The Lightworker

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Over the course of my many film projects, I have been fortunate to meet some interesting people along the way who are doing really innovative things with their lives. Nikki Wall is one of those extremely interesting people. We sat down and spoke to her to find out what has inspired her path, how she’s gone from Horror Film Producer to Social Activist/Humanitarian and her message on how our social obligation to coexist with a sense of worthiness and purpose  should become central to sustaining our future.

 

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Humanitarians Nikki Wall & John Apt

Nikki Wall is a filmmaker turned omni-faith minister and humanitarian.  Alongside her beloved, John Apt, she works tirelessly towards long term sustainable solutions as well as getting her hands dirty and helping wherever she can to bring a little more love and light into others’ lives. She has been an award winning activist since she was 13 years old, working in many areas of positive change making. She is the author of The Universal Inspiration Project, co-founder of Vow of Service and has dedicated her whole life in service to the greater good.  She has surrendered everything and lives on faith doing all work, including spiritual counseling, on a donation basis.  

Links:

www.VowOfService.com

www.Facebook.com/vowofservice

www.Facebook.com/nikkistarseedapt

Thelma & Louise: Thelma and Louise is a blog about kicking fear in the face. So let’s do this!  Tell us a little bit about yourself and who you are please!

Nikki: I am an omni-denominational minister that is focused on greater sustainable solutions while taking action every day to improve the lives of all humans.  At the moment, we’ve focused a lot of our efforts on the under-served homeless populations throughout California and now that we’ve established a support system down there and built momentum for others to do what we were doing, we have relocated up to Portland, Oregon to assist with their growing homeless population.  I have been an activist since I was 13 years old and have worked with animal rights groups, environmental protection and preservation organizations, gay rights and protection organizations and more… doing everything from boots on the ground work, protesting, activism, lobbying and all aspects of positive social change.  I am proud to say that I am an award winning humanitarian that has positively affected the lives of tens of thousands of people, if not more from the momentums I’ve created.

Thelma & Louise:  Explain what an omni-denominational minister is.

Nikki:  In other words, I believe that we are spiritual beings having a spiritual experience.  We all come from the same source and I have studied and walked many spiritual and religious paths.  I honor wherever someone is at regardless of what they believe and feel that all the masters and sages before us have shared the same threads of wisdom and guidance of how to live a good life and serve others when you really boil down what they have taught. I am here to serve as a spiritual leader who unites and heals all illusions of separateness, including those labeled as religious.  I respect and honor those who hold the values true of whatever religious path they are on and while doing so, I invite and encourage them to come together with everyone else to realize that we are all human and all have the same needs and desires.  What we do in our temples or churches, how we pray and who we pray to, what books we read or even if we don’t believe in God at all, we all have responsibility down here in these physical bodies and the world needs our unified intent and action now more than ever before.

Thelma & Louise: So would it be appropriate to say you are a “lightworker”? Maybe a minister of humanism vs religious-ism?

Nikki: Absolutely.  And in a lot of ways I resonate with pieces of avatarism which is a little more centered around taking responsibility for the entirety of our experience.

Thelma & Louise: Avatarism, can you explain ?

 

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This is what I thought she meant by “Avatarism”- I quickly learned blue makeup was not what she was referring to….

Nikki: My basic understanding of it, is that it is the idea that we are souls in a body interacting with others and that we manifest our experience, including people and circumstances, based on our own vibration and frequencies.  That we can actually have creative control in our own experience and the experience of others who are less consciously creating.  If we are aware of this, we have a responsibility to always first and foremost care for ourselves and our vibration and get ourself right with the universe and then consciously co-create with others, whether they are aware of it or not, for the greatest healing possible now and moving forward to create a joyful human experience for everyone.

Thelma & Louise: Got it. Avatarism= transformationalism (but without the blue leotard)

Nikki: Yes ☺starting inside and working your way out to transform everything, including yourself, into something more serving of humanity as a whole.  All inclusive so that each being has their own ability to live a life of fulfillment.

Thelma & Louise: You have vowed to only live on the donations you receive for the work that you do. That is a very risky undertaking, How does that work? Do you live minimally? Does it ever become difficult to get your own needs met with this lifestyle? Can you tell us more about that?

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Nikki: I went into this heavily influenced by the Burning Man community and the desire to bring the Gift Economy to the mainstream. I had lived various periods of my life as a teenager on the streets in perceived lack, poverty, challenge and vulnerability and had experienced times in my life as an adult where I was so financially abundant that I had total and utter financial freedom.  I knew that it would be something that was ‘risky’ in terms of what the patriarchal system had created and programmed us into.  I also had faith that if I was in alignment with the Divine, I would be supported by the Divine, so I took the leap of faith and went all in, giving up EVERYTHING and putting myself out there publicly in any way I could be of service to another.

Fast forward to today, and yes, I have maintained my integrity of living minimally to set an example and lighten my load.  My beloved and I own very little and the majority of it is spiritual, esoteric and philosophical books, and other than that we have a suitcase of clothes and our backpacks.

We don’t use credit cards, as we just didn’t feel in alignment with that in regards to what we were trying to live, embody and teach, so everything has to be manifested if it’s meant to be. Right now we have been gifted a room in someone’s home that truly believes in what we are doing and wishes to support us in a way that is in alignment with us all.

Although there have been times of challenge, I’ve really grown past the point of seeing them as a negative experience.    Mostly, our experience has been seemingly miraculous and through the course of this adventure, we have experienced being asked to come do ceremony or simply be present in someone’s home to bring ceremony or help them align their lives in a more spiritual way, offer our healing and so forth and this has kept a pretty consistent roof over our heads with occasional times we would not have that and take the time to go camp in nature or get a private hotel or air-bnb to just be in our own energy and catch up on blogs, etc.

Through our Social Media, a lot of people have been following the story.  I’ve found that a lot of people that follow us feel like helping us along the way or inviting us to them, they are already a part of the story and so many have chosen to contribute to keep us going.  I know in my heart, and have received as feedback, that a lot of people just feel grateful to witness our adventures, our love and commitment to a dream and so contributing in some way or another makes them feel like they are sharing in that dream as well.  That feeling in them is what brings them to a place of inviting us, donating to us and gifting us things that has lead to us living a minimal life in the perception of many but an abundant life to our hearts and souls.  

Thelma & Louise: You meet a lot of people and have made it your life’s work to contribute to helping other’s succeed. In your work, what is the one thing that you believe stops people from living out loud?

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Nikki: I truly believe that it is actually our fear of how GREAT we are and just how much we’ve been capable of all along that we fear. In that realization we are forced to face how small we’ve made ourselves and how disempowered we have allowed ourselves to be.  It’s hard to face difficult truths like that about ourselves but, on the other side of those fears are our authentic greatness and fullest expression of the divinity within.

Thelma & Louise: In your pre-interview you shared that you had spent years producing horror films. That’s a major turn from the work you are doing now. Talk about heading into fear only to kick it on its face! Can you tell us a bit about that journey and what you learned about fear and how it plays into our lives negatively?

Nikki:  I had a rather dark childhood that culminated into quite a bit of depression and anxiety as a young adult, even a period of agoraphobia, as a young adult. I ended up married to a childhood sweetheart that faced a lot of similar but not identical challenges and the two of us were coming out of the punk and gothic scenes. I believe in a lot of ways it was therapeutic for both of us, however, it didn’t resonate with me when I really started focusing on inner healing.  I suddenly wanted to be lighter and freer and started seeking more within myself and realizing that I didn’t want to be focused on blood and guts and that if I had the power to influence others, why not do it in a more positive way?

I actually was involved with groups that were helping create more opportunities for women in film, behind the scenes and in greater roles in entertainment to create a more equal and balanced voice in that industry, but, eventually I needed more and the farther I dove into finding my most authentic expression, I understood that film and television would probably be a part of that but I had an even larger mission here and so I shifted.

It resulted in the end of that marriage, although we are still friends and co-parents and I still love him as a brother and friend, and I met my current beloved while I was stepping out of that community and into the spiritual and conscious communities, learning and expressing as a more healed and authentic version of myself.  The stories and koans of horror are very real, for the most part, I just felt that it was also exploiting women in ways that I didn’t feel reflected my new path.

Thelma & Louise: What is one tip you can give our readers on how you have approached courage?

Nikki: Being courageous doesn’t mean you don’t have fear.  I have countless fears a day!  I simply keep going and abolish them and anything that comes up that I have to face, I just remember that no warrior, change maker, or hero has ever existed without some measure of resistance.   Courage to me simply means stepping beyond the veil of fear to keep going regardless of what it seems is holding you back or trying to keep you from your goals when you know they are in fact the highest expression of your Truth.

Thelma & Louise: What is your greatest fear that you have conquered?

 

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One of Nikki’s diary entries

Nikki: My greatest fear was dying before I was able to make a noticeable difference in the world.   So, in this  instance, fear literally became my fuel towards living with a positive direction, catalyzing me into greater service instead of allowing it to stunt me on my path.

Thelma & Louise: Finally, What is one of your favorite sayings?

Nikki: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.martin_luther_king_jr

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A lesson from a Scholar (Not Yoda)

A few years ago, I was privileged to produce a wonderful series called “The Search” where I explored the meaning of life with different celebrities, actors, big thinkers and even fellow filmmakers. One day my executive producer called and said he booked me an interview to learn about the meaning of life from one of North America’s most respected and popular poet-philosophers, Noah benShea. Noah is also known for being a scholar, theologian, long range thinker, executive advisor, speaker, and International Best-Selling author. 

Obviously I was about to get a lesson only few are privileged to experience on the meaning of life. It was by far my most memorable experience.

 

 

Once again, to give my readers an impactful experience on the wisdom of living courageously and on battling fear, we are privileged to have Noah benShea contribute to “Thelma & Louise.” If anyone knows a thing or two about kicking fear in the face, it’s definitely Noah!

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T&L: With the ever growing fear based society we live in, i.e., Terrorism, mass shootings, Isis etc..what is one practical thing we can do to combat fear based living and that will transform our society to an inspired one?

Noah benShea:  “PUT YOUR FAITH AND NOT YOUR FEARS IN CHARGE”

 

“Imagine,” said Jacob, “that your life is a wagon, and everything you know about yourself and everything that is yours, is in this wagon.

“Now to pull this wagon, you have been given a team of 10 horses.

“But because all of us have much more fear than faith, let us say that 9 of these horses are horses of fear and only one of them is a horse of faith.

“If you put any of the horses of fear at the front of your wagon, they will give you all the excuses you ever give yourself, or others have ever given you, for why you can’t do something. And the wagon isn’t going anywhere.

“But if you put the one horse of faith at the front of the team, the horses of fear will follow.

“Your fears will be a source of strength to your faith if you put your faith and not your fears in charge.” (Noah benShea, JACOB’S CHILDREN)  

T&L: Do you think fear is learned?

Noah benShea: Fear serves us in many ways. But what serves us can also enslave us. We do not have to learn to be afraid. Neither do we have to learn to be courageous. What we have to learn is when to put one rather than the other at our service. And to do this, learn this: Courage is not the absence of fear but how we struggle with our fears.

T&L: There are so many courageous people that surprise us. Here on Thelma & Louise, we often highlight their heroic approach to life. What is one thing you think makes someone courageous?

Noah benShea:   “WAGE FAITH”

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past.

“If you are anxious, you are living in the future.

“Do not wage war in the now to achieve outcomes out of your control.

“Instead, wage faith.

“And if you say, ‘yes but this takes courage,’ the answer is you are right.

“Now go and do the work.”  (Noah benShea, JACOB’S CHILDREN)  

 

T&L: How do you think fear is manifested? How is courage manifested?

Noah benShea: Almost every act in life is a transactional agreement, a quid pro quo, I give you this; you give me that. Fear is an insecurity based currency. Courage is a faith based currency. It all depends on what you are shopping for in your life, and what you have to pay for it.”

T&L: Who is the most courageous person you have come across, why?

Noah benShea: The most courageous person in my life…were two people – my mother and father. Against all odds and circumstances they were born into… they triumphed.  But in this way. Instead of a life of complaint and anger, they chose to give love, offer hope, and promise better for their children. They chose to be courageous and seed courage in their children. They chose to be loving and nurture loving. They put their faith in an ethical life and raised their three sons in a land where kindness was king.

True words to live by. Now go and Kick the Ass outta fear. We pass the throne over to you, the readers.

– Thank you Yoda…I mean Noah.

Happy Weekend to all!

 

*Noah also uses his insight to help many people on a spiritual journey and aid in their recovery to addiction. To learn more about his work head over to Heroes in Recovery– A place where incredible people are facing their fears and overcoming adversity every day.

 

Miraculous Living

Dedicated to my Uncle David who never seizes to positively live by miraculous thinking. 

Are miracles real? Or are we just fools hoping to achieve an impossible outcome that might beat the odds? Are we truly meant for greatness that can excel past the doubts and natural order we are accustomed to? Were we ever meant to live in a confined configuration, or were we meant to birth the miracle that overcomes sickness, and other overwhelming odds just by believing in them?
On the one hand, our life has natural order, and there are only few possible options and outcomes to our struggles. Sometimes the outcomes are grim. They are in alignment with the statistics and symmetry that we are born into this natural world with. At the same time, we have this pulsating knowledge that has never been proven only witnessed sparingly that there’s a larger story at work here. That we are capable of tapping into this infrastructure of energy that is beyond equalizing figures and above our comprehension. So which is it? Are we bound to nature or are we capable of miracles? 

As my daughter reminded me, to see something is not the same as believing, because if we were seeing it, we wouldn’t have to believe. But why were we given this constant very frustrating exercise- That we only get the privilege of seeing but not of believing as part of our natural muscle?

During this time of year, we contemplate our ability to see the impossible dreams that create our miracles. We look past the natural and demand something more. In this bright hour, we yearn to see the miracles that we believe this world is capable of giving us. I think the reason we were given doubt is for one reason and one reason alone. If we were sure of miracles, they wouldn’t be called miraculous. If we were positive that another Higher Energy existed all the time, we would never struggle or yearn for greatness. There is something magical that happens to the human being when we are in struggle. We hope. We imagine. We create.

Visualize a world where hope does not exist. We would never try or yearn or reach. We would never be challenged or strive for more. We would become completely comfortable with mediocrity.
Hope has the ability to propel our struggle into initiation. It gives us the ability to get outside of our comfort zone and realize that today, while the moment feels grim and while we might even feel angry or frail by the uphill battle our lives are now taking, we are far from helpless. We have hope as our guide to see us out of these dark moments. We have hope to light the path of the unknown and realize a new future, a different future, a future that has the opportunity to connect with others. A future that has the possibility to realize things about ourselves and our loved ones we never tapped into or even knew existed. A miraculous future we know nothing about. Yet. 

The problem with believing in these “miraculous outcomes” is that we risk it all. We risk our expectations getting crushed. We risk becoming more crushed than we started. I have heard people say, “Why bother risking the better outcome, when I can remain comfortable with the knowledge of the outcome I have already become accustomed to? It’s too scary!” 
Really though? Are we seriously comfortable with this troubled outcome right now? Because we know we’re not comfortable at all- we are down right flipping unsettled, frustrated and frightened all the time! Here’s a thought, It’s more scary to not dare at all. Its more scary to stay in that horribly negative and frightening place- THAT is what’s scary. 

Here’s what happens when we dare. We create NEW outcomes. Miracles are those moments that happen that we least expect, but they are also the moments that we drive. A miracle is that incredible split second that our hopes and dreams morph into a reality. Some would call it that spark inside our souls that now wishes to touch us with physical effort. Others would call it a mystery. And still others might call it a coincidence, or a colliding of happenstance. Either way, I’d rather live foolishly knowing that my sensation for wonder is a muscle I wouldn’t give up for the world, because it means I have the ability to realize my outcome especially in those moments when I don’t feel like that outcome is tangible.

So no, I don’t think we were meant to live in a “confined configuration.” I think we were meant to seek something more despite the “confined configuration.” For to realize our potential is to become capable beings who can create possibilities and outcomes we never imagined, but that we set in motion unconsciously. The power of the miracle is our ability to reach outside ourselves and presuppose a new outcome. The power of the miracle gives us back our trust. The power of the miracle gives us back our confidence. It takes away our anger. It holds us accountable. It aspires us to live awake. It has no room to allow us to live alone. It creates capabilities inside our hearts we unveil through aspiration and desire that creates possibility. The power of the miracle is way too important to dismiss, way too important to dissolve and so important to notice. Today, and just for today, try hoping for a miracle. Try imagining. Try reaching. Try risking it all. Try DARING. See what happens.

Who Is A Hero?

Maybe it’s Someone willing to use their bad day as an experience versus an excuse.

Maybe it’s someone willing to fight when the rest of us are ready to give up.

Maybe it’s someone smiling in the storm.

Maybe it’s someone holding up the ones about to fall.

Maybe it’s someone willing to sing between the rain drops.

When a hero appears- our knees-about to buckle suddenly stand a little taller- we slump a little less and see a bit brighter.

Every one of us have the power to be heroic- all we need to do is believe it in ourselves.

Do you have a hero in you?

Find her- she’s rising-

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The Ninja

Here’s a post from my incredible baby sister. We are eighteen years apart. I am clearly the younger looking one. I couldn’t be more proud of her for writing this post. It is DAYUM GOOD. So what if I had to drug her to get it! – Chava (Otherwise known as Thelma)

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THE NINJA

By, Rocky Shallman

They say they give the difficult struggles to the toughest warriors right? Well than i must be one mother freakin ninja! Despite just getting my entire throat cut out thanks to my lovely ENT doctor who decided this after one time too many battles with strep. Everyday I live with a kidney disorder called FSGS.

Thats short for focalsegmentalglomeularscleroris.

Now try saying that 10x fast. Its disorder that not many people know of.  For one, you don’t hear that name being thrown around. I mean between the Kim Kardashian proposal of the century and Miley Cyrus twerking , its difficult to fit that big ass word in there. This disease is a difficult one though, they call it a silent killer. It has to do with having small tears on my kidneys which leak out stuff well that just should not leak out. So when that starts to leak out, I start retaining fluid which makes me look like a little blown up jellybean. (Yes i used jellybean, it felt right being its halloween and all). Everyday I wake up and take a really small white pill that keeps my blood pressure low and my kidneys all in tact.  Most days I feel great, and I don’t even know I have this little challenge.

I’m not one for exposing myself like this, but lately I’ve decided that instead of pretending this all doesnt exist,  I should embrace it. I should just embrace the crap out of it. So I guess thats my big fear. The fear of waking up everyday thinking are my kidneys going to stop working and which assholes in my family am I going to steal one from? Eventhough I know I would never have to steal cuz they would all give one up in a heart beat. Everything I’ve been through in my life has given me a reason to be scared of at least one thing. But today’s the day that I decide that instead of being scared , I  should just embrace it.  Embrace it all.   Cause at the end of the day all you have is the story that God wrote for you to show off to the world.
Now lets hope these pain killers wear off before I decide to send this to my sister”s blog for the whole world to see.

(Too late Rox, You are a warrior, and I’M SO FLIPPIN PROUD OF YOU!! Love, Thelma)