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Tag Archives: mother

Following Your Bliss

by Gail Mooney
October 8 2010

My mother always used to say that things happened for a reason. If I was bummed out because I didn’t “the job”, her response was always something along the lines of “that wasn’t the job for you – the right job will come along”. It was frustrating advice sometimes because I was looking for sympathy and consolation at those times, but she was right – because that “something else” did come along. But that “something” that was meant to be, would not have happened had I not been expecting it. By knowing that it would happen – I made it happen.

Right now I’m immersed in editing 145 hours of footage.

Tango, Buenos Aires, Argentina

It’s tedious because there’s so much and I want to race to the finish line so that I can share this film with others. But editing isn’t something you can rush through, not if you want to do proper justice to the story.


And in my case I have ten stories to tell – ten unbelievable stories, which leads me to the point of this blog. Looking at the interviews of my subjects has been the bright spot in the process of editing this film. I laugh – I cry and once again I’m humbled and awed by every one of these people. I’m realizing that every one of our subjects has one big thing in common – they are following their bliss. They are doing what they are meant to be doing. And every one will tell you that by doing so – their life is full.

It’s such an easy thing to say or tell someone – “follow your bliss” but for many people, the concept alone is a difficult one to grasp. It’s especially true in our American culture, because we get caught up in what other people’s expectations about life should be. When we are starting out as a young person, we feel pressured to get into a good college – get a job – be a success – many times success being defined as making a lot of money. As we get further down the road of life – there are other influences and distractions that keep us away from what we are meant to do. We are bombarded by so many messages from TV, magazines and advisors with good intentions, that the voice inside us is drowned out by the din of the age we live in.

The most rewarding part of our journey was to meet and spend time with people who had listened to their inner voice and had the courage to follow it. In doing so, they reaped the reward of life itself – the life they were meant to live. And that’s exactly what we did too – tuned out the naysayer questioning the folly of our journey – and in doing so found our own bliss.

A friend of mine tells me I like circles. I suppose I do – I used what my mother gave me, belief in my own convictions, and myself and took off around the world with my daughter to make a film about ordinary people who were doing extraordinary things because they had listened to their own voices. If my mom were alive she would have been thrilled and cheered us along the way. But I know she was there in spirit. Thanks mom – this one’s for you.

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Being Back – The Big Adjustment

by Gail Mooney
September 15 2010

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been back two weeks already.  The time has flown by – a long holiday weekend, an ASMP Board meeting in Philadelphia (American Society of Media Photographers), and starting the daunting task of editing this film.  I guess it’s been good to be busy, pushing me right back into things – kind of like jumping into the ocean rather than going in gradually.  But on the other hand, I haven’t taken the proper time to reflect back on our 99-day journey or to sort out and digest the culture shock of being back.

1.   I miss my daughter.

Erin and Gail, Taj Mahal, Agra, India

We created a close bond during our journey and I feel like I’m going through withdrawal.  We were together 24/7 for the last 3 months – we were either going to become very close or come back never wanting to talk to each other again.  We connected with each other on this trip on many levels, working together, living together, sleeping together and having hundreds of wonderful conversations.  I really miss that.
2.    Reality check.  All the little (and big) things and issues that didn’t get resolved prior to the trip are still there, waiting for my attention.  Everything from computer issues, to driver license renewal to other tasks that had been put on the back burner.
3.    Culture shock.  It’s jarring when you first return to the U.S. after being in third world countries. We are a culture of a lot of excess and abundance and we tend to lose sight of that.  I am much more grateful for what I have and what I really need after these travels. I have a much clearer perspective about what’s really important – and what’s not. The other day, workers started jack hammering on a bridge that was being repaired at the end of my street. It was very early in the morning and for an instant I thought – “I should call someone about them starting so early” and then I thought how petty – I’m already up and it’s no big deal in the scheme of things compared to open sewage running through an orphanage, that we witnessed in Nepal.
4.    TV is too much.  Watching TV is a real eye opener.  Hundreds of channels to choose from loaded with pundits and experts and the shock and awe of reality shows.  Where did all these “experts” come from?  Were they always there or did we invent them to fill the content for 300 channels?  I can’t watch more than 5 minutes of the “news” – what happened to journalism?
5.   Re-connecting.  Resuming relationships with my husband, my friends, my colleagues.  With social media, I felt like I was pretty much always connected but since I’ve been back I’ve felt more disconnected in a way.  People are busy with their own lives and it’s tough sometimes to get real time with people these days.  Social media is one thing but it will never replace a face to face.  It has become more apparent to me how we all live our lives caught up in such a rush – to get to the next day or the next event or whatever, rarely making time for the simple little things in life like just visiting with a friend. We all seem to be so “tuned in” and connected  but are we?

I’m off to start my day, which will be devoted to editing this film.  It will be a necessary and good distraction from the reality of being back.

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10 Lessons Learned

by Erin Kelly
September 13 2010