Press Release

September 17, 2053  Lago Atitlan, Guatemala

 

Today we’re celebrating a landmark day in the life of “Tio Stu”, my “adopted” great uncle.

Tio Stu began to come to Guatemala almost 45 years ago to teach photography to the young people here with Fotokids, the internationally acclaimed school who’s philosophy of growing lives through creative thinking he’s helped expand worldwide. But what he and the school really teaches is so much more than just how to take pictures.

They show us that we have an innate creativity that has the power to change our lives and our world, and create whatever reality we choose to.

My mom, Josepha was one of his first students, and over the many years they’ve become close friends. He says he thinks of mom and all the many young people he works with all around the world as his “adopted family”.

Our people have passed on the knowledge and experiences of our elders through stories for more than a thousand years, and that wisdom has helped guide and shape each new generation.

So on this special day, I’m asking my “adopted Maya” uncle to tell me his story.

 

“First, Tio Stu, why did you choose to celebrate this day here, in Guatemala? You could have held this fiesta at your home in the US, or one of your other favorite spots around the world. Why gather everyone here at your part-time home on Lago Atitlan?”

“This place has a spiritual connection for me and is the place I come to when I want to feel especially connected with the Earth. Many of my family and friends have visited here with me over the years, and they all agree that it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the world.”

That’s no surprise to me. We Maya know that the “Belly Button of the Earth” is located nearby in the center of my home town, Santiago Atitlan.

“Tio, you are a very wealthy man. Tell me the secrets to your success, so that I may do the same for myself and teach my children and the people I love to do the same.”

“Ahh, mi chica, you’re right, I am a very wealthy person. And so are you. And by your question you are showing that you’re already thinking about sharing your wealth.

“It’s true, having much financially is a good thing, because it allows us to share more, do more, give more. The more you give, the more you receive, and you can give only what you have.

“Money allows us to do wonderful things, have wonderful things, experience wonderful things. But you, me, all of us have much more than money.

“We all have the ability to impact people’s lives with our knowledge, our love, our understanding. The more we give, the more we receive. The surprising thing is, what we receive is often of a very different likeness to what we have given, so we don’t necessarily make the connection.

“And it’s not important that we make the connection, only that we give without expectation and receive with gratitude.”

“Tio, you sound like my mother. She always tells me this.”

That smile I love comes to his face and he has a twinkle in his eye.

“Yes, I suppose I do.

“Many people have given me much, sharing their wisdom, their knowledge, their teachings. Through this I learned how to create the life I want to live.

“My financial wealth has come from helping teach and guide thousands of others to create the life they want to live. In turn they are helping thousands more design and live their own ideal lives. And so they pass the same on again.

“There are many ways to give to the world. Examine your heart, your soul, and you’ll know the way that is right for you.

“For me, by partnering with USANA Health Sciences it’s been through helping people learn to build a financial reality that helps them fulfill their dreams and to live a full, healthy, vibrant life by allowing their bodies to perform at their optimum, the way they were intended to.

“I’ve been able to stimulate their hearts and stir their souls by expressing my creative vision through my art, my photography. By sharing this and helping many, like your mother – and you – “ (that twinkle again!) “awaken and expand their own creative vision, I’ve enriched their lives and the lives of the many more they impact.

“You’re realizing that developing and expressing your own creativity in one area of your thinking leads to creative thoughts and approaches to all aspects of your life.

“You’re learning to consciously create your life, and as you’ve heard me say many times before, remember that you’re always learning. By ever learning, growing and expanding our souls and our consciousness we continue to live.”

“So that’s the ‘secret’? Giving is the “secret” to a successful life? Everybody knows that!”

“Well, everybody you know does, since you’ve been surrounded by that concept since you were a little girl.” (I love that when he does that twinkle thing with his eyes – it warms me up inside.)

“So, by giving, you’ve been able to travel all around the world, take trips for months at a time, take all those amazing pictures, meet all those wonderful people who are your friends?

“It’s so amazing that you’re about to do it all again, take a whole year and travel around the world, see all those wonderful places. And I’m so excited that I’ll be coming to join you for a while when we get our school break in November. Spain! Italy! Greece! It’s going to be amazing!

“Thank you, Tio!”

“Travel is an essential part of a complete, rich, meaningful life. the experience of exploration and discovery stimulates our creative energy and causes us to develop a deeper understanding and connection with our world and the many different people in it. Travel expands our minds, our hearts and our souls in ways that we will never shrink back to our former, smaller selves.

“I’ve traveled so many places and met so many wonderful people, I feel like the earth is my home and all its people my family. And being able to enjoy it and share it with the people I love, like you, is what really makes it all worth it! Thank you chica!”

“Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, Tio Stu. I always feel so good when we talk.

“Feliz cumpeaños, Tio. Happy One Hundreth birthday!”

“Thank you, chica. You know what I always say – One Hundred is the new ‘Fifty’. Now let’s go get this party started!”