Introduction: When Afghan-American Hollywood actor Fahim Fazli called me from his latest film set in Morocco, I knew it had to be something important. Fahim jaan was in Marrakesh shooting the new movie Rock the Kasbah with Bill Murray and Bruce Willis. As always, Fahim was very busy. But he wasn’t too busy to tell me about Morgan McKean.
Fahim described Morgan McKean as a talented Southern California thought leader, author and TV personality of Persian heritage and rock-star caliber. He thought that Morgan’s ideas on women’s empowerment and cross-cultural issues mirrored my work with Afghan Proverbs in certain ways, and he wanted to introduce us. I was intrigued. Although I was busy putting the finishing touches on my own new book, I could hardly say no.
After I met Morgan and began learning about her work, I knew that Fahim was more right than even he had realized. There is an amazing depth to Morgan McKean. Her clients and fans call her by her professional title, a ‘Lifestyle Expert, Intuitive and Transformational Mentor,’ but she is much more than that - and she is hard to fully describe. I found McKean to possess a rare complexity, clarity, consciousness and even charm in her thinking that belies her outward look of a top-line actress or runway model.
LAYERS AND TALENTS
Morgan is a woman of many layers and talents. Some are easily seen, and some are less obvious. As a media personality, self-help author, public speaker and artist, McKean is a powerful and emerging voice for women’s empowerment across many different platforms and media types. Her advice on what she calls ‘Living Fabulously’ has appeared in a variety of well-known media outlets in the United States, including MSN.com, Women’s Day, The Daily Love, Aspire magazine, and Ebony magazine. She also has created, produced, and hosted Living Clear with Morgan McKean, a video series on conscious and holistic advice for living. One of her current projects includes producing a very popular lifestyle blog called Fabulous Living with Morgan McKean.
Professionally and personally, McKean clearly is what we would call a modern-day ‘Renaissance Woman’ with many passions. Her 20-year career has included milestones such as working as Marketing Director for a consulting firm and handling national accounts at the age of 21; serving as a television producer for Paramount Pictures, Telepictures, and Warner Bros.; and being a Managing Partner for the independent record label Mindstorm Music Group, which had international distribution with Universal Music Group.
Morgan McKean was born in a small suburb in Southern California, but she is far from the stereotypical ‘California Girl.’ The story of her family heritage is a classic American one that bridges two continents and cultures. On her mother’s side, her direct ancestor Thomas McKean was a signer of the American Declaration of Independence. But on her father’s side, her grandfather was of Persian ancestry and served in 1940’s Calcutta, India as a Barrister for the Queen of England. When India claimed its independence in 1947, her grandfather sent his children to North America. Morgan’s father became a first-generation immigrant to the United States and he started a family there.
Morgan says she has been deeply involved in the human-potential movement since the age of six, and was identified as an Intuitive personality type from a very young age. Discovering her innate gifts and talents as a communicator, she developed a passion for public speaking in high school. In her mid-twenties she learned the arts of video hosting and production in Hollywood. Life was good, easy and fun.
CRISIS AND RECOVERY IN HOLLYWOOD
However, like many young women in Hollywood, Morgan also got caught up in the negative parts of the Los Angeles scene. She experienced life-threatening domestic violence and mental, emotional, and physical abuse that affected her well-being and personal safety. So she stepped away from the entertainment industry to recover and to be a single mother to her young son. After a traumatic period of soul-searching under threat of violence, Morgan McKean came back stronger than ever. However, instead of going back to the entertainment industry, Morgan re-dedicated her focus to studying the teachings of the human-potential movement, following such spiritual gurus as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Abraham-Hicks, and Dr. Michael Beckwith. She also authored a self-help book based on her experiences, Becoming Princess Charming: Creating the Magical Mindset for Your Happily Ever After.
Today, Morgan continues creating a multi-tiered lifestyle brand and has plans for producing and hosting a new talk show. Above all, she wants to use her own experiences and traumas to show both men and women that they can change their lives by expanding their consciousness and elevating their belief systems. Morgan combines her unique personal life experiences, her impressive intellect, and her own passions to help teach others that it is who they are being that largely dictates the courses of their lives and their physical realities.
Morgan McKean speaks here in Part 1 of an exclusive interview with Edward Zellem, a U.S. Navy captain and the 3-time award-winning author of Zarbul Masalha: 151 Afghan Dari Proverbs and its newly-released companion edition, Mataluna: 151 Afghan Pashto Proverbs.
Film Annex: Morgan jaan, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. Your life and work reminds us of a popular Pashto Proverb from Afghanistan. It sounds a lot like you.
Morgan McKean: Thank you, Edward. That is very kind of you to say. I love speaking with people like you, who share my passion to help people live life more freely and become who they are capable of being. I’m a big fan of your Afghan Proverbs books because I find such great universal wisdom and meaning in them. But the Pashto Proverb that you mention describes all people, not just me. Every person has great beauty inside, and that beauty can become damaged by outside forces. But every person also has the strength to repair that damage, whether they think so or not. Sometimes they just need a little help to find that strength, and to find a mental framework so they can repair themselves in the most effective way. That’s how I try to help people.
FA: You’re called an ‘Intuitive’ in your work as a lifestyle expert and transformational mentor. What does that mean? How do you use this gift to help others become better at creating their own life experiences?
MM: That’s a great question, and it is also is a complicated one. It is hard to describe in words. On a basic level, to be an Intuitive means that I use my feelings and extra-sensory perceptions to know that things are true without conscious reasoning. The way I experience it is in receiving certain knowledge about the past, present, or future through insights, images, and feelings about a person or situation that I’m ‘tuning-into.’
Because our thoughts and beliefs influence our choices and subsequent actions, we must be aware of what it is we believe. Unfortunately, most of us don’t take the time to truly assess our belief-systems. Often, these belief-systems came to us through the programming we received from our parents or first caregivers, who to a child are the ‘automatic authority figures’ on how to live life. So when people come to me with problems or negative situations they are experiencing, one of the first things I do is tap into their belief-systems to identify what it is they believe that causes them to create this experience.
Everyone is born with a certain level of intuition. Most people are educated out of it, and are taught to use their rational thinking in order to navigate life. That is certainly important too. But my own intuition was somehow stronger than the formal education process, and through much experience – some of it very painful - I learned to use intuition as my primary navigation tool. I also use it to help other people discover their deepest desires and motivations. Then I show them not what to think, but rather how to think. This helps them bring those desires into their own realities. I’ve seen it work this way over and over again.
FA: Fascinating. I read about this process in your book, and it seems to be very useful for both women and men. After reading your book, I think I found myself understanding women better - although time will tell (laughs). After all, Sigmund Freud tried for over 30 years and couldn’t do it.
MM: (Laughs). My advice to you is to keep trying, Edward! Understanding women is a journey for men, not a destination. The same applies to understanding oneself, and this is true both for men and women. In any case, I’m not a big advocate of Freud’s methods or thinking. If you look at his life story I think you’ll find that he had some personal issues of his own, especially with women. I feel much more drawn to Carl Jung and his concepts of synchronicity and the collective unconscious.
In my book Becoming Princess Charming: Creating the Magical Mindset for Your Happily Ever After, I take readers through a journey of self-discovery. They can see different types of programming in the areas of food, fitness, relationships, and money, and how those ideas or beliefs will play out in the types of life experiences they pursue.
FA: What is your message on women’s empowerment for people around the world?
MM: Women’s empowerment is often an uphill battle. Many cultures have some evolving to do. But I have great hope in the expanding consciousness of the young people around the world. They are increasingly connected to one another, regardless of country or culture, through technology, New Media and social media. They see the importance, the advantages, and the simple virtues of empowering women. They are the generation that knows, more than ever before, that you turn an idea into reality by first getting clarity on it, and then nurturing the idea so that you have an ‘unshakable’ belief in it, which then inspires you to take action toward it – no matter what. As it is with any transformative shift in the collective conscious, it is not an overnight process, but it is happening today in places like Afghanistan. And I want to help move the process along however I can. Time is of the essence.
It is also important that people understand that the transformation process starts from within. Growing up, and even into my late twenties, I had low self-esteem for many reasons. I didn’t feel myself worthy of the life I wanted to lead. I suffered from all sorts of body-image issues, and experienced various types of abuse, including domestic violence. At the time, I didn’t know that many of those experiences were the result of my belief-system. Once I set myself free from those situations, I decided that if it was within my power, I would never let another woman experience herself - or her life - as a nightmare, hating to be alive.
I know this might sound like a strange way to approach women’s empowerment in the developing world. Some people might say that it is a naïve, Western, wealthy-nation luxury for me to even be able to think this way. But anyone who says this doesn’t understand what I am saying. I don’t deny that there are many cultural differences and levels of development around the world. Everybody knows that. But like anything else, we must tailor our approaches to women’s empowerment so they match the cultural features of individual nations, populations or situations. And sometimes great changes take great time. This is not being naïve. I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist, I am a realist – with a “positive” attitude (winks and smiles).
I could say it another way with an Afghan Proverb that describes a universal human thought and message in a few short words. Everyone understands its meaning, no matter where they live in the world or what language they speak.
There always is a way. We must believe enough in ourselves, surround ourselves with good people, and then fight to change both our own internal realities and our external worlds. As for myself, I made a personal vow that I would never again be a victim. I took, and continue each day, to take every step available to me towards self-healing. Part of the way I do this is to live my own message the best I can, and to help show other women how to believe in themselves.
My past as a victim of abuse will always be a part of me. And I know that pulling it up over and again in my mind can keep me stuck in my personal history, but it also makes me stronger and far more aware. Everything in my message is about loving yourself, and that it is who you are being that dictates your reality.
The entire reason for my work, my book, and my show is to give people ideas for what I call Fabulous Living, to help them develop self-love, self-care, and self-respect for who and what they are. So that the idea of people being anything less than the blessings that our Creator calls them to be doesn’t even enter their consciousness. And through this process, they learn to be the conscious and deliberate creators of their own realities.
It doesn’t matter by what name people call their God, either, or what country or culture they are from. These are universal human concepts, like the Afghan Proverbs in your books. Like proverbs, everybody understands them. They can adapt these ideas to their own environments and the personal realities they create for themselves.
FA: Morgan jaan, thank you. This has been a very powerful and thought-provoking discussion. We look forward to learning more about you and your work in Part 2 of our interview.
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About Edward Zellem
Zellem is a U.S. Navy captain and the award-winning author of three bilingual books of Afghan Proverbs: Zarbul Masalha: 151 Afghan Dari Proverbs, the Afghan Proverbs Illustrated series in 15 languages, and Mataluna: 151 Afghan Pashto Proverbs. Zellem wrote the books “to show how Afghan Proverbs demonstrate our common humanity and the humanity of Afghans." His books are available in over 100 countries worldwide through Amazon.com and other leading international booksellers.