As it goes with moody personalities, this week I fell into a bit of a lowpoint. My partner and I are in a holding pattern of sorts: waiting for events to move—my manuscript (from the editor), another project I’m working on, some professional changes for him, and news on the sale of our home. A lot of balls are up in the air, still being juggled, and I don’t deal well with uncertainty. On Friday, while feeling lost, I came across this random video by a motivational speaker/ former congressman/ DJ named Les Brown. It was exactly the type of inspirational kick-in-the-pants that I needed. It’s a powerful clip, and if you’ve missed it on FB, I’ve reposted it below.

There’s a lot to take away from that man’s experience: on marginalization, on hope, on how much willpower can influence reality. Lessons on how much our confidence and self-worth can affect how others perceive us. We are all connected on deeper levels of thought, instinct and emotion. I’d like to believe that I have a mind capable of that kind of broadening my influence, of shaping my reality, of helping other people shape theirs. I’d like to believe we all have that potential to realize our greatest potential, really, rather than just sleeping through our lives.

The next morning, while buzzing with the afterglow of that speech as well as the adrenaline from a just-completed workout, I stopped off in the restaurant at the hotel where we’re staying to get my daily ritual of eggs, spinach, salsa and meat to go (before heading upstairs to work on Darkness #2, Part I is well out of my hands and almost ready!!!). While I was foraging at the buffet, a young lad sitting with his family looked up at me from his plate of pancakes and said:

“Wow, you’re big!” (I’m not. I’ve actually been cutting my weight and intake quite a bit, though I look very lean now.)

“Thanks,” I said, and went back to collecting my food. When I was leaving I caught the kid staring and gave him a smile, it seemed he had something else to say, as he looked rather puzzled.

“How come you’re not having any pancakes?” he asked.

“Because they aren’t really helpful for building muscle,” I replied. “Meat, veggies, root vegetables and lots of water are ideal. Starch and sugar aren’t.”

I stopped myself there before going into one of my health-nut diatribes, then smiled and made an exit. As I was walking away, I heard the kid asking his mom for a plate of eggs and spinach.

Now I don’t know if he’s going to grow up to be the next Mr. Olympia, or a nutritionist (or a couch potato, even), though children are like sponges, adults too (sponginess in adults requires a bit more soaking in opinions and truths to become less crusty and again malleable), and I believe our small interaction influenced who he might become, and the choices he will make. Words have incredible power, whether spoken or read. They are incantations that change both speaker and listener. While I’m no Les Brown—no we’re not related btw—I am filling more and more the name and identity of Christian A. Brown, and I’m not done showing my greatest self to the world.

Manifest yours, too—it’s not something we should keep to ourselves.

All my love,