What Do You Say When The Topic of Reincarnation Comes Up?

What Do You Say When The Topic of Reincarnation Comes Up?

In 1987, right after I watched the TV mini-series version of Shirley MacLaine’s ground-breaking book, Out on a Limb, I plunged head first into the depths of reincarnation exploration. I became a member of Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. (Association for Research and Enlightenment) in an effort to find like-minded people I could learn from and get to know. With my particular interest in past-life studies, I formed my own past-life research, education and therapy organization called PLEXUS (Past-Life Exploration, Understanding and Sharing) in Naperville, IL. I met many men and women on the leading edge of regression therapy through both the A.R.E. and through PLEXUS and I was busy hosting programs that focused exclusively on past-life work.

I also knew that it was important for me to separate the Joanne who was following her soul’s work, from the Joanne that was a wife and mother and living in suburbia. You may not agree with that–that I should admit to being my authentic self–but with two small children, my concern was that I did not want them bullied by their peers and their parents, neighbors, teachers, etc. that their mother was “weird” or doing the “devil’s work.” So to maintain that distance, I decided to use my maiden name (DiMaggio) in my esoteric work, and my married name in my personal life. I worked very hard not to have the two overlap and for the most part, have been successful in maintaining that distance.

My children are adults now. My son lives in Austin and sadly I don’t see him very often. My daughter lives close by with her two children, ages 2 and 5, who bring endless joy into my life. But neither my daughter nor my son ever showed the least interest in my work. While I have given them my books and invited them to my lectures, they don’t read the books or attend the lectures (although my daughter has helped on occasion but usually stays in the lobby).

I’ve learned to stay in my lane when I’m with family members, or even with some of my main-stream friends. I don’t discuss my work unless someone point-blank asks me and I don’t make offside remarks about karma or reincarnation in mixed company. I do this–not because I’m embarrassed about my work–but more that I respect everyone’s viewpoint and I would never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable in my presence.

This weekend I attended my grandson’s 5th birthday party. My daughter, who is a teacher, was thrilled that a teacher friend of hers who had moved to Boston, was in town with her husband and baby daughter. I was quite fond of her friend so I was eager to see them at the party. Almost immediately upon seeing me, her friend’s husband announced–loud enough for others to hear–that he wanted a regression. After doing so,  another of my daughter’s teacher friends said: “Wait? What? You do past-life regression?” I said yes, that I had been doing it for over 30 years. She yelled across the room at my daughter as to why she didn’t reveal that about me before? She wanted to know more and said she wanted to gift her mother with a session. Later that night, my daughter and the husband of her friend who wanted the regression, were talking about it while waiting for food from a food truck. When the person behind them overheard the conversation, she chimed in–“What? You know someone who does past-life regressions? I’ve always wanted one.”

My daughter later told me that I was raised to celebrity status among her friends and chuckled that she needed to carry my business cards with her! It was a major turning point for me, because my daughter saw me in a whole new light–AND–I discovered what my wonderful marketing person, Tabitha Jester, told me–that I should look to the millennials as potential clients–something I thought was untrue. I guess you never know about how someone will react when you say you believe in reincarnation, or that you’ve had a past-life regression, but this experience I had at a 5-year-old’s birthday party, told me, it’s okay to put my foot into the mainstream waters!