Rich & Yvonne Dutra-St.John of Challenge Day

I had the honor and privilege of interviewing these two wonderful souls for The Courageous Living Program, Rich & Yvonne of Challenge Day. The Challenge Day organization primarily works with youth in schools–and their work, which I’ve witnessed live with young people–is just so fantastically amazing–but the primary way that I’ve worked with them is in their adult Next Step workshops.

Rich and Yvonne spend a lot of time asking people about their dreams, challenging the notion that this is a flimsy place to start. They stand for living big because there are so many opportunities to play a small game, to tell oneself that living the life of your dreams is really an impossibility, and they aren’t people who will validate that kind of thinking. So I was excited to get this opportunity to turn things around and ask: “What are YOUR dreams?”

There is this moment that was so beautifully captured on camera during our interview. Yvonne was sharing that she wanted to sink more and more into being present–to herself, her feelings, the world, the people, all of it. She looked right at me, down into me it seemed, with tears running down her cheeks.

“To just BE,” she said. And then she whispered: “What else is there?”

I felt tears coming to my own eyes, in the midst of this interview. It was this incredibly intimate moment that, when I watch the interview again, I feel as if it was its own small gift. Rich looking at Yvonne, Yvonne looking at me, then Yvonne and I looking over at Rich, acknowledging the BIGness of just BEing, not running the Stories about not enough money or time or not enough good within or not enough good in others or life is hard. Just BEing right in that moment and sinking down into it.

So often we think that to “be in the moment” we need to meditate for a long time, or have this really esoteric practice. I realized during this interview that to “simply BE” in a moment could also happen through the channel of really honest connection with another human being. I felt completely “inside” that moment.

We are so much more alike than any of us can imagine. All of us want simply to be heard, to feel safe, to feel loved, to be accepted and celebrated as we are, to be gently guided.

Experiencing moments like this makes me feel such an immense gratitude swelling through my body, simply for this gift of being alive.