My gut was hit with something harder than a feeling, it was a sickness.  On day 14, I decided that my microbes had adjusted to Mongolia and chose to eat fresh cabbage, tomatoes and cucumbers.  My body was craving green, but my gut felt otherwise, I was green instead.

Leaving for the Gobi desert that morning, the rain had cleared and I was blessed with a sun rise that let me know that everything was going to be ok.  Traveled by plane back to Ulaanbaatar and crashed in a cushy hotel, ordering broth that tasted like love was sprinkled in it.   I begged that this would be under control by the time my taxi arrived to take me home.

My tummy decided to cooperate and my journey home was peaceful, calm and restful.  Once I hit Chicago and boarded my plane to Little Rock, I started visualizing my kids and Chris.  Knowing that I could smell their scent, touch, hug, kiss and snuggle with them.  I had missed “touch”.  I had experienced heightened sensations due to a new place that my eyes had never seen, smells that were foreign to my American senses and people who I learned to communicate with using my hands, as very little english was spoken.  The Buddhist monks and their work that I was on assignment for, hugged by touching foreheads.  Our days together would be filled with food and learning about their lives and beliefs, as well as many, many laughs.  They are so joyful,  it is difficult to not be affected with their contagious flow of energy.

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Its true, whether you have experienced it or not, it is real.  You can deny that it exists, or that the ENERGY of another human does not effect you, but it does.  I am not here to prove this with science, philosophy or spirituality, only to share with you my human experience with it.  It opened my eyes to how as a Westerner, even as I would consider myself open minded, I was still surprised how real it was.  It was not a sensational moment that you will read me writing about, it was still and soft.  I began to be more aware, of everything!  I began to notice how I was being so very present without being conscious of it.  Whatever I was doing, whether it was shooting a ceremony, eating with my colleagues or resting in my room.


The present could be described as this:

-not thinking about the next day or the future

-not having racing thoughts

-not having anxiety, at all

-seeing people’s needs quicker

-noticing that meetings were coordinated spontaneously, accomplishing more than if we had prepared for it

-all parties, being open and a true desire to hear and understand one another

-no overwhelming feelings when the plan seemed uncertain




Now, that I am home, I will share in my next post my real life challenges to remain in the  present, but still live as a wife, mother, friend and business owner.  Remember, that I am about real life, so I will commit to share the struggle, as one does exist.



On a Divine Assignment: My Mongolia Experience- post 1

LeIMG_4664aving  Little Rock,  I was emotionally, mentally and logistically ready to go.  There were moments in the process leading up to boarding the plane that I had wells of joy spring up as well as moments of uncertainty on what to expect.

Korean Air was amazing, on time, friendly and large beautiful planes.  An interesting note, was that as Americans we drink way more water than other nations, so after asking my flight attendants for the sixth time for a bottle of water, she was a bit frustrated with me, as well as the woman  I was sitting with.


Monk, Lama Tenzin

We were greeted with top-level security and a monk named Lama Tenzin   (he will be a main character in this amazing journey) .  An oxymoron,  needing security for those who are for peace.   Lama Tenzin was our protector and friend, I know that I will work more with him in the future,  supporting his mission to save little girls and educate them in India (more about that later).   Actually,  the governmental escorts and security while I was in Ulaanbaatar was due to the election,  that happened days before my arrival.  The “peoples leader” was elected,  preceding a president that had ruled since the 90’s when Mongolia became a free democracy.    The newly elected President was a student of the man who was hosting me, The Oracle of The Dalai Lama,  Ven. Thupten Ngodup, who goes by Kuten la. ( in layman terms,  he is The Dalai Lama’s wise man).


Susan and I arriving after 32 hours of travel.

The young , vibrant newly elected President, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, supports religious freedom and aspires to continue peace, integrity and allowing the people of Mongolia to have a voice.  Therefore, my arrival came at a very exciting and celebratory time in the history of Mongolia. Capturing this on film/digital/video,  my images and recordings would be apart of the transitioning history of Mongolia as a country.  Such an opportunity that I became passionate about.



The newly elected President with Kuten la

The new president owned the hotel where we all stayed and the new President resides in his home behind our hotel, as his palace was being renovated.  Knowing that the floor where I slept was directly below 15 monks, Lamas and other dedicated souls praying and meditating for our world was unbelievable.  Their dedication, determination and commitment to love was felt through the walls.  Kuten la,  would spend the next week being available to blessing and prayer for those in need.  People drove from all over the country to go to the 12th floor of our hotel just to be heard and loved.  So, needless to say, I was able to be in this sacred place, photographing his journey to Mongolia.  It’s hard to describe what witnessing this was like.  I can just say that I was grateful to be witnessing such a beautiful encounter of humans.


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    Kuten la

    My invitation here to Mongolia is kind of long story, but the story revolves around the very revered man Kuten la which he is the Dalai Lama’s  “main-man” and lives in Nechung Monastery in India.  He is the Dalai Lama’s wisdom counselor and mystic.  Facilitating peace projects around the world.  I was introduced into this project by one of the most enlightened woman I have ever met, Rev. Susan Smith of Little Rock, Arkansas and her mission is so big yet so simple……love everyone.  Her desire for understanding and respect between different religions across the world is what sprouted the Inter Faith Center in Little Rock.  The motivation for this “seemingly impossible” and whoo-hoo idea has taken on a form of its own and now these projects are actually coming to fruition.  I am honored to have been invited to capture this very momentous time, especially since you have probably not heard about it on the news or in the media. You can follow my blog, as I am flying home now and will be sharing more about my journey,  with hope that it will bring you hope for our world.


Rev. Susan Smith

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