More humans in my journey of life

Two very different men

One time, I went to dinner one evening and was simply mesmerized from the wrinkles chiseled around his stern lips to the blade slicing at precise and indecisive moments. It is the reflection of many years of experience with different fish and meat. He knew where to cut and how to do so, which skin to keep and which to discard, and it was all being prepared right there within sight. Each meat/fish was prepared and put on respective orders, and I entered a trance as I watched him. No one was able to get the attention of my conscious state, because I had a rapport with him and his craft.

Another time, a woman served dinner to my girlfriend’s family and I and I gazed upon her with melancholy as she darted about from one table to the other. She smiled and appeared friendly to customers, but I felt something inside her. She was sad. Something had happened.

“She seems sad,” I shared with my girlfriend, “and I know she is. I can feel it.” I almost cried, wishing I could do something for her. “If it were socially acceptable, I would go up to her now and give her a hug.” If I were to do that, I just know that neither she nor I would utter a word. It wouldn’t be necessary. “In her culture,” my girlfriend added, “they’re not accustomed to that.”

And well, it’s true, isn’t it. That server is Chinese, yet it doesn’t matter from what part of the land we come. It seems that there are things that are simply not practiced any more. One guy even mentioned to me once through another blog how kindness is not the social norm any more. It really doesn`t seem to be, does it.

My girlfriend and I made a sort of superficial comparison between Canada and the United States, albeit the facts from them, but no research was conducted to be certain or precise on the matter. Basically, parts of the United States and many parts of Europe, if not all, have it right on the button. Etiquette courses are instilled in the school system so as to learn to carry oneself respectfully to one’s loved ones and strangers alike. If one does not learn it at home, then why not the one place where most children tend to go.

Jesus said that, without being able to quote precisely, it is easy enough to love your family, but it is quite another to love strangers in the same way.

Essentially, no matter how different we all are, whether we are a server in a restaurant, a butcher behind a counter in a respectable restaurant, an accountant, a lawyer, a writer, a construction worker, a beggar, when we are stripped of these things, we are all humans. We all have a heart with which to feel. If humans are of the contrary nature, then something is wrong. Something was not properly instilled or recent events have changed that person’s views towards wrong and unnecessary thoughts and opinions. It needn’t be this way. Why should it be?

There is one more man whom I unexpectedly encountered on the road. I was signalling for a right-turn, and when the way was clear, the front bumper of my vehicle partly entered the adjacent lane where a car was passing through. I honestly don’t know how much of my car entered the adjacent lane. I really don’t think it was much, but at any rate the sound of his horn was highly merited. Then, but a second later, as I look astutely ahead of me to find my next turn, he burns his tires on the asphalt to come next to me and sounds his horn. Incessantly his car horn blew to me as his hand dug into his wheel. I neither looked at him and his face nor paid any mind to the highly inexcusable driving that he portrayed. Silly human. He should not have done that. Why did he do that? My girlfriend and I came to the conclusion that something had occurred in his life; or perhaps it was a combination of things that, at the point of my encounter with him, reached its boiling point.

You know what I wish. I wish that it may be socially acceptable for me to go to that poor human in the car, the woman in the restaurant, the beggar on the street, the two very different men in my aforementioned linked post and to give them all a hug. For some time, I have had this irrefutable desire to go to humans and to give them love in some way. I find the embrace with arms to be the most beautiful of human contacts – and I do mean this, whether it is with a stranger or with the ones we love.

And we may embrace good habits, too, so that no matter what happens in our lives, we may keep the faith and not be taken aback by the poor humans who submit to negative influences and, ergo, become negative themselves. May we transfigure the negative moments to positive ones. May we embrace humans as well as good habits laced within our contact without. May we keep the faith, fellow humans! =)

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GoBe foundation’s Challenge day (spread the love)

God Bless such loveliness! =)

This was their message for Challenge day on Thursday, March 6th, so that they could raise money for the launch of their Pilot Program in Kenya. More details on that in my previous post.

Do you have plans on Thursday, March 6th? You might want to cancel them now. Because for 15 straight hours, we are going to do anything you tell us to do. We are going to take videos of ourselves doing it. And we are going to post it all – raw and unfiltered.

On Thursday, March 6th, from 9am – midnight (EST), we will surrender ourselves to your every wish and desire.

Challenge #13: We did barefoot jumping jacks in the snow.
Challenge #5: We rapped about cats.
Challenge #9: We performed a public rendition of “What does the fox say?”

My favourites:
Challenge #2: Hug a stranger
Challenge #5: Convince a stranger that you have an invisible pet
Challenge #11: Leave kind notes for 50 strangers

You can watch full Challenge Day videos at http://www.youtube.com/gobefoundation

GoBe Foundation

I am most honored to introduce to you the GoBe Foundation. It is a non-profit organization co-founded by a dear friend of mine. It is a lovely example of what can happen when one’s heart goes for the greater good. =)

GoBe Foundation’s pilot program for Kenyan teens is set to launch on April 10th!

www.gobefoundation.org

It all started on a ski lift…
Last January, Jonny and I were swinging our skis and chatting about the shortcomings we’d seen while working with nonprofits and teen programs around the world. Our chat soon turned into an impassioned conversation about the kind of programs we wished we had when we were teenagers. By the time Jonny flew back to his job in Malaysia a week later, we’d planted the seed for the GoBe Foundation.

It took a year of planning and thousands of unpaid hours (plus a lot of juggling Skype calls around our 12hr time difference), but we’re now an established non-profit! With project partners in Kenya and the U.S., a Council of Advisors, a Teen Council of Advisors, a group of Kenyan coaches, and a ton of supporters, we’ll be running our first program GoBe StartUP in Kenya this April. This pilot program will be training 40 young Kenyans in entrepreneurship + storytelling. Ultimately it’s about creating a mindset – training young people to believe in their ability to build their own great lives. You can read about it here.

You are an important part of this movement. Donate to see GoBe StartUP take off this April! Click here: gobefoundation.org/donate

We’re inspired to work with high schoolers because we remember exactly what it was like when we were that age. You probably remember the feeling – when your brilliant / creative / exciting  ideas for the future started to compete with the difficult realities of adulthood. In this period, young people are faced with the choice to accept someone else’s idea of success – or create their own.  What you choose to do during these moments – even more, what you choose to believe – affects everything about your future.  GoBe StartUP is cool, but it’s really the start of something much bigger! We’ll be using the impact studies and success stories from this program to build relationships with other foundations, organizations, and corporations, and to bring GoBe programs to young people around the world.  We’ve got a big vision in mind – but we’re not there yet!  We need your help to make the biggest possible impact right now.

Whether you’re 14 or 40, you have the power to decide what you want your life to look like. Easier said than done, maybe, but the effort is worth it. The entrepreneurial mindset is like an investment account; the earlier you create it, the bigger the payoff down the road.  Together we have an opportunity to give these young people an enormous advantage: to not only help them believe in the vision that they want to see, but to give them tools to create it. We really can’t do this alone. We need your help!

Give $50

$50 covers food for 2 students for the entire month of April, or program workbooks for 10 students. It would also free up our time to worry about other things (like training the volunteer Kenyan coaches and finalizing the schedules). By the way, any amount is important. Every amount makes a difference. Seriously, thanks.

Much love,

Leah (and Jonny!)
leah at gobefoundation dot org

And this is a note from me: I’d like to give my friend a sense of how much activity is happening through here, so if you could post a comment stating that you donated as well as how much was donated, then this would be a great way to tally up the sources from which people are helping. Remember that there is no pressure here as to how much to give. Every little bit counts. =)

We have to at least try

Part One

I turned my head around swiftly to the sound of words I’d never heard before working here: “Mr. CEO wants to talk to you.”

I actually didn’t feel a pang of any discouragement. Especially when I’d sent him an email the same day to let me know if there’s anything I can do to help, my guess is that it wouldn’t be as simple as saying, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention,” and putting an end to it.

“Have a seat.”

I sat down while he fidgeted about a little, searching for the words to begin.

“About 1/3 of Canada throws out food,” he started. I was contemplating if such a statistic is accurate, but I’m not surprised by it. He went on to say that restaurants, businesses, luncheons, executive dinners, and so forth do the same thing. Well, I thought, from what you started with, it can’t be all of them. Instead, I nodded in agreement to what he was saying simply because it’s true; this is the world in which we live. Businesses strive to make money; and to make money, clients must be satisfied. One way in which they are satisfied is to ensure that they are well taken care of. Providing ample food for their bellies is one of them, and if there’s not enough food, it is given as left-overs the following day to the employees of the company, at least in this one, and if no one eats all of the food, the rest of it is thrown away.

My logic is why not take the same food given on the same day and drive it down to shelters and the like? Because they may not take time to do it maybe? Well, why not make time for it? Especially if the preventing engagement isn’t pertinent. It could be a family project for those in the company with families. On the next event in which I participate, I want to make this possibility known to the people there. I was pleased when, without having to make a question out of this, he said that he’d tried to go to shelters, but they would not accept food that has been exposed outside like that. I can understand that, because if someone were to get food poisoning and we were the ones who donated the food, the company’s reputation would be tarnished.

“My father was like this,” he added, “so I understand what you’re doing and where you’re coming from.”

At the end of it, I’m not surprised really by what was said during our discussion. My words, having been repeated by my heart and mouth at least twice, were the following: We have to at least try! If we simply sit there and allow the food to be thrown away because that’s the easier thing to do, then we are not trying. This is not noble. As long as we are on a good and noble path in which we try for the betterment of others, then it will be what it will be, but we have to at least try.

I told him those words, and he nodded in agreement. I hope that it was something that we could both take away from this conversation, which happened yesterday. The next day, earlier this morning, I approached the secretary, because she is the one who orders the food. She, as I’d expected, is well aware of the food quantity and tries to order to match the number of invited guests. Then only a subset of the invited list appears at the event. My heart had flitted madly inside my chest to approach her, which is why I did, and I’m glad that I did, but there’s one thing I didn’t say to her.

“What if we could just order one tin of food mixed together – rice, potatoes, chicken, fish, vegetables, and whatever is the theme of the occasion – and have small portions divided amongst us. Why couldn’t we try that? Why not? I don’t understand why we couldn’t each simply take one plate with a small portion of rice/potatoes, of meat, and of veggies to divide amongst all the people. With one tin, people would be less likely to take more than they can handle, and we could be thankful for the food we receive.”

Those were about the words I did speak to someone: a colleague who sits next to me with whom we share beliefs. I had to say it to someone, and he agreed with me.

“But you have to consider how they are,” he went on to say. “If people come to an event and see that the food is insufficient to their need, and they don’t get enough in their belly, then they complain.”

“I think that if we were to propose it to them at the time of the event, describing in advance what we wish to do, then I think they might want to try it. Something like, ‘1/3 of Canada’s food is simply tossed into the trash. Let us not take more than we need and be thankful for what we have. We will share the food we order and be thankful for it’, or something along those lines.”

I think that with the right marketing, because some humans may need something like that to be convinced, I don’t see why it couldn’t be done.

I am really just appalled at the nature of some of the humans. They would complain because the selection of food is limited to one type of veggie, chicken, fish, and tofu (taking into account vegetarians and vegans), and they would do this instead of being thankful for what is given. Some people would thank God and the heavens for a prosperous and fertile field of crops, go down on their knees and dance in the wonderment of the coming of rain – and then some humans complain of the lack of one thing or of the grandeur of another. No matter what, we must try to be thankful for what we have.

And if we were to never at least try, we would never be where we are. The world may be better in the scope of the information age, but in the age of man, there is much that needs work. Kindness is one area where it can propagate from one human to the other, from something little to a great deal more. And the beautiful thing about kindness is that there is no need for an organization or event or whatever means to make it work; all that is needed is love to one another.

Keep the faith, fellow humans! =)

This is not good, not good at all!

My fellow humans, this is not good.

There is so much happening in the world. There are some that are so engrossed in their own lives that they neither realize how well off they are nor how grand this world really is. This is a most sad sight my eyes perceived as I entered the lunchroom at work just minutes ago.

Every so often, our company hosts dine and discover events wherein employees come to listen to speakers on various topics. There was one held last night, and food remaining from the event was spread out on the tables in the lunchroom. It was just about quarter to 5pm when I sent the following email to the CEO of this company because of what I’d seen:

Hello,

I understand that you are busy, so I will keep this brief.

The world is such a grand place with so many who are less fortunate than we in the scope of financial stability. My heart weeps when I look in the garbage bin of the lunchroom here to find that there is food, copious amounts of food from the recent dine and discover, in the trash that could have been given to shelters who need it or to employees who could take home left overs for their families.

We have food so that our bodies may live in this world and when food is simply tossed away like trash, then it is inexplicably unnerving and just plain horrible.

Kind regards…

I purposely kept the email brief so that I can await his reply, whether by email or in person. I will keep you all posted on this.

This is disgusting! And for those of you who are new here, I wish to repeat some things I’d already written. We are a mass of people, surrounded by influences made by others. To throw away food is blasphemous, and it sends a wrong message to offspring when it is witnessed by loved ones. The context of kindness is no different, for we learn by the influences of those who are around us, by the experiences to which we come. Harsh words, rude behavior, anything that disturbs the human spirit and his or her environment, are like tossing food to their faces, something that could be given to others who are hungry for kinder, more respectable words.

Fellow humans, we learn from mistakes, from negative moments so that we may grow stronger, but, sometimes, we grow weak and succumb to the dread. Good will always superimpose with the bad, but, as long as we love one another as much as we can, the bad will never prevail. No matter what happens in our respective lives, we mustn’t propagate such negative energies to others, nor to ourselves within, for they have their own hardships to deal with. Because if things continue in this manner, it would rot the nourishment that words should portray, and then it will be like tossing rotted food to others. Food mustn’t be wasted. If not used for nourishment, it will rot.

May we all be spreaders of kindness and of good will. Yes!

Executed to a tee

Even if things come forth better than expected, there is no such thing as perfection. In fact, the definition of perfect is so ambiguous that no one could ever see eye to eye in that respect, because each human’s definition of a perfect or wondrous life varies. It is why when we spread kindness to others, we should not expect perfection — only the best of our heart’s noble and graceful intentions would do.

Last night, an elderly woman was walking feebly from one foot to the other with the aid of her walker. I noticed that, as I passed her, she had no gloves on. I imagined that if she had gloves, then she would put them on. My heart and I desired ever so much to do something for her, so I ran to the dance studio just around the corner where I was to practice and asked people if they would have a pair of gloves to spare for this woman, having explained why I needed them. I had none of my own; otherwise, I would have given her mine right then and there on the sidewalk. To no avail, I exited the studio and considered running to a nearby store someone had recommended to me, but not until I approached the lady first. I knew she wouldn’t go far and as I approached her, I saw that two other fellow humans had already come to her aid.

“Excuse me? Do you know this woman?” I asked one of the strangers.
“No, not at all. We just got here.”
“Oh, because, you see, she doesn’t -” my eyes diverted to the woman huddled behind. “I wanted to get you a pair of gloves. Your hands must be freezing.”
“Oh, I’m fine,” she answered with this tremulous voice. The man spoke for her, saying that she’s just staying at the hotel a few feet away, and the two strangers were keeping her company in the meantime.
“But that’s so kind of you to offer,” the gentleman added. Then the elderly woman spoke: “I can’t get a good grip of these handles with my gloves anyway.”
We parted ways with hearty thanks and blissful smiles. My what an evening that was. Even more so that there were two strangers who had taken time away from their lives to help her. How wonderful it was, even if I’d had this whole scenario painted in my mind, wherein I would give her the gloves or purchase them at a nearby store, as I’d intended to do, all as a gift of kindness from one stranger to another.

That is kindness, fellow humans. It is a wondrous gift that has no intended price tag or monetary value. It is the indefatigable communion between beings interspersed on this plain. It is a moment in which two or more hearts become one, tethered in exchanges of warmth and of joy.

Do what you can. We simply must, for that is perfection in itself! The world will always have good superimposed with the bad, but good will always prevail as long as we do what we can. Love one another as much as one can love. When a moment is given to love in this way, do not renounce it; rather, we must embrace it and think of nothing else. And if such moments are not given, then seek them out. =)

Kindness has varying dialects

As I entered into a restaurant, I saw that the next door leading inside was about to open. A mere tremor of the door to go ajar was enough for me to dash to the door leading outside. Two men emerged and looked at me with intrigue as I kept a legitimate smile on my face and one arm to lift the door against the wind. “Thanks man,” one said to me, and “Thank you,” said the other. “It’s not a problem,” I replied. “Take it easy, fellas.” I speak in the language of the people for whom I perform kindness, choosing, for what little I know of them, my words well.

Nature vs Nurture is a classic psychological study that demonstrates the scope of humans in different areas driven by their surroundings. One human may perceive kindness differently from another; even when I slightly bow my head as I open the door, some have looked at me perplexed as though they did not understand me. If they were to say, “Why would anyone open a door for me like that?”

“Well, why not?” I would answer.

I think that the question they were really asking was, “Why didn’t I understand him?” Essentially, it’s the initial response. Some really haven’t the foggiest at first, and then they recall movies they’d seen or books they’d read, or even observations they’d made. In the latter case, the more we perform kindness for others, the more they would learn from this language and embody it, speaking it to others in the most influential manner. Sometimes it isn’t even a matter of what one says as what one does. Body language encompasses — gosh, I don’t recall — 90% of our body, I believe. At any rate, it is the larger proportion, so it should be used rightly.

I’d mentioned this in another post how it is frightening when some humans simply do not understand my gestures when I open a door, for instance. They are always of good intent. I like to slightly bow my head and form a crook in my elbow as I bid them enter. Fortunately, a larger proportion of them respond favorably. So it definitely works, one way or another. Essentially, we all know this language, even if it is not second-nature.

Then, like any other language, there is the cursing, one’s misuse of a language to portray anger and bitterness towards fellow humans. This is not the way. No one deserves such foul language. In fact, my girlfriend told me how she’d been surrounded by some members of a committee who were debating through the use of foul language. It is most unusual to even consider cursing in a workplace, especially during a meeting and most especially when someone is hurt as a result. So when a meeting is conducted with a primary goal being one’s understanding and/or completion of something, then why should the same conduct not be used anywhere else? Well, it should. Meanness does not achieve that goal in the meeting of hearts.

And what if kindness is used for something unjust? It can have a nice looking garment embossed with glimmer and delight; yet beneath the cloak is a foul miscreant with wicked intentions. This is not the way. Anything one does should be for the overall good. There can also be success for the one doing good, or there are other purposes of one’s goodness as long as they are noble — as long as the kindness is there, that’s what matters.

So let us make kindness a universal language. Be kind to others as much as possible, in a way they understand, in no matter what situations we find ourselves, as no one deserves our pain; they already have their own hardships. For kindness is peace in heart, knowing that there is good inside and it is just overflowing with the desire to be good within and without. And peace, fellow humans, is the warm embrace of the language of kindness in all its lovely dialects for all the different humans out there:

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
-unknown (my girlfriend’s mug =)