Read an Excerpt
Life: Not What I Expected
If you don't know where you are going, every road seems like the wrong one.
Susan Page, The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book
Poor little old human beings-they're jerked into this world without having any idea where they came from or what it is they are supposed to do, or how long they have to do it in. Or where they are gonna wind up after that. But bless their hearts, most of them wake up every morning and keep on trying to make some sense out of it. Why, you can't help but love them, can you? I just wonder why more of them aren't as crazy as betsy bugs. Fannie Flagg, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl
When Push Comes to shove
Awaking anxiously, I lifted my head off the pillow to find that I'd woken before the alarm. I sprang out of bed to get ready to go to the first day at my new job. Excited and nervous, I drove across town, where I would meet new people and hopefully really enjoy what I would get to do.
I had just left a highly functioning nonprofit grant-making foundation with wonderful people, high ideals, and fantastic pay and benefits-but after four years I realized that although the mission we were all working for was important, I didn't want to get an advanced degree in energy policy studies in order to make a lifelong career commitment to go deeper into the work of saving the environment. Although my values were well met and I was contributing to the betterment of the world by doing what I was skilled at, I wasn't waking up feeling like I was making a contribution only I could make. It felt like others with similar values and skills could fill my shoes just fine. Day by day, the actual work I was doing felt less and less personally meaningful. Even though it was hard to leave people I cared about and a supportive working environment most people envied me for, I took this new position, which promised to be more in alignment with my master's degree in writing and my love of literature. I took a cut in pay, vacation time, retirement benefits, and health care benefits, all in the search for work that would put a bounce back in my step. Little did I know that the cosmic bouncer was about to give me the boot.
I arrived at the parking lot and walked across the street. I was in my nicest clothes and hoped that no one would notice I was sweating a little in anticipation. Up the elevator I went, and then down the drab linoleum-tiled hall to the appointed door. Taking a deep breath, I entered to find the three other people with whom I would share a cramped room, originally meant as office space for just two university professors, and they greeted me pleasantly. Then, I looked at my new desk to find . . . nothing. No computer, no pens, no paperclips, no paper, no phone, not even a chair, just a desk. I realized vaguely that I'd made a terrible mistake! But it was too late to rewind the film of the last few weeks. I made the decision to make the best of it and hoped things would get better once I got myself set up. Mistake number two.
After six months, I was still struggling to make the job work, between visits to the bathroom to panic, cry, and breathe deeply, then returning to my desk to answer to the three uncoordinated heads of the organization amongst a thoroughly disheartened staff working too many hours for too little pay. The business was disorganized and its leaders had no desire to be otherwise. After seven months, I didn't even want to get out of bed in the morning. At my review, I was told that I was not getting the promised raise because the executive director, who was out of the office seven days out of ten and who wouldn't tell me what he wanted, needed someone who could "read his mind"-and, no surprise, I was not succeeding at this. The next day I gave one month's notice via e-mail. I had $1,000 in the bank and $28,000 in student loan debt.
I have always prided myself on my survival skills, my toughness, and my ability to get by. I've been the super-responsible girl who has worked full-time since the age of fifteen. But this time, I was unable to will myself to go out and get just another job. I wondered if I was going crazy. I didn't know how I was going to pay my rent. How could I raise some money? I looked around to see if I had anything to sell. After putting myself through all those years of school, the only thing I had was . . . books. Gulp. All my lovely books, many of them my dearest friends. I packed up three-quarters of them and went to Moe's, a bookstore near UC Berkeley, where the buyer sorted through them, one by one. It felt like he was sorting through my underwear drawer. I held my breath until all my books passed through his appraising hands. He scratched for a minute on a piece of paper, calculating I suppose, and then looked up to say, "Would you like cash or a credit slip?" I hadn't sold books before, so I stood there not understanding the question. "If you want cash, it's $150. A credit slip is $300." Before I knew it, a voice squeaked softly, "I'll take the credit slip, please." I'm not sure who had spoken, but since I was the only one standing there, it must have been me.
About this time, through all of the ups and downs, I realized something. What I'd been doing all along was studying people. In my spare time, I read psychology books and studied personality systems like the Myers-Briggs Typology Inventory, the Enneagram, and the MMPI, and I observed people-what makes them tick, how they get along, and why they rub each other the wrong way. I was two classes shy of a psychology degree as an undergrad, but, at the time, I decided that two majors was enough (literary studies and creative writing) and that I'd rather go to school in communist Hungary for a term instead.
What struck me most during my career crisis was the way my interests overlapped. Isn't literature really the earliest form of psychology? When you read good fiction, it's all about the characters, their motivations, and what they are driven to do. Thrilling stories have us on the edge of our seats, wondering whether the characters we sympathize with will choose to do something different . . . or stay stuck. Real people's lives are no different. We are all protagonists in our own stories and come face to face with ourselves at some point in our lives. So I decided to check out psychology graduate schools. I attended their open houses and contemplated borrowing more money to pay the tuition, but every time I visited a school, things felt wrong, and it was all I could do to sit through the panels and presentations. My bewildering sense of being in the wrong place was so strong that I snuck out of every open house before it was over and headed for the bookstore.
After one such open house, feeling lost, I headed to Moe's with my giant credit slip like a kid with a free ticket to the candy store. I went up the familiar concrete stairs to the wall of used psychology books on the third floor and proceeded to poke among them. A random book caught my eye. I reached up to pull it off the shelf and another hefty book came down with it and whacked flat onto the floor. I picked it up to find that it was The Benham Book of Palmistry: A Practical Treatise on the Laws of Scientific Hand Reading, published in 1900. Hmmm. Palmistry? Scientific? Yeah, right! Out of sheer curiosity, I opened the book up, even though palmistry was just a bunch of gobbledy gook as far as I was concerned. The thing was, though, I was surprised at what I read. The hand and the brain are connected, and the hand is a representation of the brain. William Benham was a skeptic who ended up devoting decades of his life to studying hands during a time when there was almost no research on the matter. I thought it might be interesting entertainment to browse this book and see how crazy it was! I had a lot of store credit, so why not take it home?
As soon as I sat down with the book, I was hooked. It was fascinating, even with its tortuous, florid Victorian language and biases. Before I knew it, I was looking at my own hands, my friends' hands, and even strangers' hands at any gathering I attended. I liked how this practice wasn't about making predictions but about determining one's personality, aptitudes, emotional preferences, and the way a person thinks. It fit in with what I understood about myself, the people I knew, and the psychology I'd been studying. It was a rewarding challenge, like when I studied foreign languages, working with the basic letters of an alphabet, then words, and then stringing the words into sentences and saying them aloud. When I talked about people's hands, they started opening up to me to talk about things they'd never told anyone. I had "seen" them in their hands.
At this point, one friend, and then another acquaintance, asked me if I had heard of a man named Richard Unger and his hand analysis institute. Intrigued, I made a phone call, talked with Richard Unger, and the rest is history. I borrowed money and enthusiastically signed up to study modern hand analysis at the International Institute of Hand Analysis. Even with the popular misconceptions about reading hands, the ridicule I might face in making it a profession, and the fact that I had no idea how to start my own business or much less make it pay my rent, I knew right away that this was what I wanted to do. Hands were for me. That was 1998, and here I am now, loving my work and doing something that was the last thing in the world I expected to be doing. I read the hands of thousands of people, from exotic dancers to corporate heads to spiritual seekers, I am privy to their inner life experience, and my work takes me around the world. If anyone would have told me this is what I would do with my life, I would have said they were crazy.
ten Years Later and Counting
In my career as a Life Purpose Analyst, people work with me when they're searching for a life rich with purpose and fulfillment. They are seeking their core selves, longing to understand and use their unique talents, and looking for their place in the world. In short, they are seeking the meaning of their own lives and questioning how the lives they have fit into the larger scheme of things. They are intrigued by the idea that their Life Purpose, their destiny ("the inner purpose of a life that can be discovered and realized," according to the Encarta Dictionary), is mapped out in their own unique fingerprints and that it is entirely up to them whether they choose to live it or not.
When they trustingly show me their fingerprints, I enter the world of their lives as they are living them right now and, at the same time, step into the lives they yearn to live at the deepest levels of their identity. The immediate questions, life crises, and confusions that compel people to visit me are the ones we all have at one time or another:
What job do I take?
Why am I dissatisfied at work?
Is this relationship right for me?
Why can't I seem to have a satisfying relationship?
Am I using all of my talents? Living up to my full potential?
Who am I supposed to be?
What am I supposed to do?
What's wrong with me? (I have a good job, a good relationship, and a house, but something's missing. There must be more. Is this it?)
I have the urge to do x, but is it what I should really do?
I feel stuck and don't know what to do!
My experience, gained from seeing thousands of people and their fingerprints, is that there is nothing more constantly dissatisfying and painful than living a life that feels devoid of meaning, disconnected from yourself, with no sense of personal purpose. It seems that a lucky few know early in life what they want to be and do and manage to stick to it, and a mystical vision or a serendipitous occurrence pulls a few others into alignment with themselves-but most of us feel somewhat lost and bewildered, sensing an untapped potential for a personally meaningful contribution to the world that seems just around the corner but just beyond the veil of conscious awareness. Some inherent part of each of us knows life can feel better when lived with a sense of internal purpose that guides our external direction. In short, everyone wishes to live in accordance with his or her individual Life Purpose, to wake up in the morning and say, "I've got someone to be and things to go do!"
Sounds great, doesn't it? I am asked repeatedly, "How do I figure out what my Life Purpose is so I can live it?" And this has been the sticking point . . . a lack of an objective, reliable way to determine Life Purpose. Many extremely valuable subjective systems exist to help you assess and understand various aspects of yourself from the inside out; they ask a question and you answer the best you can from your inner sense of yourself. These systems rely on your personal opinions or feelings about things rather than on external facts or evidence. What these systems primarily measure is your personality psychology and/or what you are "good" at doing, although it doesn't necessarily follow that you get a strong sense of meaning from doing it. I'm very orderly,but that doesn't mean I get a larger sense of fulfillment by creating filing systems all day long.
Many popular books are on the shelves now on how to find your Life Purpose, but the majority are all from a subjective standpoint as well, and after pondering their questions you may get lucky and hit upon your purpose, but most likely you'll come out with a better definition of your values, your principles, or your goals. Life Purpose is something bigger than your values, it pre-exists and goes beyond them. It is transper-sonal-transcending or going beyond your changeable personal beliefs and personality characteristics.
Life Purpose Fingerprint Analysis is an "outside-in," or objective, tool for looking at the purpose of your life. The language of your fingerprints operates objectively, "free of any bias or prejudice caused by personal feelings" (Encarta World English Dictionary, 1st ed.). Any person trained to decode fingerprints in this manner will get the same results, just as any person trained to translate Greek will translate the same basic meaning from the same Greek phrase. All that may differ are the vocabulary words used to describe the translated information. This is where the "art" of fingerprint analysis comes in-just as some people are more poetic in their ability to translate from one language to another.
It is now possible for you to know objectively and definitively what your Life Purpose is from your own fingerprints. You don't have to guess or intuit it. You don't have to take any tests. This book is here to help you decode the first aspect of it directly from your own fingerprints and then learn what it's about so you can start working with it consciously right away. Immediately, you can be more empowered about the decisions you make for yourself because you will be clearer about what your inner self desires and what makes you feel most alive. Your increasing awareness of the role you play in shaping your own life will help you create the inherent meaning and satisfaction you yearn for because you will begin to understand the underlying structure of your own life story. You can choose to engage in soul-feeding activities and steer clear of self-defeating actions.
Perhaps most importantly, this book will invite you to see yourself and your life in a startling new way-with an increased lack of judgment that fosters self-accep-tance. Looking at yourself is most often like viewing a photograph held right against your nose-you can make out some general shapes and colors, but you cannot see the details too well . . . they're too blurry, you're too close, it's hard to get a clear perspective. When you know and begin to understand your Life Purpose, you acquire a different vantage point; you can step back a bit and gain a broader view of yourself and your life circumstances. You can begin to discern the underlying structures governing your life and choose to direct your energy toward working with your trouble spots and steering yourself into your arenas of fulfillment. You will likely be aware of and recognize some parts of yourself, while others you may not be well acquainted with and even resist befriending. Overall, the more willing you are to know and integrate all parts of yourself, the more you will come to accept yourself with compassion and become comfortable in your own skin.
You can approach this book in two different ways:
Start with the background information in the first few chapters for a full context before identifying your own fingerprints and Life Purpose; or
Begin by identifying your fingerprints and reading about your Life Purpose, then return to the background information for a fuller context in which to understand and consider your life.
This book is for anyone who wants to become truly acquainted with themselves, the workings of their inner and outer lives, and their unique place in the world. I sincerely hope this information helps you to better understand and accept yourself and the people around you and inspires you to choose to get aligned with your Life Purpose. As you will discover, it is up to you to step up to your highest potential. I feel much more passionate about life and live with a deep sense of meaning and freedom now that I am consciously embodying my life's purpose, and I know you can feel this way too.
a special note to My Favorite Folks: the skeptics!
If you are skeptical, as many are, about the possibility that you can actually know your own personal reason for being from your fingerprints, congratulations! You are someone who wants to think for yourself! To you I say, "Don't believe anything anyone tells you, including me!" Check it out for yourself, gain your own experience, and then go from there. But don't just dismiss it out of hand without your own investigation . . . that would mean you're so skeptical that you aren't rational, which is what you most wish to be as a skeptic-rational and questioning rather than closed-minded and judgmental. Rational people do their own investigation to see if something has validity for themselves and others. I've come across quite a few people who say, "I don't know anything about what you do, but I don't believe in it and I know it doesn't work." What kind of sense does this make? How can you know nothing about something yet pass judgment on it based on no experience whatsoever? How logical is this piece of thinking? I don't "believe" in fingerprints either, any more than I believe or don't believe in aspirin. (Do you refuse to take an aspirin when you have a headache or fever just because its mechanism of efficacy is still not completely understood?) I certainly didn't expect to be looking at fingerprints as my full-time profession, but like aspirin, they work consistently with everyone, their analysis is teachable and repeatable, and their interpretation is empirically validated by over thirty-five years of research, observation, and use with over 150,000 people.