Finding Joe. Finding Me.


Finding Joe~ A Review

There is one story within all stories, and in the documentary, Finding Joe we, for many of us, rediscover it is what Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey.

It seems since What the Bleep there have been several documentaries which try and do what Bleep did: have a cast of  experts in their fields and spiritual teachers speaking in between a story line of some kind. For me, no other documentary did as well as Bleep until I watched Finding Joe, a documentary about Joseph Campbell, but more about The Hero’s Journey.

While watching, this theme of The Hero’s Journey hit home. I’ve been living my own hero’s journey, which goes something like this~

First, there is a call to adventure. For me, this was to abandon my cul-de-sac life in the suburbs for another lifestyle on the island of Maui. From here, there is a series of events—a meeting of obstacles, which test the core of who we are and everything that surrounds that core. Again for me, I never made it Maui, but instead met many monsters and dragons upon my path.

Upon facing these dragons, there comes a point when we begin to make a turn, essentially we come back to tell of our adventure and what we have learned. Finding Joe tells us that it is better to have a story than an explanation. The story is the gift.

Finding Joe is also a gift for those who watch. I promise it will speak to you wherever you are on your Hero’s Journey. Here are the insights I had while watching:

  • It confirms The Hero’s Journey is an inner one where we confront our inner barriers and claim our inner resources–and on this journey we are seeking to go beyond illusion to what is real and true. This is the most heroic journey we will ever take. 
  • It reminds that on this journey we must allow ourselves to keep dying and unfolding, and transcending the worst that has happened to us. This is how we evolve.
  • It reveals new questions to me in regard to following my bliss: What makes me different and what were the things I wish I did? It reveals a question about where I find myself presently: Why would I build this current situation I am in, and then look at it and say—I can’t. In asking this question, I realize I can’t give up. I must move forward despite my fear and continued unknowns upon my path.
  • I gain awareness of what my biggest fear is at this time: What if I am left out. What if I don’t matter. Within this awareness is also the wisdom, strength, love, patience that I have gained so far upon this Hero’s Journey and I can use all of this to knock that dragon out.

Are you living your Hero’s Journey? See if you can’t find what your holy grail is—what is your call to adventure? Have you had this call? Are you ignoring it? See if you can find the arc of your story. Where are you in it? What dragons have you met? What dragons do you fear you will meet? What treasures? Lessons? Gifts? And, how can you express this story and change lives? 

To learn more about Finding Joe, go to the website.

To be a fan, like their Facebook page. 

To order the DVD go to amazon.

If you’ve seen the documentary or have a Hero’s Journey of your own, please share here.

The Soul Reporter




Review: Extreme Makeover Home Edition Premier

Extreme Makeover Home Edition is going to the White House for its season premier. No, the White House does not need a makeover, but they are enlisting the help of First Lady, Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama has several interests as First Lady, but the two she is probably most recognized for are bringing real food to our lunch and dining room tables, and supporting our veterans……So- Michelle, meet Barbara Marshall, a 15 year servant of the military, and now serving other military women who have returned to no homes and no jobs.

Barbara runs Jubilee House, a transition house for homeless veterans and their children. Homelessness, she says is an unbelievable problem, and Jubilee helps to re-build the self-esteem and lifestyle that was lost after their experiences of war, and returning home. Barbara’s mission: to never have to turn away any woman for lack of room, and to bring the home to a state worthy of these women.

Heeding the call is Ty, and his team- and wait until you see his team. I’ll just say it is a team worthy of these women. Ty’s mission: to change the structure of the home, but the Spirit needs to remain the same. Sometimes for a structure to change, extreme measures are taken, and to change this structure was not only extreme, but innovative and inspirational.

What I love most about this episode is the attention to detail given- not only to the home, but for the people inside it. What is the saying…the love is in the details? Maybe I just made that up, but either way, it is true. I will try to hold back my excitement and share only a few of those details. One such detail is the limousine, which picks up the Marshall family and takes them to Disney World, where they get to forget their responsibilities and have some much needed fun- and have a few surprises along the way.

And speaking of surprises- if you think the First Lady’s appearance is special, so is the appearance from a well-known entertainer. When she heard about the project, she wanted to show her support. And that’s all I will say about that.

When the Marshall family returned, and saw what awaited them, Barbara said, “It feels like my inaugural moment.” How right she is. This is a moment fit for the hero she is. The house was not only restructured to open space for many more women and children, those details of love were everywhere, from the handwritten letter by Mrs. Obama encased in glass on Barbara’s desk to a mosaic of pictures of military women depicting the American Flag. Even Barbara’s son, a young man who loves marching bands had a unique room of his own filled with a marching band. Seriously….watch the episode. Oh, and two more reasons to watch….What in the world is a vegitube? Soon I see every kitchen having one- and you will be amazed at Ty’s challenge for the design team, which arrived in a crate dropped by a military plane.

After this extreme makeover, Jubilee House showed no signs of what it was before. The Spirit, however remains the same.

Season Premier airs on Sunday, September 25 7/6c on abc.  

>Older Than America


This weekend, I had a full circle moment with filmmaker, Georgina Lightning. We first met in 2008, in a Minneapolis coffee shop where I interviewed her for Minnewood, an independent film on-line resource. She was in Minnesota promoting her film, Older Than Americawhich she filmed in Northern Minnesota. I found her strength and focus captivating and her vision prophetic. Three years later (this weekend), when I finally saw her film, and met her again I was reminded again of her captivating strength and focus and prophetic vision, which has now become a movement.

Her film, Older Than America tells of the atrocities, which occurred in boarding schools where American Indian children were taken from their families and traditional ways to be “reformed” into white, Christian culture. The ramifications of this “white washing” are still occurring. When asked, last Friday what the numbers are that were killed or committed suicide by the take-over which occurred, Georgina said, the numbers continue to rise, the genocide continues with deaths from drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide.

There were moments in the film where I felt a primal wound within myself wrapped in intense grief and pain, and I realize how important Georgina’s work is. Through her film, and the documentaries she is working on now, she is bringing to the surface this wound, that I believe is within us all, a wound that must be healed if we as an American culture are to evolve to our full capacity. So much talk about “American Pride-” how can we be proud knowing what was done to our most Native of people and ways that are “older than America.”  Imagine our America if the ignorance, arrogance and fear was not acted upon, but instead there was an embrace to learn from and accept those that were called, “savages.” Personally, I cannot be prideful until this atrocity is fully recognized and the people are fully realized back into their traditional and spiritual ways.

The deeper I travel into my soul, I find a longing to reconnect with the tribal aspect of myself. The self that is rich with knowing of both earth and sky. The wisdom which is always present, but has been suffocated by religion and greed and fear and ignorance; of people believing they understand they know more than the nature of this earth and our souls.

This is the repost of my interview with Georgina. If you feel moved, I hope you will purchase the DVD, go to the site and find ways to support and where the film might be showing, and if nothing else, send light and love to this buried wound, and see it surfacing to be healed so this country and its people can be restored- and connect with your tribal self. It knows and trusts the mystery.

Hidden Wounds 

By: Nikki Di Virgilio
Published: December 2nd, 2008

If you are in tune with the vibe of our nation right now, you can sense a shift of consciousness. This shift comes with messages of hope and alliance, attractive notions to many of us. However, this change can’t happen if healing and forgiveness of our wounds does not occur.

Georgina Lightning, actor and now director, is heeding the call to do her part in the healing of America. In her new movie, “Older Than America,” she is bringing to the surface a forgotten wound many of us don’t even know about. It occurred during the cultural genocide of the American Indian, where young, Indian children were taken from their homes and families and moved into boarding schools, where they could be “white-washed,” living in a culture where “Kill the Indian, save the man” was the running theme.

Through the character of Rain, played by Lightning, an Indian woman who experiences visions from the past, we catch glimpses of the atrocities, which occurred at these boarding schools, and the ramifications they still hold for those who were there and the culture as a whole. Lightning knows the ramifications firsthand. She was born into a family of survivors of these schools, including her father, businessman and Cree Indian George De Jong, who was institutionalized from age 6-18 and committed suicide when Lightning was 18.

Lightning’s intentions for her movie are clear: For both Indian and white culture to acknowledge what was done in the past, so healing can take place for themselves and each other. This healing is necessary for the Indians of yesterday and the children of today to return to their traditions and ceremonies, which are “Older Than America”.

This healing process has already begun. The Prime Minister of Canada issued a public apology to the world for what occurred in the boarding schools, and as the film tours various film festivals, it closes with standing ovations and people telling Lightning their own stories of hardship and gratitude for her efforts in sharing this tragedy.

The movie took three years to make and it’s constantly evolving. The movie continues to tour film festivals, picking up awards along the way, including “best director”. Lightning is a woman with vision and purpose. Filmmaker magazine has named her one of 25 new faces in independent film and she intends to open up the doors for women, minority women in particular.

Lightning was born in Canada. When she was 10-years-old, she saw her father stirred, while watching television and understood, at a level she couldn’t explain, the power of film and how it can touch people. She moved to Los Angeles to receive training and pursue a career in acting. Frustrated with the lack of roles and opportunities for Indians, she wanted to do something different. She became an acting coach, working on various sets. While doing so, she watched the producers and directors, saying to herself,
“I can do this.”

Lightning is also a dedicated mother of three children: Cody, Crystle and William, all artists forging forward in their purpose, just like their mother. She is a definite woman to watch. Lightning believes in the power of media, a woman who will always convey resonant messages with her work.

In December, Lightning will be leaving snowy Minnesota ,where she has been for the past 18 months, filming “Older Than America” on the Fond-du-Lac Indian reservation, and return to sunny California.

There will be a screening of her movie on February 5, 2009 at Augsburg College, and there are
plans for a regional theatrical release, DVD release and, perhaps, a television opportunity. The film is 103 minutes.

For information about her production company visit:

>Review: Secret Millionaire


Break out the tissue- seriously, for Secret Millionaire, the new series premiering on ABC, Sunday March 6, 8/7c  

Just when I thought I couldn’t take one more reality show, Secret Millionaire reveals an entirely new expression of reality television.  I first “met” Dani Johnson, the first millionaire who goes undercover in an impoverished neighborhood, on The Oprah Show.  Dani, who at 21 was homeless, began a business in the trunk of her car, making her a millionaire two years later. Her mission on Secret Millionaireto live in a community outside of Knoxville, Tennessee and find people there, making a difference. The secret: no one knows she’s a millionaire.

The first people she meets, are Helen and Ellen. Two twins that make your heart smile- instantly. They run The Love Kitchen, where they feed and clothe the homeless and unemployed.  This Oprah episode touched me, but I wasn’t sure I’d tune in.  But, I’m glad I did. It isn’t often television, especially reality shows inspire me, at least inspire me enough to want to get up off my couch and REALLY make a difference, but this show has heart.  Lots of it, and I’m impressed for many reasons.  Where do I begin?

I’m sure you have noticed the manipulative drama on many reality shows, even on shows like American Idol.  The music playing along with the snide expressions. The exaggeration of events and conflicts. How refreshing then, to watch a show that is drama-free. A show about humanity, at its best.  Also, a show about communities at their worst. 
Today, I saw hope. ~Dani Johnson
In the beginning of the first episode of Secret Millionaire, we see Dani driving through Western Heights.  It is a town full of abandoned buildings, and schools no longer teaching children.  It is a forgotten neighborhood, and it shows on the faces and behaviors of  some of its residents. Drugs and prostitution infiltrate its abandoned state. Seeing communities like this is as important as seeing the generosity, which comes later.  Perhaps, a side-benefit of Secret Millionaire is to expose the dark corners of our country and bring to light what happens when the people feel impoverished and abandoned.  
In the meantime, Dani discovers three organizations shedding light in creative, loving ways.  The first, are those gracious sisters, Helen and Ellen in The Love Kitchen. They live by their father’s teachings: “There is one race- the human race.”  And to leave the last piece of bread because you never know if someone is going to need it.  And plenty do, and they feed them well. Dani, also discovers The Joy of Music, a program providing a space for children to explore and nourish their musical talents. The third organization is, Special Spaces. They design dream bedrooms for children who are sick.  
Dani is touched, moved to tears often by the stories, some of them allowing her to heal some of her old wounds.  There are so many facets to this series. Almost too many to mention. There is a transformative power for the giver and the receiver and all of those present, including us, the viewer.  It’s about seeing everyone, not just the celebrities, the rich and affluent. It’s about hearing everyone’s wisdom and stories, not just the educated and the “experts” in their fields.  The show made me realize, we ALL deserve time, attention and love. As Dani says, “We idolize all the wrong people.”  
I hope that this series equalizes us. I had a bit of money for a while, and one of the lessons I learned, is with money, it’s easy to buy a world you can create that is comfortable.  It’s nice, but isolating.  If you feel a little guilty for being a “have” versus a “have not” you can write a check and go back to your comforts. However, this series shows how we can level that playing field.  We can get out there and get our hands dirty, expand the “millionaires” world and find real connection.  Begin to see everyone as one, not separate or less than. We see that everyone, as the twins said, has the power to “put a spark” in each other’s hearts.  
At the end of Dani’s week, I loved watching her sign her own checks to give to each one of the organizations where she volunteered.  100K total. What satisfaction that must bring. As she handed each one a check, I could feel not only their gratitude, and of course shock, but the relief of years of carrying such a responsibility. Of giving such an effort for others, risking everything for a mission, and to finally be seen, recognized and rewarded.
I love this show. I believe it shows us a new reality. A more generous, real, down to earth reality, where we understand we have the power to make a difference, if we just as Dani said, “Get on the ground, and give what you got.” And we don’t have to be millionaires to do it. 
Tune in, Sunday March 6 and be a part of an inspiring movement of awakening, compassion and heart.  
To see the trailer, and for information on the series, the millionaires, the charitable organizations and how you can get involved in your community, visit the ABC, Secret Millionaire site.