Well, first I should tell you what brought me to the United States. Love brought me to New York, and I got married to the (then) man of my dreams. I met my ex-husband when I was on vacation in NY. I met him in Harlem. I stayed in NY for eight weeks; he in turn visited me in London, England where I am from. I came back to NY and we got married. We were married for twelve years and we lived in Harlem for three fun years and then we moved to Brooklyn after buying a place in Clinton Hill.
I love Brooklyn now, although at first I was a bit apprehensive about moving here as I had very little knowledge about Brooklyn and what I had heard was not enticing. Consequently, moving to Clinton Hill was a great thing and that is when I really got to see the beauty of the talented people that live here. I was excited and it was an exciting time in the 90s. There was a lot of things going on: Biggie Smalls, Hip Hop on St James', block parties, and Brooklyn Moon with all their poetry readings; really creative young black people and running around the place; street fairs; art, poetry, dance, singing; lots of creative stuff — it was a good time to be young, sexy, confident and fly in Brooklyn
Would you say that you are living the dream larger than life?
Yes, I would say that I am living the dream larger than life. I am doing what I absolutely love to do. I am living the dream for myself and bringing others along. I am a Personal Life Coach and I have been doing it now for nine years. Technically, if you go back to my high school and speak with my friends they would say that I was born for this work. I love my work. I am naturally curious about people by nature and I love to sort out problems; I enjoy supporting people to work out issues for themselves. I am also completely committed to women living life their way and so I created the program Living Life Your Way; living life by one's own design.
Before I became a Life Coach, I worked in Real Estate, and I loved doing that also. I loved helping people find homes and apartments that made them feel happy. Now I help women find the "home" in their lives within themselves. I help women develop their personal power so that they can live life their way. I also feel that I am living the dream larger than life, because I am empowered to and know that anything is possible in life. Taking a stand for yourself and living life powerfully is a commitment and you get to say how your life is going to go.
If you could do anything else what would you do?
Like most of the people that I have interviewed so far, I would do exactly what I am doing now. I believe that in life we can do anything anytime. So, I would continue to do what I am doing. I love what I do. I do everything that I choose to do. I run workshops, create adult play, I work with people who are drug and alcohol free. I work with people in the area of relationships, career, fun and creativity, finances, wellbeing, sex and intimacy. I support people to have real language in the realm of their lives so that they refrain from reactivity and have real power and full authentic self-expression in their lives. So, to answer that question where I am is completely perfect.
Who do you admire and where do you get your inspiration?
I admire Martin Luther King. I always have. When I was in Secondary School, I did Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech for my oral exams and passed with the highest grade. I did not find this out until eleven years later when I went back for my grades. I draw my inspiration from all over. Children give me a lot of inspiration. They remind me that life is a playground and learning is a lesson. They help me maintain a space of forgiveness. Quick story: my neighbor and friend, Harper is three years old. Yes she is my friend because we agreed to it. Anyway, Harper had a birthday party and she was dressing up as a princess. She brought her dress and her wand to show me. As poor planning would have it, I forgot to attend the party. I bought her toys on the Monday after and took them to her. She was so excited. I also apologized to her for missing the party. She looked at me and said, "It's okay Noreen" and continued playing with the toys I bought her. Then she comes over to me and said, "Noreen it's okay you did not come to my party." Then she proceeds to ask me: "Have I told you how much I love you?" In that moment my heart liquefied and there was an amazing space of love and forgiveness for myself. Now, that is where I get pure unadulterated inspiration. I admire my parents, I now know I had the best parents that I could have ever wanted. I did not know that as a child however; I know it as an adult. My parents gave me a tremendous amount of space to become the person I am today. At one time I thought my father was just a man that took care of us and paid the bills. I now know how amazing and supportive he was in my life. My father went over and above the call of duty to take care of us despite his lack of education and inability to read. My mother when you look at my mother you see me. My mother, despite now having Alzheimers, was fun and playful. I look like her and I am just as playful as she is. My mother thanked me for being her daughter because all the things I learned that she passed on to me. I was touched, moved and inspired by these people I call parents. I also admire humanity. I love people, I think that we are amazing, powerful incredible human beings who are now becoming more and more aware of all that power and good that we are and can be.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about having great friends; I am passionate about food, having great parties, I love to travel, I love being in love, I love to read, write and play. I write stories, I am passionate about reading history. There are a lot of passions that I have and there are a lot of passions that I have not yet discovered. Life and living is an on-going discovery.
Is your voice expressed in the work that you do?
My voice is so expressed to get to say what's so for myself. I express myself in ways that most people can only dream of as a Personal Life Coach I express immensely. When I was growing up, my parents and siblings used to tease me that I talked a lot and that I never shut the bleep up. In school, if you read all my school reports it they would say that Noreen is blah, blah, blah and . she talks a lot incessantly that Noreen distracts others with her talking. I got thrown out of college because I was a distraction when I would go to class. Today, what I do for a living is listen, support, get others talking before I do any talking. So, I would say that I have always expressed myself. The difference is that I am responsible for what I say, as my voice has the power to contribute and empower and that is great to know.
If you were going to write a letter to the world what would it say?
If I were going to write a letter to the world, I would remind us that we are Gods; some people might say this is blasphemous. I would say let them say whatever they want. They have the right. We are Spirit having a human experience. The world is a playground and we are a member of a very large playgroup and it is our right to have every experience that we desire. As Rev. Eric Butterworth said in 1984, "We are not helpless creatures bobbing about like a cork on the seas of life. We are the very self-livingness of God. We are God ourselves." Go out into the world: dream, play, create and take action. We are powerful beings. Allow yourself the capacity to experience a wide variety of feelings and gain the ability to soothe ourselves in a positive way. Live Life Your Way.
Interview with Noreen Sumpter by Noreen Sumpter