Tyler, you are an artist and if I looked at your hands, (I do hand analysis as an entry point to my work, as the hands reveal our soul and personality psychology.) I bet your ring fingers (Apollo) would be your highest ranking fingerprints, which is the path of the artist. Sometimes we get lucky enough to fulfill our dharma without knowing concretely that we're doing so...perhaps we follow an inner calling or perhaps life just keeps directing us back to what seems like a natural fit. I'm a healer...my hands have a rare marker that confirms this...but, despite a natural gift for insights into human nature and a capability to speak to the tenderness of the heart, my path was twisty and marked by many choices before I finally settled into fulfilling my purpose. I have multiple gifts, so it was easy to get a bit lost along the way, but all the ways I utilized those gifts was just a way for me to acquire keys to doorways I was yet to reach and when I did reach them, it coalesced into Self-certainty. When we know with certainty, we focus our energy and then life is truly fulfilling and wholehearted. 💗

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I’d still create art

Beauty from nothing and air

Shape words and music

My journey with writing poetry and novels is still relatively new but I knew the second I gave up teaching piano and started writing and publishing that it was what I was supposed to be doing all along. There was a feeling in my gut and a sort of magic in my bones. When I lose inspiration for a few days it always comes back harder and with more magic so I think the universe is telling me I finally found my path.

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Sarah was right. I needed to hear it. I would help people learn to love themselves and to love life when they may have given up on it. By creating art and a nurturing place for them to rest and reset. Thank you for sharing your art. To be cliche and quote One Tree Hill, “Your Art Matters”.

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I’ve always felt a calling. A purpose for my life. For me, I’m drawn to change the universal consciousness, even just a smidge. It is my passion. I’ve previously thought I would accomplish this through my words, but recently I’ve added how I choose to live my life on top of the words. I long to create anything that stands the test of time, offers up the words needed, a guide, for those who follow after me. I’ve always wanted to travel the world, pick up a newspaper in the town I’m staying at, find the stories of need within it and anonymously donate the funding to fulfill it. If money were no object, this would become my standard practice. I believe that often the smallest things have a ripple effect to become larger things. I feel my presence has the potential to make another’s way possible. Whether through words, actions, funding. We are all interconnected in this life. I choose to celebrate this phenomenon and expound upon it.

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This is exactly my life question right now. I retire next July and while teaching is something I have enjoyed for nearly 30 years, it doesn’t set my soul on fire, as you put it. So ready to discover what does- or just journey toward that discovery.

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What am I here for?

I came here seeking authentic connection but also an escape. Running from the sadness that the "real world" casts upon us all. Knowing that I couldn't live that life. That this simple life in the jungle was my way to say "fuck the man" and stay true to my teenage angst. To turn my rage into joy. To keep depression at bay by focusing on the needs of others.

I guess I am lucky in that, I don't really need or want a lot of money to get what I need from life, so I am happy with the very basics. My "here" is Casa Guatemala: A small, grassroots NGO where we care for some of the most vulnerable children in our region. When I arrived in Guatemala in 2001, it didn't take me very long to figure out that this is where I was supposed to be. What was supposed to be three months turned into three years and then lead to a degree that would allow me to make this my life's work. When I arrived, the organization operated as an orphanage as well as a home and school for children from the local Mayan communities who lack access to education and nutrition for their children. My job however, was overseeing the farm and then the businesses that we run more so than working with the children directly. I was in charge of paying them for helping to pluck the chickens, so they all knew who I was and always greeted me with the same chant of "cuando nos va a pagar por los pollos!?" When will you pay us for the chickens!? Most of our international volunteers came and went so the fact that I was sticking around, created a chance to bond with the kids, our staff and, the local communities. They became my family and I became theirs. It was these relationships that made me want to stay. Genuine connection. A hand on your shoulder when stopped in the street to ask how you are. People who really want to know the answer. This connection with the people is what brought me back and kept me here. Now some 20 years later, those kids are adults with their own children. I get to be their chosen mother and the grandmother to their children. I get to fill that gap in their hearts that had been stolen from them for whatever the reason may have been. The circumstances that brought us to the same path at the same time. Our lives now entwined forever. This is worth more than any pay cheque I could ever receive. Just being there for them when they need me.

If there was a benevolent benefactor who left me their inheritance, (which would be awesome and greatly appreciated should their be any lonely gazillionaires reading this and looking for someone to leave all their money to) I would be able to make what we do even better. It would go to doing exactly what I am doing now. It would help to take away the burden and stress of having to come up with the funds we need to continue to do our work month after month. We would be able to expand our school and run our own high school program as well as our elementary school. And we would be better equipped to help them find their "here" and ensure that they end up doing something that brings them joy and fulfillment while also allowing them to live with dignity and purpose. I want to create a way that they don't lose sight of the magic and value of their simple jungle homes with their abundance of land, water, fruit tree and crops in their pursuit of "development".

So even though sometimes it is incredibly hard and overwhelming, I truly believe I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I am eternally grateful that I have been given the opportunity to live this life with all its up and downs.

I am also grateful to be here. As in here on this page, in this community that I just happened upon at this moment when I have been pushing myself to start writing more just for myself, and not only the writing I do for work. I tend to keep the stories more about everyone else. I like to observe and take it all in, rather than to tell my own story. But I think I do have a story to tell and hopefully this will be a place I can push myself to do so in the presence of like minded people who also see the magic and feel it all so deeply. So thank you Tyler for sharing so boldly and giving us this space to feel safe and inspired to do the same! <3

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When I was 18 I felt a strong calling to make the world a better place for young children. I've been doing that ever since thru full time work. I've never been in it for the money, which is good since our culture doesn't provide much compensation for this work. But it works out ok, cuz I'm happy with the small and simple things in life. I plan on working to help young children until I retire. But. If money were not a consideration, what I would do now is (well first, a year off, and then) join forces with other like minded folk to create some kind of a Hub in my town with a tenacious focus on support, encouragement and connection for people with mental health/substance use challenges. So very tired of the inadequate systems of care and would like to be part of changing it for better.

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What am I here for? This is a question that has always stumped me because it is always changing. But I guess, after I have lumped all the things together, the folk singer, the actress in operettas [I've lost my voice], being a mother and wife … a hearth keeper [my favorite so far], a reiki practitioner for cancer patients [as a hospital volunteer], a party thrower for my friends [they have al moved away], and now someone working while I wait to retire [at 70!?], I just want to be me.

I had a hip replaced in May and was laid up for three months on disability, the last month being careful but more active in my home. In that time, I renewed my interest in the spiritual side of me. The one who loves taking Sounds True classes and meditating and giving reiki. I was just thinking that I wanted to start making bread again [French country loaves, everyday bread, French baguettes, and more]. But then the need to work for my income came back to bite me.

But ultimately … I would like to give reiki again, for free, to cancer patients and those in chronic pain. Not in my home, but some sort of formal institution. I liked volunteering at the hospital and giving reiki to patients [they have since closed the program]. That, and enough time to just be me. To discover Me for the first true time. Enough time to live my life and not just work through it and sleep because I'm so gosh darn tired from it.

Let me just be. Giving reiki and baking bread and learning new things through spirit. Just Allow Me to Be. Please and thank you.

{P.S. I wish Grammerly worked here … I'm sure my writing could use it. }

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I'd would still create, whether write, or make glass, or make jewelry. I'd also travel everywhere, making connections.

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This question makes me dream of the improbable, and that always feels like a risk. It also reminds me of all the narratives poured into me from a young age that said "you have to find the one thing you are alive to do, because if you don't, the world will suffer because you didn't choose the right path and it will be all your fault" - Tyler, I like your question better, because it centers on desire rather than duty. And that inversion of the question feels like an act of liberation.

If I were honest, if I could follow desire instead of duty, fulfillment over paychecks, I would quit my job to rest my chronically ill body and make a little art. And if that imagined inheritance was more than it takes to live simply on, then I would fund research for my chronic illness, in the hope that treatments could be developed for myself and the millions of other people around the world who are living shadow lives; so we could all come back to life and do all the things they've dreamed of throughout all the years we've been vanished from the world by our illness.

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Tyler, it would be my privilege to offer you hand analysis, given how much joy you have brought to my life! Email me at my work email: mail@lisahedley.com. I will send instructions to you about the images I need (this should be a breeze given you're a photographer 😎) to proceed. Once I have the images, I will prepare notes and we set up a Zoom so I can share what your hands reveal about you. I'm so glad you're into this...this is gonna be a blast! ❤️

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It's been a year of grappling with these questions. A year of financial ups and downs, of trying to make ends meet. But all the while, I've never been able to stop being a creator. I know I could go out and get a "regular job" and have more money and benefits and comfort. But I can never bring myself to do it.

I relate so much to you as a fellow creative. I too feel deeply that I am here to write. If I didn't have to worry about money, I'd probably spend my days traveling, listening to music, watching films, and writing poetry. Writing has always been a thing I feel like I have to do. It's the thing I always come back to. I may or may not ever make any money from it, but I've never even worried about that. It's just the thing that calls to my soul that I will do no matter what.

I'm equal parts writer and filmmaker. Like you, I spend much of my time with either a "pen or a camera." I've spent years making short films and indie feature films with my friends. Those experiences have been some of the best of my life. The goal is never to make money or be famous. The group of people I make films with is like a family. We all show up and create things because we love it. We yearn for it. We work insane and odd hours, we squeeze shoots in around our various work schedules. But we keep doing it nonetheless.

At the end of the day, I live to create. Money will always come and go, and I do hope to make a creative living...but ultimately, I will keep creating no matter what.

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