14 Life Lessons…and a Funeral

14 Life Lessons…and a Funeral

My life has culminated into a few very important but sometimes hard to see ideas. I think of them now as I sit at my computer, just finishing a very long edit on a picture while staring out my window at a giant, glowing moon. Even though I’ve just had some disappointing news, I remember those life lessons now; for it is only in a time of lows that you can learn to appreciate all of best things in the world to the fullest. And I am not one to let myself feel down for long…I look to the bright moon for guidance and I hear inspiring words bouncing in my mind.

#1: Do not be afraid to discover your PASSION.

We want to fit in. We want to do what others expect of us. We don’t want to rock the boat for fear of being judged. But put all of this aside. All of that is a myth. The only truth our lives will reflect is the one that we create for ourselves. Try new things. Rock the boat. Discover your passion. And with that passion comes a flood of amazing possibilities.

#2: Do not be afraid to BE who you are.

I don’t mean that you should simply understand your passion or seek inspiration, but that you should completely, wholly, and unabashedly be YOU. Dress how you want to dress, speak how you want to speak, spread your personal story, and be confident in doing so. When this life is over, we have our deeds to tell the story of our lives.

#3: Be KIND.

How simple, yet how often it falls through the cracks. Treat others the way the best version of yourself would behave. Embrace kindness in a way that is not a byproduct of living, but instead is at the forefront of every action you live.

#4: Find your CONFIDENCE.

The moment you realize these two things, you are free: 1) When you do things your own way, others follow, and 2) When you see yourself in a positive way, others are more likely to do the same.


To know your passion is to find your calling, and to understand how you become inspired is to create the life of your dreams. Do not let inspiration come to you – go on an ADVENTURE.

#6: Find your VOICE.

Everyone has a story to tell, and your story is worth being heard. So find it…dig deep and allow it to come out. And then share it, if you’re so inclined. Others can be moved by your vision.


Every missed opportunity, or failed attempt, is a sign. It is a big, neon glow telling you that you are about to embark on a journey that will lead you to someplace amazing if you choose to see it that way. That is how I feel about this recent disappointment in my life. It is not a failure, it is an amazing opportunity that I have yet to see clearly. I can make it happen.

#8: See the world DIFFERENTLY.

When you begin to see the world for ALL it has to offer, you start to understand the possibilities that the world holds for us.

#9: Take CONTROL.

You have power. Your words and actions can move people. You can MOVE yourself. The sooner you understand that you are in control of how you react to the world, the sooner the world becomes your playground.

#10: OPPORTUNITY never stops.

It may seem like opportunities come and go and are lost and are hard to find again. And some opportunities never come back, or at least not in the way that they came originally. We must create our own opportunities and learn to see everything as an invitation to do something greater.

#11: It is NEVER too LATE.

It is never too late to redesign your life.


Change how you see the world to not only seek obviously good things, but to find the good in all things. There is too much inspiration in the world to miss it. Find happiness, and you will spread it to others.

#13: You are POWERFUL.

Never underestimate the difference you can make in the world – in your own life and in the lives of others. We are all powerful in our own ways and we can use that power to govern the life of our dreams.

 #14: It’s your FUNERAL.

When you are gone, what do you hope people say about you? Live your life in that way.


All of these things are absolutes in my life. They might not be in yours, and that’s okay, but if they can help to govern a small part of your life into a more fulfilling existence..well, that’s why I wrote it. Because it does that for me. I remember these things regularly and wholeheartedly and they help me to be the person I want to be.

I shot this picture and edited a different version of it on creativeLIVE last week, featuring model Jane Love and shot in a kiddie pool in an abandoned building. If you’d like to see that process you can access my class here. It just felt so perfect for how I was feeling and where I am going. Thank you for the love and support that you help to share on this blog.

It is my sanity. 🙂


23 thoughts on “14 Life Lessons…and a Funeral

  1. Beautiful Brooke. The picture turned out gorgeous! The words in this post are very moving. Constructing inspiration at it’s finest 😉 All of these things you speak of in this post are so powerful and so necessary. I am so sorry you lost someone. It is truly beautiful that you are transforming the loss. Using it a a way to inspire others and define what holds you to who you are and why you are doing what you are doing is so beautiful. Awesome post. Thank you for sharing <3 <3 <3

    1. Sorry just was re reading the blog and realized you didn’t say you lost someone at all … Sorry for your *disappointment … <3

  2. My dear friend, I am sending love and light your way in hopes that the news you received is only temporary and that you know that you are the cared for by many. ((HUGS))

    What a beautiful and powerful reminder you shared in this post. Life has a way of giving us opportunities for clarity, some take it and some don’t . It is obvious that you live your life with love and intent and that is what you are helping to spread out into the world. Thank you for being you genuinely.


  3. Oh Brooke, how inspiring you are!!! You are truly a gift..I relate to this post in so many ways…mostly the one about doing what it is expected of me..thank you..hugs to you

  4. Brooke, I love the way you blend the positive message with a touch of the macabre! Yes, life is short, full of ups and downs, and in the end, will we look back and have regrets? Probably. But let’s make that look back filled with love and comfort, knowing that we lived life to the fullest, free from fear, facing the challenges, and overflowing with pride in knowing we did our very best! Thanks for being an inspiration: we love you!
    Laura & Lola

  5. Thank you for these very important and powerful reminders. You are wise beyond your years. Truly inspired by your work – I found it just weeks before your cL course and felt like I finally had permission to express all of the things I wanted when I first saw your work. I cannot thank you enough for that.

    Fear is the mind-killer.

  6. These reminders are so fabulous Brooke – they not only speak to me, but are something I am most certainly going to pass on to my daughter who often struggles with a fear of being who she is and a shyness at expressing herself the way she wants for fear of what others might think. These are tremendously valuable life lessons I wish someone would have imparted on me sooner so I could impart on my daughter sooner.

    Though it sounds like you are going through a little bit of a tough time, draw strength from your friends, your work, your family and any other resource you have. The light at the other end will shine and you will find it and be so much stronger for it. Peace and serenity be with you Brooke!! 🙂

  7. I don’t know the details or the scope of your disappointing news, but I know you will make the best of it because you are a strong and driven person. You have your family at home, and your extended family here, to support you and give you the strength to find your way. I wish you nothing but the best, and I hope things work themselves out so you can focus on what’s important to you. Much love.

  8. Awesome picture! I am speechless once again, Brooke. You are the best. Regarding your words, they are very beautiful and powerful. And you do not need to thank us. But we have! We have much to be thankful for your words, for sharing your work … And if we give our love and support to you, it’s because you deserve it. As Mary Angelini said ” Peace and serenity be with you Brooke” , is my wish too.

  9. #11. It’s never too late.

    SUCH an important message. Old dogs CAN (and do!) learn new tricks.

    I’m 53 years old and feel I’m changing and growing more with every year.

    Thank you for putting *such* important messages out in the world – both through your pictures and through your words.


  10. Wow, I really wanna print that on a poster and hang it up in my room, and in my office. Would that be okay?

    Thank you for writing this. I think we all need a reminder every now and then <3

    Oh and I'm in LOVE with that picture. Jane was such a great model!

  11. Thank you Brooke! You are big inspiration for so many of us, I love this new blog of you and am happy to follow you along and read and learn from you.

  12. I am in awe of your work…. I am 20 years ahead of you in chronological age, but you are infinitely ahead of me in vision and wisdom. I love your art and I cherish your words. I hope I can continue to be inspired and committed to finding my true passion. Thank you.

  13. You are just so inspiring and lovely! You have truly been the light of inspiration in my life lately and you make me want to constantly create and be happy with my work! I want so badly to find inspiration in anything and everything and express the way i view the world! And you make me believe i can do that! Thank you sooo very much! I cant wait to see what else you have in store for this blog and your future work! You are wonderful! 🙂

  14. This is one of those blog posts that i need to come back to daily and read over and over. I need this right now.

  15. Thank you once again for sharing your spirit and thoughts even in a time of disappointment for you. I hope you realize that you are an inspiration to more people than you can even fathom.

    When we got another snowfall today, I knew I wanted an “epic” type of photo with flowing crimson cape and an old bridge, an image in my brain roused from its depths due to your constant encouragement and sage words. Despite the temperature and the trek through the snow in a wedding dress, I knew I had to seize the opportunity.

    Thank you for stirring strength and confidence in many of us out here in this land of imagination.

  16. Brooke, I can’t thank you enough for your kind heart and the love you put out there. Your passion for life is very evident.

    I just finished another creativeLIVE class where the very end of the class, just like your class, was so mind blowing for me.

    My voice has been muffled and stifled for so long it has been completely mute for what seems like forever.

    I’m at my breaking point of blocking everyone who is muting me and ignoring them unmuting my voice.

  17. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Brooke. I will print these and keep on my desk! You embody all of these and I so appreciate all that you are!

  18. Brooke, these are really great thoughts for inspiration when everything seems a bit too much!
    I really love what you did with the shot from CreativeLive too. It looks a little different to some of your other work, in a good way. Even though we can’t really see her face I feel that the focus is very much on her character and emotion. I can feel the story emerging as I look at it!

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