We don’t realize how powerful words are. I love words. I believe that words are – like the Bible says – a double edged sword. You can heal with your words and you can wound with your words.
Dec 2012. UPLIFT was opening for the first time in Byron Bay and I bumped into Kirk Nugent outside of the main stage arena. He had been really sick during the week leading up to the festival and this was the first morning he had been able to pry himself out of bed to begin discovering what UPLIFT had in store for him. We spoke long enough to begin a friendship that has grown richly over the past three years. He was humble, very soft-spoken (partly because he was sick!) and what struck me at the time was not only the personal connectedness of what he shared but the depth in which he listened and engaged with what others were saying. There was a quiet strength there, but also a vulnerability.
Twenty-four hours later Kirk hit the UPLIFT main stage. His media presentation had caught the same virus he had, so Kirk was left alone on the stage without a plan. Simply with his presence… and his words. He shared stories of his troubled youth in Jamaica, of chronic illness and gang activity. He shared the personal wake up call he received when he first looked into the eyes of his newborn son Kirk Jr. – and how every time he said, “I love you, Kirk,” he began to also hear the words coming to himself. He spoke of his own experience, but in doing so he spoke to the heart and experience of everyone listening. And then, as the crowd settled into place and buckled their seatbelts… Kirk lit the stage on FIRE with his poetry.
Today I am shedding my limitations. Removing borders and expanding frontiers. Fear and failure can no longer flourish here.
This was not your typical ‘poetry reading.’ There were no teacups, no lace table cloths, no velvet armchairs. And this was not a man waxing lyrical answers from the pulpit, but a courageous human living deep inside the questions long enough that his verses literally exploded out through deep veins of experience, causing everyone within earshot to reach for and claim possibilities we all yearn to believe in. The main stage arena was half full when Kirk started into his poem Pursue Your Passion, and it was packed to the brim, overflowing when he finished. Kirk Nugent had officially arrived into the UPLIFT community.
At UPLIFT 2014, Kirk shared a glimpse into his initial arrival to UPLIFT in 2012 and the key turning point this moment and event catalyzed in his journey.
“Collectively we are evolving. We are being lifted up. Sometimes in order to go through our own personal journey, we have to go through the dark night of the soul. And sometimes we have to go through it on our own.
One of my favorite movies is the Matrix, and in the beginning, Trinity is running from the agents and the agents are like the demons and the evil things we are scared of. She was running and she landed on her back and she laying was there by herself, cut off from her crew, from Morpheus and everyone else. And she had to talk herself through it. “Get up Trinity. Get up.”
Sometimes you are isolated and you’re by yourself and you’re going through something and no one understands, and you have to tell yourself, “Get up. Get up, Kirk Nugent. Get up.”
When I came here in 2012 it was a dark time for me but the love I felt here at UPLIFT was like the Universe chanting, “Get up, Kirk Nugent. Get up.”
So today I want to do this poem for you called Destiny. And the Enemies I’m talking about here are my own fears and doubts and insecurities. My lack of self-worth. Those are the enemies that I speak about. I’m talking about myself… So here we go. Destiny.”
Between festivals, Kirk is deeply immersed in igniting new possibilities for inner-city youth and sharing a powerful call to action to the higher path of purpose at college campuses, Fortune 500 companies and church ministries around the US.
“WORD!” Kirk. Thank you for sharing your big light with us at UPLIFT!