James Ward’s Incredible Story

Links To Stories

James Ward’s Incredible Story

Meet James Ward.  He went from being homeless and living in a mission, to attending Howard University. His story and the above Tumblr page created to raise funds to pay for his tuition, has gone viral.

It’s a moving story, and I could not be happier for James.

But what sticks out in this story is the role that Jessica Sutherland played.  Although she does not take credit, and recognizes that James is the one that has done all the hard work, I cannot help but wonder how different his story would have been had he not met Jessica.  Given his clear intelligence, I do not doubt he would have made something of himself somehow.  But I do wonder…

I know that I do not know the whole story, and I do not know Jessica, but I do have to ask — was Jessica, James’ living proof?  There’s something there. I know there is.  And I plan to try to find out.

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Inaugural Interview: Lewis Harry Spence

Video Project

I am honored to introduce to you, Lewis Harry Spence.

Harry, who I’ve known for a little over a year now, is a large part of the reason why this site exists. He was the first person I officially considered to be “living proof”.   After every cup of coffee I had with Harry, and the more I learned about him, the more I wanted to share his story with people I knew would benefit from knowing him.  And I am beside myself to be able to do that with this project.

For me, Harry is living proof that it’s not about what you do, it’s about how you approach what you do – the principles and values that you live by.

Some highlights that still speak to me:

  • “there’s sort of a notion that by 25 you’re grown up, and I deeply believe that is a terribly stilted notion about development. I hope I have grown dramatically over the course of my 30s and 40s and 50s. And I do believe I am a very different person that I was 25 or 30 years ago. That there is a continuous process of social learning that is profound and powerful.”
  • “it’s so easy to fool yourself.  It’s so easy for your ego to fool you into believing you’re doing the righteous thing. When in fact it’s more about you than it’s about the task and about the needs of others.”
  • “I can now say, in many ways, my work is itself a spiritual discipline.”
  • “Even between 56 and 66, the sense of sustained equanimity keeps increasing. But it constantly requires lots of discipline and lots of learning.”
  • “It’s all about where my focus is.  Is it on my well being or is it external – on trying to bring myself in support of the needs of the world? And if I can stay in that space…and it’s a struggle…if I can stay in that space, then that’s  a space in within which great and immense satisfaction and sense of meaning arises.”

I hope you’ll take the time to watch the video. I assure you it will be worth your while.

No words suffice in expressing my gratitude to Harry for making his story so accessible to me, and now to you… and any one who has the pleasure of stumbling upon this video.

And it begins…

My Journey

After 6 months of over-thinking, stalling, and more stalling, I am finally posting my inaugural video for the Living Proof Project.

The idea for this project came to me when I went back to school in 2009.  In school and since, I’ve had the chance to meet people whose stories were proof to me that the life my heart was telling me I could live, could actually be lived.  Meeting people who had courageously charted a unique career path, who took an idea and made it into a business, to witnessing what a healthy and loving relationship looks like – their stories were proof of what I only imagined was possible.

This project came to life upon realizing that just by having access to real, very human stories, I could start to believe that I too can do the same. Hence, the name  – “the living proof project”.

This site is for those who are seeking. This site is for those who need that extra nudge to pursue what their heart is telling them.  This site exists to light a fire with the embers that are flickering in your gut.  This is a project to show you that if there is a vision you have for the future that you are itching to make into a reality, there is someone out there who is living proof that if they can do it, so can you.  And I believe that in the end, you’ll find that it’s never about the details.  The secret to their success lies in their courage and how they chose to approach their lives.

As will become clear when you hit play for my first three interviews, I have never used a camcorder before nor have I ever interviewed anyone. My questions aren’t perfect.  I interrupt with my loud laugh.  You’ll hear me “mm hmms” often.  And since I definitely don’t know how to edit videos, for now, the videos here are the long, uncut, full-length versions.  But I didn’t want to let those details stop me.  It is my hope that those shortcomings won’t keep you from connecting with the powerful stories that these individuals were courageously willing to share.

Mixed with these interviews, will be snippets of my own stories, and stories I find on the internet that align with the vision for the LP project. And at first, the interviews will be with people whom I know personally. Their stories may not speak to you as they still speak to me, but this is just the beginning.

The idea is to make accessible stories that one would typically disregard as being unattainable – to show you that you too can do the same. When I say “do the same”, I do not mean make the same choices and live the same life, I mean writing your own story.

For those who are seeking, feel free to share your story with me and the kind of “proof” you are seeking, and I will do my best to find living proof for you.  For those of you have a story that you wish to share, or if you want to interview someone who has been “living proof” for you, email me and we’ll publish it on this site.

My email:  mo @ thelivingproofproject.org.

And without further ado… let the concept that I dreamed of, which I had the courage to realize because of the people you will soon meet…. now commence.