“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.” *
And some of them - they are mine.
Settle in. Make yourself some tea. Light some holy wood. This is a long one.
I started this business in 2016. After I woke up one morning and started sobbing in the shower. My whole body was screaming at me, telling me I could never, ever return to my job. I felt physically and emotionally unsafe there, and in August 2016, I woke up knowing I could never go back, so I never did.
Instead, I took the train uptown to an old favorite bakery - one I hadn’t visited in years - and I ate a brioche and drank a cappuccino and called a lawyer and never went back.
I was shaking. Was I really doing this? But the message was too loud not to listen.
I had a yoga training starting in a week and dreams of starting my own business and dreams of writing, writing, writing, but other than that, I didn’t have any plans. I was scared. I didn’t know what was next, but I trusted my body, trusted the wisdom coursing through it that morning in August.
Then, pretty spontaneously, people started asking me for tarot and astrology readings. I’d been working with both of these practices for years in my own life, so I said yes, and because I didn’t have any income at the time - and because I was starting to understand the importance of energetic exchange - I started charging. By fall of 2016, I had unexpectedly become a professional reader, and simultaneously, I went deeper into my studies and training, and that’s how my business started.
But it took five months for me to truly commit to this being my business. I resisted. I judged it. I thought of what my friends and family would say, and I regularly considered alternative business ideas and even applied to a couple of jobs, but eventually it was clear: You either choose this or you don’t.
I was scared, but I knew that in order to succeed, I needed to really step into this work and own it versus just allowing it to be something that was just happening in my life. So in 2017, that’s what I did. I committed.
I had a decent amount of success right out the gate. Somehow I always had enough money to pay the rent on my tiny studio apartment in Brooklyn, and my income was steadily growing, and I was able to compensate whatever else with savings and an interest free credit card. But spending my savings and going into any kind of debt was terrifying.
I’m the daughter of a tax attorney who consistently preached that I should never go into debt for anything other than a mortgage on a house or a car. Now, here I was, going against that primary lesson and shifting my relationship to money and freaking out along the way. Having debt - any debt - felt like failure. Even though it was intentional, conscious, and recommended by my financial advisor and every other entrepreneur I spoke to.
I knew I couldn’t take a big risk and build something for myself without investing, but that knowledge didn’t stop the sleepless nights. My relationship with money was grounded in scarcity mentality - the desire to save and hoard versus spend and invest and leverage. I had older, stronger voices in my head, and we had many conversations. I told them again and again, People spend so much on their educations, investing in college and graduate degrees, and go into a lot more debt doing that. I’m investing in myself.
And I was! But until it truly started paying off, I was constantly navigating the fear of whether I was possibly just totally failing.
By the end of 2017 and my first full year of business, I knew something needed to shift. My business was growing, but I wanted it to grow faster. I needed it to for my own peace of mind financially, and I needed it to because my offerings didn’t feel totally aligned with who I was or what I wanted to be doing.
I spent that first year of business basically mimicking other people’s business models, offering individual sessions, and learning a lot about myself and who I was in this work. What I learned is that I’m REALLY psychic. Something I thought already, but after a year of working with strangers and seeing their lives, I knew it in a whole new way. I also learned that doing lots of sessions and seeing tons of people in a day or a week feels terrible for me. The model of individual sessions wasn’t going to work, and by then, I didn’t want it to. I hated having intense, intimate experiences with people and then sending them out the door. I wanted to help people in a bigger way, and similarly to when people just started asking me for reading, toward the end of 2017, people started asking me for mentorships.
Every step of the way, the universe handed me the next step. Step 1: Leave your job. Step 2: Start reading for people. Step 3: Start mentoring.
Here I was, step 3. To get started, I did a few custom mentorships for the people who asked. Through these, I learned what worked and what didn’t, and I started to become very clear on what it was I truly wanted to offer.
Even though the clarity was peeking through and I knew the general direction I wanted to take my business, I was tired of doing it all alone. I wanted an objective sounding board. I wanted support and collaboration, so in the fall of 2017, I decided to invest in myself in another BIG way. I hired a business coach.
The person I felt called to work with was WAY more expensive than what I expected, but I also knew I had to do it. It was another one of those full body callings. I was scared, but I listened, and I invested again.
I worked with him for three months. During that time, I completely scrapped all of my current offerings - the individual Reiki, tarot, astrology, and yoga sessions. I was scared, but I listened to my gut. It told me not to hold back. To go for what I wanted in no uncertain terms. It also told me that I didn’t want to host events anymore or teach yoga, so I stopped.
In essence, I had a blank slate. But I got to write on that blank slate with a wiser version of myself. A version that had been doing this work professionally for over a year, and a version that with my coach’s help, stopped being afraid of showing up. Well, I was still scared. But I did it anyway.
I started posting pictures of myself and owning my story (and the word psychic) and fully being who I was in this work. For the most part, I stopped hiding for fear of being seen as crazy, vain, or narcissistic.
My coach helped me realize that in many ways, I am my business. Not the cards or the stars or even the stories - but me. Because ultimately, my business is an extension of who I am at any given place in time. And truthfully, that’s the only way I know how to run this business. I am fueled by passion and curiosity, and as those lead me in different directions, my business too has gone in different directions. And one day during this whole process, I realized, Oh wow, this is what I always said I wanted.
Ever since college, I would say the words, I just want to get paid to live my life and do the things I love to do. And the things I loved to do? Tarot, astrology, magic, philosophy, exploring the nature of reality, writing, playing with animals, being a homebody. I was getting to do all of these things! And I was getting paid - even for my writing!
It was around this time that I spontaneously got two regular columns with Horoscope.com. I had set the intention to focus more on my writing, and in that same month, I was referred by a colleague to write the column for Horoscope. Getting paid for writing - any writing - was a dream come true.
I was facing my fears, being clear in my intentions, and things were coming together.
When I first started working with my coach, he asked me to list three people whose careers I admired. People who inspired me and who I saw myself following in their footsteps. I listed Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, and Brené Brown, and he said, You know that your answers are different than everyone else I work with?
He specializes in working with “healers” - people in various areas of alternative wellness - and according to him, most of the people he works with admire other wellness people. They want their careers to look like theirs. I, on the other hand, admired writers. Yes, writers with soul and purpose and who in many ways were healing through their writing by telling their personal stories and even giving advice - but writers nonetheless.
And I told him how yes, actually, this business - Fleeting Connections - started in writing. It started as a blog in 2015. The money-making services side of it grew organically, spontaneously after the 2016 eclipses rocked my world, spat me out of 9-5 life, and said MAKE IT WORK. “It” being freedom and making it on my own.
So he helped me build out my mentorship program, but he also pushed me to be really honest with myself - honest about my worth and honest about my goals (current and future). Being honest with myself about all of this was scary, but the more honest I became, the more money I made, and everything flowed better.
As I shifted my business and created my 9 Weeks to Magic mentorship program, I also felt increasingly called to finish writing the book I’d started writing in 2015. I set the intention to finish the book and set the long term goal of becoming a professional writer. Not a writer of astrology columns. A writer of books.
In the meantime, my mentorship program still felt completely aligned, and I was so excited to begin - more excited than with any other offering I’d had. Without a doubt, I knew that this was my next best step, so I stepped forward, and when I did, it felt like fully stepping into my power.
It also offered me a whole different business model. One that felt far more aligned with how my energy worked and how I wanted to work with people - fewer clients, deeper relationships, more rewarding personal transformation.
So at the end of 2017, I launched the program. I was excited. I believed it would succeed, but I was also scared, and for the first few weeks, I struggled to find my strength and voice when talking about the mentorship. I was now offering something that cost a lot more than my old offerings. I was asking people to invest in me as I was investing in them and of course, as they were also investing in themselves. Before it could take off, I had to face more self-worth demons - mainly that voice inside that consistently convinced me to accept less than I was worth and less than I wanted, professionally and romantically.
But I didn’t have any interest in that voice anymore. I’d already taken such strides to lovingly acknowledge it and then say no thank you when it offered its advice. I now was someone who knew I was worth investing in. Who believed I was worth more than what I’d been settling for, and I was finally in an unconditionally loving relationship with someone who always had my back and welcomed me and loved me for who I was. I knew what I was worth, and after just a few weeks, I got over myself and got the hang of asking for it.
I also did this by finding the way that I felt comfortable “selling.” My coach was also coaching me in this, and I surrendered myself to his guidance. I challenged myself to try his way first - but it felt terrible. I learned that I’m not meant to follow up with people and try to get them to work with me. My soul was like “NO!” So I stopped, and I surrendered to my way - totally laissez faire, simply showing up and trusting that the right people would find me. And that’s actually when I felt totally in my power. And that’s also when they found me.
In the first month of offering my program, I made more money than I’d ever made in a single month, and at the end of the three months of working with my coach, I was able to pay myself back what I’d invested in him.
For seven months, I was riding the high of having a booming business in my second year. I’d conquered so many of my money fears (tied to self-worth issues), was paying down my debt, and was projecting to have it all paid off way sooner than expected. I was also working with clients I truly loved (seriously, you guys are the best), and I was in a constant state of Okay pinch me that I get to do this and wow there’s so much magic and I’m seeing it now in an even bigger way.
But in my eighth month, something happened. The nagging knowledge that I could not continue was creeping in. I’d been helping all of these people transform their lives and was constantly giving them the advice to GO FOR IT - whatever it was - and to not hold back. And in time, I realized that doing this work was no longer going for it for me. I’d gone for it. I’d succeeded. Now I was on the rinse and repeat cycle, and I wanted to continue the cycle because the success felt wonderful, but everything in me told me that that’s not what this was for, not for me.
I felt frustrated and angry with myself and a little angry at the universe. I was like, What? I don’t even get a full year of just free-flowing money and client work? You want me to stop already?!
And the universe was like, Yes. You were given this. Now go do the other thing you have to do. Remember your intention.
So I stopped signing up new people for my mentorship, wrapped up with the people I was working with, and committed to finishing my book. I gave myself the deadline of November 18 - my birthday.
I still had money coming in through individual sessions and my Magic Guide - plenty to cover most things, but I also was having to rely on the money I’d made earlier in the year. I was being asked to invest again. This time, in my long term goal. So I did, and I met my deadline, and afterwards, I was scared that my business wouldn’t be there for me. But it was.
After taking nearly three months off to finish my book, I felt re-energized and excited to work with clients again. So I started signing people up again, and again, they showed up! My business was booming yet again, and it was beautiful. I could feel how money was this elastic, energetic thing. How it moved with my intention. How it came to me when I needed it. How my excitement in any given thing fueled its ability to attract money.
I worked with many new mentees the first few months of 2019. At the same time, I was trying to edit my book, but I realized I needed more time away from it, and I also realized I didn’t want to do it alone. So I focused on work and my program while taking a break from my book and while looking for an editor.
Of course, I didn’t have to look hard. The universe delivered her to me through a beautiful series of synchronicities that I will someday share with you, and once I found her, I then had a deadline. I had to finish my second draft.
And here’s the thing I’ve learned through the last year, I need A LOT of space to write. Literal, physical space (like please don’t talk to me, don’t open the bedroom the door, let me be in my hermit-hole space), and also TIME space. Even if I’m only writing for 2-3 hours a day, I need hours around that to be and process and rest. So when I started working intensely again on the second draft, I also stopped signing up new clients. I continued wholeheartedly working with the people I was already working with (and thankfully, the timing like all things was divine, and I wrapped up a bunch of mentorships right before diving into editing), but I couldn’t do more.
So in April, I essentially took another 3 week break to finish my first edit and send my book off to my editor.
I was scared that business was actually just dying, and it wasn’t just the universe giving me space to edit, but then this beautiful thing happened - again. The moment I completed my draft and my need for space went away, my business started booming again. Money started freely flowing toward me through my offerings, through clients who felt increasingly aligned, and I observed that this wasn’t the “boom bust” cycle you often hear about in early businesses. My lower income periods weren’t because my business was slowing down, leaving me scrambling to make ends meet. No, the moments when my business slowed were consistently because I made the conscious decision within my being to invest in my writing. I set the intention to answer the call to write, and the universe made space for it, always providing enough to carry me through that time.
But here’s the thing. While money started flowing through me after I finished my second draft, something else also started flowing through me.
That thing is the sequel. My second book. I started writing it during the fall while still writing the first book, but I made myself stop because I was like, Okay, Virginia, finish one thing first. Don’t get distracted.
My Gemini moon means that I’m easily distracted by new shiny projects, and I have a habit of not finishing things fully, but I made the commitment to myself at the end of last year that I couldn’t do that anymore. That I was going to become a writer. That I was going to publish my book. That I was going to make writing happen for myself. That I was going for IT. “It” being the thing that made my heart sing, the thing that had always been with me, the thing that encapsulates everything I love - living my life, following the magic, connecting it all and sharing it with others through words on pieces of paper. “It” being love.
When I was a kid, I opened a fortune cookie, and the fortune read, You are a lover of words. One day you will write a book. I kept that fortune. I put it on my bulletin board in my childhood bedroom, and in the summer of 2018, I brought it home with me to New York and glued it to my vision board.
And while I’ve never liked the word “healer,” lately I’ve been observing how my being screams in response to how other people describe me:
People ask me what I do:
“You’re a healer, right?”
“You do Reiki?”
“Are you an astrologer?”
And while in this business and in my life, the answer to these questions is in so clearly yes, there’s this voice inside me that instead wants to respond, NO! I am a writer.
And it’s that voice inside that’s let me know that I’m ready to more fully step into my role as a writer. To accomplish the goal I set in 2017. And I know that in order to continue finishing my first book - as it goes through more editing and publishing - I will need to take more space from my client work. And I know that in order to write my second book (which REALLY wants to be written soon), I’ll have to again take more space from my client work. And I don’t exactly know how all of this is going to work! And I’m scared, but I also know that like every time before, I have to step up. I have to answer the call, courageously moving into the unknown.
In my right palm, in my fate line, there is a point where the line splits in two, where two lines run parallel next to each other. They run parallel for quite some time, but like all things, eventually, they merge into one. A great palm reader told me that this means that for awhile, I’ll have two careers, but eventually, one supersedes the other, and I’ll just have one.
Lately, from one of my favorite decks (the Akashic Tarot Deck), I keep getting a card called Two Worlds. It’s about straddling two existences, and it keeps coming up in the context of having to leave something behind. And then I keeping getting the letting go and follow your dreams and dreams coming true cards in my fairy deck, and I know that at some point - like every other time - I will have to choose, and I will leave my business (in its current form) behind.
This scares me. I have built this, and I love it. But the idea of its perpetual transformation also excites me, and if I’m truly listening to the voice inside, I know that this choice is happening now. That it’s all happening slowly and surely. That the energy between the two parallel lines is shifting. And while my Gemini moon may be able to handle two careers at once, the Scorpio in me longs for them to merge into one.
For years now, I’ve been SOMETHING and a writer on the side. I’ve been a student, a human rights worker, a real estate agent, a business development director, a project manager, a yoga instructor, and I’ve been a business owner and a healer. For years, when I’ve been asked what I do, I’ve always led with the career that’s making me money. But I also realized upon reflecting on my many careers and even the ways that this business has evolved, that one of the reasons I’ve been able to make money through so many different jobs is because I’ve been able to shift how I present myself to the world in order to attract the flow of abundance toward my intention.
To be clear, the shifting isn’t a manipulation. It’s a removal of layers. A constant becoming that spirals deeper and deeper into the core of my being, and lately, it’s become clear that it’s time for me to shift things again, to more fully honor my authentic self, and to continue to manifest my intention.
So, as of today, I’ve shifted my IG to match the person I’m becoming - myself.
I’ve changed my handle from @fleetingconnections to @virginia.mason.richardson, and I’m leading with my primary identity as a writer.
Yes, I am also a healer and a business owner. I don’t think this will ever change, but healing takes many forms. Spiritual guidance takes many forms. Art heals. Writing heals. Doctors heal. Teachers heal. Parents heal. Astrologers heal. Acupuncturists heal. Psychics heal. My cat heals. Your dog heals. Trees heal. Healing is everywhere.
And as I work to shift the energy between my two parallel lines, I’m still running Fleeting Connections. I’m still working with clients. But the energy is shifting. This means that I’m working with fewer people to allow sustained space for writing, and I’m asking the universe - even more so than before - to only send me soul mate clients. If we are meant to work together, you will feel the call. I will feel the call. It will happen.
And I’m continuing to write my Monthly Magic Guide because I’m a writer, and I’m also an astrologer and a magician (the real kind), and writing this thing every month helps me as much as it helps you, and when we’re all working magic together (doing the same rituals and working with the same concepts), we fuel each other’s magic, and we fuel magic and love in the world, and I’m pretty sure that this helps everybody.
As far as newsletters and IGTV videos and free offerings, etc. It’ll all happen if and when it happens, whenever I feel called to do it. I’ve realized that I can’t make sustained regular commitments for things like that while giving myself everything I need as a writer.
So for now, Fleeting Connections still exists! In truth, it may exist as long as I exist! I see myself making decks and writing the magic guide and creating tools like this for many years to come, but I also know that it’s time to really GO FOR IT, to MAKE IT WORK, to be honest with myself about this year’s goal of publishing my book, and to love myself enough to let myself be who I truly am.
Hi, my name’s Virginia, and I am a writer.
*Quote from A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean