Live Full, Die Empty.
While on a shoot in Nassau The Bahamas, my assignment included a keynote address by the late Dr. Myles Munroe. Listening while I shot, I wondered if anyone had informed him that the topic was leadership. I am a spiritual-minded person, but I seriously wondered if I strayed into the wrong ballroom.
This Bahamian speaker sounded like a bible-thumping proselytizer. I took a deep breath, and reminded myself I was being paid. I checked my bias at the door, and position myself for the best photos. When experiencing this sort of inner conflict, there is nothing more medicinal for me (dare I say - us) than to focus on the good, and just listen for those golden nuggets that might apply to our lives, even if only indirect.
This habit has made it possible for me to say that I've never been to a bad seminar in my life. The sense that I already know a speaker’s topic is quickly dismissed, with confidence, that I will surely walk away with something important. Sometimes, it just a simple appreciation for the reminder, or perhaps a clever new way to paraphrase an experience I've already had. I've always believed that I can learn something from any room that I'm in.
Documenting numerous international keynotes (including Queen Noor of Jordan, Wayne Dyer, Magic Johnson, Deepak Chopra, Kenny Loggins etc.) I’ve had ample opportunity to hear messages and messengers that I may not always agree with.
The great part though, is that I get to see a Soul lit up with passion for what they believe, making it even easier to form this appreciation habit. A practice that increases our ability to connect, rather than the negative charge of separation caused by our focus on where we may disagree.
Right or wrong does not matter. Our competitive mind traps us. It prevents us from deconstructing where this person might be in their life, their reality, their experience. It's when we open our minds to that awareness that we realize "Aha! - Yes! - I too once thought this way until I had the experience of..." Often we discover that it is WE who are the proverbial cookie thief - arguing for our own, less-informed opinions on a matter.
Conflict, like competition, is the enemy of creativity. It inhibits our understanding and stunts our internal growth. When we argue, rigid walls of defense inhibit our current belief, making it impossible for us to advance our understanding or perspective.
In this case with Dr. Munroe, I shifted from the contrast of my personal philosophy to a sudden appreciation for how great of a speaker he was. His facial expressions and hand gestures became a crescendo toward a message that I absolutely needed to hear in that moment.
I was able to squelch my argumentative inner-dialogue, and truly began to hear his message.
“If you want to visit the wealthiest place on the planet, go to a cemetery! It is here you will find unwritten books, unsung songs, unspoken words and important inventions that never come to fruition. Don't take your dreams to the grave. Live full, die empty!.. LIVE FULL, DIE EMPTY!.. LIVE FULL, DIE EMPTY!!!”
Because I allowed his message in that day, void of my judgements, I was able to ride a needed wave of enthusiasm to create one of the most telling chapters in my unpublished book “Perspectives”.
The events that followed during my extra week vacationing in The Bahamas were nothing short of Miraculous! What’s more, when I returned to my own church two weeks later, I heard the same message from Rev. Mary Morrissey.
It was so strange I went to see her after service to ask if she used some sort of homily database with other religions, before telling her about the experience 3000 miles away. I was too new to my own belief system to accept that so many “coincidences” could occur. The result…
I began to take more risks with my photography business. My financial ambitions improved. My relationships evolved. My desire to write was reignited, and WILD, chapter-worthy coincidences happened with such great frequency that I now just greet them with - "Of course..."
Of course my favorite author Richard Bach, sacrificed his reclusive preferences to come speak at my church on my birthday.
Of course I was selected as “Official Photographer to the Rose Festival Court”, all for just being nice to the kid at the car wash. (who’s mom was searching Portland for “the right fit”.)
Of COURSE they booked me for my 20th year, just as I was talking to a client about them, explaining that “…I never assume they will call me. I don’t want to ever become complacent.”
Of course Dr. Wayne Dyer answered the call to my friend Mary Morrissey to come speak at her event. The event that - of course - she hired me to shoot.
Of course Marianne Williamson had 15 minutes for a private 1:1 about my troubled relationship, following her speaking gig in Portland. Of course I ran into her 18 mos. later at a Malibu wedding. Of course she remembered our chat well enough to follow up when I needed it. (and of course, that wedding was for Mary Morrissey)
Of course I was contracted to shoot a wedding in Oregon on the same day I was receive an award in Durban South Africa. A conflict that caused me to send an acceptance video in my place. A video that would then be converted into a marketing tool by a company in New Zealand. A project that caused them to hire my yet-to-be-known, Ultimate Partner.
Of course my Ultimate Partner, living 8000 miles away in New Zealand, found herself single at the same time I did.
Of course my dear client Grace Kuto hired me to shoot in Kenya, not knowing it was my oldest "Bucket-list" destination.
Of course Nairobi International airport caught on fire, forcing us to stay two nights in Amsterdam. Bucket list checked again!
Should I go on?..
Of course you landed on this page, just when you too desired to gain more from your life!
This sort of crazy, beautiful shift happens more and more, and all that is required of us is to listen. To turn off our limiting beliefs. To turn down the volume of our fear and doubt. To simply take pause, feel a sense of gratitude, and then look at things anew.
THIS is what living with intent, on purpose is all about. It’s the stuff that I long to share with the world.
God Speed Myles Monroe and thank you for not burying your Purpose in a grave! Your passion lit a fire in me to overcome my fear of speaking, and to share my message of Gratitude with the world.
If I achieve nothing more, I will DIE EMPTY.
Learn how you can too, from an achievement MASTER! Mary has been a shining example of possibility thinking in my life, and the person that put so many of these Spiritual gurus in front of my camera.
Click the link below for an upcoming event. I’ve gone to this event more than a dozen times, coming back with something new/greater every time!.. MAKE YOUR GOALS HAPPEN, and best of success!