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My name is Annabel Ruffell and I am the founder of Journey for Earth, a global awareness company committed to inspiring change for humanity, the environment and animals, one choice at a time.

Samantha’s journey inspired me…her passion to: “…create and maintain a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling world.” How wonderful is that? I am sure you will find inspiration in her answers below and on her website InspireIsabella. 🙂

samThomasSamantha began working for the author John Perkins’ (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man) nonprofit organization, DreamChange, in August 2012. Previously she worked in the Green Fashion Industry in New York City as an event facilitator and model. Samantha left her job in fashion to pursue a career in sustainability and social justice, which resonate on the deepest level with her core values and beliefs.

Growing up in a family business related to natural health and healing, Samantha developed a profound sensitivity to the wellbeing of all people and the planet. Her passion lies in inspiring others to use their full creative potential, passion and skills to create and maintain a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling world.

Samantha has worked in several fields in the realm of sustainable business including natural health and healing, event planning, and communications. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Living and Business. Samantha is also a certified Yoga Instructor (RYT-200), holds a Permaculture Design Certification, and has received training in Business Leadership from The Institute for the Advancement of Human Behavior.

DreamChange: www.dreamchange.org

Personal Blog: www.inspireisabella.com

Personal Instagram: inspireisabella

1. What Journey are you on?

I suspect that my personal journey is not much different from yours. I am on a constant path of discovering my happiness and maintaining that state of being. I have learned over the years that to have a steady flow of happiness requires continual effort. At times the effort we put in is fun, other times it is challenging and difficult to see through. 

In answer to your next question, which I actually feel fits in best right here, one of my biggest challenges over the past few years has been the journey of finding contentment in what I choose to do with my life. There are so many things I am passionate about doing, so many things that inspire me, but only so much time. Sometimes I wonder whether I am spending my time doing the right things. For the new generations and the reasonably well-off human being, there seems to be a never-ending list of possibilities for career, travel, family and lifestyle. With so many options, I’ve found myself and many others confused about what to do with their lives. 

At the end of the day, though, what I’ve found to be most effective in clarifying which road to take is asking yourself this question: “What is the one thing you have been passionate about for as long as you can remember, without any change or hesitation?” If you struggle with this question, as an exercise, make a list of ten things you are passionate about and would love to make a career out of. Save the list, and then come back to it every few months. What changes, and what stays the same? Over the course of time, you will find there will likely be a few things on your list that never change. Perhaps that is where your true happiness and passion lies.

As far as how my personal journey fits into the bigger picture of my work in the world, I’ve devoted myself to a career that involves educating people how to use their happiness—their full creative potential, passion and skills—constructively to create a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling world. It is my passion to inspire others to use what brings them fulfillment to do good for themselves and the world. I am fortunate enough to be the Executive Director of a wonderful organization, DreamChange, which allows me to live my passion and happiness through my work.

2. What has been one of your greatest challenges over the years, either with the work that you do or in another area of your life, and how did you overcome it?

(Answered above)

3. Do you ever get disheartened or lose faith when you see all the violence in the world towards humanity, the environment and animals – and if so what helps you to keep focusing on the good and moving forward?

There are definitely times when I turn on the news, see the destruction happening in the world, and feel a deep sense of heartbreak. However, I see the culmination of such seemingly complex issues such as a failed global economy and unprecedented social and environmental injustices as being the symptoms of one core problem—disconnection—disconnection between humans and other humans, and humans and the natural environment. 

This disconnectedness between humans and humans and nature has cultivated the belief that money and material possessions equate happiness, causing many people to forget the most innate joys of being alive, which create true and lasting fulfillment. To experience these joys to a large degree involves being self-sufficient—having the ability to provide for our most basic human needs like food, water and shelter. Humans, like other animals, inherently find gratification and pleasure in growing their own food, building their own home, or migrating from place to place with their family when nature calls for a change. 

Another part of the innate human joys involves being surrounded by people we love and people who make us feel good, like our family and friends. But most importantly, in order to experience these joys and allow others to experience these joys, an individual must first be connected to themselves and who they are on the deepest level. 

To live a life comprised of these simple joys is to experience what it really means to be human and to be alive. Once more people begin experiencing these innate, simple pleasures, they will realize that our true reality is not separate from one another or from nature. Humans are woven delicately into the web of life. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves because all life forms are bound together and everything connects. When we consider this interconnectedness, we understand that it is never in our self-interest to jeopardize the planet, other people or life forms.

What keeps me focusing on the good and moving forward is that I see our world’s seemingly complex problems as more simple than we realize. I see a tremendous opportunity for growth and evolving to become a greater humanity that functions from a higher level of consciousness, which takes into consideration the effect we have on others and our environment. Though there are times I feel slightly discouraged due to the destruction happening in the world, I could never imagine witnessing such destruction and not doing anything to help affect positive change. It is my true belief that we all have a unique and vital role in working to make the world a better place than we found it for future generations.

4. Who or what inspires you the most?

Anyone living from a place of authenticity, selflessness, compassion and unconditional love; anyone practicing what they preach; anyone who has the courage to live their highest calling, passion and feeling of purpose; anyone who chooses to help others or the planet in any way they can. 

5. What is your greatest hope for our planet at this time?

It is not so much the planet that I am worried about. I believe that the planet will be fine no matter what. The earth has a profound yet simple way of adjusting to change when necessary. It is human beings that seem to have such a hard time with adaption. We have proven as a humanity that we don’t like change, and the result is not that the planet is suffering, it is that life on earth is becoming less and less conducive to human existence. So, my greatest hope is not for the planet per se. My greatest hope is that humans will wake up to this reality, and that we will become more educated, connected and attuned to what is necessary at this point in time in order to sustain the existence of a stable human life on earth for our children and their children.

© Samantha Thomas, October 2014

What Journey are YOU on?