The following has been swirling around in my mind—increasingly insistently—for the past six months or so. I need to put it down “on paper” and get it out!
As most of you reading this will know, my dream is to live the most joyful life of service that I can, while being financially buoyed enough to be frugally comfortable, and have a few occasional fun splurges, while also putting away some money for the future.
I worked for 18 years at an administrative job I didn’t enjoy, because I was afraid of a life of poverty without it. (I had been unemployed for the two previous years, and had run through almost all of my savings at that time.)
When I cut those ties in September of 2021 to embark upon my dream bike-and-train journey around the US and Canada for a year, the thrill was nearly unimaginable! I was so excited to finally set out on a fun adventure that I hoped would also allow me to spread joy, healing, and inspiration to those I met and those who read about my travels.
I think I succeeded pretty well at that. I’m very proud of it.
However… once again, the adventure of that year—and the few months since—have drained most of my savings again. I am getting down to the dregs, and it’s time that my income started to come back.
But I’m not going back to a traditional job.
My intuition tells me strongly that I am here on this earth for a much more meaningful (and joyful!) purpose, and despite my visceral fears, I am choosing to heed this call.
I do have a plan. I am going to outline it here, and I intend that by putting this structure out clearly, it will come to pass. If you are reading this, I humbly request that you help me to hold this vision; I do believe that makes a difference. (And it’s one of my favorite things to do for others! If you’ve got a vision you’d like me to help hold, please let me know!)
First, the work I am called to do:
At least a decade ago, a phrase crystallized in my mind. I believed that my intention for my lifetime was to “heal and inspire the world.”
I do still believe this. It’s a lofty ambition (the whole world??) but I can give it my best, on a day-to-day, person-by-person basis, and see how far I can get.
To this end, I founded two private practices in the past 15 years. The first was called Happy to Listen. My work was literally just listening empathetically—and explicitly without judgment or advice—to people who might be struggling with any number of aspects of their human existence. (Doing so is a very powerful practice, as any of my clients could attest.)
Next came Dream Into Change. If Happy to Listen was Yin, Dream Into Change was Yang. This practice was focused on providing project-based emotional and strategic support to people who had ideas or projects for making the world a better place.
Of course, clients for either of these practices have often ended up getting a bit of both; both are important life processes.
The traditional pay-for-service model has never seemed to pan out for me financially, though, for a few reasons. One is “marketing,” that most dreaded word among healers. I was never good at it, and never succeeded very well. Over time, I have come to realize that I really didn’t want to succeed at it. I never wanted to offer healing and inspiration for pay. Among other reasons, many of the people I most wanted to work with—and who most appreciated working with me—did not have the financial means to pay me what I would have needed for a living wage.
When I took my journey around the US and Canada, I also realized how much I enjoy traveling—lightly on the earth—and that I would like to live nomadically for the foreseeable future. I would be practicing excellent self-care (and modeling it for others, I hope) by following the optimal weather for my emotional wellbeing, and spending time in beautiful natural settings, walking or bicycling. I also realized how much I love meeting people in different locations, at times offering emotional support to them, and also learning about the various cool things that many of them are working on. And, as always, I love connecting people with each other.
So, here is the work I would now like to do in the world, very explicitly:
I would like to spend roughly four hours per day, roughly five days per week, interacting with people—mostly one-on-one, either in person or by phone or video calls—in healing and inspirational ways. (This is all part of my vision for building the rainbow network.)
I picture that I would do roughly one hour-long session each day, in each of the following four formats:
1) Happy-to-Listen-style empathy: someone is struggling in life, and I hold space for them to talk about it for an hour, while l listen supportively, without judgment or advice.
2) Dream-Into-Change-style support: someone has an idea or project they are dreaming up, or actively working on, and I offer emotional and/or strategic support. This could include co-brainstorming, as well as providing resources such as suggesting books, websites, organizations, or individuals they might want to check into or reach out to.
3) Facilitated “magical meetings,” where I introduce people to each other if I sense that they might be able to support each other in their ideas or projects. Sometimes this might just be an email introduction, but ideally I would like to get us all on a video chat, and I would mostly allow the other parties to do the talking, while I could just facilitate the conversation based on my understanding of each of their passions and projects. I envision this mostly in groups of just two people plus myself, but I could also potentially see facilitating larger groups—similar to the Dream Into Change Salons I used to host—where everyone learns about each other’s ideas and projects and may find ways to support each other or collaborate.
4) Magical Meetings of my own. This is a concept I dreamed up about two years ago, and I am absolutely in love with it. Rather than a practitioner/client type of interaction like the first two, this is a peer-to-peer interaction with someone whose work or energy inspires me, and one of us reaches out to the other to simply spend an hour talking about whatever is lighting us both up in the moment. We share our enthusiasm, and offer each other emotional support, and possibly also strategic or networking support if applicable.
Then, approximately once a week, I would also make a blog post to my followers and the public, summarizing my learnings and connections of the week. Of course I would preserve confidentiality for any personal things people might have shared, but I would hope and intend to highlight the projects of some of the people I had talked with, to help to spread the word about their work and possibly identify further support for them.
This would be my job! I would travel around the world, mostly by train and bike, meeting cool people and supporting them and networking them together, building a “rainbow network” around the globe, for everyone’s benefit. I would like for this to be my legacy, for my time on Earth, however long that might be.
I will need funding to live this life. And as I mentioned above, I do not wish to follow a pay-for-service model. Instead, I picture a mamnoon-energy-based model. That is, I wish to receive voluntary, joyful contributions from individual people who value my work. (Occasionally, some of these people might be the same ones I meet with, but there would be no expectation of such—I would offer all of the above “services” for free, and only if the people also wanted to contribute would they do so.)
I believe that the bare minimum financial support I would need to meet my lodging, utility, transportation, food, and health- and dental-care needs would be $24,000 (net) per year, or $2000 per month. $3000 per month, or $36,000 per year, would be much better; it would allow for a bit more “fun,” and also the opportunity for me to save for my future.
Where will this money come from? A few sources:
I still love my idea of fairy godfunding, and I still visualize that this will play a key role in my funding. I envision that I could find one or more people who could joyfully and easefully gift me a year’s worth of funding, because they can easily afford it and they like what I am doing. (In the future, I would love to also serve as a conduit for fairy godfunding, by connecting people who need funding with those who may be inspired to provide it.) On a smaller scale, what if I sort of “crowdfunded” the fairy godfunding? What if, for example, I could find twelve people who would be joyfully willing to donate between $2000-$3000? If one of these people did this each month, I would reach my yearly income.
I’m sure this is possible. I’m curious and excited to meet all the cool, magical people who may become my fairy godfunders!
Speaking of crowdfunding, I’m not feeling drawn to set up a traditional crowdfunder at this time (although I did so ten years ago, with modest success, for my East Coast Empathy Tour). However, for the past couple of years, I have been accepting monthly donations via my Patreon account, and one-time donations of any amount via my PayPal.me account. Several thousand dollars have thus flowed my way from the generosity of many of you who may be reading right now. (Thank you!!) I envision that there will be more going forward.
I intend that I live my life in this sweet spot, living from mamnoon energy: giving as much to the world as I am joyfully able, while also practicing excellent self-care and enjoying my own life, and ideally serving as an example for others as I do so… and taking the risk to live life as a win-win, on my own terms, writing my own “map” as I do so.
It’s scary sometimes! I look at my bank account these days and get nervous! I also wish for ever more opportunities to do the work. Every time I do the work, I love it, and so do the people I work with. So, I just need more of these people and opportunities!
One thing I do not intend to do is approach any given individual for money. Sometimes, when I have explained my fairy godfunding idea to people, they seem to assume I will be writing up a “pitch” and then finding “wealthy people” to make the pitch to.
I can understand why people would assume this, given our current economic system and business structures. But it nauseates me. I don’t want to assume anyone’s income or wealth; I don’t want to assume how much of it they might be joyfully willing to share with me; and I don’t want to “sell myself,” although I can appreciate the general utility of something akin to an elevator pitch, simply to explain to people I meet what it is that I do with my life.
Rather, I wish to simply do my work earnestly, and to make my intentions and work as visible as I can, and trust that the right people will show up at the right times to make this happen.
There are a few things that I would like to request, though, from anyone reading:
If you like my vision, please feel free to talk about it or share it with people who might appreciate the concepts. You can share this blog post—or any of the links within it—or tag friends in it. I also have various other writings and interviews on my Dream Into Change website; feel free to take a look, and share if you’d like.
I want to do more of this work! If you would like to receive any of the above kinds of free sessions that I outlined, please contact me to do one! Also, if you know of anyone else who might enjoy one, feel free to send them my way.
Although I am not asking any individual for financial support, I will invite anyone reading who might feel drawn to donate any amount—one time or monthly—to do so with the links above. (Only from mamnoon energy, though—if the idea excites you and brings you joy, please do it! If you have any hesitation or “should” about it, please don’t!)
Thank you—deeply—to anyone who has read this far. This writing has been bubbling ever more fervently in my subconscious for the past few weeks. I’m really proud of myself for finally finding the courage, concentration, and words to lay it all out here.
I intend to begin the weekly (at least) blogging portion of the above plan immediately, so I’ll be making a post within the next seven days. I will be doing the rest of the work as much as possible, limited only by the people and opportunities I find. My intention is to get up to four session-hours per day as soon as possible.
I’ll have more thoughts on all of this, I’m sure, as it all unfolds. (One document I’m working on is a “resume” of sorts, to let folks know more about who I am and some of the relevant paid and volunteer work I have done throughout my life. I’ll post that when it’s ready.)
Thanks again to you all for witnessing me and supporting me in so many ways. I appreciate you all so much!
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