Edge Magazine 2003

We are Here … for a Purpose
by Tim Miejan © 2003

When did you first realize that you had the gift of clairvoyance?
Giselle Massi: I knew as a young girl that I knew things, but it took my own maturation, my own growing up, to be able to put a word to what it was that I knew. I thought for the longest time everybody knew what I knew. As a young girl I was able to know things in advance of things, but I didn’t know as a young girl what the word clairvoyance was, so it was a process of really maturing that I was able to come to understand more deeply really what was going on with me.

And sometimes when you’re in that situation you think that’s just the way everybody is.
Massi: I think I was 35 years old before I realized that not everybody wakes up with a bluebird on her shoulder. That’s how distorted my own worldview was. Nobody tells you. Nobody sits down and tells you, because they don’t talk about these things when you’re growing up.

Did you grow up in a particularly religious or spiritual environment?
Massi: I did, particularly at the home of my grandmother, my dad’s mother, Anna, who I mention in the book. She had what I call the revolving door of priests and nuns. My dad’s family was very active in the Catholic church, so I was exposed to a lot of spiritual thought and prayer growing up. But at the same time I was being raised in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and all of my closest friends were Jews, and I was at their homes a lot, so I had exposure to both worlds.

That was good because you didn’t have any prejudice against people who didn’t believe the way that you believed.
Massi: No. What I think it gave me was an awareness of the spiritual life, that there was this relationship to God, and I was surrounded by it, not knowing, really, what I know now about it, but at least I had a foundation to plant new seeds.

Tell us about your father, a soul who’s so meaningful to you in your life.
Massi: Well, he’s like no person I’ve ever known. I’d put him in a category all his own. In that, he’s the only person I’ve known where I would say, “Everybody loved Joe.” Everybody. He was just one of those incredibly peaceful souls and happy and he was quiet. He was a quiet, happy person.

Did you have a close relationship with him throughout your life?
Massi: I did, but it took many years for me to really understand. It actually took until the moment of his death, at his deathbed, for me to understand it, because he then opened up and explained it.

He said to me, “Giselle, you are more like me than any of the others.” I knew that growing up. I knew that, but it was an unspoken knowingness. It took him articulating it to make me realize the depth of what that meant. It meant that he understood me all along because he saw in me what he was.”

He said to me, on his deathbed, “Giselle, you’re a peacemaker like I am.” And I never articulated that myself about myself. Other people had told me that, but it didn’t count like it counted coming from him.

What is the definition of a peacemaker?
Massi: I will use my father as the standard. He had no ill feelings about anything or anybody. My mother as we were growing up would say about my father, almost like a mantra, “Your father never complains about anything. Nothing. Never complains.” And it took me many, many years of study to understand the spiritual virtue of that.

When you are a peaceful person, there is nothing to complain about and therefore you have nothing but good to say. That’s not to say that you don’t observe problems and you don’t work towards correcting problems, but you don’t do it in a critical and begrudging way. If somebody makes a mistake, whether it’s intentional to cause problems or it’s an unintentional mistake, it doesn’t evoke in you any ill feeling. That’s what a peacemaker is.

And how do we become peace?
Massi: We become peace by being peace, and the way we become peace is through practicing a path of spiritual virtues.

And, just for the sake of putting it into context with the current day, or war, how is being peace or a peacemaker different than just supporting peace or protesting for peace?
Massi: I’ll reference my father. He joined the service willingly. I think that all spiritual traditions accept that there are periods where people are going to have to act in non-peaceful ways in order to either restore peace or protect peace. It’s an unfortunate reality that we do not live in a constantly peaceful place. This is Earth. There are difficulties and differences that sometimes erupt in violence of all levels. I think it’s up to each individual to determine their commitment to peace and make the decision for themselves whether as in the current situation that we’re in, whether it’s a justified series of events that are leading us to a war with another country. Not everybody’s on the same path at the same time. So I can’t make a position for anybody else.

What did you learn from the series of visions that came to your ex-husband Larry, of your father as a Native American? What do those mean to you not long after his passing?
Massi: Collectively, they helped explain part of my journey with Larry and with my father. It helped to explain the connection, the emotional connection that existed and continues to exist between the three of us. When Larry was explaining these to me, I could see how it was transforming his understanding of me and deepening his understanding of me, which I had wanted all along, so my father was actually giving both of us a gift in that it gave me greater peace knowing that Larry knew me better and it gave Larry greater peace in being able to understand why he behaved the way he did, why he thought the way he did, and why he felt the way he did about me.

How did your experience of spending the last two days of your dad’s life with him change you?
Massi: I had been given an incredibly large gift from my father in that he was finally able to articulate with words and without words his full appreciation for me and what I meant to him. It was total validation.

He was not a man who would often say that he loved you.
Massi: The first time I remember hearing him tell me he loved me was three weeks before he died. I came to understand after he died, through these visions, why he had such a difficult time expressing his emotions. As an Indian chief, as head of the tribe, his role was to be a fair judge and spiritual leader. That required a suppression of his emotions so that the members of the tribe would be able to see him as a man who did not play favorites, so by suppressing his emotions of favoritism or affection he was able to maintain the respect of the members of the tribe. Makes a lot of sense now. That’s not to say he didn’t feel those emotions, but it would have been counterproductive to his role as chief if he were to reveal those emotions. You have to remember as a chief of a tribe, his job was to settle disputes as well as lead the protection.

To preserve the unity of the tribe.
Massi: Right, exactly. And the survivability of the tribe. I also was given the gift of feeling one with another person. Not that my father and I didn’t have our differences and different life experiences, but at our core we were one. Our goal, the goal of our heart, was the same.

So, in some ways having a father who shared the same core goal he actually served as a guide for you throughout your life, and even afterwards.
Massi: Totally, always. Always. I always admired him. The qualities in him were so apparent to me. They weren’t as apparent to other people. I recognized in him a strength of purpose that he didn’t deviate from. I liked that quality even though I didn’t agree with his position at the time, because of my own ignorance or inability to understand. I liked his steadfastness. That’s a rare quality in people.

He was consistent.
Massi: Absolutely consistent. And funny. He had a great sense of humor. I don’t want people to get the impression that he was a hero or that there’s some kind of idol worship going on here. It’s not that at all, and it’s not “daddy’s little girl” affection. This is way bigger than that. This is about a teacher who just happened to be my father — and he was a great, effective teacher for me.

Acknowledging a soul who lived his purpose?
Massi: Yes.

Which ties in to the overall theme of your book.
Massi: Right.

Helping people find their purpose. You describe how you started helping people find their purpose with guidance from your father. How did that all begin? Did your father come right out and say this is what he wanted to do with you or to help you do this?
Massi: Yes. I had been using my clairvoyant gift for as long as I can remember, giving it to people freely, even strangers who would begin talking with me — and my father saw that I had exhausted myself. I was constantly on call, meaning people knew that I had this gift and they would find me. I’m not kidding. It would be in the morning hours, early morning, day and night. If the phone rang and somebody was in need, I would be there for them.

I described in an early chapter in the book about a trip I took to Aspen for what I originally thought was an overnight trip just to have a beautiful, quick escape retreat — and he came to me on that trip and basically spelled it out for me.

He said, “Giselle, you’ve always had this gift, this clairvoyant gift, and your passion is helping people. I will help you. I will do this with you.”

But, I didn’t want to do it at the time. I told him, “I’m burned out. I’m exhausted. I’m tired of taking on all of this work with people many times who aren’t willing to do the work to fix their lives and take the information that comes through and do something.”

So he said, “I’ll only send people to you who can hear.” Then I agreed to do it with him.

It’s a combination of things. He clearly did not feel like he had completed his work here, and by partnering with me he gets to continue to do more of that. He also allows me to do what I love to do, which is to use my gift — and that’s why I was given it, so I could use it, but to do it in a way that conserves my strength and energy and spirit. And so, it’s true: He only has sent me people who can hear. By that, I mean hear the Truth of it and hear the value of it and get on with their lives. Do something with it.

Your dad often said: “Get on with it.”
Massi: Right. Like, “Hello. Get on with it.” Because he recognized this in me long before he died. He saw what I was doing to help people.

He came to me after he died and he said, “Giselle, you’re like a pie.” And then he explained this. He said, “You can take a pie and cut it into pieces and let’s say you get about six pieces and then you, you know, serve up the pie and then the pie’s all gone. It’s all given away. You’re like the pie, Giselle. You give it all away all the time.”

He said, “Better to be like a grape, because when you’re a grape you’ve got a cluster. You give away a grape, but you’re still there, you’re still whole, there’s still plenty left.” That helped me to give my gift away without depleting myself.

How does our passion to do something, for example, our desire to become an actor, relate to living our purpose?
Giselle Massi: They really don’t. They’re not necessarily connected. Sometimes they are.

They can be, but not necessarily.
Massi: Everything you do for your purpose will not have a connection to monetary gain. When people talk about their passions, they’re usually talking about it in terms of profits — “How can I translate my passion into a profit?” — and then they confuse that with purpose.

I’ll give you this example: I have an enormous passion for horses, but they’re not my purpose. I could turn my passion for horses into employment, into profit, but that wouldn’t mean that I was living my purpose.

That would just bring you a lot of enjoyment.
Massi: Correct. And I think people get tripped up on constantly thinking in terms of how they’re going to utilize their interests, their passions, their desires into some livelihood and then they make the quantum leap that, “Oh, well, then that’s my purpose.”

So, how do we know if we’re living our purpose or not?
Massi: You become an embodiment of peace and happiness. Not only can you, yourself, tell you’re living it, but everybody around you can, because you become the embodiment of peace and happiness.

Well, what separates those who are truly happy from those who are not?
Massi: Well, I think there are a lot of answers to that. I think a significant element would be a heart of gratitude, and it goes back to what I was saying in the first part of this interview about my father. He had such peace in him because he had no ill feelings toward anything or anybody, and by that I mean under any circumstance. He was so grateful for the life experience that he didn’t react in a hostile way about anything. Yes, life is challenging and difficult, but the reward comes from living it from a place of spiritual virtues. That is what brings the happiness.

When I talk about spiritual mastery, I’m talking about it being a simple life lived traveling a sacred path. It’s a life path of practicing virtues that are beneficial qualities, the life-enriching qualities, those qualities that enhance the quality of being. I’ll give you a few examples of the virtues I’m talking about: patience, forgiveness, humility, kindness, courage, duty and gratitude. There are many, but it’s through that practice that you become aligned with your purpose.

I’ve interviewed people in the past who have been seeking reform in education and they suggested the implementation of spiritual virtues within our education system. Do you think that would be valuable?
Massi: Yes. I think there are many parents who are not equipped, who are not either informed themselves to bestow that kind of learning on their children and there’s a void, there’s a disconnect so I think that would be wonderful. The caution would be whose interpretation of spiritual virtues, under what standard of spiritual tradition or religious tradition they would be taught?

Perhaps there could be some kind of a way of creating a combined understanding of them.
Massi: Right. That’s what I think it would take in order for it to be done really effectively.

Because we have a lot of children who grow up from the very beginning very disconnected and that might help them find themselves.
Massi: Right. It might help them remember themselves instead of forgetting themselves, because I believe at our core it’s all there. We have all those virtues there and then we’re indoctrinated, or taught, not to focus and concentrate on those.

Usually taught by example from our parents.
Massi: True. I think that’s truly the only way we actually are taught. As human beings, we love to converse. We love to gab, and we think that we’re actually learning from somebody speaking to us or reading from their work, but really it’s just all smoke and mirrors.

So you’d say books and workshops might be smoke and mirrors?
Massi: When you take this to the ultimate extreme I truly believe our workshops are the way we live our lives, so before the printed book, yes, people learned before the books. You don’t need them, because ultimately you are learning by what you experience in life, what you observe and experience. That’s our greatest teacher, but words are a beautiful thing. Words are song and we like hearing stories.

You had an experience when you related to understanding your mother. It came about through an interview with an actor, and after that experience your father called forgiveness the last spiritual lesson.
Massi: That’s right.

Why does he call it the last spiritual lesson?
Massi: There is a ladder, let’s say, and on the ladder are rungs of learning. Forgiveness is at the top. It’s the hardest and most difficult spiritual virtue to embody. That’s why he called it the last one, because when you get that one, it’s the domino effect. Everything else leads up to that. Everything is leading up to that last rung. Everything else is basically practice and preparation for that one. And, it ultimately is the climax of the book. It is the ultimate purpose of the book.

To get to that point.
Massi: Right. Exactly. And how it relates to people’s career and their work, employment. This quest for “What should I do with my life?” seems to obsess so many people. You really need to be able to forgive in order to answer those kind of questions about your life. There are many people who take jobs and then realize, “Oh my God, I’ve spent 20 years at this job or doing this work and I thought this was what I was supposed to do!” It requires that they forgive themselves for certain choices before they can move on to maybe the next deeper part of their life purpose.

I’ll give you an example: At one of my book signings I was speaking with a man who is a commercial pilot and he had some issues. He was happy to get a copy of my book. Several weeks later I got an e-mail from him after he had finished reading the book. He had been working the assignments in the book and he just wanted to let me know that he thought all his life that what he was doing was his purpose, being a pilot, because he’d been wanting to be a pilot ever since he was 10 years old, but after reading the book, he realized that, in fact, it isn’t his life’s purpose. He discovered this through his own Truth, not just because I pointed him in the direction. It was revealed to him that, yes, in fact, he had spent his adult life doing work that he loved and was passionate about, but it wasn’t his purpose, and he was sharing with me that he had embarked on another path and he felt very happy and enriched to go in this other direction. I could sense his relief, in this e-mail, that going off into a different direction and away from commercial flying was a blessing for him.

Maybe on a deeper level it felt like this new venture was completing him more?
Massi: Right. That he was reaching a deeper truth about who he is and what he wants to do with the time that he has. And on a certain level, it required that he would forgive himself, not necessarily just for making the choice of being a pilot, because it obviously was a great thing in many ways. Many of the choices that he had made along that journey required that he forgive himself so that he could then go to this next place.

And perhaps he may not have gotten to where he is now without going through that.
Massi: Correct.

You know, we’re all walking along a path. You just don’t get from A to Z without going through the alphabet.
Massi: Right. Many times. Sometimes backwards. You know, my dad says it’s not about making mistakes. He said we’re imperfect human beings and we’re going to make mistakes and that’s really okay. The important thing is to fix them as you go. That it’s totally OK to be making mistakes. You want to, of course, minimize the mistakes you make. One of the ways you can do that is to become more aware of your actions, but when you realize you’ve made a mistake, fix it as you go and then you’ll be OK, he said.

Right. A lot of people beat themselves up because they can’t attain that perfection.
Massi: And there are a lot of religions that espouse this system of elevation to perfection while on earth. From what I’ve learned through my father, that’s totally not the way it works.

It sets you up for failure.
Massi: Sure.

For those who don’t have the book yet and who may, upon reading this, want to immediately start doing something, is there something you could recommend that they do to start moving toward where their soul really wants to be?
Massi: Yes. This isn’t about selling books. This is really about sharing what I think is a most amazing story that just happens to be totally true. My dad has distilled from these infinite Truths that he’s learned while he was alive and while he’s on the Other Side. He’s distilled four principles for a life with purpose. If people were to practice these simple, straightforward directives, they would see a remarkable shift in their life. They’re simple, but they’re difficult to follow. They require tremendous commitment and discipline. Here they are:

If you cannot help someone, at least do them no harm.
Leave things better than you found them.
Always give more than you take.
Fix your mistakes as you go. And then, “Get on with it!”

If you live those principles, practice those and live them to the deepest expression of them, you’ll be clicking right along with your purpose.

I have one more question not related to that, but it’s a concept that I had not heard before — the one about us being able to lose our soul. Tell us about that. I’d never heard that that was possible. I mean, you think that yes, you can lose your will to live and perhaps die and then you go to the Other Side and perhaps see the error of your ways and come back and work harder at it, but to actually lose your soul? That’s a possibility?
Massi: This is a reality, from what my father has taught me. And the more I’ve thought about that, the more sound and real it is for me. As I look out through my perspective, from the eyes of what I know, clairvoyantly and what I’ve personally experienced, I can see walking zombies, so it’s not a big leap to think about what would happen to a walking zombie — I say that in terms of what appears to be a person who’s like dead to the world — when they physically die. It’s not a big leap to think that their soul would be gone and lost. Because, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve met any, but I certainly have observed people that exhibit every symptom of being a walking zombie. It’s a great word.

I’m trying to think. I guess there’s probably a lot of different degrees of that. I don’t know, I guess a part of me always wants to think that there’s some…

Massi: Redeemable element?

Redeemable element, maybe not now, but maybe later.
Massi: I’m the eternal optimist also, but I also have been taught to live in the world of…well, I think there are just laws that operate. I think that there are immutable laws that operate. And I think there are people who want to believe that three strikes doesn’t mean you’re out. But, “Hello!”

Yeah, at some point you’re out of the game. It doesn’t happen often; it’s not the most common occurrence.

You’re not talking about people who are ignorant or asleep to their lives, but people who are making conscious choices not to value life.
Massi: Or be engaged with life and the gift that they’ve been given.

I guess I could see a lot of examples of those, but when you were talking about zombies I was thinking more of sleepwalkers, people who are asleep on a level.
Massi: On a spiritual level. To a lesser degree, I think about a lot of the people that I’ve seen who just miss the enormity of life and how incredibly fulfilling it can be, and I marvel every day that anybody could live at that level. I mean it’s enough for me that I can breathe. I’m just in awe that air goes in those lungs and comes out. To me, that’s enough. To me, that’s everything. It’s like, “This is just incredible to think about, this whole system of inhale and exhale.” And from that I am then allowed to see and smell and walk and skip and the whole gamut of things, and yet there are countless people who miss even that and miss that connection to the other connections it leads to, so there are varying degrees of zombidom.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Massi: In the book I make mention of how I began doing this work with my father, which included charging for my session time those instances when I wasn’t offering it as tzedakah (charity). Since my book came out and because I no longer am giving up my personal/free time to help people while juggling a journalism career and raising my daughter, I don’t charge for any of my session time.

I tell people who inquire about paying me, that if they have been helped by my book and work and know someone they think will also be helped by it, they can buy a book if they want to and give it away as a gift. And so the circle of peacemakers continues to grow.

As I got further and further into this work with my father (long before the book was written), and word of mouth about my work was spreading, I knew I would not be able to give everyone a session that wanted time with me. And so the book was eventually birthed. The book is a way to offer my father’s knowledge in a concise way and those who are not able to connect directly with me can still be reached and helped.