Service Just Because
A little about me... I specialize in sustainable development and change. If I were to choose labels, then I consider myself an artist and educator. My work, by and large, is guided by the concepts of selfless service and environmental psychology. Above all, I am a humble (most of the time) student and in a constant process of learning through experience. My work is really an expression of deep curiosity.
More practically, I do know how to treat "poverty," which I feel travels way beyond the financial form. I love working in challenging, if not hopeless situations and with so-called underserved peoples (who inspire me greatly). My intention is one of service and my process is based in efficiency, i.e., what are the small changes we can make that produce the greatest possible effects?
So far, since 2009, my humanitarian programs have helped well over 7,000 people, but that's not the point and I'm not counting.
I am a dual national of the UK and US. I was born in New York City and graduated from New York University with a degree in Philosophy. National identity is not important to me though, and soon enough, we will do away with them in favor of a more universal and unifying identity.
I travel constantly, am 100% sustained by generosity, and speak with audiences from time-to-time. There is no net by the way. When you jump, you start to fly, or you fall.
I'm somewhat addicted to podcasts and CrossFit is a passion of mine (I am a Level 1 trainer). I lean toward traditional sounds but have always had an affinity for hip hop, reggae/dance hall, and the NYC underground circa late 90s. Sun in Gemini, Moon in Cancer. It's a tossup between the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (the mood lighting and gorgeous turbine) and Airbus A380 (the sheer size of it). I love flying both, and flying in general.
I also like to write and publish a blog called Moving Towards Peace here. One day, I'm sure, I'll get a book out there.
What is a "LivingSmile?"
It's a term I came up with in 2010 when figuring out what to name this website. That's all, really.
If pressed for further explanation, I would say the term is based in an understanding (or trust) of the human condition I have. Namely, that every one of us — every one — has the potential to be perfectly at ease and content without need, worry, or help. Every one of us has the potential to live effortless and happy lives — to be a breathing, walking, living smile.
I hold this understanding in every project I undertake, everywhere I go. What greater gift is there to give than to help another (or even yourself) realize they are the gift they’ve been waiting for?
Values I Resonate With
I bounce around quite a bit, but underneath it all there are some steady constants.
- Nature First — Live in harmony with nature, then love naturally flows (really), as does harmony among people.
- Love What Is (outcome independence) — Seeing the utter and total perfection of the moment. If the moment is perfect, then nothing is lacking and there are no problems to be solved and no world that needs to change. This does not mean we turn cold to suffering — not at all — but curbs the desire to fix perceived wrongs.
- You Are That — You are already what you seek to be. Therefore, the greatest gift you can give another human being is to help them realize they are the gift they've been waiting for.
- Service Before Self — Most misery and struggle traces to the false belief that I must provide for myself. This belief causes competition, conflict, and disease. When you seek to serve others before your own self, you find your genuine needs becoming automatically taken care of and that there never again is a reason to worry.
- Simple Living, High Thinking — Or, the case for the village life. What we have now is complicated living and low thinking — to what result? Our material needs are basic, our inner needs for meaning and fulfillment are far greater. Let's build on that.
- Sadhana (devoted practice) — Everything in my life is an expression of an internal journey of self-discovery and realization. Partners, beneficiaries, donors, and volunteers all meet at this point, at the right time and place, and all receive something personal through our interactions.
- Stories — I place an emphasis on sharing the stories of the people and communities I work with. These narrative elements can, do, and have inspired their own ripple effects.
Am I Church Missionary?
I get asked this question from time-to-time, especially in Africa. The answer is no.
I am not aligned with any particular religion, political party, or philosophical tradition. I would not willingly propagate personal, political, or religious ideology under the guise of aid (it happens... frequently).
I care — deeply — and enjoy working with communities and people, as well as seeing the end result of projects realized and lives changed for the better. More than that, I do what I do just because. There is no choice about it. It's a calling.