Was there ever a time you just knew something? Did it feel like a weird “sixth sense,” and then maybe it was gone? Did your intuition lead you on a certain path, despite what your mind told you? When this experience is framed as intuition, people tend to understand and relate better.
Author, speaker and intuitive Jill Willard says psychic ability can be thought of as fine-tuned intuition. We are all born with this intuition but from an early age become conditioned to lose it.
She says psychic ability appears super- natural because so few people choose to consciously refine and actively use their intuition. Anyone can work to develop their psychic abilities, although some people are naturally gifted in this way—just like others are natural musicians or athletes.
When it comes to intuition, Jill is one of those naturals. The beautiful blonde, blue-eyed beauty grew up in Fair Oaks, California, surrounded by trees and the American River outside Sacramento. She lived in a wonderful neighborhood in a dream house built by her parents and enjoyed the support of a tight-knit group of friends that kept her grounded.
Jill jokes that “Barbie” was her nickname in high school, and she was the epitome of the California girl who played sports and joined the drill team and cheerleading squad. She would go on to University of California at Santa Barbara, compelled to be near the ocean.
Before this all-American upbringing, in her early childhood Jill lived in Europe. It was there she first remembers hearing “the voice.” Though difficult to define in words, she thought of it as nature or a spirit. The voice that was speaking to her was one she describes as being “from God.”
“When you have high intuition, you have a high memory and you also have an awareness you are awake. The abilities are within every one of us as a spiritual being in human form.”
Though she accepted and trusted the gift of intuition, when she moved back to California at the age of 6 she became aware that it was something that others didn’t trust. She felt pressure to tune out the intuition … to make the voice quieter. She focused on turning that energy into higher creativity, yet she still heard small things—like what a friend would wear to school the next day or who would come around the corner.
It wasn’t until seventh grade that she became more vocal about her gift. She also began having dreams that transpired into real life after. The gift matured as she reached adolescence, but it wasn’t until college at Santa Barbara that she felt free. She let go of old stuff, moved from NorCal to the central coast and finally felt comfortable with who she was.
After college Jill returned to Europe again—this time as a tourist—and backpacked around before returning to the South Bay to make her home in Manhattan Beach. At age 25 she noticed her intuition kick up a notch. She appreciated it as a gift but also found it very difficult. She could feel dishonesty strongly in another person she otherwise liked, or she could feel if a person was abusive to others.
In 1999 she went back to school at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara for documentary photography. It was then that she lost her grandfather, with whom she was very close. The experience hit her particularly hard, as she believes she inherited her gift from both him and his wife.
Despite any efforts to stifle the voice, Jill found her intuition grow again when she had her own children. Feeling compelled to help people develop their own intuition, she decided to make her gift a full-time profession.
As a first step she started doing readings for friends in Manhattan Beach. She practiced with 100 readings on a bench by the beach—a promise she made to her friend Jennifer Freed, a healer in Santa Barbara. Jennifer told her that this was her path and that she would use it kindly—guidance she found encouraging.
Jill thought being a stay-at-home mom was her true calling, but as she started doing readings she found the information to be so profound and stunning that people from all over L.A. began coming to her. “My husband, Mark, used to walk our daughter down for me to breastfeed in between readings,” she smiles.
After each reading she would send her client a personal email full of information. The messages come to her in five to seven parts, and over time she realized that these parts corresponded to the energy centers of the body.
She again felt compelled to share this profound information with a wider audience and completed Intuitive Being—a book she wrote at a dear friend’s house in Santa Barbara, right next door to the estate of another soulful person: Oprah Winfrey. The book launched in October 2016, and the positive feedback was so overwhelming she is currently working on her next book. Titled The Well, the new book dives into relationships, where we carry trauma in the brain and how to clear the negative patterns we have created in our lives.
“Intuitive Being was more about emotional stuff, which can be where the blocks are,” she says. “It’s important to understand that you struggle to have intuition if you are blocked. We call the blocks ‘the water in the well,’ so we knew the next book was going to be how to clear the negative patterns we’ve created for ourselves that keep us blocked.”
Jill believes that psychic abilities are the higher, subtle senses that are beyond our rational mind: knowing, hearing, seeing, sensing. They allow us to perceive information on a more subtle level to know what to get and what to avoid in our life.
“When you have high intuition, you have a high memory and you also have an awareness you are awake,” she shares. “The abilities are within every one of us as a spiritual being in human form.”
She explains that these come with us as part of our higher mind to help guide us on our soul’s journey in life, to help us make better decisions, to be aligned to our life’s path and connect to God/Source, Universal Consciousness. “The sixth sense is feeling that something, and the seventh sense is knowing what that something is.”
This is the essence of what Jill is trying to teach others, about trusting your “gut feeling” and then turning on that part of the brain where she believes intuition is located. “It’s almost like if we think of the brain as the computer and intuition as iCloud. It’s as if you can sense the energy, but your brain is what’s able to process it. I want everyone to know that although we often turn it off when we are younger, we all still have it and it can be exercised and made stronger—like a muscle.”
When Jill became pregnant with her third child, Jude, she wanted to take a step back from her readings as they were quite draining. But soon after “Juju” was born, her husband’s contract with ESPN was not renewed. They had a 7-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 4-month-old at the time, but she trusted that she was on the right path.
A week later, fate stepped in when she found herself in Gwyneth Paltrow’s house to give her a reading. Jill has since become an intuitive to the stars and contributed her writing to Gwyneth’s lifestyle blog, Goop.
One of Jill’s other well-known clients is Patricia Arquette, who was filming The Medium locally. Jill was introduced to Patricia through her dear friend and local yogi Julie Rader. Patricia knew Jill was the real deal from all her research for the show, and Jill loved working with Patricia because she was so open and incredibly spiritual.
Jill reflects, “I am over the moon that intuition is coming to light right now, and Goop was a part of the catalyst that brought people to me for readings from all over the world.” She now does readings over the phone, only requiring a person’s first name and their openness to begin the process.
Jill recently completed a TED talk on making space for intuition. In the talk she teaches how to clear some emotional layers, how to be open, to be present and really be one with our intuition.
As a believer in the power of mindfulness, she also started teaching meditations via an intuitively focused meditative company named IM (Intuitive Meditation), which she cofounded five years ago with another local Manhattan Beach resident, Jake Capps. IM is a simple course for both adults and children and helps new and experienced participants further develop the practice.
IM also references the meditative tools that include “I am” sayings. Jill explains that “I am” sayings help teach boundaries and awareness and help clear anxiety and depression. To do this, the tools encourage you to say, “I am,” along with any third word as long as it is positive.
“‘I am’ is also known as the first word of God,” she shares. “It is very powerful and helps open the right brain, which is more feminine, connected and emotional.”
IM is currently launching a course to help simplify the book Intuitive Being, understand the energy centers and teach easy, simple meditations. Jill adds, “IM goes by the color of the energy centers and teaches you about that part of the body, that stage in your life … and then clears it.”
If she wasn’t busy enough, Jill also formed another company called Present, whose purpose is to teach about the brain and help participants enhance their mental health and reduce anxiety. Jill explains, “Anxiety is defined as worrying about the future, and depression is associated with being too concerned about the past. Once we get our brain calm and centered, you clear those thoughts.”
Present currently has three offerings that focus on different age groups or stages of life: the Present Program consists of calming tools for children age 5 to 12; the Present Self focuses on teens; and the Present Parent helps teach parents strategies for being more present and engaged with their children. Present’s goal is to help people of all ages deal with stress.
The program and tools are taking off, recently being implemented at Manhattan Beach Middle School. Jill’s aim is to get the programs into all the local schools and then expand from there.
Throughout all her work, Jill feels the calling to help others. “There is an accountability with consciousness. Karma is what we do in the present moment that clears our past for a stronger, clear, better future. We’re trying to help people be present to receive those gifts.”