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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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When You Align With The World…

Back in January, I wrote about this year becoming a Year About Me, making sure that I have what I need in my life and that I follow my own dreams.  These are the things many people have thought about in their 40th year, no doubt.

At mid-career, with many skills built up, a family and a home, the question lingers: have you done everything you want to do? And if the answer is no, then get on it already!

Media That Matters

A month ago, I attended a retreat in British Columbia.  Several of you have wrote lovely emails thanking me for the words that fell out of me on the road home from that conference.  It was an amazing experience.

Right at the beginning of the retreat, I checked my email for the last time before unplugging for the week.  There was an email from a man I’d met and worked for on a small video shoot a year ago:  he had just begun producing a documentary and he wondered if I’d be interested in working on it with him. I told him I would get back to him in a week, and promptly unplugged.

At the conference, surrounded by media makers of all kinds, my next career steps swiftly crystalized for me: I have a unique gift in being able to communicate stories in a wide variety of media.  I have, in various ways over the years, used that talent to create positive behavior change in others.  I have been working for a very long time toward accruing these talents and skills, and at long last I am ready to take my work to the next level!

Transformation happened in those woods, and I freed myself to do what I needed to do.

At the end of the week breathing in the beauty, I’d realized I was ready to move from my high-paying corporate anchor client back to the work I really set out to do in my life.  I’d learned, I’d paid some of my loans, and it was time to move on.

It has been scary, but also comforting – like finding my way home.


When I got back home, I was re-energized.  Like I was 25 again, excited at the possibilities and convicted in my dreams.

I worked hard to finish my website, to visualize my vision, to jump into the next phase.  I started talking about my work with other people more, no longer bashful about it.  Somehow the “what I do” conversation became so much easier.

Two days later I called the man with the documentary.  We talked for 4 hours.

It turns out Jon has been on a similar journey, trying to figure out how to create sustainable change in the world.  By the end of our 4 hours, we were discussing how to bring large environmental organizations together to empower them to do their work more efficiently and effectively.  We were discussing how to incentivize businesses to operate more sustainably through community storytelling.  And we dove deeply into how to take people beyond awareness of climate change, and help them get to the next stage:  how do we help people change their lifestyles?  What tools and guidance can we offer to make that transition easier and more effective?


We had our first day of shooting the documentary last week.  It required Jon and I to be one on one together for 23 hours.  We took each of those amazing topics and discussed them at two levels deeper.  And so it goes…

We are now discussing building a business together.  I’ve launched the Elements In Time website.

And that’s not all.  Work has been steadily rolling in.  Good work, meaningful work.  The world has aligned with me as I’ve aligned with it.

Here are some of our clients right now:

  • American Association of Colleges and Universities
  • Countywide Community Forums
  • Friends of the Cedar River Watershed
  • Health Advocacy Strategies
  • Patient Health Perspectives
  • Carbon Cycle Crush

Suddenly I’m helping a several great organizations to do their work better.

I’m proud I’ve taken the time to focus on a year about me.  It’s only half over, and so much good has happened already.  I can’t wait for next month!

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13 comments to When You Align With The World…

  • Melinda, I’m happy to hear all this. I have a long experience now of this being true in my life as well and I’m happy to hear when others “get it” too! It’s that intersection between your highest gifts and the greatest need of the world, when you are in there, as Goethe says, the universe truly gets behind you.

    It takes courage to step into this place, because there is almost never, I think, a clear defined path leading forward, and you have to figure it out. I myself sometimes feel like I have to figure it out every day! The upside is that we are getting unbelievable support for the change we are making in the world- and on the bonus side, I’m not having to do so many of the parts of the work that I don’t enjoy.

    The year that I really stepped forward into this was the first year that I had a decent income (I’d been working in theatre for 20 years).

    It’s not “do what you love and the money will follow”, because that leaves out what the world needs.

    Blessings to you!

  • What a lovely report, Melinda. Much of what you’ve written about your experiences this year has resonated with me, though I’ve been an infrequent commenter. I will be 40 in August — I’ve used that fact as an opportunity to assess my life and what I want from it. I am focusing on my health more; I want to feel good, not just okay. I left my teaching job after 14 years because there are other things I want to pursue (I’ve been doing freelance writing off and on for years. I’ve decided to go full-time with that, but focus on writing for companies and organizations who are committed to social and environmental responsibility.) Like you, I want to do good in the world — some would argue that I can do good through teaching, but the circumstances as they were had become more stifling than fulfilling. I feel like I’m on the brink of great things if I can just summon the courage to get out there and get to it. Your post today has done a lot for fostering that courage within me. Thanks.

    Also, the Elements in Time site looks terrific! I’m so glad things are taking off and that you’re moving in the direction that’s right for you. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Beth, thank you. I’m so glad you came out to comment – it’s great to hear from you. Courage, courage – I’m sending it your way, as I am sure you will do great things!

      Thanks for the compliment on my website!! :)

  • andrea

    Congratulations! The new website looks great and I can’t wait to have a deeper look through it. I hope your new directions continue to energize you and provide meaning to your life.

    I’m not sure what my new direction is yet, but your post has made me think that the steps I’ve been taking lately might be leading me somewhere and I should sit up and take notice.

  • Great news, Melinda! I’m so happy for you :) I, too, am moving forward into my own dreams. I just self-published my first book (of many to come). Taking active steps in finding your place in the world is so courageous and uplifting. I wish you the best of luck!

  • Congratulations Melinda on the new site! So excited to hear how it goes!

  • You are very inspiring! I’ve been thinking about something similar to the year about me. Part of me thinks that I should just focus on job, money, college, and the usual. But there is a part of me that is passionate about nature and family and thinks maybe I should actually do what I really want to do and what I’m interested in even if I’m not sure where it will take me. I think this year will be about me!

  • [...] lifting. I can write again. I can see the bigger picture again – the bigger picture of life, of business, of the [...]

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