Steven R. O’Brien is an artist (a writer and actor) and an energetic healer – a man who is fiercely committed to helping people who are willing to help themselves. He does this through art, the power of honesty, and guiding people to the powerful intuitive force that exists within us all.
I discovered Steven and his honest, soulful writings at Rebelle Society, and have been captivated by his work ever since. Steven was kind enough to answer our 7.5 questions for our #SummerOfAwesome, and he really hit it out of the ballpark with his deep and impassioned responses. Enjoy!
1. Who do you think is awesome and why?
To me, the most awesome people are the ones who have the courage to acknowledge and confront their innermost fears so they may follow the calling of their magnificent heart.
We live in a society and culture that puts a premium on excelling and on the quality of courage, yet forgets that without fear there would be no such thing as courage. The awesome people of this world are the ones who can say out loud that they are afraid without shame. They say it to let go of the power it has over them so they can move confidently in the direction of their dreams and highest calling.
We are all afraid. The awesome ones to me do not allow that fear to build up in them silently and strangle their authentic voices. They have the fortitude to be honest to their fears, release them, and find what is most meaningful to them and to live only for that. I find this so uplifting and inspiring.
2. Do you believe in the power of positive thinking and how do you apply it in your everyday life?
Thoughts to me are like the many branches and leaves on a tree. The roots of the tree are what keep the branches and leaves healthy, vibrant, and flourishing. So I like to place my focus on the roots of my life which to me are my beliefs, my values, and my subsequent feelings.
If I am feeling negative, it is an indication that I am afraid. I follow the fear and invariably it leads me to a negative belief I am harboring that is causing a negative reaction in me.
Once I identify it, I ask for the willingness to release it and I turn it over to the universe. This immediately creates an opening in me that is very positive, as well as a feeling of freedom that now has the ability to flow through me organically, instead of constantly attempting to monitor myself and create a positive environment within. It is akin to falling in love with someone.
When you are in love, you don’t have to force yourself to think positively about the other person. It just is there naturally. I do my best to do the same with my inner being and my life. The more I focus on going after what I truly love, the less I have to worry about being positive. This is true freedom to me. It is the foundation from which I want every aspect of my life to flow.
So I guess the short answer is I believe in positive feeling and clearing away any blockage that prohibits that natural flow in all areas of my life.
3. If money and time were no object, what one thing would you love to do?
I recently completed my first feature film called One Night. I wrote it as well as co-starred in it. It took three and a half years to complete, and although the budget was miniscule, my partners and I financed it ourselves so it was very expensive for me.
So far we have not secured distribution for the film and if we do not we will completely lose our financial investment. I am having a hard time completing my second screenplay as a result. I intend on producing it independently yet again and this one has a much bigger budget (relatively speaking) and would require me raising funds on top of the normal timetable of producing a film. So if I had access to unlimited money and time, it would alleviate so many problems I am facing. I would be completely free to write and produce any film my heart and imagination could conceive of without any limitations of budget or shooting days. This would be absolute heaven and any filmmaker’s dream.
So much energy and time is spent on things that are not “creative” but necessary that the joy of creating something because you simply wish for it to exist in the world gets lost. I would love to be able to sit before an empty page and allow my spirit to write a story I want to tell and be able to shoot it completely without financial limitations. That would truly be a joy.
4. What’s the biggest struggle you’ve dealt with and how did you overcome it?
My biggest struggle has been in letting go of harboring a victim mentality and accepting complete responsibility for every single aspect of my life. This has been an immense challenge. I have suffered abuse and trauma in my life (haven’t we all on some level?) and it has been very difficult to drop the word blame from my vocabulary. It is so easy to point the finger and say, “If so and so had not done this and that to me, my life would be great and I would have no problems,” which simply is not true.
It has taken a tremendous amount of self-examination and spiritual work to begin to acknowledge that I have a part in everything that happens to me. Pointing the finger and blaming others and circumstances has only kept me enslaved to my past and to others. Ironically, it is by seeing my part in every thing that has finally set me free.
5. What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
This thought – I have traveled from all that is, the great creator, to take this specific form, so I must have made that journey for a reason, right? I must have come all this way and taken human form so as to accomplish something, yes? I mean, I didn’t just come here to pay rent, work a job that I don’t really much care for, buy some stuff, and then die, did I? I truly don’t think so.
So I really, really want to fulfill the reason I took the time to manifest into living breathing flesh. I want to know in every pore of my being what I came here to do and do only that with every ounce of myself. It has taken me 46 years to discover what that is and to finally have the courage to begin to do it. This and a very hot cup of coffee gets me up and at ‘em in the AM.
6. What is the best compliment you have ever received?
I was talking with my friend Nadia once, sharing some painful truths I had uncovered about myself. She suddenly put her hand to her heart as tears jumped into her eyes and said, “You are such a good person with such a good heart.” She said it so simply and with such truth, it really, really affected me deeply. It stopped the negative self-talk and self-hatred I was experiencing in the moment and really helped open a door inside me to start believing that this is indeed true. Sometimes we need to have our authentic selves reflected back to us by others in order to see ourselves clearly. I don’t think there is a better compliment any of us could ever receive than that.
7. What is your best summer memory?
There was a lake that my friends and I would go to every summer in our teens and early 20’s. We would load up the car with beer and our barbeque and leave at 6 AM and spend the whole day into early evening there. It was a magical place. We never did much of anything there beyond the usual stuff like volleyball and swim, but there was such a peace there. We all felt it. We related to each other with such ease there. We allowed our shells to crack open and let ourselves and our spirits take a deep breath. It was a tangible thing that we all experienced.
I look back on those days as some of the best days of my life, me with my friends being my true self with their true selves. For some mysterious reason, that lake was the enchanted elixir that allowed us to drop our macho Queens, NY tough guy armor, and allow us to drink in the sun and each other, if only for a little while. I will always be grateful to it.
7.5. When it comes to hijinks, instigator or implementer?
I am a known menace and troublemaker/rabble-rouser in my circle of friends. I love to have a laugh and am not beyond acting the fool or sometimes saying things bordering on inappropriate to get everyone going. I am a kook and I love people who have that aspect in them as well, so I surround myself with as many deep and spiritual people who are also as cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs as can be.
So rest assured if I’m not stirring the pot, one of my cronies is, so I suppose the short answer is all I need do is show up and madness is bound to occur, either because I am starting it or fielding it.
Here is a poem I wrote about the crazy ones and how I do love them all…
I have always had an affinity for the crazy ones of this life
I love the crazy ones
The ones that life has driven interminably Mad
Mad because they are too
Too smart or
Too vulnerable or
Too sensitive for this fucking world
I have always loved the crazy ones
The ones who refuse to bend so they ultimately break
Break apart and become beautiful because of it
Roaming the tundra of their desolate lives
Searching for a Pride
A Pride to claim as their own
Yes I love them
They make life tolerable and make every night feel like the 4th of July
as they light up and run streaking through the night
And illuminate the darkness
If only for a moment
A brief moment
Thank you so very much, Steven, for offering such thoughtful, touching responses to our 7.5 questions and for sharing one of your beautiful poems with us. May you continue to let the gloriousness of your soul bubble up through your writings!