John Seaver and Shantytown – A Guest Post

It is my absolute please to bring you an inspiring guest post from my friend, John Seaver.  John lives in my town and is genuine and sweet to his core.  John is an example of how “challenging” times can be used to rebound instead of accepting defeat. Thank you John for sharing your story and about the birth of Shantytown.


It was a little over a year ago when a friend and I were exploring different paths we wanted to take. I owned a little property that I had always dreamed of using for a small scale eco-village. The two of us decided that it would be a shantytown of sorts, pieced together with construction reminisce and recycled materials complimented by eco-wise new  materials. One inspired afternoon, while enjoying the process of our journey, shantytown…a clothesline was born! I sat down and drew two trees connected by a clothesline, from which hung three t-shirts 1 shirt red, 1 gold, and 1 green… As time went on and different inspirations and ideas were pursued, shantytown was put aside, but remained strong in my heart and mind.. Together we were inspired by other’s inspiration and moved to create a venue for self expression, we rented a local space and began building! A week or so before our opening, we were cast in a play as metaphysical shop keepers, selling wonder and joy, answering the unanswered and promising the “unattainable”! The night was kooky, cosmic and cool, the audience was the cast and we enticed them with our words and intention…as the play began to wind down, the party started and it was beautiful! The unfortunate part is the closing of my night, I drove home after too many drinks and was arrested and incarcerated  to be released 7 months later.


To say the least, it was a whole new world, my life was ruined…all my plans, many of my friends, the future that I had worked for was no longer! Those first few days in the medical block were hell, beat up, exhausted and lost. Time went on and the reality began to settle in, there was nothing I could do, no one to bail me out and I was in no mood to be calling home. So, there I was, sharing stories with my fellow prisoners, learning who they wanted me to believe they were. Several days were spent in the “blocks” before I was escorted to my new home, ”Bravo” dorm, it was there, in “Bravo”, where I would spend the remainder of my sentence. Bunk 5 to be precise, 2 feet away from bunk 4 on the left,  two feet from bunk 6 on the right. (crunching what could be pages into paragraphs is going to be a challenge, so please, bear with me!) If I were asked to describe the environment in 1 word, chaos would be it! Voices from the occupants competing with the television both bouncing off the walls and funneling into my ears. The stench of  2 toilets and 10 men locked into a 500 sq ft room the intensity made the space seem even smaller and I could feel the weight of  the stench in the air. Surprisingly my body seemed to acclimate within the first afternoon and as the days passed the metal bunks and confinement became my home.


Fortunately, I am a seeker, I am able to accept that the universe has a mission and path for me, this was no exception. I remember a sense of relief settling in as the days passed, once I was aware of my inability to control the situation, I was free! It may sound odd to use such a word considering the circumstances but in many ways I had no burden, no bills, no obligations and all the free time that I was missing in my life! I immediately starting searching for opportunity, 2 bunks down was a man who’s desk was adorned with origami creations, I began to see the beauty of the situation and look beyond the dark surface and I noticed as I began to do that, the room seemed less chaotic and lighter. I began listening to the stories and sharing mine, interacting and discussing, soon, I saw the opportunity for growth and the necessity to plan what I wanted to be doing with my life on the “outside”! A couple weeks in, I remembered shantytown, as if it had been germinating in my heart and one day sprouted in my mind. I began drawing and visualizing what the true potential could be, I learned ways to “do my time” , I learned origami, listened to the wisdom and played my role as peacekeeper and mediator the best I could…shantytown provided an outlet for my creativity, took up time and brought great joy to me in many moments!


As my final court appearance approached, I remember being so scared, having to pick up all the pieces that had shattered when I fell, dealing with others’ judgment and starting fresh but I knew I had shantytown and luckily a support network of really beautiful family and friends. It was my last walk in shackles as I stepped out of the sheriff’s wagon and into the courthouse, I left with a sentence of time served and 5 years probation…I was “free”! I stayed with my parents for the first few months, so driven to launch shantytown! I downloaded a free image manipulation program and began playing and designing. Then the mission came to me, to encourage equality and use shantytown as a positive influence in what can be a negative industry, it took a hold of me, like being swept away in a current. I began with the focus of social justice and racial harmony and using shantytown as a venue for uniting the beautiful cultures of this world that we are often inspired by with everyday interactions. I remembered being in “bravo” and the realization that we were all right there with our own equally unique stories sharing the same existence. Soon that carried on to this world that we all share, we all have our stories, pasts, individuality and talents. Now, shantytown is about equality in all aspects of the world, whether we’re a criminal, a carpenter, a writer, a baker, a doctor or a lawyer. We all share this 1world. as 1 people. connected by a universal 1ove. that makes us all equal!


It is my intention to offer t-shirts as an opportunity for us to give back to those who are less fortunate, to encourage the union of the people who wish to see a more fair existence and to inspire equality! Every t-shirt sold represents a necessary step in our evolution, wearing shantytown is equal to saying i care and i am doing something. I am supporting, and am part of an ever growing worldwide community who’s intention is human unity! Though I may have limitations, I am free, free to love, free to care and free to help to play a healing role in this time and we are all free to do that, no matter what our circumstance may be. I am so grateful to be sharing these words and connecting with those of us who care! Thank you for reading and welcome…to shantytown!




Thanks so much John for sharing your story.  You are an inspiration and I am very grateful we are friends and I get to watch your journey unfold. :-)  While you were physically in prison so many of us have been imprisoned in our minds for so long.  We repeat the same negative self talk, self defeating messages and it becomes more and more challenging to break out of it. You have shown that we can use these moments in our life to make another choice. Our life can ALWAYS begin NOW.  We can use it to not only change our own life but the lives of others. I LOVE my shantytown shirts and support you 100% and your message and view of the world.  One love! Please go visit John’s website, “Shantytown” and check out his amazing products and vision.







Inspirational Transformational TV – Healing, Stirring and Life Changing

When I was contacted by Amy Whitney, who is the mastermind creator of the amazing Inspirational Transformational TV (a You Tube Channel) I was honored she thought my story was worthy of being included on her wonderful site.  I watched the first few video interviews which made me only want to watch more. They immediately filled me with joy and inspiration as I learned about what people had overcome to be where they are now.  Talking with Amy beforehand to arrange her (over four hour) trip to visit with me was lovely but I did not have a full grasp on what an incredible person I was about to meet. We all have overcome adversities in our life and hearing about other’s transformations and what they have triumphed over does inspire us to be all we can be.  It is my pleasure to talk to you more about Inspirational Transformational TV.


Here is a short bio on Amy:

Amy Whitney is the creator and presenter on Inspirational Transformational TV Show.  For several years Amy, a qualified Naturopath,  worked in Management positions in the Education Sector of the Australian Natural Therapies Industry.  Amy is passionate about connecting and communicating with others by connecting on a heart level and lifting those with inspirational or transformational stories into the light.  Each community that Amy lives in she becomes known as ‘Walking Girl‘ as she endeavors to tread lightly and live a sustainable, holistic life of love.  Amy currently lives in bliss with her husband and daughter in Niagara Falls, Canada.


Amy arrived with her husband and daughter and immediately I was struck by how conscious and beautiful the whole family was.  They were present, considerate and just exuded love for each other and the world as a whole.  Talking with Amy about my experience was like speaking with a dear life-long friend.  My cat, Scudder even chimed in as he rubbed against her leg.  I was taken by Amy’s presence and knew she was someone I would be staying in touch with. Here is Part 1 of my interview with Amy Whitney:

To continue watching the 3 other parts, please visit Amy’s site: Inspirational Transformational TV.


When Amy told me she was willing to travel she asked if I had anyone else in the area that would be interesting to interview who was inspirational and had undergone a transformation.  I immediately thought of my good friend, Amy Park Ridgway who overcame severe childhood abuse to become a Nurse, NLP Practitioner, Licensed Hypnotherapist, PhD candidate and an incredible person all around.  Amy’s interview with Amy Park Ridgway is beautiful and inspirational. Please see part One here:

To continue watching the 4 other parts, please visit Amy’s site: Inspirational Transformational TV.

Amy Park Ridgway then told Amy Whitney about Dr. Anthony Cicoria in our area.  Dr. Cicoria was struck by lightening, had a NDE (Near Death Experience) and afterward began receiving “musical downloads”. His story is nothing short of astounding. I wrote a 3 part series on Life After Death, Past Lives and Life Between Lives because I am so fascinated with this topic.  Oliver Sacks wrote about Dr. Cicoria in his book, “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain“. Here is Part One of Amy Whitney’s interview with Dr. Tony Cicoria:

To continue watching the 6 other parts, please visit Amy’s site: Inspirational Transformational TV.


I feel so very blessed and grateful to have met and been interviewed by Amy.  She is an example of how I want to live my life; centered, living so obviously from love and living her passion. The fact that she interviewed two inspirational and transformational people in my community is so beautiful and such an affirmation of why I am where I am.  I am surrounded by amazing people.


When we watch stories like these, we too begin to feel inspired.  Something inside us is stirred and we KNOW that if others have overcome such adversity maybe we can too.  On Amy’s site Inspirational Transformational TV you will find MANY uplifting stories that can awaken you to know the extent of human potential.  None of us have had our lives as picture perfect as we might have wished for.  That is what makes it the human experience.  We need to learn from our “hardships” and realize that only WE can make our life end there. We need to “Appreciate EVERY Moment Not JUST the Good Ones” and to continue this journey in a forward motion.  We are all evolving and learning and the most powerful thing to realize is that we all are in control of our own destiny.  We can decide something has been too horrible in our life to move on – or we can decide THE REASON we went through it IS the reason to move on.  To prove we can.  To prove we are resilient. To show others it can be done and they can do it too.


We all have had pain in our life.  We all have had joy.  When we get stuck because of something we have encountered we are CHOOSING to live in pain instead of moving forward into joy.  Sometimes we need help. There are so many brilliant resources online to help us.  Inspirational Transformational TV is one of them!  Visit Heroes of Healing and watch over 50 different videos of various teachers and read the articles written about them by brilliant writers and decide which one you would like to pursue learning from.  Inspire Me Today features an inspirational person each day. Reach out to someone and ask for help if you need to. We are all connected and we owe it to our souls to evolve and continue this magical journey on Earth. Every single one of us has such beautiful gifts to offer this world.  By healing and moving forward you can deliver those gifts and keep unraveling the mysteries and excitement life on this planet brings.


Thank you Amy for coming to visit me.  Thank you for interviewing me, Amy Park Ridgway and Dr. Tony Cicoria.  Thank you for shining light in my home with your beautiful family.  Thank you for the important work you are doing to offer Inspirational Transformational TV to the world in this time when we are overwhelmed by “bad news”. It was such a gift to speak with you and it is such a pleasure to share your work with my readers.


Please comment and let me know what you think of these interviews and this wonderful site.  Also please visit Amy’s site, Inspirational Transformational TV for an abundance of inspiration.

Oh My God – The Film that asks the world “What is God?”

Hay House, Inc.Peter Rodger set out across the world to ask the highly volatile question “What is God?”.  The result… a beautiful cinematic experience that educates, engages and touches the viewer and is immensely thought provoking.  Rodger interviews people of many religions all over the world as well as humanitarians, atheists and celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Ringo Starr and Seal.  This film will hold your attention and enlighten you.  It is my pleasure to review “Oh My God“, a Film by Peter Rodger.


Here is a trailer of the film:


From the site “Oh My God” comes part of Peter Rodger’s message of WHY he made this film:


“Over a three-year period I traveled across 23 countries asking children, religious leaders, celebrities, fanatics and the common Man what God means to them. Along the way I experienced an incredible array of faith expressions and had no small number of unforgettable adventures. The film is a result of this journey. It is not about religion per se; it is about what God means to people throughout our human family. I needed to explore and discover for myself whether religion and religious people were the cause of all the world’s woes. And, as a person who wrestles with faith, I needed to determine whether God created man or man created God.”

Review:


I feel this is an important film because it shows us what life is like in the 23 countries that Peter Rodger visited. He gives us a glimpse into how these different groups have formed their beliefs and what they do to honor God. Rodger has a Palestinian and an Israeli talking about how they hope for peace while hugging each other.  He visits New Orleans after Katrina where people have lost seemingly everything but still have faith that it will be okay because they believe in God.  He visits Native Americans that say “God is a Holy Man that brings blessings to us that are open to healing. The medicine he has is to help humankind help each other – there is one race – the human race”. Every place Peter Rodger visits holds something to think about. There are SO many beautiful inspiring quotes in this film.  They mention a few in the trailer and here are a couple of my other favorites:


“The Problem is NOT WITH God it is With Us.”


“The Heart of Man is the Heart of God.”


“All religions say Love for Humanity so Why do people fight in the name of religion?”


“If we Each did a Kind Act for one person each day – what a different world it would be.”


“You need to Feel God not Understand God.”


“How can you Love your neighbor if you don’t know him?”


“God is the essence of Nature.”


“God is Love.”


The important question is:

- Can YOU tell which one was said by the Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Aborigine, Palestinian, Native American, Druid or The Buddhist?

No – we cannot tell because we ALL have similar beliefs at the core of our beings. Yes, there are people who separate themselves by their religion and see themselves as “better” or “the chosen”. MOST people when asked and they take the time to really dig down deep KNOW we are ALL connected.  Nowhere in any Sacred text does it say to hurt another if they are a different religion than you.  There are some who might have taken things out of context and hung onto a sentence as a reason for separation and anger… but when the Qu’ran and other Sacred texts are analyzed by experts they all have the same results – they ALL say to “Love one Another”. I look at most religions like this, we were born into our belief system.  If we were born somewhere else who knows WHAT we as people would look like, sound like or believe in.  All religions say to “Love Thy Neighbor” or “Treat others as you would want to be treated”.  This “Golden Rule” is a common message that runs through every religion. Yet war is usually over religion and fought “in the name of God”. The Overall message of “Oh My God” is for EVERYONE. (However – some parts involve tribes performing animal sacrifice and are not appropriate for children).


This movie evoked many different emotions in me and made me look closely at my own religious upbringing. I was born Catholic but not in a dogmatic way.  I was baptized and had my First Holy Communion but never received Confirmation. My parents recited the Golden Rule often and THAT was how I lived and what I lived from.  I did not like when people were pushed out or not included for WHATEVER reason – whether it be race, weight, class or religion.  I tried to have many friends in various groups and not just be seen as part of “one clique”.  After my own healing I began to delve into spirituality and realized that what I love about religion is the commonalities between them.  That we love each other, that we ARE all one, that we have unlimited power and the “God” in all of in us is waiting to be discovered.

 

There were words in this movie that filled me with joy, hope and inspired me.  There were also words that made me sad reflecting how some people can believe that we are so separate, that one religion can reign supreme and all others not associated with that religion deserve death or life in damnation. The ideas on war represented in this film brought up many thoughts.  War is usually either about religion or land and I loved this quote from the movie, “Boundaries are drawn by man not by God”. The Earth did not come with lines drawn and “stay in here if you believe “x”” written on it.  The Earth is for all of us and is meant to be shared not separated. The Qu’ran says “If you take one life it is like taking the life of humanity”.  There are many different ways we can find to separate ourselves and there are many ways we can find our way back to each other and to being ONE.

 

Oh My God” is a movie that is important and has the power to awaken people to see how we all are truly connected.  Featuring  BEAUTIFUL camera shots, it is a joy to travel all over the world with Peter Rodger. You can find out more about the movie, Peter Rodger, the people interviewed and all that is available on the extended DVD set by going to the “Oh My God” website.

 

I would love to know what you think about this film idea and what you thought about the film if you have seen it already.  I highly recommend Oh My God and am very happy I watched it.  It is a film that will stay with me for a long time to come.