The lantern festival at the Montreal Botanical Garden

“How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out. As someone who has done what you are about to go do, I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” – Jim Carrey

Time away in Montreal always provides a sense of reflection unmatched and unrivaled. An opportunity to reflect upon where I’ve come over this past year and where I hope to go. It’s valuable time because the distractions of normal life get filtered away and there is only the thoughts and emotions that rise up from within. The quote above comes from a commencement speech by Jim Carrey back in 2014 that I listened to again this week and these words made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I’m often asking myself over and over what is the drive, what is the goal? The answer is sometimes vague, appearing occasionally in the Morning Pages notes, and yet it’s hard to grasp hold of. It’s there but it isn’t there.

The words above resonated because they contain a kernel of truth in my own thought process. If, for no other reason, to affect people in a positive way through words and pictures. To capture experiences and create a positive change if only for a moment. This is at the root of that drive. How often do we get hung up on the idea of making success the goal without realizing, or identifying, what success means. A broad definition of success in my case would be moving in the direction of where my passions take me every day. If that happens then I’m successful. It’s not about money or material things. Those things come and go without any true meaning in our lives. It’s about finding the story within that we should be listening too and following it.

The Jim Carrey speech is inspiring because it shows a man who has taken a path that many can’t relate and yet all of us can because he is at the end no different from any of us. Another clip I stumbled upon was an interview of Steven Spielberg who spoke these words on his own interpretation of inspiration:

“The thing I really want to emphasize is, I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have a choice . . . the dream is something you never knew was going to come into your life. Dreams always come from behind you, not right between your eyes. It sneaks up on you. But when you have a dream, it doesn’t  often come at you screaming in your face, “This is who you are, this is what you must be for the rest of your life.” Sometimes a dream almost whispers. And I’ve always said to my kids, the hardest thing to listen to—your instincts, your human personal intuition—always whispers; it never shouts. Very hard to hear. So you have to every day of your lives be ready to hear what whispers in your ear; it very rarely shouts.  And if you can listen to the whisper, and if it tickles your heart, and it’s something you think you want to do for the rest of your life, then that is going to be what you do for the rest of your life, and we will benefit from everything you do.”

Sometimes the voices in our everyday life just drown those whispers out. We may think we are listening but our own minds are drowning those whispers out with the lists of things we need to do and the fears we tend to hold on too.

Montreal becomes a place where those whispers get louder because the background noise gets quieter. Moments of inspiration become louder and words, such as those above, resonate alongside the whispers in our own head. How will you serve the world? My voice whispers that I’m on the right path and that in itself fuels the drive to continue forward. It makes life interesting and delivers purpose. The idea of ‘following your passion’ really comes from those whispers yet we have to be willing to listen to them and act upon them once we’ve heard.

I’m grateful for the people who take time to read this blog. Perhaps something had an effect on you and if so then this project has been a success. To think that it’s a little over a year since I picked up the camera and wandered down this path. That’s success. Reach out and let me know what your own ideas of success are or if you’ve seen the above videos and were moved by them like I was.


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