Above photo: An intense scene from the 2006 film Conversations With God, which inspired Jeff Emmerson for many years as he pursued his dream of signing a traditional book deal and inspiring millions through his story and battles.
A Movie That Deeply Inspired Me (Over and Over) Through Struggles
I don’t remember when I watched the movie Conversations With God for the first time – I’m going to take a guess and say 2006 or 2007, not long after it’s release. I was living in a tiny basement bachelor apartment in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, working a night shift job as a forklift driver (or something like that) and living paycheck to paycheck. I had a lingering goal of writing a book – a dream of getting it published and inspiring many with my story, to be more specific. I had only typed out a few words at that time, so I had no idea of what the book would be about, how I would edit it, or have any possible shot at getting a literary agent and realizing my dream of signing a deal for the rights to the book – I was simply a “dreamer” back then.
In the film, the lead character, based on author Neale Donald Walsch, faced overwhelming odds that resonated deeply with me, having gone through some very intense battles of my own (though the worst was yet to come). Without giving the rest of the movie away (yes, I want you to watch it if you haven’t already, and even if you have, check it out for some fresh perspective and inspiration), Neale’s character goes through one heck of a journey on his way to self-discovery, healing and reflection over his past.
Fast-Forward to 2006 – The Year I Signed My First Book Deal and Achieved My Very First Dream!
(Jeff a few weeks back at a Toronto book signing event)
For the sake of space and time, I endured a decade of tragedy and ultimate triumph from 2006 to 2016, going from my brother’s suicide in 2008 to making an attempt on my own life three years later, then committing myself in early 2013 – NINE (9) psych meds over three years, several diagnoses and a cross-country move which included working as a security guard in mental health units during 2014, a year after I was in one myself! Yes, you read that right.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg – horrible panic attacks, struggling to feel like a good human being while my wife worked her butt off to pay the bills as I stayed home and started speaking out through social media about my struggles…
Full-Circle: The Battles and Despair Opened My Eyes to Deeper Blessings and Massive Gratitude
My Grandmother, the woman who raised me from the age of 13 on, passed away in the summer of 2014. She is one of my heroes, and she knew that I was on a mission to publish a book and become a published author, so signing my book deal in 2016 was a bitter-sweet and incredibly powerful moment (to say the least). I feel her and my brother Ryan cheering me on from somewhere far, far away (or right beside me – who knows).
“Nan, we did it!!!”
“Ryan, my brother – this is for you, for all the hell you went through and you didn’t die in vain!!”
– As I do book signings and start my public speaking career, I feel everyone who has helped me along the way joining me, like a team of human beings both alive and dead, contributing to one person’s life in a way that helps them learn, grow, feel supported and grateful. This is my life now. Yeah – I work damn hard to build my online audience of wonderful people by engaging and interacting from the heart as a fellow human being, but I recognize very clearly that I’m fortunate and blessed to even be where I am now. I will never, ever, EVER take that for granted, since all I need to do is drive by my brother’s grave, the townhouse where I attempted suicide or the hospital I committed myself to in 2013 to be reminded very vividly of just how different things were just a few short years ago…
I guess I’ll stop there, but not before a heartfelt thank you to you for reading this – I poured my heart out here, and as I said earlier: This is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m just getting started, realizing just how far I’ve come with the help of resilience, support from wonderful people and a little bit of luck from above (or wherever it comes from).
Yours in gratitude and purpose,