Claire Ashman spent most of her life unwillingly in different cults. Almost four decades later she woke up to reality and walked away from the only environment she had known. She left the cult, her husband and raised eight children on her own. She spent years of soul searching and professional counseling to get her life back on track. Today, Claire is an aspiring author and an anti-cult activist. She travels around Australia sharing her life journey and helping others in similar circumstances to deal with the challenge.
Nancy O is an American best-selling author, a TV presenter, radio announcer, a business owner and an entrepreneur. She’s also a passionate domestic violence advocate and a cancer survivor. Nancy is a woman with a mission, and she is on fire. She is unstoppable!
Her life has been an unbelievably epic journey, and the paths are laden with pain, heartache and obstacles at every turn.
She was an innocent young country girl who dared to move to the big city to pursue her dreams. There she was lured and gang raped by a pack of soldiers who then threw her severely injured body out on the street. She was lucky to stay alive.
Later on, she was a victim of domestic violence. She was beaten, locked in the closet for days and almost died from rat poisoning. Her children were taken away from her, and she was left homeless. She moved to America where she was a foreigner, barely spoke a word of English, broke, homeless and lived on the streets.
Despite her circumstance she defined the odds and achieved the impossible.
Resources and Links:
After the fall of Saigon hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese desperately tried to get out of the country, running away from the madness and chaos that took over. Unfortunately countless people were shot and killed on their very first attempt. Numerous more lives were taken by the sea or by heartless fishermen turned into pirates.
Jimmy Thai did not attempt to leave until a decade later. But once he set his mind to it there was no turning back. His escape journey was horrific and heartbreaking. It took 15 attempts before he made it out alive and the cost was unimaginable. His brother was shot and killed. He was hunted like an animal and was captured, tortured and sent to labour camp.
Decades later Jimmy returns to the very country that almost took his life to build schools and serve the underprivileged. He is an amazing individual, one of a kind!
Resources and Links:
- Read more about the schools project
- There is also an Australian facebook page
- Check out the Leadership Foundation Academy’s website or their Yelp, LinkedIn and Facebook pages
I used to think the world was an ugly place, that people were cruel and life was a long and lonely road to hell. That was until the day I met my late teacher. He kindly took his precious time to listen to my sorrows and gave me some wonderful advice that changed my life forever. Through his small act of kindness he helped me restore my faith in humanity and gave me hope for a better future.
It’s very important to always keep in mind the positive parts of life. And there is no better example of the goodness in our world than random acts of kindness performed by complete strangers.
Kindness is contagious. Never underestimate the impact of a single, simple act. All it takes is your willingness to reach out and help those less fortunate than you.
La’ve Jackson is a homeless man from Dallas. He spent most of his life living on the streets because of poor choices that lead him to drug and alcohol addictions.
After a lifetime of struggle he finally pulled himself together and has remained sober for the last nine months. He spends most of his days on the streets selling STREETZine, a street paper. One day, by a chance encounter he met a group of kind strangers from North Dallas Firewalkers. They came together, took him off the street, got him a VIP ticket to a powerful seminar and then raised funds through gofundme to help him get his own place. La’ve is now determined to stay off drugs and working hard to get his counselling license and make something out of his life. All thanks to those strangers’ kindness.
Resources and Links:
- Connect with La’Ve or North Dallas Firewalkers on Facebook
- Check out La’ve’s gofundme page
- Read more about STREETZine a street paper published by The Stewpot, offering financial opportunity to the homeless and at-risk of Dallas since 2003
- Find out a street paper in your area
I’m borrowing today’s episode title from Gordon MacKenzie, an American artist. He used to talk to school kids from kindergarten to year 6, asking the same question: “Anybody an artist?”. And while everyone in kindergarten was enthusiastically raising their hands, as he progressed from one year to the next, the number of hands raised dropped. By year 6 hardly any kids put their hand up.
So Gordon Mackenzie asked the sixth graders: “Hey! What happened to all the artists in this school? Did all the artists transfer out? Did all the artists go to art school? I don’t think so. I think something much worse. I think someone or something has told you it’s not OK to be an artist. If you don’t remember anything else I say today I want you to go home and remember it’s OK to be an artist.”
I am so glad that my guest today – Brian Robinson – was not afraid to remain an artist even though some of his loved ones advised against it. At times it was a lonely road, working long hours, not knowing what the future holds, but that was the sacrifice he was willing to make.
Brian is the 2013 Recipient of the Western Australian Indigenous Art Award, the nation’s richest Indigenous arts prize for exceptional achievements by an Australian Indigenous artist. His works are displayed across Australia, at the Monaco Palace and at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. He spent more than two decades perfecting his craft and never once wavered in his pursuit.
Brian constantly challenges himself to create unique and amazing masterpieces. He uses a variety of methods from printmaking, painting, sculpture, installation and design. His work embodies the customs and traditions of the Torres Strait Islander people whilst also referencing mythological narratives from global cultures.
In this interview Brian gives us a glimpse into his life as an artist, the work involved, the unusual materials and tools he uses for his art work. He also shares a bit about his life journey.
Before you listen to our conversation I highly recommend you follow this link to see his talent on display.
I’ll end with another quote from Gordon Mackenzie’s amazing book on creativity Orbiting the Giant Hairball: “If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you.”
Bring out your masterpiece, whatever that is!
Resources and Links:
- Check out some more of Brian’s art at Mossenson Galleries and Michael Reid Art Shop
- Browse through Brian’s Pacific Crosscurrents Art Exhibition Catalogue published by Cairns Regional Gallery
- Listen to Charles Bukowski’s inspirational All The Way poem