Culture Shock: The Impartial Observer


I am writing this two days before I leave on a three-week trip through Central America. We will spend the holidays in Guatemala and plan to spend Christmas Eve and day at the Mayan ruins in Tikal.

This is my third Christmas spent outside the U.S. Four years ago I was in Costa Rica during the holidays and many years ago I celebrated them in Thailand. Next year I hope to be in India at this time of the year.

It is an interesting thing being so far away from home during holiday times. It feels a little like stepping outside of my skin and observing from a different perspective. This year, because we were leaving, we decided not to bother with decorations or presents. So, going to a store and watching everyone busy with their holiday shopping seemed almost foreign. It was also strange to watch television when none of the ads or shows seemed to relate to what I am doing.

In a way I was having culture shock in my own culture. Because I was leaving, I couldn’t attach to the celebrations and parties in a way that felt familiar. But, I also realized that the feeling of being somehow "different" from everyone else was a familiar feeling for me. I have felt that way all of my life.

Being a psychic in a world that doesn’t profess a belief in the phenomena is rather like being the only person in a store who is not shopping for the holidays. You are part of a group, but then again, not really. It is that sense of being separate from and yet part of something. I suspect many of you feel that way often, as well.

Part of being intuitive is the ability to separate ourselves from what is going on and then observe it with impartiality. One of the most important things to cultivate in an intuitive practice is the ability to make impartial, non-judgmental observations.

That is part of why I love to travel. It is often easier for me to observe, be quiet and notice when I am in a faraway land. At home, I tend to perform day-to-day tasks without much conscious awareness of what I am doing. It is as though I sleepwalk through my days. When I am traveling, that sort of unconscious action would be very dangerous. It is important, particularly when traveling abroad, to be alert and observant. It is also important not to judge things. Life on the road is much easier if you just take it as it is. This awareness provides a type of psychic protection that is very valuable. Because I am more alert, I am able to pick up on small nuances of behavior and other clues that tell me when I need to get out of a certain place or be very careful.

So, at least for me, travel and psychic ability have much the same skill requirements. Of course, you don’t need to leave Minnesota or your home to sharpen these abilities. What is helpful is to mindfully observe, whether at the mall across the street or walking down the streets of Paris, Athens or Rio. Psychic protection is easy to carry, costs nothing and is highly effective.

By the time you read this, I will be home and the holidays will be past. I certainly intend to arrive home safely, rested and with a few great stories. I also hope I will remember to keep my awareness and observation levels high, even if I am only going to the grocery store.

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Kathryn Harwig
Kathryn Harwig is an internationally known author and speaker who has written five books. She appears regularly on television and radio and hosts a monthly intuitive forum in the Minneapolis area. She is a former attorney who now dedicates her life to spreading messages of joy and hope. Contact Kathryn at


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