An encounter with a cobra while filming a movie in India changed the course and outlook on my life. After leaving a corporate career, the divorce from my 20-year vocation felt like a death. I didn’t know who I was and couldn’t land another job during the great recession. Deep-rooted fears resurfaced that had stemmed from the time I evacuated from Saigon as a Vietnam War refugee. To overcome the fears of judgment and rejection, I relied on external validation and material possessions as a measure of my worth. When I no longer had a fancy title and big paycheck, I spiraled into an identity crisis. I knew I wasn’t alone feeling distressed, but I did have hope. I took a leap of faith and decided to follow my heart.
In 2011, I was invited to join a group of North American speakers to document their talks at a Spirituality Conference and then follow them throughout a tour of India to learn their stories. I was a first-time filmmaker who had maxed out my credit cards to go halfway around the world, to a country I had never stepped foot in and to travel with strangers while being away from my family for 20-days during the Christmas season. When production seemingly began to fall apart, the stress of a failing project was amplified when I encountered one of my greatest fears, a cobra. The camera happened to be rolling to capture my emotional meltdown. That pivotal quantum moment changed the lens on what started as a documentary to tell other people’s stories crystallized into the telling of my story and on-screen transformation while completing the film project. I went to India to seek answers from spiritual teachers and discovered that I was really my own best guru. Berni’s Journey is an award – winning feature – length documentary that premiered in March 2015 to sold out screenings and has aired on Rocky Mountain PBS.
I’ve been sharing my story ever since and connecting with people through their stories. Not only did I learn that from adversity of what I call the 7 Dreadful D’s; Death, Divorce, Disease, Debt, Dependency, Disaster and Depression, sparks an internal fire within us to live fully with purpose as our true selves. From Berni’s Journey, I created Burning Journeys™, to share my expertise of transformation through coaching and leading retreats that are experiential and educational. Integrating my leadership roles as a film director and former corporate executive, I guide people through their burning journey of recovery to discovery using movies as a metaphor with a 3-Step Burning Journeys™ process.
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