My first company, Iris Arc, provided crystals to Insight Seminars for many years. I’ll never forget getting a call from John-Roger and Russell Bishop (the founder and the creator of Insight, respectively) back in 1979, asking if we could provide the crystal hearts that symbolize the Opening Heart so brilliantly. I was so nervous talking to them but so excited to be a vital part of such a powerful training that had so empowered me and my partner. J-R also graciously allowed us to sell our crystals out of the back of our van at the MSIA Conference for a few years. Our agreement was to tithe back to the Movement. Boy, were we blessed. From these humble beginnings, we built Iris Arc into an international giftware company with 5000 accounts nationwide and INC 500 stature. After 20 years, we decided to sell the company and set sail in new waters.
As I called on Spirit and the Traveler for guidance as to a new direction, I remembered a phrase from my recent ordination blessing: “Be vigilant inwardly for the next direction.” The first inkling I received was to recharge my batteries, as I had been burning the candle really hard in the process of selling the company. I decided to go up to Big Sur and take a workshop at Esalen Institute called “Refilling the Chalice” with Dr. Joan Borysenko, the noted brain scientist. The first evening of her workshop, Joan asked each of us to state our intention for the weekend. I shared with the group that I had several things I wished to accomplish, one of which was greater clarity on what my new work or calling was to be.
At the end of the evening, Joan mentioned that there was wonderful early morning singing that took place at the Immaculate Heart Seminary just down Hwy 1. Five of us got up early in the morning and headed for the seminary. When we got there, the monks were singing beautiful a cappella hymns in a small chapel with great acoustics. We joined in and felt the power of our voices in this resonant chamber. At one point, we stopped singing and a young monk read a passage from scripture that said, “Whenever you ask for something in life, ask for it in the name of Spirit or the Christ.” Then we went back to singing again.
After the service was over and we were winding our way down the hill and back towards Esalen, I said to myself, “Christ, would you please look in on the following things that I would like to take place?” And I proceeded to list my intentions from the night before, including wanting clarification on my new calling.
The day was beautiful and the workshop nourishing, but little did I know what was in store for me when I went to sleep that night. I had an incredible dream where I was providing the finest transformational educators to people seeking greater self-understanding. All the resources they would need to transform their lives were being provided in one location. People were growing and healing, they were happier, relationships were joyful and meaningful, and I was providing a worthwhile and profound service. I woke up with this dream emblazoned in my mind. I felt like I had received a vision directly from God!
That morning I had breakfast with Joan and shared the vision I had received. She loved the idea and said, “I want to be the very first person on your team!” Furthermore, she said that she would help me to sign up other personal development experts whom she knew worked with integrity and heart. I was overjoyed with this wonderful support I was receiving for this divinely bestowed idea.
J-R has always said to lean into things to see what happens. In the weeks and months that followed, I proceeded to contact the expert teachers that Joan had shared with me and many others. Slowly but surely, my vision evolved into a company I initially named Consciousness Unlimited. I remember sharing about my new company with J-R at the Living in Grace Retreat. He seemed positive about what I was doing but didn’t like the name. Frankly, I was really attached to the name. It took me 5 years to take J-R’s advice and change it to BigSpeak and to fully realize that what I had created was a speakers’ agency.
I am extremely grateful to Spirit and the Traveler and to Esalen for contributing an environment where I was able to receive such a profound vision. As important was the focus and follow-through that I brought to the business each day. Some days just moving the company forward an inch or two was a big deal. But, like the tortoise, the slow, steady, intentional follow-through has resulted in BigSpeak being the largest business speakers’ agency in North America, providing individuals with the tools to help them develop as leaders while transforming their organizations into places where the human spirit soars.
My ministry is very much about connecting with people and sharing the tools and resources that will help them live loving, creative lives. Part of my ministerial blessing is “to not get stuck in any one form.” Accordingly, I am currently in the process of writing about how I have invested in myself over the years and the resultant transformation that has taken place. I am so grateful for this opportunity to expand my ministry from being a business builder and sales agent into being the conduit for my flavor of the Traveler’s wisdom.
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