Way back in 2012, before I left Portland, a friend asked if I would meet with her sister who was studying to be a life purpose hand analyst. I hadn’t the slightest clue what that was, but it sounded interesting, so I said sure.
The sister emailed and thanked me for agreeing to meet her. Since she was a student, she had to work pro bono as part of her studies, and my participation was helping her out.
I had just quit my job to write and travel and was standing on the brink of every big dream I’d ever had for my life. I felt crazy and terrified and magically, almost painfully, alive.
“What is hand analysis?” I asked.
“It combines the ancient wisdom of palmistry- which can tell you aspects of your personality- and the modern science of dermatoglyphics- which holds information about your core or soul identity,” she said. “It helps people who want to know what their life purpose is.”
(Later she told me, “I see that people take their life purpose in different directions and I’m always fascinated by how accurate their life paths resemble the reading of their hands. Sadly, I also witness those who don’t believe in or love themselves enough to own their purpose, and end up living the heartbreaking inverse of it.”)
We were to meet at a coffee shop on Hawthorne. I sat down at a wooden table and scanned the crowd for a tie-dyed wearing hippy or a mad-eyed, crazy-haired eccentric. Instead, the person who greeted me was a tiny, soft-spoken woman with wire-rimmed glasses, an Engineer (truly!), and I laughed because, of course.
She rolled ink on my hand then pushed it down onto a piece of paper. She leaned over to study the print. I gaped at her, wide-eyed, as she began to tell me what was written on my hands. When she was done she handed me the piece of paper she’d been studying. Next to the inky image of my hand, she wrote:
Life purpose = Powerful Artist/ Creative Leader/ Leader in Spotlight
(Thus you think she already knew things about me, a week later I invited her to our going away party where she sat under a grove of trees and analyzed my friends hands with astounding accuracy.)
Three years later I began working on my book. I framed that piece of paper with my life purpose so confidently stated and propped it against the wall in front of my computer. For the past year I have stared at that image of my hand every single day. And when I have been afraid, or the work felt too hard, I’ve turned to it for comfort because, HELLO, it’s written on my hands.
I hit a big milestone last week when I turned in the full manuscript of my book to my editor (side note: this means I have time to blog again. Yay!). As I hit send on the email, I sat back in my chair and stared hard at that print of my hand. Writing this book has been one big lesson in trust—I have had to trust that if I kept plodding along that someday, eventually, I could chisel a beautiful story out of an unwieldy block of words. I have doubted myself many times through this process, but that print of my hand has always seemed so solid and sure of its purpose, and it has helped me feel solid and sure of my purpose, too.
I write this to bookmark a place in time—I wrote a book— but also to honor that bigger thing, that thing written on my hands (on all of our hands, lest you forget). I don’t get the magic of that any more than anyone else, but I know that not everything is ours to understand.
If you are in Portland, OR or coming through Portland and would like to have a hand analysis, email me and I will give you the contact information of the woman I work with. This isn’t a secret or anything, she just doesn’t have a website and I don’t want to put her email on the Internet (spammers, etc.).