All it takes are some heartfelt words of encouragement to help someone rise above their inner voices of self-doubt to achieve their potential. I wouldn’t have pursued a deeper study of the art and science of yoga to become a teacher if Frank White hadn’t insisted I meet Ganga White and Tracey Rich, who then introduced me to myself as a teacher. I wouldn’t have written a play if David Kranes, Dave Chambers and Ed Gryska hadn’t read what I wrote about being raised in a trailer in Alaska and told me I should keep writing. I wouldn’t have started writing and singing my own songs if Richard Peikoff hadn’t said, “Keep writing. Keep laying them down. You’ve got a voice.” I probably wouldn’t have become an actor if my mother hadn’t said, “Come on, I’ll audition with you. It’ll be fun!” when I expressed to her how much I wanted to audition for the Anchorage Community Theatre while I was in high school but was afraid to take the leap. When I was fired from the job my father helped me get as a Teamster truck driver because all I could think about was going to New York to become an actor, he said, “If you say that’s what you want to do, that’s enough for me. I know you love doing it. I don’t really understand what you have to do to become what you want to become, but I’m behind you whatever you decide.” When Harry Mastrogeorge, my acting teacher of 35 years showed me how to be self-sufficient when he insisted, after a scene I did in class, "Tell me how you did what you did up there tonight as though you're teaching me how to do it." My wife tells me she beliieves in me when she senses self-doubt and my son writes me notes that say, "Your music is beautiful! You are the most soulful musician I know." This is my army against doubt and fear, against anything that stands between me and whatever it is I want to accomplish. I can't fight, I don't want to fight, without them on my side.
This list of people who have encouraged me - and still do - along my chosen path(s) is endless. There have been countless teachers, friends, lovers, brothers, sisters, and strangers who’ve conspired to push me through my fears and misgivings. They’ve all made sure I know I’m doing the right things, the things that feed and express my soul, who’ve been my North Stars, my full, forgiving moons, and they've brought much-needed light to my darkest nights. And all this has helped me destroy the dream-killing dragons I’ve encountered along the way, the people who exist for no other reason than to discourage, offering nothing but obstacles and pessimism.
Keep dreaming, keep working, keep seeking, keep believing, keep practicing and remember to encourage others to do the same to reach their potential - keep fighting for them! The life you change may be your own.