A Girl in the River:The Price of Forgiveness for Documentary Short film, a movie I never saw. For that matter I didn’t even see one of the documentary short films. Did you? Where would you even go to see it, if you wanted too? I honestly have no idea.
I love the Academy Awards. The glamor, the red carpet, the films…I love it all. The power a film has to tell a story, to make us think, to feel and reflect upon our human condition, is pure magic. The art of storytelling can create change.
As I watched last nights show, along with billions of others, I was inspired by the woman from Pakistan, Sharmeen Chinoy, whose film told a story, that has done just that. One woman used her gift to inspire others. You don’t need to start a non-profit to make a difference, you simply have to use your gifts to help another. That is who the real winners are.
“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. “
I have always been a more is more sort of person. I’m not sure if that is the American way or the just way I am wired. Regardless, it is how I am…until recently. I have had a shift in the appreciation of simplicity and the beauty that comes from it.
Trying to simplify life is just not that simple.
However, when we begin to use our edit button, beauty appears everywhere. As the editing process of my life continues, the more that goes, it seems the more abundance there is.
Perplexing how life works when you keep things simple.
A place for everything and everything in its place, was a phrase I heard over and over as a child. To be honest, I don’t think I really understood this saying until very recently. Most of us spent the month of January and February cleaning out and purging after the holidays, an annual ritual for many. For me, the process of cleaning out and really finding a permanent place for everything has just begun.
What began as a simple task has become more of a metaphor for life. It seems that just when things are “put away,” that is when that crazy thing called change sneaks up, shifts everything and things become unsettled and somehow without place. Change is a pattern and rhythm of life that simply can’t be avoided.
However, once the dust settles. It is time to pick everything up and begin finding a proper place for it. Do I hold on to this? What stays and what goes? The joy that follows releasing what must be let go, is surprising. When you find the proper place for things, something magical happens, a shift. When you think about it, there is the permanence with place.
We all crave it and I am finally finding mine, one drawer at a time.
Let me begin by saying I believe in signs. Have you ever exited a freeway off ramp to find someone standing there with a sign? It can be anything from need food, homeless please help….you know the ones. Every time, I feel uncomfortable, I feel guilty and often, even ashamed when I do not roll down the window and give.
I have interviewed many founders and executive directors of homeless shelters and all have advised me never, ever give in this way, and so for the most part I haven’t. I have also learned from past experience. A time at USC when I ran across the street and used my allowance to buy a hungry man groceries, only to be yelled at that he didn’t want the food. A blind man, who took my money and then loaded up his wheelchair in his van and drove away.
I’m sure my experiences are exceptions but nonetheless, experiences that changed my giving in this manner….until the other day. It was the long holiday weekend and we pulled off the freeway and missed the light. So there we were, trapped with a handsome young man and a sign. I tried to turn my head away to avoid eye contact, feeling that creeping feeling of shame, when the most unexpected thing happened.
He picked up a cello, which was broken and patched together, that I hadn’t seen, and began to play. I rolled down the window to hear and he smiled a beautiful smile and told us he wrote the piece and started playing at the age of 11. We were entranced, as were all the other motorist around us. We couldn’t open our wallets fast enough and when the light turned green, we wanted to cry and never wanted his beautiful music to end.
The joy this beautiful music brought was a gift and a sign. A sign to open my heart, my eyes and my ears to all that is around me. When I do that, beauty is everywhere, you just need to look and listen to the signs.
“I do the very best I know how-the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.”
I hope that today finds you celebrating our great nation, our freedom and forefathers with a day off of work. Reading through the many quotes by the people who made our country great was a fun and inspiring exercise. I think all of the Presidents that we celebrate and honor today did their very best. At the end, isn’t that all that really matters?
Being married to an entrepreneur, I am always fascinated by what motivates people to start a business, even a non-profit. When someone comes along who creates a great product and business combined with doing good, well in my book, that is about as good as it gets. The man who has done just that, is Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of Kind Snacks.
Daniel Lubetzky is the son of a holocaust survivor, who grew up in Mexico City before moving to the United States with his family. After graduating from Stanford, he became fascinated with finding a way to resolve the Israel-Palenstine conflict through business. He created an international movement called OneVoice and then a food company called Peaceworks that promotes economic cooperation in the Middle East.
It was in 2004, when Daniel was unhappy with the unhealthy snack choices Americans had, as well as the rise of obesity, that he developed the Kind Bar. His concept was that we can be “kind to our bodies and to the world.” Last week he took his kindness to a new level, by creating a new corporate foundation that will give $1 million in cash prizes to individuals who are making a difference in their communities by kindness.
The Kind Foundation will accept nominations through March 31st and five kind individuals will win $100,000 and one grand winner will win $500,000. The company is known for its generous support to a host of non-profits that are voted on through the companies web-site each month.
When asked about his motivation for giving, in a recent interview in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Daniel cited his father’s experiences during the holocaust.”I don’t see it as philanthropy so much as a duty,” he said.
Its seems that the Superbowl and I will both be celebrating big birthdays this year, this sunday the Superbowl will turn 50. We all know that this weekend’s Superbowl game will be the Denver Broncos versus the Carolina Panthers. What you probably didn’t know is that the NFL was a non-profit organization from 1942 until just last April. Who knew?
For reasons still a mystery to some, the NFL decided to remove their tax-exempt non-profit status. However, despite your opinion on the controversial decision, the NFL Foundation still exists. The Foundation was created to support the health of the NFL athletes, youth football and communities that support the sport. The foundation has donated more than $368 million dollars since 1973, served 3.1 million people through grants given since 2011, awarded 364 players grants in 2011 and built over 356 fields since 1998.
So regardless of who you are cheering on this weekend, know that the NFL is still doing its part to support players, youth sports and communities. That is something everyone can root for.