The emblem of my early childhood was our two-story, redbrick Victorian house near Fourth Avenue and Bannock Street on the west side of Denver very close to downtown. Solid and immovable, it had a large front porch ringed by four big lilac bushes. Our house contained my world: my Romanian-born mother and American-born French-Canadian father; my six brothers and sisters; my grandmother and grandfather on my father's side; and a house full of angels, spirit guides, and out-of-body helpers -- some of whom stayed, and some of whom were just passing through from the other side.
My parents moved to Denver from Sioux City, Iowa -- along with my grandparents, Albert and Antonia Choquette -- nine years before I was born, eager to make a fresh start after World War II. They bought a house, which was originally designed as two separate apartments, and began a new life. My father, Paul, a very handsome man, was 21 when he married my mother in Dingolfing, Germany, where he'd been stationed in the Army as part of the American liberation after the war.
My mom had been a newly liberated prisoner of war (POW) when he met her, only 15 at the time and living with several other displaced persons who were all just trying to survive after the war's devastation. As destiny would have it, they met, fell in love, married, and soon after returned to America, expecting their first child.
Psychic Abilities Opening Up Out of Necessity and Survival
My mother, Sonia, after whom I was named, was quite petite, only 5'1". She was the second to youngest in a family of ten children, born to a religious mother and a sophisticated, intellectual father who owned vineyards and cultivated grapes for wine. When she was 12, she and her family were forced to evacuate their home with an hour's notice to avoid clashes between the Germans and the Russians. In the chaos, she became separated from her family.
As night fell, so did the bombs, and she found herself among other terrified strangers in the middle of an air raid, forced to run for safety and hide in the fields near the Hungarian border. The next morning, German soldiers swept through the fields, flushing out all those who were hiding, my mother included, and declared them POWs. She, along with the others, was placed into a prison camp where she spent the next three years.
During the march to the camp, my mother said the prisoners were threatened with being shot if they said a single word to one another. So instead of speaking, my mother prayed, and in answer to her prayers, her psychic abilities opened up, born out of necessity and survival.
She told me on one of those very rare occasions when she was willing to speak about those painful and horrific years, "I prayed to Heaven, and Heaven answered. By the time we got to that camp, I heard my inner voice and discovered my spirit guides, and through their constant counsel and companionship, my inner voice kept me alive."
My mother's psychic voice became her lifeline to survival. She called her psychic gift -- her inner voice -- her "vibes," and she brought that gift with her to America, to our family and our home.
During her imprisonment, my mother suffered many injuries, indignities, and illnesses, one of which was rheumatic fever, another tuberculosis. She recovered, but not without scars. Her eardrums were permanently damaged, eventually robbing her of most of her hearing. By the time I was born, my mother could lip-read, but she was profoundly hard-of-hearing.
Talking To Heaven and Getting Personal Answers
Ours was a strict Roman Catholic family, following the example of my father's parents, but my mother was raised Romanian Orthodox. In her spiritual tradition, church guidance and personal guidance were not in conflict -- they were two sides of the same coin, so having personal contact with Heaven by means of psychic ability was considered natural, and spirit guides were even part of her religious practice. Therefore, even though I was raised in a Catholic environment and went to St Joseph's Catholic School from the first to the ninth grade, I never perceived any conflict between being psychic and being a good Catholic girl. Talking to Heaven and getting personal answers through my vibes, like my mom, was not only normal, it was expected.
My parents had seven children. The oldest was Cuky, named after the daughter of a German woman who had been extremely kind to my mother when she was newly freed from prison. The very next year Stefan was born, named after my mother's father. Cuky and Stefan made up the first phase of our family because there were no other children for the next six years.
After Cuky and Stefan came the rest of us, seven in a row, until the family was complete. The second phase started with Neil, two years older than I; then Bruce, a year older. Next came yours truly, Sonia, named after my mother (but nicknamed "Sam" by Stefan when I was five for no particular reason and called that by everyone except my teachers until I left home when I was 19). Then came Noelle, one year later; twins, who were born prematurely and died, whom my mother never talked about; and finally the baby, Soraya, six years younger than I.
Most of my siblings spent their time and energy being American, doing their best to fit in. I, on the other hand, resonated most with my mother and was drawn to my roots, my Romanian background, the world she came from. I wanted to be like her.
Until they died, my grandparents lived on the second floor of our house, and their apartment consisted of the front two rooms of the second floor, a combined living room/bedroom with a big picture window overlooking the street, and a small kitchen. I remember them somewhat, but not nearly as well as I'd like. In fact, one of my very first psychic experiences was about my grandmother. I recall coming home from kindergarten and entering the house only to feel a great sense of dread, of sadness, and worrying that something was terribly wrong. Even though there were no signs of trouble, I knew something wasn't quite right. That evening my grandmother had a stroke in the backyard.
Living with Angels and Spirit Guides
We lived in a changing neighborhood comprised of aging people and many Hispanics. The entire area was made up of large Victorian homes with little lawns, big porches, and no fences.
In the outside world, Nixon was President, and the Vietnam War was at its height, which bothered a lot of people, but not me. No one in our family was going to Vietnam, and Nixon had just normalized relations with Romania. My mother could now travel home, something prohibited up until then, so as far as I was concerned, he was a good President.
Also living in our home was a whole group of angels and spirit guides. Most were from Heaven, but some were dead relatives from Romania who spoke to Mom. They watched over us, protected us, helped us do our work, and sat with us when we were sick. Most important, they brought messages to my mom about her relatives back home because she had a very difficult time receiving news about them. They also made sure my mother knew whenever we were in trouble or did something rotten. Like extended family members without bodies, they camped out in every nook and cranny of our house, feeling quite at home while keeping an eye on us at all times.
The spirit guides mostly talked to my mother and were known to regularly interrupt any conversation we had with her, dropping in with sort of a psychic hot-off-the-press news flash about my dad being home late from work, a friend preparing to call, or some other vibe they were getting.
Normally, the spirits spoke as a group, and although I didn't know exactly how many there were, I knew there had to be a lot of them because they covered a lot of territory -- from walking us home after school, to helping my father's sales at work, to showing us where we should drive in the mountains for the perfect picnic spot, to what to do for a sore throat in the middle of the night. All-purpose, multitalented, and practical helpers, they worked for us day and night. All we had to do was call on them and they were there.
My mother mostly referred to these out-of-body helpers as her "spirits," but there were some she knew on a first-name basis. For example, there was Michael, the family angel, gofer, and good sport, whom we summoned for everything from finding things to sitting by our beds when we had the croup and went to the hospital. Then there was Jolly Joe, the family clown, who popped in unexpectedly, usually when things were tense in our home, or whenever one of us was having a bad moment. He helped my mother develop a tremendous sense of humor in difficult times and emphasized the "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" philosophy of life.
Then there was Henry, the large African chief, who sat at our door at night and was our version of a burglar alarm. A little later, there was my mom's mother after she passed, who kept my mother from missing her.
For me, having spirits run the house was perfectly natural, but sometimes I had to admit they were annoying and definitely cramped my style. They said no more than yes, and tattled on us to my mother whenever we were up to no good -- so we never got away with anything. I remember the time when Bruce and I stole two red sodas off the soda truck in front of Mr. Prays' grocery store right across the street from our house, sneaked into the alley, and chugged them so fast I thought I'd burst from all the warm carbonation. Burping all the way home, and feeling bloated with guilt, we were met by my mom at the door. She displayed an "I know who you are and I saw what you did" look and said sternly, "Do you have something to tell me, or shall I tell you what my spirits say? Here's your chance to confess before your father comes home!"
It was useless to try to get anything past her, because she did know everything we did. Those darn spirits were spying on us and reporting back to her no matter how hard we tried to outsmart them. The spirits were also extremely strict and made all the final decisions in our home.
I distinctly remember, for example, being five years old when my first best friend, Vickie, the brown-haired, blue-eyed girl I'd just met who lived only three blocks from us, asked me if I could sleep over at her house on Friday night. It was an exciting and novel proposition and something I really, really wanted to do.
I thought about it all week, preparing for the exact right moment to ask my mother, because not only were the spirits strict, but my parents were, too, and they kept all of us on a very short leash. I knew it would be a hard sell, but I was determined to try. Only I needed a plan.
I had Vickie come home with me every day after school that week just so my mother could see what a nice girl she was. I sang her praises at the top of my lungs at dinner and even got my mother to agree that she was the "nicest friend" I could ever have. I carefully laid the groundwork for Friday, deciding that it would be best if Vickie and I asked her together, convinced that my mother wouldn't have the heart to say no directly to Vickie's bright blue, pleading eyes.
Spirits Know What We Don't Know
Right after school at 12:45, we skipped home hand-in-hand, positive that our carefully laid-out plan would work. When we got to my house, still holding hands, we tiptoed right up to my mom, giggling with nervous anticipation, and then after a few moments of hemming and hawing, I posed the question: "Could I sleep over at Vickie's?"
My mother listened, then shifted her attention to her guides. I could tell by the way she turned her eyes up and to the left that they were having a conference about this. She was quiet for a moment, shook her head, took a breath, and then said, with an apologetic tone, "If it were up to me, I'd say yes, because I know how much you want this. But my spirits say no for some reason, so the word [always their word] is no. Sorry."
Devastated and really disgusted with the spirits, I threw myself at Mom's mercy, launching into my best rendition of "Please! Please! Please! or I'll suffer forever." With this, she turned to me with utter detachment, completely unmoved by my performance, and very coolly repeated herself.
"I don't think you heard me," she said. "The spirits said no."
We were crushed. When I pleaded for a reason, she didn't have one to offer, nor did she feel she had to give one.
"I don't know why," she said. "They didn't tell me. Vickie can stay here tonight, though. We'd love to have her join us." So she did, although that was not nearly as delicious as the privacy I had looked forward to at her house. (Especially privacy from the spirits, I thought angrily, as we gave up.)
Years later, Vickie told me that her mother frequently left the house at night after she went to sleep and went to the local bar to meet her friends.
Vickie spent a lot of nights home alone. When she told me this, I remembered my mom's spirits refusing to let me spend the night. I wondered if this was why.
Taking Comfort in the Presence of Spirits
Having the spirits around was mostly a good thing, and I took great comfort in knowing they were there. They seemed to wield so much executive power in our house, though, that it soon got to the point where we didn't speak directly to my mother at all. We asked to speak to her spirits instead, thereby saving a step. I remember one time when our family was planning to go on a Fourth of July picnic the next day, but rain threatened to cancel our plans. Worried sick that we'd miss out on the fun, and watching the rain continue to pour down on us, I couldn't take the stress anymore. "Mom," I said, "ask your spirits if we're going to the picnic, because I'm worried that the rain will ruin it."
She paused, looked up to the left, listened, and then smiled. "Don't worry," she said, "we're going." Hearing a huge crack of thunder at just that moment, I said, "Are they sure?"
She gave me a look as if I had just committed a huge faux pas. "The word is yes," she said, "so relax."
Oops! I thought, embarrassed that I had questioned the spirits. Sorry. I apologized to them. The next day the sun was blazing in the sky, and we had a glorious time at the picnic.
In addition to spirit guides, my mother also had vibes, a running psychic commentary on the unseen side of life. She had vibes about who was calling on the phone, where we should park the car, what to have for dinner, whether someone would visit, if the neighbors were feeling good (because so many were older), and a million other things. They were feelings turned inside out about how the world affected her and what she thought about it all. They were her uncensored impressions of coming attractions and hidden events.
Paying Attention to Vibes
Following in her footsteps, I, too, paid attention to my vibes. That part was easy because everyone in our family did that. If we had a feeling, we said so without thinking about it, and many of them were about things to come. But that wasn't enough for me. I wanted more.
When I was about six years old, I was sitting at the foot of my mom's sewing machine, helping her remove a seam from some lime-green velveteen fabric that she was using to make me a winter pantsuit. I was holding it for her as she split the threads apart, and I asked her if only she was able to talk to the family spirits.
"Of course not. You can, too, if you make the effort," she said, continuing to split the seam.
I thought about her answer for several moments with intense curiosity. Although the spirits annoyed me at times, especially when they said no to things I wanted to do, they were mostly comforting and good to have around. Just knowing they were there, I never felt lonely or alone. But I did want to talk to them personally rather than having to always go through her.
"How do I do that? How can I hear them like you do?" I said. "I want to talk to them myself."
She kept sewing, pondering my question, listening for the best answer. She was silent for so long that I wondered if she'd heard me. After all, she was nearly deaf. But she had definitely heard. She was just waiting to hear how the spirits would answer instead of giving me her personal opinion. A very big difference.
To Hear Spirits You Must First Agree to Listen
Then she said, "First of all, Sam, you can't hear the spirits unless you agree to listen. If they tell you something and you don't listen, then they know you aren't sincere and don't appreciate their help. So they'll go away. That's the first thing they say." She fell silent again, obviously listening for more.
"Don't ask anything of the spirits you don't want to know," she resumed. "You can't ask, then wish you hadn't. If your spirits give you direction, you have to follow it." All the while, she was sewing.
Mom paused again, stopped sewing, and said, "And finally, you must turn your attention completely inward, absolutely stop talking in your mind, and listen. Just listen. And that's it. You will hear them."
I sat quietly, thinking about what she had said.
Mom continued. "Just one more thing, Sam, and this is now just my opinion. Everything you hear from your spirits is far, far more accurate than what you'll ever hear from the outside world." She went back to sewing, nodding her head as if agreeing with herself.
She looked up. "I may be deaf, Sam, but I hear what matters."
Even though I was young, I knew that what I was asking for was serious and that it would deeply impact my life. After all, having spirits tell me what to do meant that I'd have to cooperate, and already I had moments when I didn't like that. Because this was such a big challenge and would require discipline on my part, I knew I shouldn't rush into anything. I realized that I should probably think about it first. So I did, for all of about one minute.
"I Want To Talk to the Spirits"
"I want to talk to the spirits myself," I announced. "I'm going to do what you said and hope I can hear them, too."
My mother was thrilled. "Good," she said. "That's a very wise decision, Sam. I don't think you'll regret it. So go on. Give it a try."
I summoned my courage, desperately wanting to succeed, when suddenly my favorite Saturday morning cartoon, Rocky and His Friends, popped into my head. There was a sequence where Bullwinkle the moose sat with a turban on his head at a table with a crystal ball, and Rocky, the flying squirrel, was by his side. Then Bullwinkle said, staring into the crystal ball, "Eenie-beenie, chili-weenie, the spirits are about to speak."
Rocky, excited and anxious, asked, "Spirits? But Bullwinkle, are they friendly spirits?"
To which Bullwinkle replied, "Friendly? Just listen ..." Then it cut to a commercial break.
For some reason, as I got ready to dial in to the spirits, I said to myself, Eenie-Beenie, chili-weenie . . . then on a more serious note, Anyone there? and I stopped talking in my head. Just to be sure, I even stopped breathing. I listened with my whole heart, my whole soul, my entire being. I waited. There was silence. I held my breath. Suddenly, I heard them in my head just like my mother said I would. They didn't sound like human voices; they sounded like the most beautiful, deep chorus of resonant voices, definitely not my own, saying, "We are here. And we love you."
My back straightened, my eyes popped open, and I burst out laughing, astonished that my psychic call had actually been answered.
"I heard them!" I cried excitedly, now laughing out of control from the surprise and making my mom laugh, too. A mixture of delight, excitement, accomplishment, and new possibility engulfed me. I knew I couldn't talk to them anymore at that moment. Not until I calmed down.
"I did it!" I shrieked to my mom. "I . . . me . . . Sam . . . heard the spirits!" Wanting to be absolutely certain she'd witnessed this, I repeated, "I did it. Did you see that? I did it. Now I have spirits, too. Like you."
Laughing with me, she said, "I see that. It will take practice, but eventually you'll hear them like you hear me. It takes time to do this regularly. Just keep practicing, and be sure you listen. That's the important thing."
My mom rolled up her sewing and sat face-to-face with me. "Always listen to your spirits, Sam." They're closer to God than you or I, so they know better than we do what's best for us. Besides, you'll soon see that they're good company."
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Hay House Inc.
This article was excerpted from the book:
Diary of A Psychic: Shattering the Myths
by Sonia Choquette.
By opening up her private journals, psychic revolutionary Sonia Choquette leads us out of the dark ages and into the 21st century. Shattering the soul-deadening myth that being psychic is weird, sinister, or at best reserved for the special or strange, Sonia lends proof to the truth that the sixth sense is our natural God-given inner compass -- without it, we'll lose our way. In sharing her story and her gifts, Sonia hopes you will remember and reclaim your own.
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About the Author
Sonia Choquette is a world-renowned author, storyteller, spiritual teacher, and psychic in international demand for her guidance, wisdom, and capacity to heal the soul. In Diary of a Psychic, Sonia invites others to use her as an example on how to move past the fear of being psychic and start reaping the rewards today. In sharing her story and her gifts, Sonia hopes you will remember and reclaim your own. She is also the author of The Psychic Pathway and Your Heart's Desire. You can visit her website at www.soniachoquette.com.
Watch a video with Sonia: Activating Your Spirit and Wise Heart