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Thank You Edinboro

By May 1, 20146 Comments

The past couple days have been amazing. I had the pleasure to speak to the senior graphic design class at Edinboro University and jury their show. The talk I gave was a small and intimate one where I told the story of my highest highs and my lowest lows in my career and life. I even managed to throw in some breakdancing and got a few students up on stage to learn some top rock.

And if that wasn’t enough, the students stuck around for some lucid dreaming discussion. I was told that this was a rare thing for students to stick around like this. Normally they would just leave as soon as the lecture is over.

To be perfectly honest, my talk wasn’t much more than a career story with the ups and downs we all seem to have. But I did get into my depression and my subsequent awakening and new outlook on life.

After the talk I went back to the hotel and just was living in perfect peace. I didn’t care about the past, nor the future. In that moment, as I lie in bed to sleep, I was literally feeling a state of pure joy and love. This is what it feels like to live in alignment with your soul’s true expression. There’s got to be something to the high I feel after a talk, after a musical performance, or breakdance gig. But for me, inspiring others on a deep level seems to be something that moves me like nothing other.

So I relished that feeling.

The next day I had to jury the design show. So much amazing work that it was hard to pick 8-10 to win awards. But I feel like I chose works that were meaningful, useful, well-designed, and inspiring.

Then I had to offer my feedback and critique the thesis work of 24 students.This was great because I got to see the faces of those whose work I just judged and got to understand their motivations, inspirations, and dreams. I could also see their weaknesses, insecurities, and trouble spots. But the thing is, I felt a compelling amount of unconditional love for all of these students.

That feeling of non-judgemental, unconditional love for a stranger you’ve never met is something I cherish. If I could live in a permanent state of this type of love I would!

I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet all the students that I did for each one has their own story and their own path. And it’s amazing to look at them as they present you their thesis work bracing themselves for critique. Yet all I see is a beautiful human being, laced with stresses, hangups, and insecurities yet full of massive creative potential and power.

After the critiques, we handed out the awards to the seniors and it was incredible to see the joy on their faces as they won. Not that winning is everything, but sometimes you need a little validation to help someone move closer to their true purpose in life. I hope I was able to do that for the winners I chose.

After that we had some great conversations at dinner that I’ll never forget. And all the students and faculty that I met, you know who you are, will leave a lasting impression in my heart.

On my way home I drove in silence for at least an hour just savoring the vibration of love in my being.


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Jeff Finley
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