different set of priorities

Oh so close to my heart.

I had an incredible hour long conversation, face to face, with a good friend today. We spoke with honest concern about getting caught in this societies thickest net. Sharing stories and examples of how this world had gotten the best of people we knew, and the times we too had fallen victim, even with our fist held against it’s power with all our hearts will.

One thing neither Ben or I want, is to become so consumed with success that it defines how we live. Our conversation ultimately surrendered most of its time to the direct correlation between money and relationships. Though there are really many areas you could connect the dots with, this one has a special place in both of our lives. Ben, recently asking for the hand in marriage to the woman of his dreams and of course for me, Kelsey, the love of my life and the companion who knows the deepest intricacies of who I am and what makes me happy to be alive.

The big question became, is making as much money as we potentially can, worth the sacrifice that it puts on our relationships, during and after the pursuit. We constantly want. We constantly are influenced. We constantly give in. More money becomes the bridge between where we are now and the happiness we think we are missing out on. The consequences have taken a huge leap forward in a negative way since Facebook made sharing photos so easy. And has since gotten a boost from Instagram and Hipstamatic. It’s these moments we see in other peoples lives, that all the sudden become what we want even though we didn’t know we wanted it. Like what we think we are missing out on, even though the moment that’s taking place right now, in our present, is just as rich. But we’re blinded by the glow and can’t see what we have (what a double sided sword electricity is). “If only I could live their life, walk in their shoes, have that computer, camera, dog and best friend with that beach and an ice cream cone with a unicorn walking in that bitchin’ outer space outfit,” we tell ourselves on a consistent basis.

But really though. What does it take to stop this? To be okay with what we have right here, right now. To really dive into our present.

Ben and I were trying to define the line between what living comfortably looked like verses living a life of greed. You know that line between being afraid my car/scooter/bike will break down on the way to an important shoot and driving a Maserati because I didn’t know what else to spend my extra 150K on. Step one, care less about things and more about people.

I think it’s really a personal pursuit, with a global impact. I know that I will be spending energy toward developing my balance, to be fully alive in what’s most important in this life. First, giving the most of my attention to my closest relationships I have on a daily and weekly basis. Then my impact on the world around me, my time I spend volunteering, supporting, and helping those I believe in achieve their goals. And then my “success”.

As many incredible souls who have come before me and many that will come after have and will ask of you, imagine a world with a shift in priorities.

Below are images I made at the San Diego based International Rescue Committee’s New Roots Community Farm Thursday. The IRC is helping refugees develop small businesses by giving them land to farm crops that each farmer sells for profit at the local farmers market and to a variety of local San Diego restaurants. In helping to get the word out about where the crops are coming from and the mission of the IRC and New Roots, I took portraits for use online, collateral, and any uses the farmers see fit to help increase their customer base. The farmers are all beautiful, all have incredible stories and I think if you stare long enough into their mostly hidden eyes, you will see a different set of priorities.    



  • patti - Speechless, utterly, speechless, moved beyond what words can say to give this post justice! My heart is soaring with joy that someone like you is out there in the world nudging us, inviting us to look at our priorities and what is most meaningful in our lives! I will be sitting with these wise words for awhile, thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Ryan - You my friend, are incredible… Thanks for the inspiring words and the brilliant photos.ReplyCancel

  • Benjamin Zidel - nice work shaun. love the pics and the writing is strong. i will come back to check out your blog in the future.ReplyCancel

  • Amber - Good words today! Thank you for sharing the gift you are to the world!ReplyCancel

  • phil - Such a great conversation – we could have been having that conversation as well – you at 23, me at 50 – considering how we want the next fifteen years to play out. Thanks for opening the topic for all of us to considerReplyCancel

  • Laurie - …I love the the reminder and the photos. “Seeing” people is a gift. You capture well…..ReplyCancel

  • Kim Bair - Fantastic. Simple, but fantastic. :)ReplyCancel

  • colleen - these are beautiful literally and in spirit- thanks for sharing- just amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Ann Jones - What an old soul in a young mind. Great job Shaun.ReplyCancel

  • Sheila Boyte - Shaun, my beautiful nephew. You are amazing.ReplyCancel

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