“Love is a virus. One I think we should spread.” – Tom Proctor

On August 29, 2013, The Only Love Project’s Bill Murphy (BM) spent an enjoyable hour via Skype with Hollywood actor, stunt performer, director, and producer Tom Proctor (TM). What follows is the transcript of our conversation. Enjoy!

BM: Briefly tell us your background. What would you like others to know about you?

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 1.02.38 PMTP: Well, my background is I grew up a farm boy, raised on the family farm. And it was one of those, like, five farms together to make one little farm, so to speak. And so it was kind of funny, you know. I didn’t know until after I had moved away from home and until I was about 34 years old that we were poor when we were kids. I always thought we were doing great, because all our family, we’d run cattle up on the range, and we each owned like five acres that we’d come down to the river a lot, you know, there’s big-ass trout in the river right next to your house, so what was missing? [laughs] I didn’t know until I got older that we were basically poverty level. I said, “Really? Wow, I didn’t know that.”

BM: What effect did your childhood have on you?

TP: It really made the core of who I am. And at the end of the day, at the end of anybody’s day, I think the core of who you are is really all you’ve got. You got the world that has its expectations – especially when you’re in the film industry – of what you are and who you should be. And then you’ve got what makes you what you are. I’ve been a very competitive person; I’ve competed in motorcycle skill trials, drag bike races, I’ve been a competitive fighter, everything else. And I always felt like I won, because of where I came from. Because that was my family, and that was the way it was. And my mom was one that always managed to promote the positive. And my dad’s my biggest hero. Everybody thinks in Hollywood we’re all supposed to have some sad, abusive childhood. And I just really don’t. [laughs]

BM: [laughs] What’s a nice guy like you doing in a place like Hollywood? Continue reading


goldentempleWe recently befriended a kind and gregarious man who lives in our city and owns a restaurant/CD/movie/grocery store.

Earlier this week, we ate in his restaurant for the first time. It won’t be the last. It was the most delicious Indian food we’ve ever tasted. We also bought a Bollywood movie he recommended. Before we left, I asked him his name. He said it’s Singh and he’s a Sikh from Punjab, India. He said God named him.

That intrigued me.

Today, we returned to purchase a bunch of Indian spices. That’s when I asked him about his religion. He beamed and excitedly moved from one pile to another of CDs and DVDs, playing excerpts for us, translating now and then. He showed us his holy books, and he gave us a book called Pearls of Sikhism published by the Sikh Missionary Center. He said I should learn Punjabi so that I could read his holy book.

Before we left today (laden with spices and the book), he invited us to visit his Sikh temple. We may take him up on it, even though we’ll likely not understand much of what’s spoken during the service. It’s just incredibly fulfilling to learn about other people, and what they believe.

The late Stephen R. Covey’s book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People has kept me in good stead over the years, especially Habit 5, which is:

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

“Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.”

I’ve discovered the best way to build bridges and forge friendships is to begin with questions, not statements. Asking and listening is a wonderful way to demonstrate compassion and respect — especially when encountering people from different religious traditions.

That’s the mission of The Only Love Project.