Have you always had a strong sense of purpose? And what do you feel your purpose is in this life?
I have always had a strong sense of purpose, though my understanding of my purpose has continually deepened over the years. It has moved from the outer-realm of control, materialism and ego in my youth, to the inner-realm of surrender, spirituality, and compassion. In this context surrender is not a weakness, or state of inaction. Surrender is a powerful state of pure energy; the energy of becoming your true purpose.
To say it another way, the art of surrender is the art of getting out of the way of your own growth. My greater purpose is already written in the fabric of my being. My purpose awaits my arrival. I do not, and will not strive to become my greater purpose. Does a flower strive to become a flower; to radiate its delicate, colorful beauty, or to smell so sweet? I have defeated most of my ego; I have conquered myself and released the illusion of control. I have a photo of myself as a child on my desk with a caption that reads, "Who I want to be when I grow up." I am now in a free fall toward my destiny of a grand reunion with my original-self; a self uncorrupted by the world's false lessons of fear and control.
My true purpose is to become my own unique self, and to do so in happiness, free from fear. At one level I am different from any person alive and from any person who has ever lived, and yet at another level we are all the same. I am a unique and beautiful expression of the divine gift of life and creation. I will not squander the gift of life! I will continue to rise above my own indifference, and CHOOSE to have a true, heartfelt compassion and love for others. I will reach deep inside, and give each person I encounter the gift of myself. No shame, no fear, no regrets, no need for approval, no cynicism, no doubts, no anger; just love.
Did you have a route mapped out at an early age, or did you set out on one path and then discovered other branches of that path that you felt compelled to follow?
From a very early age I knew I had a purpose, but my worldview was far too narrow to comprehend the implications of my plans. I had many plans mapped out at an early age. I even created a 30 year plan at the age of 22, which surprisingly is still valid and useful! The most important thing for me has been an overarching plan to not waste my life.
You have a great many diverse interests and a tremendous creative output. What stimulates you most, and why?
I love to create. I do not believe in creation for the sake of creation, but rather for creating more joy, beauty and optimism in an often ugly world. I am most stimulated when I tap into what I call the "creator energy." I believe that every person carries the power of creation inside of themselves. They are like superheroes walking around with undiscovered powers. The power of creation that each person possesses is the most awesome force in our universe. What we create individually and collectively is a mirror of what is in our hearts. Our creations are the outward expressions of our inner truths. Everything on Earth under the dominion of humanity is a bounty or bane of the hearts of humankind. Everything we see represents the fruits of choice, time and pressure. Governments, institutions, economies, science, media, technology, philosophy, poverty; everything is a state-of-mind and a creation of choice.
In my work I choose to strive to cultivate and accentuate the positive, and resist indulging in negativity. In my mind the existence of negativity is no excuse to place those horrors upon a pedestal for entertainment or endless meditation. There are enough negative feedback loops in the world without creating more. I am most fulfilled when I am creating beauty and fostering greater hope for others.
Are there any particular times when you feel especially connected or "plugged in"? If so, what sparks off that feeling of connection and "rightness"?
Feeling and understanding the "oneness" with others has been an important part of my growth, and has been an enabling force in my life. I once was shut off from others and took pride in my independence. I know now that this was only arrogance. I have come to the conclusion that the stranger on the street and I are the same. We are all on the same path, we are just in different places on the path. I know I am in a good place when I look at another person and see an entity just like me; a person who is desirous and worthy of joy and fulfillment. Even people who are judgmental and mean to me remind me of a former self, and so I will not judge them, but will offer my hand in friendship, and wait for them.
There is not a person on Earth who has trespassed upon me, or whom I have trespassed upon, that I would not accept back into friendship in earnest intent. I am just like every person. I am you. We are not different, we are the same. What we do to others we do to ourselves. So, I will lift you up and be your friend. I will not judge you and I will easily forgive. Will you forgive me when I fail? I know I am in the right place when my answer to that question is yes.
When you explore all elements of your creativity, and integrate these, what effects do you notice or feel?
I intentionally express my creativity in areas where I have no real pronounced talent. I explore music, art in many forms, writing poetry, programming, business building, inventing, making jewelry, singing, dancing and numerous other creative outlets. I believe we are all natural creators. So I try not to hold myself to any unreasonable standard, such as having talent! Why should not being "good" at something stop me from doing it? I don't have to be skilled at photorealistic painting to create art. When I create, I don't think about how my creations will be judged. I create as a simple expression of childlike joy. What comes through me cannot be bound by talent; it is an expression of something greater than myself. Like many things, you can learn a great deal from children in this area. The simple joys of creation, discovery and exploration are enough for me. The judging I will leave to others.
By exploring different facets of my creativity I tap into a broader spectrum of potential and understanding. It helps me realize there are no limits, and that is where I live, in a world totally free from limitations. Poverty is a state of mind, and it is through positive creativity that I have discovered true wealth at many levels.
What, to you, is most rewarding about your life and work? And what are the aims that you set out to achieve? (Feel free to mention specific projects you're involved in or working on if you wish to).
The most rewarding thing about my life and work is that I am alive and have the knowledge that I can effect the world in positive ways. I am also very blessed that I get to meet so many interesting people. I love learning from people, and teaching people that good things are still possible. I am overjoyed by the discovery that we are each powerful creators. I love sharing the fact that we do not have to be victimized by the ugliness in the world any longer. I refuse to accept that world. There is a new world waiting for us all. I love to ask people what they would attempt to do if they knew they could not fail, and then share with them that it is impossible to fail. Humanity has never once failed at bringing into the world what was in their hearts; never once! It is just a matter of choosing what to hold in your heart, and the rest is as they say, "history."
My primary mission in life is to advocate greater goodwill and peace. Peace is desirable at all levels, is it not? It is desirable in the world, in our countries, in our cities, in our own homes, in our relationships, and even in our inner-selves. Peace is worth considering and accessible through education, and by choice. There can be no peace in the grizzly presence of poverty or excess; two equally abominable monsters. Peace is a state of humility and surrender, and goodwill and harmony exist only as a voluntary acts. They cannot be enforced, coerced, or sanctioned. Like love, peace is fickle, transient and mysterious. It must be desired, fostered, nurtured and protected. From now, until the day I die, I am committing my time and energy to a simple mission of demonstrating greater goodwill and peace is possible. The peace project I am working on carries with it a message of hope through oneness. Every life is precious. Let us subdue the ravages of our baser-self, and aspire to the higher calling of exalting joy through compassion, for that is the one true purpose of humanity.
You can find out more at: www.goodwilltreaty.org
You have founded charities, and give away a great deal of your work for free, which is unusual in a world that is largely governed by a desire for material gain. Please could you say what motivates you to do this?
Simply stated I believe in the concept of paying forward. Whether we acknowledge it or not, and as I have written before, we all have a debt to the society we live in. If we want to succeed in society at anything, we must first pay our debt to that society. But, here is the most important part; our debt never ends. We must pay it each and every day for the rest of our lives. Once you realize this, no matter your philosophical, or religious framework, whether it be the golden rule of Christianity, the humanist view of biochemical inducement of self-preservation through the sociological laws of reciprocity, the "Mystical Law" of Karma (the universal law of ethical causation), Confucian Shu reciprocity, or any other world-view construct of the same truth, life will start working for you rather than against you. Life has a way of shining on people who stand in the sunshine of kind actions. But you can't fake it. It has to come from the heart, with a true spirit of giving and selflessness.
Some people feel that when you produce something without apparent compensation you are being used by others. I think they are missing the point. Being used by others is one of the greatest honors you can experience; to be *use*ful. In today's busy world of information overload, for people to stop, pay attention and find value in what I have to share is often times payment enough.
At the same time, there is no nobility in poverty and we can best help others from a position of strength, not weakness. I am worthy of material gain and shall have it. Money is totally unimportant to me, which is why I need, and will have an unlimited amount of it. However, to me, not all things should be materially profitable. I do what I can to make my money in other areas that are not as sacred to me as my life's higher calling. I intentionally create this distinction to keep my intention pure, and to keep my contract with the universe resolute.
You're very active in social networking. How important do you feel this is in our technological, high-speed age? What are the benefits?
All success in life comes through other people, whether online, or in "real life." I have been working with "social networking" software since I was 10 years old when I wrote and ran bulletin board systems that pre-dated the Internet's commercial use. Social networking and the Internet are transforming the world before our eyes at the speed of fiber-optic light. Social networking is what we humans do, whether in the remote village, or the global village, and while cliche, it is nonetheless true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. And what we see as innovative now -- is not the end, but rather a new incarnation of what is, and always will be important to people, and that is relationships. People will continue to find new and interesting ways to interact with others. I love interacting with people around the world and making new friends. The more people you meet the more likely it is that you will meet those very special people who will become an important part of your life. Life is largely about relationships; even being solitary is a way of dealing with others. We cannot escape it; we are all here together and the Internet helps to show us the ways in which we were always connected from the beginning.
You promote many top names in the creative industries, as well as being personally hugely successful in other areas of work. What does success signify to you? What, to you, embodies the feeling of success?
When I receive private letters from people around the world telling me I have helped, or inspired them in some way I feel successful. When my children look to me as their Father, and I can know deep inside that I am setting an example for them that communicates through action, and not words alone, that their lives are full of opportunity, and great things are possible for them, then I feel successful. When I am able to recommit myself to my goals each day I feel successful. When I can carry my own burden and can still help someone else, I feel successful. When someone betrays me, judges me or tries to hurt me, and I refuse to become like them, or become cynical, I feel successful. When I am disappointed, and yet still can believe, I feel successful. When my heart and mind is open, I feel successful. When I cry because I feel for someone, I feel successful. Even when I fail I feel successful, because it was a place of effort from which I fell.
Each day, like everyone, I wake up and face the world. It is not always a hospitable world. It is full of problems to be solved, mistakes to learn from and the accumulation of my experiences, both good and bad. However, it is a new day and a new chance! Nothing embodies the feeling of success more to me, than knowing that each second is a new chance. Success in the traditional sense is transient; at best a place from which to fall. My idea of success is that I can decide what to do with my next minute, I am alive, I love myself, I am privileged to love others, and others truly love me.
Success, just like poverty is a state of mind. You can become successful instantly with a simple decision and commitment. Long lasting and pronounced success comes to those who renew their commitment to a mindset of abundance every minute, hour and day. Every moment is a new chance for you to recommit your hope and faith to your own version of success. My version of success does not matter and I need not tell you what it is. You can observe it in the way I live each moment.