I feel with all my being. I started talking at nine months, which turned quickly to singing, dancing when I was two, and drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon. I was born a sponge. From the beginning I felt everyone around me, their pain, burdens, and struggles. Through music, movement, spirituality, art, and family I was able to survive, and experience happiness.
There was never a time I was near someone without taking them in. Who were they? Why were they sad? Why were they excited? Why did they talk that way? Who loves them? Why were they dressed that way? Where’s their mother? Their emotions and energy became stuck inside me, as did my desire for all of them to be happy. I was unable to differentiate between their feelings and my own. To care was to hurt. In a beautiful, spiritual, happy family with wonderful parents who love each other, two healthy older sisters and almost seven years later a younger, I was overwhelmed, sad, angry and stressed. Those outside this circle knew me as friendly, outgoing, and a truly happy person.
There were no answers for the way I was feeling and acting. I was experiencing the same life, completely differently from my two older sisters. I was often met with confusion and frustration by my parents and sisters, but to those around me nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I had wonderful times growing up, but there was no denying there was something in the way of my happiness. I had depression from the time I was a baby to about twenty-two years old. Reading this will surprise most people who know me. For the sake of the reader, I’ll be telling the majority of my story through posts over time.
We are made up of every day we have ever lived. There is a part of us that never forgets. It is up to us what we do with those things in our past. I am on the earthly path of releasing the pain from my past and replacing it with light and learning. I treasure my struggles and shortcomings. They allowed me to develop empathy and humility. In the deepest part of my spirit, that is what I wanted. Every day brought me to this point, to joy. Tears are as beautiful as laughter. Being lost is the gift that allows us to be found. Connecting and feeling people is my favorite part of life. Even in my darkest days I wouldn’t have given up that ability. As I learned to be an emotional release facilitator/therapist, I shifted the way I was connected to people. My mentors and fellow facilitators were a big part of guiding this shift. Now when I feel others’ burdens, I allow it as a temporary moment of empathy, only in order to learn and understand them, and then release it. It allows me to be a guide.
I am a facilitator, not a healer. My purpose is to connect others with light. Those around me are not my burdens, because their healing is not about me. They all have a higher power, and it isn’t me. My purpose is to help them connect to that source in whatever way they can. To my clients this goes by many names, God, Energy, Mountains, The Universe, Light, Jesus Christ, Buddha, The Big Bang, Allah, etc. As they release to this source they create a space for healing body, mind and spirit. As they are filled with joy, it fills me too. Through this natural process my depression is gone.
Though it may be not as obvious as in my therapy work, this joy and release penetrates all aspects of my life. I am a photographer of nature, fashion, people, bands, travel, architecture, weddings, interior design, and daily life in many countries. I am often asked, “What kind of photography do you like best?” That comment is often accompanied by, “All fine art photographers hate weddings.” My honest answer is, “I love it all.” I feel the same way towards my photography clients as I do my therapy. To find joy one must embrace all aspects of emotion and human experience. Through photography I am being allowed to see and share the vibrations of life in a similar way as I do as a facilitator/therapist. Part of healing is acknowledging and seeing destruction, just as part of happiness is learning how to see beauty. I find joy in the energy it takes to get three two-year-old boys to smile and sit together.
When I capture an HDR mountain scene, the variation of color tempts my imagination.
Photographing African refugee children who are falling between the cracks of society allows us to make a different decision.
With street art I meet someone who felt invisible, but is now seen.
When I realize the toothbrush holder is unintentionally the shape of a smile, I’m amused.
When light gently touches the skin of a beautiful young model, beauty is immortalized.
When I am invited into a home for an interior design shoot, I get to see inside someone’s comfort zone. I photograph their eccentric personalities.
When I am able to show a bride the moment her older brother saw that she was now a beautiful woman, their bond is strengthened.
When a native Filipino healer mourns the loss of his culture, I honor it by helping preserve it visually.
My cameras are my extensions.
Now that we have been introduced, Hello! I am Hannah, of “inner i art.” I am an emotional release facilitator in what is called “The Process,” an artist, Mormon (LDS), a singer, photographer, writer, eater of spicy food and folder of tiny paper-cranes. I graduated from the Institute of Healing Arts. I quit my “real job,” threw my excuses aside, and started the next chapter of my life as a freelance photographer, and facilitator. Occasionally I also work as a vocalist and graphic designer. I am furthering my understanding of the healing arts by traveling to their roots all over the world, learning from Native American shaman, Filipino hilots, Muslim Sufis, Buddhist lamas and Jewish Kabbalists, and blogging as I go. My journey around the world started in Europe where I met with practitioners who were willing to teach me, followed by a sojourn in Southeast Asia, all around the United States, and the Turkey/Kurdistan area. I recently returned from Argentina. I am always on the lookout for people to teach me. I am currently looking into Native American traditions closer to home.
We are each given as much knowledge and light as we can comprehend and handle. Everyone I meet has something to teach me. With knowledge comes responsibility. Since this new chapter of my life started, a new world has opened up. As my understanding grows, so has my need to share. There are no secrets in truth. There are no limits to learning and creation. I’ve found profound similarities between the modalities and beliefs of these individuals and cultures. These photos and posts are the beginning of a book about spirituality and humanity around the world.
My desire is to share my discoveries with others. I issue an open invitation to those who feel they would like to add their voice, knowledge, or questions to this website, blog and eventual book. I am always looking for people with something to teach and share. They vary from health practitioners, people with unique lives, artists, spiritually minded individuals, historians, to people with a story or idea. Many have opened their homes and lives to my journey of learning. They have blessed me, and I am grateful to all of them. Individuals vary when it comes to personally being in the public eye. If you would like to contribute but choose more privacy than others on this site, don’t hesitate to speak candidly about how you feel. I don’t share anything without permission, and many of my favorite memories have been off camera. I am willing to meet with any who are willing and open to teach (with few exceptions.) A Buddhist proverb says, ”When the pupil is ready the master will appear.” I look forward to adventuring and learning with you.