Based in Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas, Mike currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Pure Charity, a nonprofit dedicated to building world class technology solutions for Nonprofit Organizations, individuals, and Community Advocacy.

At what point do you really start to notice?

This past year has been…shall we say…hmm…”revolutionary.” No, that doesn’t seem to fully express it…maybe “earth-shattering.” That’s a little closer, but still is not capturing it…

Actually…as I think about it, this past year has been about much simpler things. It feels like it has been a process in just becoming aware.

I know that doesn’t sound like a revolution or an earthquake, but I do know that the effects of this “awareness” have been much more profound.

Everyday I seem to meet someone new with a similar story, a new idea or a different angle on something I’ve always taken for granted. Then my mind races as I try to connect the pieces together…”well, then you should meet so and so” or “did you know that this person was also asking those same questions.” You get the point…

But this past year has not been about me trying to change anything, it has simply been a quest to put people in a room together who maybe would have never had the opportunity to do so (and then me just get out of the way). Actually, I much prefer to listen in. Because when people with like minds and passions share and start to listen…amazing things begin to happen. Things that have the potential to change the world.

What I’ve come to realize is this…all of these things have been going on my entire life. It’s just now that I’ve begun to become aware them.

Which begs the question, “what else is going on that I have yet to discover?”

Sure, I’ve become more aware, but not because I was looking. It has been because my perspective has changed. I didn’t know it was changing, but as I look back I see that it has…radically in some ways.

Here’s the thing…I chose to change my perspective. I wasn’t trying to change my perspective on life or anything like that.

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I just chose to change my physical perspective, and…

I began to see people differently as I looked past their external physical shells and society’s inappropriately placed stereotypes…

I began to see my faith differently as I saw people differently…

I began to see in them what was real…not just what the world saw…

I began to listen more intently at the things they had to say…

I began to feel the things that they felt…

I began to question…

and here’s what I found…

There is truly an image and spark of the divine in every person that I meet.

Regardless of what the world says…it’s there. Trust me, it’s there.

If I believe in a creator, then when I see the creation…how could I possibly overlook the artist’s fingerprints that is responsible? Sure, that image may be tarnish, but it’s still there.

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And so I began to try and find a way…just a small way to draw that image out in the hope that it would shine a little brighter.

In doing that, what I found was something I wasn’t prepared for…what I found was that the image in me began to shine a little brighter as well. Sure it’s still tarnished, but it’s still shining.

Today is a new day…yesterday had it’s share of mistakes, failures and pain but that day is now gone. So today I’ll start with the question, “what is going on around me that I may be missing?” And, if I can’t see it at first, then maybe I’m looking in the wrong place.

Maybe I need to change my perspective again and seek out that tarnished image in the world around me? Seeking out and finding that image with the hope it will shine brightly…because this I know.

It is an image that desperately wants to shine…sometimes it just takes one person to see it and lift it up for everyone around to see.

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(these photos were taken in London from a balcony restaurant…a place of perspective where I could observe but didn’t have to interact. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t go meet this man with the white hair, and I’ve regretted that decision for a long time now. I’ll never forget his face).

Will looking for "crawdads" at Tanyard Creek

Oh my goodness!