Saturday, September 4, 2010

Courtney Milne's Story: Living a Life of Passion

I have enjoyed more than thirty years of photography, traveling the planet and producing books and shows based on my work. You can read more about this on my Biography and Career Highlights pages.

But there was a time I had neither confidence nor success ... in fact it was quite the opposite.

Hitting Bottom
In 1975, following the breakup of my first marriage, I felt as though my soul had been wrenched from my body. I felt completely alone. My job as a media executive gave me little reward. In fact, the pressures were enormous, and the combined personal and business stresses led to a diagnosis of diabetes and depression. I was losing my will to rally back - even my desire to live was waning

One night, after much inner turmoil and sleeplessness, I walked out into a snowstorm in a temperature of -20 degrees Fahrenheit [-30 Celsius]. Without being consciously aware of my destination, I found myself at the edge of the river, only a couple of blocks from my childhood home. I desperately wanted the river to embrace me in its depths, but that night its surface was completely frozen over, so I was thwarted, even in my wish to end it all.

Radical Trust
At 6 AM, the restaurant in the bus depot opened. I tumbled in to escape the storm and ordered a coffee. I sat there, staring into my reflection in the large plate-glass window, the snow swirling outside. It was as if I was looking into a crystal ball. At that moment, something happened that would change my life forever.

I heard an unfamiliar male voice, clear and quiet, inside my head: "If you want to survive, then you must resign your job today, move into the cabin on the edge of town, and photograph bison and northern lights." End of transmission.

The idea was absurd! I had no other source of income. I had student loans to pay, and besides, the little house didn't have electricity or any other source of heat. But, I did it. My Samoyed dog, Sasha, and I moved in during another blizzard a few weeks later. I slept in a sleeping bag on the bare linoleum floor, wrapped around a little catalytic heater in the middle of the room. I was grinning from ear to ear, with Sasha curled up beside me. My career as a photographer was born! My life had a goal.

On Track
Three weeks after that epic move, I had a doctor's appointment to begin insulin injections. Miraculously, my blood sugar levels had returned to normal, and since then, with a healthy diet, ample exercise, and staying aware of my level of stress, I have been living an abnormally happy life!

Clear Road Ahead
It may have taken years for my mission to have complete clarity. But that day, in 1975, I knew I was starting on the right path. Today, I recognize that path has led me full circle - back to myself, and to my own backyard. I'm totally immersed in my Pool of Possibilities project and absolutely loving every moment of it! I am so grateful that I listened to that voice! These days, I always try to pay attention to that now familiar inner voice, which is never far away, now that I am truly connected to my passion.

Sharing the Journey
Wandering through the wilderness and uncharted territory - both outside and inside - has been a fabulous adventure. I have many stories, but the one I have just shared with you is the key to all the others. I am eager to tell you more stories about my extraordinary journey to a passionate life, and I truly hope they will inspire you to find, or enhance, your passion and creativity.

Extracted from Courtney's website. To view, please click here.

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