. It is an evidence-based practice that I learned, and therefore teach, in an evidence-based way.
Your pathology can become your potential. That is one of my favorite ideas now, because truly what was wrong with my brain built my career. My dream was to be a writer, and the people who tested me, in essence, trained me. I took their experiments and created from them a methodology for everyone to be able to access the innate abilities of intuition and healing.
I choose to work mostly with business and science, because there is a lot of crazy in my family, and the only difference between “psychic” and “psychotic” is that the psychic’s information is factually correct. If it isn’t, you are simply delusional — and there was a lot of that going around in my childhood. I love to teach “civilians,” but I take extra care with them, because a company has many voices, whereas if you are working with an individual, you may be the only voice in that person’s life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Although most of my career has been centered on predicting the future for companies, the transcendent moments have all had to do with healing and devotion. A little girl awakening from a catatonic state after five years and remembering the poem (“The Owl and the Pussycat”) that I recited to her every time I worked with her. The devotion of her mother in loving a totally unresponsive child and refusing to institutionalize her. The courage of a little girl named Brooke Ellison, who was hit by a car and paralyzed from the neck down and went on to become a Harvard graduate with a PhD from Stonybrook, where she is now a professor. The devotion of her parents who made sure that she reached her potential.
The ability of human beings to heal and create worth out of devastation, in their lives and others’ is inspiring. I have been healed myself through the privilege of participating in the healing of others.
When I get down on myself for my failings and the sometimes-embarrassing things I am and do, or the things I do not know and the dysfunctional people and situations I allow in my life, I remind myself that I am the survivor of conditions that killed my mother and two siblings (all of whom committed suicide). My battle scars, however ugly, are still those of someone who did the work to stay alive.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
It is a privilege to be invited into someone’s company or someone’s life in the intimate way that intuition allows. Unlike in conversation or even through revealing documents, they cannot decide what to hide and what you will see. I remind myself that in many ways, they, not I, are taking the risk.
Keep it simple. I find that many intuitive/psychics, even the more grounded and rational ones, over-mystify the process and have strange beliefs hanging like tendrils off of simple skills like telepathy, precognition, healing, and remote viewing. Two-year-olds are intuitive, and it is easy for them because they have not encumbered their ability with beliefs and rituals. The simpler and cleaner you keep a process the more useful it will be to you.
It is also important to remember that the same porosity and mobility of attention that allows you to move in and out of time, people, and situations allows that same access into you. Intuition requires being out of your reality, your life, your body, the room, the time and place in the moment, in order to find the information your clients need. It is important to return to you.
Mindfulness, simply being present with all of your senses in the moment. as you, is so important for people who have careers that cause them to travel into the lives of others. Psychics, healers, doctors, and psychologists all need to remember to come back into themselves as a practice in order to stay centered and healthy.
Avoid the Guru Trap. Everyone makes mistakes, and being open about your own fallibility allows you to meet reasonable standards. Especially in parapsychology, there is the desire to make the especially gifted into superheroes. The minute you don the cape, you have to use it. Don’t. Offer the best of what you have with integrity, and don’t let anyone put you on a pedestal too high to topple from without injury.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Collaboration is the highest form of humanity, and I believe that constructive community, humanity at its best, is the highest form of spirituality. Both the individual and the collective have to be served. It is important to express clear goals for your company and to encourage its people, including the leaders, to express and integrate their personal goals into the collective goal. When there is a healthy symbiotic relationship between all the parts, alchemy occurs.
Naming is a powerful thing. Whether it is calling out a gift or, sensitively, a vulnerable dynamic, once something is out in the open it can be a tool. Use people’s pathology in functional ways. Put the controlling mama or papa bear in charge of caring for people’s needs, the OCD perfectionist in a place they thrive, and institute a hard and fast rule that the highest form of achievement is mutual support. Admit to your own mistakes, and make amends. In parenting and leadership, example is the only true teacher.
I am a healer as a side gig, and I have participated in many “miracles” that could not be explained by medical science. However, when I developed breast cancer after the suicide of both my brother and my sister within a five-year period, I chose to have surgery. Many of my colleagues told me to keep that private, but I felt it was my responsibility to tell all my readers, students, and fellow healers that I couldn’t process my grief, this is how my body did it, and I am going to have it cut out of me by a skilled healer called a surgeon. Yes, I also performed the kind of healing I practice, and it was effective in many ways that surprised my doctors, but I didn’t pretend that I was going to rely on it as the sole answer. From diagnosis to surgery was ten days. My heart was healed by the care that I received in the weeks that followed, when I could not do for myself, and I think my openness about the process gave others permission to use all the tools at their disposal in their healing. Did it make me less of a healing goddess? Probably, but I am cancer free — and have the breasts of a twenty–year–old.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Grist for the Mill by Ram Dass. I was 21 when I read it. I was an anxiety disorder on feet. All I knew was trauma and abuse. I wasn’t safe inside myself, and the world was certainly not a safe place. I had been raped, beaten, abandoned, and, worst of all, demeaned and criticized.
Ram Dass described a moth going toward the light and then turning back in fear only to approach the light again and again until finally making contact and having a truth revealed. “You are the fire and the fire doesn’t burn itself.” That closed the separation in my mind between me and my life. I began the process of becoming my life instead of being a guest in it. I realized that my goals, choices, and interpretations, and the choice of where to put my attention, created my reality instead of reality being something imposed upon me. I found that the beauty of having worthlessness thrust upon you is that it requires you to find your own definition of worth. If you survive the journey, it is a gift.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Before offering my advice, I want to say that I struggle with these things as much as the next person. Most positive change in life requires consistency and discipline, two of my weakest skills. My family describes me as zero-to-a-hundred, no idle speed. We all struggle with the quotidian demands of life, and yet adherence to those demands and our efforts to be flexible and resilient create the dynamic, seemingly miraculous changes we want in our lives.
Serenity is not my thing. I am not sure why one would even choose serenity in crisis. If dust is in the air, make dust bunnies. This is a time of change. Everything is in flux. Anxiety is a state of intuitive hyper-attention if you direct it. This is not a time for serenity; it is a time for actions, goals, connection, and focus.
How many people are creating online businesses? One hundred people used to listen to me online. Now a thousand people sign up in five hours. My family used to connect once a week. Now we reach out all the time. Use what is — confusion, anxiety, space — and create what you want from it instead of reaching for something that is probably unlikely during this time, at least without the use of heavy-duty psych meds. I didn’t ask my husband to help around the house. What the housekeeper didn’t do, I did (except for making the bed which I simply refuse to do). Now we split housework 50/50, and I found out that he can even serve a dinner of cheese, wine, fruit, and crackers! I am being tended in a way I really missed but didn’t know I missed.
a) Accept reality.
Positive thinking is dangerous. If a bullet is coming toward you, it will strike you unless you move. Negative thinking is also dangerous. If all you see are the obstacles, you will miss the opportunities. Empowered realistic thinking will give you the ability to create what you want from where you are, no matter how dark it may be in the moment. Look for what you can do, right now, to improve you, your life, your community, your work, your finances — and do it IN THIS MOMENT.
b) Create a prosthetic exoskeleton — in other words, create new habits to keep your important bits in place.
Your habits hold you together. When you are unable to perform those familiar rituals, it causes confusion. Find a routine and stick to it. Your habits also keep you from creating something and someone new in your life. The gift of crisis is opportunity. Create some. Use the moment between the old and new routine to practice a new approach that moves you toward goals that your old pattern made hard to reach.
c) Be a phoenix.
We all want to be seen differently in some way. Use this time of living in a somewhat isolated and protected environment to try out being someone you would like to be rather than the old self you had to be because of circumstance. Find online groups and try that new self out. If you make too big a fool of yourself, you can always find another group. I am having wine and cheese with some of my students and remembering the girl inside the 61-year-old woman. I didn’t realize how long she had been waiting to emerge. I am, I might add, a two-ounces-of-wine drunk. I think they are seeing a certain gentleness in me that is hidden when I am pushing them to unmask new skills, and I am experiencing their generosity, skill, and support in a way that I never have. I even did a “hang” in my pajamas.
d) Define a purpose for each day and accomplish it.
Research shows that a sense of purpose decreases pain, increases longevity, and organizes our “parts” in functional ways.
Have a defined and achievable purpose each day, even if it is just cleaning your sock drawer. That practice will cue your subconscious to find a purpose with integrity for you in all areas of your life. And you will find that, often quite quickly, life will be easier and more joyful. Today’s purpose for me is to respond to these questions, do a half-hour workout at 3, find a few students who need help and help them, and put on real clothes. Purpose doesn’t have to be lofty. It just has to be meaningful to you.
e) Make contact.
Over 60 years of psi research has convincingly demonstrated that we communicate with people over a distance telepathically, we predict events (and therefore can change them or our reaction to them in the present), we effectively send healing remotely, and we can create outcomes with intention.
If you miss someone, put your energetic arms around them. If you want to negotiate something, place that person in front of you (in your mind’s eye — or use a coffee cup to represent them) and negotiate. If you want a job that uses your talents, use your talents to be the person that would be hired for that job. The results will astound you. If you need “belief” in order to use these skills, you can find persuasive research online, but tools work whether or not you believe in them, and intuition is a tool. Use it. A good scientist suspends disbelief and runs the experiment anyway.
Remember, you are not separate, and you are not alone. So how you behave, even in your experience of self, is broadcast, and received by others. Keep a clean and responsible inner house. If you are lonely, make contact not excuses. There are countless groups online. Make efforts in ways you haven’t in the past to begin enduring relationships. We all have our pond- slime moments, but I can tell you from over forty years of teaching, you are something, have something, know something that is invaluable to someone else. We need you.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Listen for a short time, but do not let them go on. Cycling the fears over and over, and getting reassurance over and over, actually increases anxiety and obsessiveness.
Find one positive action they can take, and help them follow through in taking it. Model functionality.
Find a way to burst the bubble. If you intuit anger underneath the anxiety, have a good fight with them. If you intuit grief, make them cry. If you intuit powerlessness, engage them in something where they feel powerful.
If they can’t respond to any of the above, get them professional help (a therapist, medication, and so on), because anxiety often freezes people into inaction.
Do a centering exercise with them. Meditate (very hard when you are anxious), or do a breathing exercise (easier) or a movement exercise on Zoom.
Distract them. Anxiety actually takes a lot of concentration. Distraction often breaks the spell
Give them a philanthropic project or ask for help. Purpose begets calm.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
Do something functional for yourself or your community. But move. Movement confuses anxiety. It is hard to be anxious when you are engaged in activity. Humans are not effective multitaskers.
Represent the anxiety outside of yourself by drawing it, writing about it, making a plan to address it. But get it out of your head where you can “see” it for what it is. It is usually a distraction or trauma response to feeling powerless. Do something functional and powerful.
Although you are a complex and sacred spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and energetic being, at the root of it you are in a machine that runs you. Change the wiring. There are many exercises that include eye movement, tapping, breath work, sounding, changing your heart rate, progressive relaxation, and so on, that change how your circuitry operates and the chemicals your body makes and uptakes. Use them. Don’t give meaning to everything. Sometimes it is just a question of mechanics.
Even though you want to seek reassurance, don’t. When you are anxious nothing will reassure you, and reassurance becomes fuel for anxiety. Meaningful, life-sustaining activity will reassure you. Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going, and if you do you will find that where you end up is better than any destination you could have conceived of in your anxious planning.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I have two that I love.
The first is really solid advice about adversity, self-respect, tolerance, and connection by Langston Hughes
I play it cool
And dig all jive
That’s the reason
I stay alive.
As I live and learn,
Dig And Be Dug
Coming from a family where suicide always seems to be Plan B, I love this poem by Dorothy Parker.
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
I have learned from following tens of thousands of students over decades that whatever is going on in your life is the lesson plan, and that if you walk, hobble, or crawl through it, you do get to a better place. It is the resistance, the Plan B, that keeps us in pain.
“The grass is always greener on the other side” is a quote about perspective and illusion. When we choose to escape, my observation is that we always add to our problems, and we often leave our messes for others to clean up. So as not to sound like a New Age Psychic, I will explain no further about speaking to dead people, past lives (concurrent lives), and other things that I may or may not experience in private, but the courage and commitment to deal head on with what is in our present, material reality is something to be admired and cultivated.
Surrender and giving up are two different things. Surrender is accepting what is, and creating what you want from it. It is powerful, and it creates new possibility through the acceptance of limitation. But giving up is an attachment to loss, to being beaten by circumstance, and engages neither your personal power nor your personal responsibility. It’s okay to be pissed off, to have regrets, to grieve, but it is never okay to abdicate your place as the creator of your life. Yes, sometimes things are unbearably hard. I pride myself on my trembling, hesitant, fearful courage.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I live to start communities, Online, in my living room, in workshops, in places of worship, in a coffee shop. When people join, communicate, and commit to a common good, you have all the elements of a miracle. In the words of Ram Dass, of blessed memory, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Even at my crabbiest, I endeavor to remember that you are walking me home as well.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?