Have you ever looked at, or watched someone else at work and thought, “Wow, that person is fully engaged and passionate about what they are doing. They must have really found their purpose in life. They are doing just what they were meant to do.”
Well I have, and lucky for me, I got to see it in one of the friends I cherish most in my life.
I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world with my dear friend and Soulfeast business partner, Caroline. We have often wondered how we got ourselves into certain compromising situations and more importantly, how we were going to get ourselves out! We make fun of each other, we make fun of other people and we most definitely roast ourselves. But mostly, we laugh. We laugh hard, we laugh long, and we laugh until our belly muscles ache.
A little back story on Caroline. She is game for anything. The word "no" is not in her vocabulary. Caroline is a force to be reckoned with - tough as nails, sweet as honey, a gigantic personality, talented businesswoman and a whole 110 pounds soaking wet - literally.
While I have had many an escapade with Caroline; surfing, skiing, shopping, sprinting through airports, eating, drinking (tequila of course), seeing her at work behind the camera is always something I cherish. No matter what task or journey we embark on, it's always an adventure.
A recent photoshoot I assisted her on was no different.
We began the day filling the car with camera bags full of equipment and a variety of duffel bags overflowing with wardrobe options and props. I knew better than to ask why we needed all of this "stuff."
And then...she handed me a fanny pack full of accouterments she was sure I was going to need throughout the day. A fanny pack? Really now. And here I was, thinking to myself, I bet the photographers at Vogue would never EVER consider making their assistants wear a goofy looking fanny pack. Who the hell did she think she was?
Coffee in hand, we were off. Caroline in the driver's seat and the car so jam-packed it was nearly impossible to see out the rear view mirror, let alone any of the windows. Did I mention Caroline also went to race car driving school in Italy and thinks she is a descendant of the Andretti family?
We arrived at the first location and began the job of schlepping all of the bags we packed into the car, out of the car, down a long dirt path, up and over a stone staircase and across a rocky point. I promptly felt the sweat bead up on my forehead. Didn’t she have “people” to do this? And then it dawned on me as I looked down at the fanny pack that had now slid around my waist to the front of my belly - I was the “people.”
We shot for what seemed like days, the hot sun beating down. I watched in awe as Caroline shuffled models around, styled hair & make-up and moved hedges and trees out of the way in order to get the perfect shot. She was truly in the moment. So in the moment, that nothing else mattered – even as she crawled along the ground and rolled in a pile of dog poop. Yes, dog shit. And it wasn't the kind that had been sitting around for days and had time to harden. This dog had just recently left the scene of the crime.
Caroline sniffed the air around her and repeatedly said, “It smells like dog poop. Who stepped in dog poop? No really you guys, who stepped in dog shit?” I looked at her in awe and said, “Well, actually, you did. But you didn’t just step in it, you rolled in it, like really rolled in it.” She gazed down at her shoulder and chest in disgust. Then, she looked at the models, the scenic background and her camera. She took a deep breath and succinctly said, “Well, fuuuck, I guess we can take care of that later,” and promptly trudged off to set up the next shot.
Not even nasty dog crap could deter Caroline from her life purpose – to do something she loves that creates beauty in the eyes of others. There was a lesson in all this stench - when you focus and make decisions based on the things that are most important to you it will lead you to your passions and purpose.
When I saw how Caroline responded to her, uh, "situation," it automatically made me think of the expression, “Actions speak louder than words.” Mahatma Gandhi, in his eloquent fashion said the same expression this way, “Action expresses priority.”
What Caroline had done in that moment of shock and surprise, was to reset, refocus and follow her passion and life purpose, no matter what.
She sure as hell, "got the shot." And I, sure as shit (pun intended), unzipped that fanny pack and handed her a wet wipe.