---- — Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to Diana Friedell of Tuning In ... Tuning Up!
How long have you lived in the area?
Twenty-eight years, but I also lived here earlier while I was attending SUNY Oneonta, moved away and then came back to area with my husband Dr. Ben Friedell in 1984, and raised my three boys here in Oneonta school system. Russell and Evan graduated from OHS in 2002 and 2004. My youngest, Jamie, passed away in 1995 when he was in kindergarten, which changed all of our lives, and caused my life to go on a re-direct. You may have seen me on the stage, or been directed by me in a play, since I've been involved with community theatre since we moved here.
Tell me about your business:
I offer psychic readings, mediumship, guided meditation instruction, and energy healing at my private office at 78 Chestnut St. in Oneonta as well as psychic readings and mediumship by phone. I also teach classes and workshops for people who are interested in developing their own intuitive abilities and connecting with their inner guidance, spirit guides and master teachers. I also will do readings, or intuitive classes at private parties or retreats. I have a guided meditation CD "Pine Forest Reverie" for sale, and am in the process of making more. I also facilitate a "Development Circle" at the Avalon Moon, and another circle in Oneonta, so that students can have a like-minded group with which to practice their skills, as well as to work together for healing and enlightenment. I also host a meditation group on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 5:30.
Describe a typical day in your business:
I manage my business at home, taking calls, emails and inquiries. I might be making plans for new teaching material, updating my website and designing new guided meditations; developing publicity and newsletters takes time. I see people by appointment, either at my office at 78 Chestnut St., or at the Avalon Moon in Delhi, or by phone, I never know what to expect when I meet a client for a reading, because I ask them not to tell me anything about their situation, or their life before they come in. I usually only know their first name. That way when the images and messages my guides give me fit perfectly and uniquely just for them, they know that this is real, and we have a true connection. ... Sometimes people contact me with questions about a haunting, or other questions, and I help them as much as I can, and refer them on to someone else, if necessary.
How did you get started in this line of work?
My youngest son, Jamie Leon Friedell, was killed in a sledding accident when he was in kindergarten, and in the process of healing from grief, I took the rest of the family to see a psychic medium that I had read about and seen in a group setting. I needed to know, for sure, that Jamie's spirit lived on, and it was no longer OK for "the afterlife" to be a mystery. I wanted signs of my own that I could be sure of, and I wanted to give that assurance to my other two boys, who are now 28 and 26. I took a course at Omega Institute called "Spiritual Insight Training," and was blown away when I realized I was hitting precisely on the life of the person I was reading for on the second day of the training. That was in 1996, and I never intended to go any further with developing the gift _ I would just use it to help my boys if they had questions or needed some energy healing. But in 2001, on the evening of 9/11, my departed son, Jamie, started pinching me (that was always my sign that his spirit was present!), and wouldn't let up. When I asked what was it, he showed me a man in the Twin Towers who was re-living the plane crashing into a big plate glass window _ he was in a repeating loop _ and I thought, hmm _ I don't know why you are showing me this- I don't know how I can help"; and from the books I had read, I remembered that I could say, "Go to the light" and explain that he had passed away in the tower. So I kept saying that over and over. And after a few minutes, it all faded away. I didn't know what it was. I realized many years later that what I was doing was called "Rescue Work."
Where do you see this business in five years?
Teaching nationally, and having inspired thousands of people to ignite their own intuitive gifts to get their own intuitive guidance on life path decisions, so that everyone can reach their full potential, live a joyful life, and make a passionate difference in their day to day experience of this lifetime. Also, teaching the teachers, and maybe writing a book.
Describe a memorable moment in your workplace:
I've had some amazing experiences. What someone else might call a "miracle" happens every day in my line of work. For example, in one phone reading I saw my client sitting in a baseball stadium next to her husband, and there were lots of K's flashing over their heads _ I delved into the last ball game I watched, and remembered seeing K's _ and she said yes, it is significant to my family because every time there is a K (strike-out) at the ball park, her family business, which starts with K gives out a free sub sandwich to somebody. My guides had picked something very current and relevant for her to know that the advice given was coming from her guides, and they were aware of the context of her life, even though I knew nothing about her life.
What have you learned from your work?
People are way more psychic than they think they are. Even though I generally have a pretty high level of faith that we are not alone, and that my Spirit Guides work with me, I am continually surprised and awed by the results of magical moments of coincidences, synchronicities that happen once we have set our intentions up in prayers and affirmations. People who come into my classes, even beginners have remarkable verifiable "hits" with the psychic improvisation games.
What is the most challenging part of what you do?
People who decide to be skeptical and can't see out of the box of their own beliefs _ I try not to let it drag me down.
The most enjoyable?
Getting messages for a client that help them to make an important decision-getting verifiable information. The best comments I've gotten is that Diana answered all my questions and concerns without me ever saying a word. That's what I strive for.
How do you define success for your business?
When people are referred to me by word of mouth _ typically, one person had an inspiring reading with me, and they spread the word, or buy a gift certificate. Success is when the students in my classes are having breakthroughs in their ability to receive intuitive guidance on their own, to deepen their meditation, and to experience more joy and power in life due to a new way of thinking and being.
What are some advantages as well as drawbacks of doing business in this area?
Advantages: Everyone knows who you are. Disadvantages: Everybody knows who you are.
You know what I mean! A few years ago, I decided that my goal was to stop hiding what I do, and by "coming out of the closet" and being truthful about what I do, many more people started appearing who have healing or intuitive gifts, or have interest in developing spiritually. A couple of us started the Annual Spiritual Arts Fair at the Unitarian Universalist Church in 2004, to give people an opportunity to have an experience of alternative healing modalities, and different spiritual subjects.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
I'm not in competition with other intuition/meditation teachers, healers or psychic mediums. When you have a genuine Divine connection then the people who are meant to work with you will be drawn to work with you. If I'm not connecting with a client, they may have a better connection with a different psychic medium, or reader, who has a different style and personality. On another note, I was a secretary, a producer and teacher before I was "called" to this work, and know how to organize and publicize an event, use the computer, have good public presentation skills, and can create a lesson plan.
What advice would you give to someone trying to enter your field of work?
Seek out training and information from the Spiritualists who have been doing this work for 150 years. I lend more credence to someone who has taken some training and is certified. Be open to learning all kinds of different disciplines _ there is so much to learn out there in the metaphysical world. Read everything! Don't throw out the inspiring parts of the religion you were brought up with. If your faith sustains you, then practice it _ this work will only serve to strengthen your connections with the Divine, and help you to get answers to your prayers. Be humble. Because the spiritual path is your own, for you to decide what feels right for you. Everything you participate in contributes to your abilities and spiritual development as a powerful instrument for making a difference in people's lives. And each person's spiritual path is unique.
Shop Talk interviews are conducted by Cassandra Miller. For information, call The Daily Star at 432-1000, ext. 255, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.