How I Earned My Stripes With Good Zebra


June 29, 2018

by Erika Szychowski & Tess McCurdy


GZ LOVES…Libby Brittain!


How did you discover your gift?

This is always an interesting question for me because I was born “open” so I always knew on some level that I had abilities. I had spiritual and “paranormal” experiences my whole life. I just didn’t realize at the time that it was unique. The best way I can explain it is to compare it to my uncle who is color blinde. He didn’t know that he had this condition until he signed up for the air force. He thought his perspective of red and green was what everyone else saw too. That’s how I was with my abilities. I was looking at energy lines on the wall and feeling spirits in rooms but I just thought that was normal so I didn’t mention it. I was fascinated with ghost stories and mediums as a child. I always loved when I would get to stay home sick from school and Sylvia Browne was a guest on the Montel Williams Show. As I got older I started reading books about ESP and psychics and they all talked about opening yourself up to Spirit. As a child I was taught not to speak to strangers and so when I would read about opening up I would think, “yeah, but who exactly am I opening up to? Who are these invisible strangers?” Then in 2012, when my Grandma passed away, that was when I was able to release the fear and hesitation. I knew her, and being that I’m clairaudient (clear-hearing) I recognized the sound of her voice and the phrases that only she would say. It was such a comfort and I told her that I wanted to work with her and and learn more so that I could help others like she had helped me. So long story, I always knew I had some sort of gift but it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that I fully embraced it.


What’s the biggest difference between reading animals and reading humans?

Animals are just easier. They’re much more straight forward and often the messages they bring forth are easier for the human to accept and be open to receiving. I’ve never had a client be offended by something their dog said in a session. I think this is because Animals, no matter the species, are fully evolved on a soul level where as we humans are still developing and ascending. I feel with humans there is a bit more of a dance when it comes to readings. Just like in life there are the social neuances and warming up to one another. Sometimes the human spirit I’m connecting with has a few questions for me before they let me tell their story. This is just my experience and I think it probably has to do with the fact that I’ve always found it easier to relate to animals than to people. 


I talk to my dogs like they’re humans! How much do you think they understand?

Me too! They understand 100% of what you’re saying. Sometimes they don’t understand why certain things bother us but its not because they are a dog or a cat, its because they have a different perspective on life. They see the big picture. So, that’s why they often look quizzical when we are frustrated with something. It’s also one of the reasons they start acting particularly playful whenever we’re trying to get out the door to get to an important meeting. They know how important the meeting is, they’re just trying to remind us to lighten up. Most things in life go better when we approach them with a playfulness. Animals never lose site of this.


What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is being able to deliver messages or offer guidance that empowers people in some way or another.  Being able to show a person how their animal is supporting them and that there is magic and meaning in every aspect of life. Baring witness to someone rediscover their light and knowing that when they shine, we all shine. Being able to bring closure to those who have lost a loved one (human or animal) and help them to embrace this new relationship they will have with them now that they are in spirit. It’s humbling and unlike anything else. It brings the biggest smile to my face. I know I came here to be of service to the world and that is what makes my heart sing. 


How do you turn someone’s essence into art? Do certain colors or designs mean different things?

Ah, so turning someone’s essence into art is an intuitive practice I started doing early on when I began exploring and learning about my abilities. I first started off by drawing my own energy or by drawing answers to questions I would have. Then it expanded into drawing other people’s energy while doing an intuitive reading for them. Every color has a general meaning although I’ve found the specific color connection to the individual whose energy I’m drawing can change from person to person. But yes, every color has a specific meaning, feeling, and even chakra component. The process begins by writing the persons name on the back of the paper along with the intention to connect with their energy, Angels, and Guides to create an intuitive representation of them. I also set the intention that the drawing will not only heal and balance the person’s energy while I’m creating it but it will also act as healing tool, continuing to support the person anytime they look at the drawing in the future. Then I ask my client for their permission to connect with them and I let my hand move on it’s own across the paper. I don’t consciously choose the colors. I keep my pastel pencils just out of eyesight so I can randomly pull a color. I leave it all up to Spirit and intuition. As the picture begins to unfold I will see power animals step forth and often the movement within the picture will indicate how the person’s energy is moving in life. Is it flowing or have lots of swirls? Often that means the person is very “go with the flow.” Is it cubic or are lines and colors very segmented? That tends to indicate someone who is a little more Type-A. As the session progresses specific colors can be added if there are areas of the clients life that they wish to shift energetically. So an example of this would be, I would add more light pink and magenta to a drawing if someone said they wanted to reconnect with their inner child and incorporate more fun and laughter into their life. Every drawing is as unique as the person with whom I’m doing the reading. The one thing they all have in common though is that each piece is a beautiful representation of the energy that person carries with them. That’s what I love about intuitive drawing. People will say it’s beautiful and I get to remind them that of course it is, it’s them!


Is there a particular reading or intuitive experience that sticks out as your favorite or most moving?

This is such a tough question because it really is hard for me to choose just one reading. Especially when it comes to animals as I am always left awestruck by the magnitude of their wisdom and compassion. There is one case in particular though that immediately come mind. A rottweiler named Dezi whose owner happened to find me through, of all places, Poshmark, where I was selling some of my excessive makeup collection online. I had it listed in my bio that I was an animal communicator. When Dezi’s mom, Megan, first reached out to me Dezi was presenting with some abnormal health issues which they were having difficulty getting a clear diagnosis on. Unfortunately within 24 hours of receiving Megan’s email, Dezi’s family had received a diagnosis. It was a terminal, fast moving cancer. So what had originally been scheduled to be a reading for clarity along with some long distance healing for Dezi, quickly turned into an end of life transition reading. This was my first case working with a family in such a present state of grief and with a dog who had one paw in this world and one paw on the rainbow bridge. I will admit I was very nervous because I wanted to be there for Dezi and her family but I was concerned that I would not be able to manage my energy in the way that’s necessary to fascilitate a strong connection and clear reading. I went forward with it though because I knew Dezi was already aware that these fears of mine would be triggered and regardless she felt confident in my ability to step up and be of service to both her and her mom. Now at this point I should note it had been an on going joke in my family about how despite being a lifelong swimmer and having taken first aid classes and life guarding training in high school, I told my parents when it came to a summer job, I did not want to be a lifeguard for fear of being in charge of other people’s lives. I told them I felt it was too much responsibility. So you can imagine my response when Megan told me she and her fiancé, DJ, had an appointment set up with the vet to have Dezi put down pending what Dezi told me she wanted them to do. Talk about responsibility! I was literally holding the fate of this animal’s life in my hands. No pressure. During the session Dezi talked about Megan and how proud she was of her. She discussed what they had learned together and how she would continue to be there supporting her even after she crossed. Megan asked me if Dezi was ready or if she wanted more time. Dezi had said she was ready whenever Megan was ready. The reading was about an hour during which time we laughed and cried together. Dezi even brought forth songs for her Mom to listen to in her absence. As the reading came to a close Dezi let out an audible moan that I could hear over the phone and in response I said, “she’s ready.” In closing the session Dezi told me how she would let her family know she was around. What she described was so specific, I wondered afterwards if it would really play out like she said. I didn’t want to disappoint them. We ended the call and it was such a strange place I found myself in emotionally because although I knew I had done an amazing reading, I also knew that a physical life was ending. Later that night I received a message from Megan thanking me and informing me how she had never experienced such a smooth transition before. She said she had lost dogs to cancer in the past but this time it was different. Dezi’s favorite doctor had been available that day to give the injection and all her favorite vet techs were there too. Both Megan and DJ had been able to get the day off without a problem and upon returning home, instead of experiencing the expected gut wrenching grief that goes with losing a loved one, she was instead greeted with a comforting wave of peace. The next morning I received another message from Megan excitedly telling me that her fiancé had been visited by Dezi in the EXACT way I had described in our call. This reading has stuck with me so much because Dezi taught me something that day. She taught me to face that fear of responsibility and that when in doubt, trust the animal. Always trust the animal. I still work with Dezi in Spirit. In fact she and my dog, Sooka, who is also on the other side have become very good friends. Dezi gave me something else that day; the gift of friendship. Her mom Megan and I are very very close and talk almost everyday like sisters. Oh, and Megan and DJ adopted another dog… a rescue Doberman whom they have named Libby! 


If you could be anywhere in the universe today, where would it be?

Ooo, great question! My immediate thought was, “My home planet.” But I have no idea where that is so I guess I would say Sea Pines Beach on Hilton Head Island. That is my happy place.


What are you most proud of?

The answer to this question lies within the story of my mom’s passing. She died in 2015 of a sudden heart attack. We aren’t sure what the underlying cause of the cardiac event was but we suspect it may have been related to an underlying infection caused by complications that arose from her being on chemo and having recent dental surgery. The day that it happened I was helping her get dressed so we could go to the clinic. Her back was to my chest and so we were essentially heart to heart. That is how I knew she’d had a heart attack. I felt her heart stop beating with mine. It’s true when they say no one ever really knows how they will respond in an emergency situation. I learned that day I respond by taking charge. I ordered my dad to call 911 and proceeded to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived. In the moments that followed I stayed with them, even holding the IV bag as they worked on her. Being empathic and clairsentient (clear feeling) I could feel all this tightness and pulling in my heart space and chest area. Then suddenly I felt at peace and for a second I thought, ‘They must have restarted her heart.’ Then I quickly realized that what I was experiencing was actually my Mother leaving her body. She was now standing beside me and together we were observing the EMTs work to save her life. Then I heard my Mom say, “Please don’t ask me to go back into that body.” And somehow, in that moment I was able to have complete objectivity and replied, “No, I can’t ask you to do that Mommy. It’s okay.” Moments later they called her time of death and she was gone. It was a very traumatic event and anyone who knows me knows my mom and I were thick as theives. Finishing each others sentences; we were best friends. In fact I later found she had written in one of her journals, “Libby inspires me to live.” I know this is a strange way to answer the question of what I am most proud of but with the passing of time I have since been able to go back to this event and have a greater appreciation for how things transpired. For it brought me the gift of knowing I was there for my mom all the way to the very end. It allowed me to see the strength I carry within by showing me that I am fearless in the face of death and selfless when it counts the most. And perhaps most importantly, that I have the ability to inspire someone to live. Something I now strive to do everyday. It is these gifts that I am most proud of.


If you were on a deserted island, and could only bring 3 things, what would they be?

  1. My dog Maybelline, although I don’t think of her so much as a, “thing,” as I do my friend and partner in crime. She’s also an expert sunbather and bug hunter so I think she’d be the perfect thing to bring with me.
  2. My honey calcite sphere. It’s this crystal that first came to me in a meditation and then later in the physical. It’s a little bigger than a baseball and looks like a sparkling ball of golden light. I always bring it with me on road trips and to new moon ceremonies. I’ll often meditate with it as well as whole it when working with clients whom need assistance in rediscovering and claiming their power. Honey calcite is really helpful when manifesting too. I think being on a desert island, having something that will assist you with your self confidence and manifesting skills could prove to be quite useful.
  3. A picture of my parents and I. I have this one specific photo I love from when I was 17. It was our first trip out to California and I was looking at colleges. My Dad bought us tickets to Midevil Times. We’re all wearing crowns and having complete unapologetic fun. I love it! It’s such a wonderful memory and a great reminder that that’s what life is supposed to be…unapologetically fun. The key is keeping that child-like wonderment alive and sometimes that includes wearing a paper crown on your head!


What’s the first thing you do everything every morning?

Honestly the first thing I do is hit the snooze button a bunch of times! But after that I cuddle with my chihuahua, Maybelline, for as long as she’ll let me before I write an entry in my gratitude journal. It’s a practice a friend of mine shared with me and I really love it. At the top of the page I write, “I AM GRATEFUL FOR…” and then I list a minimum of 5 things I am grateful for in my life. I usually write a sentence or two about why I am grateful as well. It’s a wonderful way to set the tone for the day and really clears out any “lack” or fear cobwebs you might have hanging around in your head. When you express gratitude, the universe will give you more things to be grateful for. A grateful heart is where miracles and magic come from.


Our favorite childhood food memory is animal crackers, of course. What’s yours?

I would say my favorite food memory is connected with fresh strawberries. Growing up, every summer, my Mom and I would visit my grandma in Hilton Head, South Carolina for two weeks. It was great! Three generations of women spending quality time together. At night my grandma would invite me to pick out my mini box of cereal for the morning. She’d have our breakfast trays all laid out on the counter. In the morning, a combination of my mother and the sunshine streaming through the bedroom window would wake me up. I’d stumble into the living room, still blurry eyed from dreamland and find my grandma fashionably dressed with her snow white hair all in place. She’d be sitting at one end of the couch with the news paper. My mom in her bathrobe at the other end of the couch with her table and tray all set up. And then I had my own chair…it really looked more like a little thrown to me! My table and tray would be all laid out for me. Cereal in its bowl, a small glass of orange juice, and a plate of freshly sliced strawberries. While we ate our breakfast, my grandmother would read us our horoscopes from The Island Packet. Then she’d ask, “Well girls, what are you going to do today?” The answer would usually involve the beach unless it was raining in which case my grandma would say, “Well, it’s not supposed to be a very nice day out. I don’t think you’ll get much sun so I was thinking I could take you girls shopping if you like.” Every time I bite into a fresh strawberry I always think of those August mornings with my Mom and Grandma.


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Intuitive Libby and her magical dog, Maybelline.


**NOTE** This interview was originally published by Good Zebra in 2018. It was included in a series which featured inspiring women and how they earned their “stripes.”. I recently discovered the website is no longer active as the company founder, Erika Szychowski, is pursuing other endeavors and working along side the F-Project; to champion fellow female entrepreneurs. I was very proud of this interview and very grateful for the opportunity to work with Erika and Tess McCurdy in creating it. So I decided to include an archived version of it here on my site so that other people who are new to my work can get to know me. I think the answers still paint an accurate portrayal of the woman I am today.  I hope you enjoyed the stories and getting to know a bit more about me.