Friday is often greeted with relief as the “end” of the week; that somehow we “made it through” and can now enjoy the weekend. Except for appointments, I rarely look at my calendar for the simple reason that living my life with passion makes every day of the week special. So, it doesn’t matter what letters precede ‘day.’ The same with watches. Peter Fonda told the bikers in Wild Hogs to ‘lose the watches’ and there’s a lot to be said about that. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve never missed a meeting. In fact, I’m characteristically early. Probably because any meeting important enough for me to attend has got to have value. But, the only time that matters to me is the moment I’m in and what am I doing in that moment to take me further on my journey. If Monday isn’t as exciting as Saturday and Wednesday is nothing more that the hump to get past than check your passion gauge. Fuel up your life on hi-test and lose the ’87.’ Life is a ride and we should all be heading for an outrageously wonderful destination.
I remember from my graduate days in psychology studying Alfred Adler’s theories of individual psychology. During World War I, Adler served as a physician in the Austrian Army, first on the Russian front, and later in a children’s hospital. He saw first-hand the damage that war does and his concept of “compensation” emerged from his WWI experiences. “Every individual represents a unity of personality and the individual then fashions that unity,” postulated Adler. “The individual is thus both the picture and the artist. Therefore if one can change one’s concept of self, they can change the picture being painted.” Adlerian psychology assumes a central personality dynamic reflecting the growth and forward movement of life. It is a future-oriented striving toward an ideal goal of significance, mastery, success or completion.
Enter artist Jim Stevens. Jim began drawing as a child when he “borrowed” a piece of charcoal from his grandmother’s studio along with a few sheets of sketching paper. When she found out, instead of rebuking the boy, she recognized his passion and talent and began teaching him how to draw. He would go on to study with American master sculptor Ed Dwight and helped him with his 12-foot high bronze statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that stands today outside Morehouse College’s King Chapel in Atlanta, Georgia. A palette of successes and commissions followed as did shows in prominent galleries.
While a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol leader in Vietnam, Jim Stevens was shot in the head during a combat mission. The wound resulted in severe migraine headaches which plague him even today. In 1993, he suffered a migraine that caused a stroke which, in turn, took his eyesight in just 30 minutes. After losing all but a pin-dot of his eyesight, he found himself divorced and the blind single parent of two preteen daughters. He was also unable to continue teaching at the University of Colorado and lost all confidence to continue with his art.
In 2000, at the encouragement of his children, he began to “compensate” and to produce art again. Slowly, but deliberately; giving his art away as gifts until he realized that there was more he could do with his artistic abilities. He worked hard; re-learning his pre-injury craft until the more he did the more he believed he was capable of and the quality of his art returned to full expression using specially-made lenses for his eyes. When Jim Stevens looks at something, he can take in only one detail at a time. If he looks closely, he can see a person’s eye. To look at the eyebrow above it, he has to tilt his face up slightly. It speaks to the effort he has to engage to use his primary artistic tool; that of sight, which makes his art even more astounding.
Jim’s compensation for his physical and emotional injuries has drawn attention to him from 3-time Emmy Award winning screenwriter Paul Cooper who wrote a screenplay about his life, NBC News, CBS News, Colorado Public Radio and PBS NewsHour. He’s had three books published on art and his monofilament paintings, scrimshaw, and other works are collected internationally. Jim’s won the VA National Gold Medal for Fine Art, the Sargent Art Supply Company National Award for Art and he’s been honored as a Kennedy Center Registered VSA Artist in both the visual and literary arts. On top of those kudos, he’s the only legally blind man, and oldest man, to ever win the men’s fighting competition at the Martial Arts “Tournament of Champions”
When you start to make a list of the reasons for not pursuing your dream and are inclined to erect a scaffold of excuses for not pursuing your passion, think of Jim Stevens. You can then choose to either count your losses or count your blessings. You can walk up to the canvas of your life and begin to paint or you can sit at home watching television regretting what might have been. But, remember: DREAMS TRUMP LIMITATIONS.
“A man with a vision is never truly blind” Jim Stevens
Welcome to DESIGN YOU~
The show about people pursuing their passions.
Garrison’s guest in this segment is Sonia Satra, certified life coach, mindset and fitness expert, and award-winning motivational speaker who brings her passion for helping people achieve their goals to thousands of individuals, companies, and groups every year. As the founder and CEO of Moticise, an award-winning lifestyle wellness program that combines movement with mindset, Sonia travels the world helping people reach their own personal greatness.
Former president of the National Speakers Association NYC and founder of Women’s Empowerment Adventures, a company that combines a life coaching workshop with a physical challenge such as kayaking, trapeze, and rock-climbing, Sonia continues to offer Adventures through Moticise.
In 2016, Sonia was selected as a featured speaker at the prestigious Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Global Conference in Banff, Canada. She is also a recurring speaker at the Grace Institute of NYC, helping hundreds of women find a new path to success. She has presented to Goldman Sachs, Cisco, Seamless, Army Corps of Engineers, Women’s Leadership Training Conference, Verizon, Toastmasters Leadership Conference, and others. Her presentations are known for their fun, interactive energy, making them ideal for the dreaded after-lunch slot at corporate conferences, or anytime you need to add some spark.
With over 10,000 hours of onscreen and stage acting, the former star of Guiding Light and One Life to Live continues to act. She guest-starred in the docudramas American Genius, Sons of Liberty, and the Emmy-winning The Men Who Built America, and as Gloria Steinem in Amazon’s American Playboy. Sonia has appeared in the Huffington Post, CBS, Fox, the Examiner, Celeb Dirty Laundry, Celebrity Parenting, Women Fitness, and other media outlets. In 2015, she presented on the main stage at the 80,000-attended NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo in Washington, DC. In 2016, Mindset Reset was awarded Best Workout DVD by the exercise blog Fit-Bottomed Girls.
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American singer and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Stills, best known for his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, released the lead single from his debut self-titled studio album in 1970. The song, inspired by a remark Stills heard from musician Billy Preston became his biggest hit single peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1971.
The title of the song is a mantra for everyone reinventing themselves to live their destiny: Love The One You’re With. And, no one is more important in this life than YOU. As Stephen himself said, “Once you decide that it is the art that is important and not how popular and well received you are, you no longer have an albatross. “ Make your life your work of art.