Category Archives: Humanity

It’s 5773, but the Message of Passover 2013 Is Still as Strong as Ever

(Here’s a re-post of a past Passover message, up again by request.  The year is now 5773.  Please enjoy, and to all my Jewish readers, have a happy, healthy Passover!)

Happy Passover to our Jewish readers.

It’s Passover 2011, or, in the Jewish calendar, I think it’s Passover 5771.

This is the time of year when Jews around the world celebrate their freedom from bondage in Egypt with the commemorative Seder and Passover meal.

Think about Moses all those years ago, trying to convince the Egyptian Pharaoh to “let my people go.”  Then all those plagues such as blood, frogs, vermin, slaying of the first born…

It took a lot for Pharaoh to finally let the Hebrews go, and even then, he still chased after them, necessitating the parting of the Red Sea so that the Hebrews could cross to safety.

There were wanderings, new beginnings, divisions, and some heartache, but in the end, the destination was reached.

There is one part of the meal that really stands out to me.  It is during the recounting of the plagues — when Jews count down the Ten Plagues during the Seder.  A drop of wine is spilled with each recitation in memory of those who suffered in Egypt…not the Jews, but the Egyptians.

I guess it’s a solemn reminder that when blood of any kind is spilled, we all lose a little something.  Then, it is important to remember that when there are those in bondage around the world, we ourselves (no matter our religion) are in some way in bondage.

Jewish or not, matzah-lover (matzo-lover) or not, remember Passover 2011 / Passover 5771.  Work toward justice, strive for freedom, and remember those who may not be so lucky or fortunate.

Passover isn’t just about a meal.  It’s about the whole human race.

Happy Passover 2011 / Passover 5771.

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Still Here. Still Nobody. Still Going Strong!

Still here.  Still here.

Thanks to those of you who have stuck around to read over the course of the last few weeks.  It’s been the best of times and the worst of times, but luckily, the worst of times were very short and are now getting more distant in life’s rear view mirror.

Of course, attitude wasn’t everything, but it was a big part of it, so with that being said, let’s move on in joy into 2013!  Can’t spend all our time lamenting.  Has to be some time in there for the good stuff.  I’m shooting for 98.56% good stuff.

So, the new year has brought some new news, some new surprises, and some of the same ol’ same ol’.  Has yours been the same?  I have a new recliner and a new bookcase.  There’s something for which to be thankful.  Some stones still haven’t moved, while others continue to roll on, even when I try to stop them!

President Obama was sworn in to another term and Vice President Biden also had his swearing in.  The NFL playoffs march on into another week, getting us closer to the Super Bowl which, for those of us who don’t give a hoot about either team, is really just a chance to watch 30 second commercials the cost of which could feed a poor country for weeks.

I continue to meet new people and re-connect with others I’ve not seen in a while.  Meditation techniques grow in new directions, with new techniques that help me to focus day by day.  I’m meeting cynics, skeptics, and believers, all of which only serve to drive home the notion that I am on the right path — nothing set in stone, but just trying to be that ol’ Citizen of the World.

I still dream of India.  I still wake up in my home city at 5:30am for work.  I still believe the yin-yang is one of the most beautiful metaphorical drawings ever created, and I’m finding myself more comfortable in my skin as days go on.

For those of you who care (and, surprisingly, for those who don’t), I want to give you the Nobody message for January 2013: Embrace your Nobody Nature to the fullest.  Cherish your ability to struggle in the daily grind without the benefit of prying eyes and paparazzi.  Know more and more each day that you are the trendsetter.  That fashion is only fashion because you wear it.  Top 40 is only Top 40 because you download it.  Movie starts only make it because you buy the tickets. I had occasion the other day, in my new recliner, to think about that message a little bit for myself.  I realized that when I turn the movies off and go sit for a while to meditate, I’m making a free and conscious choice that is not really informed by anything other than my own will.  Nobody’s watching.  Nobody’s reporting.  Nobody’s counting.

It’s just this Nobody experiencing.

I hope your 2013 is full of your own special brand of magic, your own special choices, and, most importantly, peace.  You are the world and you make it spin, so…enjoy!

Happy New Year 2013…Let’s Hope 1/1/13 Brings 13 More Blessings Than Superstitions!

Lucky number 13.

At least, that’s what this year brings, right?  1/1/13.  I know, I know…technically it’s TWO-ZERO-13, but still…seeing that “13” hanging off the end there is enough to make even the least superstitious a little nervous.

So, will this be a year of broken mirrors, opening umbrellas in the house, black cats, and walking under ladders?  Or, will it be a time of truly wonderful omens and special opportunity?

I laid in bed for a few extra minutes today and stared at the ceiling.  I thought about 2012 and all of its past glory and really had to smile.  It was quite a year for me, and I’m sure for you, too…whether or not you know it.  Not that much “exciting” really happened to me, but it certainly was a time of near misses, false starts, new beginnings that turned into false starts, and…well…let’s just say I still have all 10 fingers and all 10 toes and am counting my blessings for it.

I’m not really a resolution man by nature, so I won’t engage in too much of that here.  But if you know me, you know I’m counting the ol’ blessings every second I can, just in case.  So, since we’ve narrowly avoided a fiscal cliff and a Mayan Apocalypse, let’s take some time to count some before the cliff drops off…13’s a nice number, don’t you think?  Some of these may be a bit obtuse, but again, if you know me, well…then that’s no surprise!

1.  Near miss in hospital avoided for one whom I love.  Heard the phrase “just in time” one time too many for my liking, but so far have not heard it again.  All’s well going into 2013.  There was good spirits, laughter, and positivity the WHOLE time it was going on, and there continue to be, and yes…that made all the difference.

2.  Conversations about new ventures are ongoing with some really cool people.  Why count this?  Because instead of being stuck in a rut bemoaning the state of things, it’s actually nice to be able to think about fresh adventures and see them unfold.  I’m open to that.  I have that opportunity.  It takes work, but I’m happy for it.

3.  Chicken parm.  That’s right.  I know it’s not a hospital near-miss or the promise of a new business venture, but it’s delicious, right?  Right.  Enough said.

4.  The new playlist in my car.  Yup.  I listen to certain things in the morning to get me spiritually motivated, but in the afternoon?  Well, in goes a playlist of songs that I love to rewind:

Speed of Sound by Coldplay

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

Afternoons & Coffeespoons by Crash Test Dummies

April Come She Will by Simon and Garfunkel

Bitter Tears by INXS

The Broad Majestic Shannon by The Pogues

This Cowboy Song by Sting

Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen

Strawberry Swing by Coldplay

Hannah Jane by Hootie and the Blowfish

Lonely Girls by Ian & Sylvia

Only Living Boy in New York by Simon and Garfunkel

Talk by Coldplay

Wisemen by James Blunt

Time to Move On by Tom Petty

Tiny Daggers by INXS

Trip Through Your Wires by U2

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?  by REM

Why Should I Cry for You? by Sting

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall by  Coldplay

Yes…thank goodness for that playlist.  Doesn’t get too too much better than that, my friends.  Go ahead.  Take your shots at it.  I’m immune.

5.  My agent.  Have to thank her again.  Why?  Just ’cause.  Y’know.  Just ’cause.

6.  Fresh faces and friends in 2012.  New spaces to fill with those new people in 2013.

7.  When I saw darkness in 2012, I was able to reframe it to see the message instead of trying to yell at it to become light.  Thank you 2012 for that.  Thank you thank you a million times thank you.

8.  That I continue to be able to forge ahead.  Thank you, 2012 for allowing that, too.

9.  I’m blessed for the ability to count blessings.  Yes.  Gotta list that one.  Thank you, Universe, for even allowing a count to happen.

10.  Thank you for dreams and reality.  Why?  Because when the line blurs, we know we’re on to something.  If you haven’t reached this state in life at least once, try it.  See that your world is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  It’s interesting!

11.  Thank you for teachers, students, and the ability to connect with both.  You need to talk to people who think like you once in a while.  They’re your feel goods.  But, yes, you need to learn from the ones who yell at you for what you think.  Sorry.  That’s life.  But look for the people who believe what they believe out of conviction, and not because they’re told to believe or or believe it because of some lame news station.  Be a true teacher and a true student.  Nice.

12.  Thank you for the spice of life.  It ain’t always sugar.  It ain’t always lemons.  Sometimes…well…sometimes it’s just right.

13.  And lastly?  Thank you for allowing me to be Nobody in particular.  I love my Nobody brothers and sisters.  And, the more I watch reality TV, commercials, and sports (the NBA), the more glad I become for this one.  Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you a million times thank you to whatever is running this Universe that the world is not really about (at least I HOPE it’s not about…) the most money, taking talents elsewhere, or being “in”famous.  Thank you for quiet rooms, conversation over coffee at the local wherever, a special playlist, an honest day’s work, and knowing that when we point to heaven after something special, we know that everyone else is just as loved….Universe, we know you don’t only care about three pointers, touchdowns, winning a voice contest, and sunken putts.  These are special things, yes.  These are karmic things, I know.  But at the end o’ the day, you present glory to see how we handle it.  I have to believe you just want us to simply be grateful for what we have (except for the occasional blog post…sorry!), and we know you love that pitcher whether he gives up the homer or not.  I’m grateful for knowing that, even though I’m not a pitcher.

So, I know I said I wouldn’t make a resolution.  But I will.  As January 1, 2013 comes and goes I will vow only to do my best to keep on moving ahead.  To be open to new opportunity.  To let the past be the past.  To let the future be the future.  And…well…to keep on being the best Nobody I can be.

From this Nobody to you, whomever you are, have a safe, happy, and blessed 2013.

May This Christmas 2012, Hanukah-Past 2012, and All Your Post-Mayan Apocalypse Holidays Be Filled With…Burl Ives?

The 2012 Mayan Calendar date has come and gone and we’re still here.  We still work, eat, meet, greet, and do our thing.

So, here’s a favorite post from last December.  Hope your lives are full of “holly jolly” each and every day, and may the season bring you a smile.

———————————-

Hanukkah 2011 and Christmas 2011.

Welcome, holiday season!

Wait, why am I saying welcome?  The holiday season has been here for a while now, hasn’t it?  At least, Christmas has.  Heck, the commercials have been here since October.  And, I’ve been eating other peoples’ holiday cookies and goodies since just after Thanksgiving.

But yes, ’tis the season of getting and the season of giving.  I’m never sure which is more important to the masses this month.  I know so many people right now who are getting some nice things for themselves.  Let’s see…there’s two new TVs, a new car, 3 new phones.

And a partridge in a pear tree….

I know a few people who have a new lease on life, some making new starts, some closing old business some opening up something new.  All kinds!  All walks of life!

There’s new jobs out there, and I think there’s a new pet in the mix somewhere, but I could be wrong.

Yup.  The holiday season is in full swing!

What’s new with you this December?

The other day, I had an interesting episode in the building where I work.  I got in the elevator — just moi, nobody in particular.  And in stepped another guy.  Nobody in particular.  There we were.  Just two guys in an elevator going down 10 floors.  No clue the other existed until that moment, and probably only about to share 20 seconds of life…two seconds per floor.

In the peopled solitude of the elevator, drifting out of the speakers in the elevator, was Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

I’m telling you, it was weird.  The guy was looking one way.  I was looking the other.  Life was life.  Work was work.  We both had that awkward elevator-busy going on.

And there was Mr. Burl Ives and “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

Ever see Twin Peaks?

So, in the spirit of the season, I reached out and say to the guy, “Boy, this is kinda surreal, isn’t it?”

He smiled.  I smiled.  The song played on.

In the lobby, we exchanged pleasantries and another smile.  I wished him a good day, he wished me a good day.

Nothing came of it.  I haven’t seen him again.  It’s a big building, after all.

But you know?  Something nice happened there.  Two guys shared a holiday season exchange.  No one witnessed it.  Heck, I didn’t even really think about it again until now.  But you know?  It was nice.  And it cost nothing.

I’m not really sure why I’m sharing all of this with you.  You probably could care less.  In fact, I’m not really sure what it has to do with Christmas and Hanukkah 2011.  All I know is that thinking about it now makes me smile.

TVs, cars, phones, and pets are great.  They are!

But this holiday season?  Well, it’s the connection with the stranger that has really brought a smile to my face.

So, from me (a nobody stranger) and Burl Ives (a somebody who always has a Holly Jolly time), have a Holly Jolly Christmas and a Happy Healthy Hanukkah.

And whatever you do, smile!

So the “Mayan” December 21, 2012 Date Is Here and the World Woke Up to Count Down Again…

Today is December 21, 2012.  The infamous Mayan December 21, 2012.

More prophesies of the world’s end did not come true, and December 22, 2012 is waiting in the wings.

I’ve been telling people for years that this is not an “end”…but just the end of a cycle of over 5,000 years that will start itself anew.  Others have said this is also the end of two different Hindu age cycles a grand cycle, and a shorter cycle (the Kali Yuga?).  I’ve listened to many commentators on this subject and find it very interesting.  The most interesting are the ones that say the earth is moving on its path as it always has and that indeed, new “ages” are here, but, well…they’re spiritual in nature.  Or expose us to more light from the center of the galaxy.  Some may feel a little different today.  More tingly.  Some may not.  But we’re all still going to be here.

And we are.

What are your thoughts?  What were your beliefs around this day?  Did you take the day off work?  Did you Google December 21, 2012 or Mayan Calendar this morning as you watched the news or read the paper, or got ready to face day one of the “new” Mayan countdown?

Forget what you “thought” would happen today.  Instead, take 12/21/12 it as an opportunity for a new beginning.  Heck, if you read this, take a moment to take a deep breath and say, “The world is still here, ‘same’ as it ever was.  What can I do to take a new direction?”

Here at Nobody’s View we believe that we are all nobody, and that makes us somebody special.  So, in that spirit, remember that you’re not the special Mayan priest.  You’re not the oracle.  You’re just a person who hit snooze once this morning, got out of bed, and are going into the office or getting the kids off to school here on December 21, 2012, the end of a Mayan cycle and the start of another.

Take the days as they come.  Count the days to Christmas.  Count down to the new year.  Make a new dish to eat.  Make it a date night.  Leave your phone on silent.  Watch a good foreign film.  Practice Ho’oponopono like you really mean it.  If that’s not for you, try yoga, tennis, or golf.  Take up the guitar.  Remember the good times and make a strong commitment to the future.  Read a good book.  Read a bad book.  Read a book that you’ve heard is both (50 Shades of Grey?).  If you love the ocean, hike in the mountains.  If you’re a mountain person, take a dip.  Read about the Mayans, or book a trip to Mexico and see the ruins for yourself.

The point is, the sun rose today.  Some have said the earth is now cresting and more light and energy are bombarding us.  Good stuff.  Believe it?  Great.  Don’t believe it?  Well, you can still make a new start.  You can still shine a little light in your own world.

Folks, we’re all nobody.  We’re all somebody.  We’re what makes the world go ’round in our little corners of the vast universe.

This December 21, 2012, make the most of it.  Oh, and here’s the secret.  Do the same thing on December 22, 2012.

Newtown, Connecticut Shooting Puts the Year Behind, and the Year Ahead, in a New Perspective

It’s usually at this time of year when I write my yearly round-up.  I mean, not that anyone gives a lick, but I like to write it.  It makes me feel better about things, and it always helps to get some perspective going into a fresh 365 days.

There’s nothing wrong with that, right?

And, after all, the Mayans are telling us the end is near (it’s not–it’s actually a new beginning) this December 21, 2012, so…I felt like it was time to do it.

But I held off for the last few days.  I didn’t write it until today.

Why?

Well, the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  26 killed.  I realized that the year behind, and the year ahead, were already squarely in perspective.

I read an article about the global outpouring of support for the victims’ families and the Newtown community and it really got me thinking, again, about the line we walk in our world between global animosity and global togetherness.  We are so close to being a world community.  The reason we seem so far apart is likely not due to your average person’s difference of opinion, but more to do with unfortunate leadership around the world.

People on their own are generally good.  At least, that’s what I choose to believe.  If you need help in a parking lot or at the side of the road, most good Samaritans won’t ask your political affiliation or your view on the Second Amendment, abortion, or the last election.  They’ll just assist.  If you drop a dollar, many people will pick it up and yell, “Hey!  Wait!”

Most people.  Not all.

We don’t generally have litmus tests for basic assistance or casual acquaintance.  Some do, yes.  Many don’t.  If you’re American and dining in Canada, the service will be like it is for any Canadian.  At a resort in Mexico, it’s okay to speak Russian.  Indian curries are fine to cook in Italy, and I had darn good roast beef in Kenya many years ago even though I’ve experienced it in an NYC deli as well.  We share religions across borders, appreciate or take on foreign customs, and see movies about events that take place many miles, or countries, away.

Not everyone is on board with this.  Some are.  That’s fine.

So, when I think about Newtown in what Paul Simon might call this “deep and dark December,” I prefer to think about the outpouring of support from around the globe.  Of the prayers that go out to those we don’t know.  Nobody I know really cares if the victims were Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or whatever.  We all turned on the TV to see the shock of lives lost.  Not Christian lives lost, but lives.  Not Buddhist children lost, but children.  Tragically.  And worthy of memory.

As I sit here now and reflect back on this year, I see it was full of ridiculous stars full of themselves saying ridiculous things.  There were new launches of more TV shows about people famous for being famous.  I encountered darkness in the least likely of places, but then again, also saw light in unexpected corners of my days.  There was work in places I never thought I’d return, but then there was another job waiting right where I’d left it last January 1.  There was a third job that came from nowhere.  All around there was a bad economy, racism, hatred, bigotry, a hotly contested election, people living lives with bold attachment to lies when the truth was just a simple channel click, book, or class away.  There were those that screamed, and still insist, we should never help others, even in circumstances beyond their control, but there was also a policeman that put shoes right where they belonged and people pulling together in the aftermath of a terrible storm.  Some came down from the ledges of hard life.  Some jumped into a new adventure.  Some moved on for new adventures and some stayed firmly entrenched in their old prisons while the keys to freedom were dangling just outside their self-imposed cells.  I learned some new things, let go of some old, read new books from friends and discarded old book ideas of my own.  Blood, tears, death, and taxes all made their appearances, but so did new nieces and fresh ideas.  I wasn’t always happy.  I wasn’t always sad.  I helped.  I sat idle.  I received help.  I prayed.  I sent prayers.  I knew I was on a good road even when others thought I had somehow missed a really important turnoff.  Thank goodness I kept driving.

But then, there is Newtown, Connecticut.  And it all snaps into place again.  All possibilities collapse into one moment in December when fame, fortune, freedom, and fallacy don’t matter.  It’s all about a different energy.  I can’t describe it yet, but it was clear while watching the news last Friday.

I’m going to move into the new year the same way I always (try to) do.  With a sense of optimism, confidence in my decisions, and a desire to do a little better.  No, not how someone else with an agenda of their own thinks I need to do better, but how my gut tells me I need to do better.  Usually, people who tell you how you’re mistaken or screwed up are only trying to sell you their own version of events or brand of regret and…well…no thanks.  You can put that advice in your pocket!

So, let me leave you with this: A happy holiday season.  A happy Hanukkah to my Jewish readers.  A blessed Christmas season for my Christian readers.  A happy Kwanzaa for my readers who celebrate.  And a happy travel down your chosen paths, whatever they are.

Let’s remember the most recent tragedy in America so we can figure out how we might move into 2013 with a different energy.  Let’s take a look at an event that matters, so that we know what we need to be in a different mindset this coming 365…a mindset of support, regardless of personal characteristics that, quite frankly, pale in comparison to what we have that we can share.

All Candidates, Including President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, Can Encourage New Thinking on Civility…and Incivility

As election season approaches, think of the history of these United States.  Think of the proud American spirit.  Think about living in a country that takes the time to have debates before an election, and encourages its great citizens to vote, and take part in the democratic process.

Then, think about how it must feel to live in Ohio right now.

Imagine watching TV in Cleveland and then seeing every attack ad ever made.  Imagine trying to live in that key election state.  Now, where I live, it is still pretty bad, due to hotly contested local elections.  But the presidential candidates have pretty much give up here, so I’m insulated from the presidential ads.

But Ohio?!?  I can’t even imagine.  Of course, I’m a Browns fan, so I’m trying to picture watching a Browns game (argh!) with attack ads throw in (double argh!).  Do the ads work?  Who knows?  The latest CNN.com poll shows President Obama up by 4%, but you know how that can go.

The only tally that matters is the one on election night.

But this Nobody’s thoughts today are not with the Browns or percentage points.  They’re with the question of civility.  If you’ve seen the debates between President Obama and Governor Romney, you’ve seen a strange mix of incivility and civility.

There is fire and brimstone flying at debate time, then, at the end, the families gather on stage for some hand shaking and pleasantries.  One could almost get the idea they were all going to leave the studio and go for ice cream afterwards.  Can you see that?  The Romneys and the Obamas ordering hot fudge sundaes at a local Dairy Queen and talking about…well…who the heck knows?

Now, as amusing as that image is to ponder, it gets me thinking about the frontiers of civility in our country, and around the world.  Nobody’s view is for the rest of us.  Not the candidates, but the voters.  Not the prime ministers, but their people.

This isn’t just about politics.  It’s about societies.  We tend to vilify people from other places, or candidates from other political persuasions, but have you ever really thought about that?  I mean, really thought about it?  Think of your friends from different cultures or the guy at the side of the road you helped when his tire was flat.  Did you check their politics?  Their backgrounds?  Or did you just help?  People are, generally, people.  And we usually believe that as regular citizens.

The problem is that, quite often, bullies and despots rise to power.  Then, in acts of “leadership,” these rulers create often hateful or vengeful policies, kill their own people, and do all sorts of horrid things, and we lay blame at the feet of their subjects…subjects whom we would gladly help if they crossed our paths in the everyday.

I’m not wise in the ways of politics, but something does not seem right about this.  Yes, we see people marching angrily in the streets supporting some horrific action, but don’t forget–in the great bell curve of humanity, there will always be those who agree with hate and rage.

But what about the rest?  What about the mother clutching her child in a bombed-out apartment, praying that the violence will end, or that her child can grow up someplace safe.  What about the masses who work their fingers to the bone for almost no pay under regimes that don’t care whether they live or die?  What about the student who has to look over her shoulder every day walking to school, lest a would-be policymaker will do more than simply discourage education for her gender?

Civility is courtesy.  Civility is tolerance.  Civility is respect.  Unfortunately, so many times, those who lead do not lead with a civil mindset, but with anger, hate, and rage…with selective agendas and desperation.  The grab for power is ultimate, all else, subordinate.

Now, in America?  We’re lucky.  For all the horribleness of election-season ads, we generally vote in peace and the sun rises in peace the next day.  However, I mention the seriousness of incivility because as the election season comes to a close, I am saddened to see how quickly civil words are replaced by bile.  How easily candidates are able to destroy others’ reputations, families, and good names.  How, without so much as a care, people insult sitting statesmen and stateswomen in an effort to unseat incumbents so they can move into their offices, readjust the chair, and get about the business of reversing the other person’s policies.

As you watch the elections come to a close in our country, remember, this is not an “American” issue.  This has nothing to do with one country or another or one candidate over another.  It’s simply about all of us.

However, we can teach our children differently.  We can use election season not as a time to hit the mute button on ads that most people find annoying.  We can take this opportunity to set a new example.  A civil example.  An “if-you-don’t-have-something-nice-to-say…” example.

Call this Nobody an optimist, but I am hopeful that within a few generations, we can reduce the acidity in the world and promote a more tolerant and civil atmosphere. I believe it starts with us.  It starts with hearing candidates on the issues and ignoring them on the incivility.

It begins with common sense.

But I will say this: if this optimist is wrong, he will certainly be thankful for the mute button.

The 2012 London Summer Olympics Is a Lesson in Tears, Triumph, and Finding the Strength to Go On

So what do you think of these London 2012 Olympics so far?

I’ve already had one friend construct an elaborate Summer Olympics XXX joke (with emphasis on “XXX”), and have heard more than one person lamenting the incredible amount of filler during the primetime show (“If you fast forward the DVR, you can watch four hours of coverage in 45 minutes!”).  Yes, it’s nice to know a little about the athletes, but the key term there–“a little.”  I’ve seen Michael Phelps’ winning swims from past Olympics so many times, I feel like I’ve been there coaching him.

Which, of course, I haven’t.  I’m not sure any athlete really cares what I have to say, but still…y’know…that’s how I feel.

I won’t do the spoiler thing (in case you have the shows on DVR for later), but I’ll share that so far, I’ve found the gymnastics and swimming the most entertaining. Of course, that probably puts me in the majority, but still…that’s just my opinion…even if it’s part of the majority.

But something struck me the other day.  The tears of a Russian gymnast after one of her performances in the team event.  It was a floor exercise and there were some problems.  Afterwards?  Well, afterwards, she was devastated.  Completely devastated.  In near-hysterics.  Her score wasn’t so great, and it likely was the turning point in the competition (maybe), but wow.  Tears.  Pain.

That got me thinking about something I consider every two years when one of the Olympic games is on–summer or winter.  How is it that people so young can take so much pressure?  Ice skaters, gymnasts, swimmers.  I can’t even putt on a golf course if the ranger or another group is watching, but these folks…well…they bring it, for good or for ill, in front of thousands in person and millions on TV.  Especially the runners and track stars.  There are 70,000 people in the Olympic stadium, cheering.  And if you’re from Great Britain?  Well, wow.  No pressure or anything.

No pressure.

What is it that gets us through when the pressure mounts?  Where do we find the will to continue on, whether we’re competing, inspiring, having hopes dashed, or silently struggling?  Where is that storehouse?  The wellspring?  Where does it come from?

Yeah, I have theories, which I won’t share here.  But it’s a question worth considering.  It’s not just the Olympics.  It’s the history of humanity.  It’s discovering new worlds, fighting difficult wars, spending late nights studying, striving a whole lifetime to discover something that could change science and technology forever.  Any time the stakes are high, the pressure can be high.  How have we managed to succeed as a human race through the ages?

The gymnastics team event is over, and that Russian gymnast’s tears have likely dried.  She’s had lots of good advice from lots of well-meaning people.  But in the end?  Well, she has to find it in herself to go on in the gym, and in life.  The inner wellspring has to flow from inside her.  The will to continue must come from her alone.

So, we’ll keep watching the Olympics.  These 2012 London Summer Games–XXX and all that.  We’ll see cheering.  We’ll see more tears.  We’ll see tons and tons and tons of filler, stretching one hour of primetime coverage to four.

But we’ll also see something else–that amazing ability to forge ahead, push on, and continue…even when it looks like all is lost.  Even there–especially there– something can be found that may not win a medal, but it will surely be a victory nonetheless.

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises Is Hollywood, but the Hero’s Journey of Change Is Universal

*CAUTION: Potential Batman The Dark Knight Rises spoilers*

I went to see The Dark Knight Rises today.  A friend actually got me to get up and get out of the house to catch a morning showing.  It was really a great movie.  I really enjoyed it, and I’m glad I went.

And, it got me thinking about what we like here at Nobody’s View.  There’s a line from Batman right before the movie’s climax that says, essentially, a hero can be anybody.  (I’m paraphrasing.  Hollywood writers said it better than me.)  Heroes aren’t just the rich and powerful, but those who give a little bit of hope.

Now, I know Batman is a comic book hero and a creation of Hollywood.  I’m not naive!  But then again, the reason we like movies like this is because of what the heroes represent.  The hero’s journey, as it were.  You know that journey.  The call to adventure.  The initial resistance.  The ultimate decision to move ahead.  The help of friends and wise men.  The triumphant return.  It’s not just Batman.  It’s not just Superman.  It’s not just Spiderman.

It’s all of us.

At any moment, any of us has the opportunity to accept a call to action.  In that way of thinking, each morning represents the call to action.  Does this sound grandiose?  Well, it’s not.  As I left the theater, thinking about the movie and that scene, I had an opportunity to do something.  Something good.  And I did it.  I won’t share what it was, but suffice it to say it connected two very different people and gave both the opportunity to feel good, even if for a second.

And there it is, folks.  We’re not all going to be able to save Gotham from terror.  We’re not all going to be able to pull someone back from the brink in an ER.  We’re not all going to be able to save an innocent person from the death penalty.

But we can do small things.  Now, here’s the key.  It’s not doing small things that others expect us to do or want us to do.  There’s always going to be someone who thinks we owe them in particular, or thinks the things we do aren’t right.  But again, the key is to do what feels right on the inside.  What feels right for you on the inside.

Here’s an example.  You see someone on a street corner.  They look like they’re having a rough time.  You don’t know their story.  You don’t know anything about their life.  Drugs?  Alcohol?  Economy?  Random bad break?  We never really know how someone gets where they are.  But you see their hand is out.  You have an extra buck left from lunch.  Your eyes meet.  Do they think you owe them?  Do they think the world owes them?  Are they scared?  Humble?  Aggressive?  Do you have other plans for that dollar?  Will they spend it in a way in which you don’t approve?  So many thoughts.  So many doubts.  So many questions.  What do you do?

You don’t have to tell me.  It’s a thought experiment.

The point is, this is a moment.  An intersection.  No, we can’t give to everyone who asks.  No, we don’t owe something to everyone who expects.  But in this moment.  This person. This street corner.  No fancy car.  No Bat cave.  No grand adventure.  No newspaper headlines.  No fame.

Just a decision.

See, when Batman spoke that line in The Dark Knight Rises, it wasn’t a self-aggrandizement.  It was a statement about a moment.  About a possibility.  About a chance for all of us to do something we feel we must, simply because we must.

I know, I know.  It’s a movie.  You already said that.  But again, the theme is universal.  Listen, Nobody Nation.  Cut me some slack.  I get all crazy and sentimental about the possibilities we all have.  And, when I see it on the screen, or in other places where we all have access, then I just can’t help myself (America’s Got Talent anyone?).

So, look.  I’m not asking you for the moon and the stars.  I’m not asking for the world and the planets beyond.  I’m not asking you to go along with me on this or think this is the greatest blog post ever.  I’m not asking you to agree with everything I say.

Just think about this one thing: The reason we love America’s Got Talent, The Secret Millionaire, and The Dark Knight Rises is not because they are an escape from the everyday, but because they show us the potential of our every day.  Do what you can, even when it’s not expected.  Do what you must even if someone else expects different.

Do.

As my comic book-loving friend says, “You gotta do what feels right on the inside.”

Even if you’re not a billionaire with a special suit and a cave full of bats.

Hilary Decesare Heads to Long Beach, California as the Newest Secret Millionaire…Who Will Benefit With a Donation?

Sunday’s 7/8/12 Secret Millionaire featured Hilary Decesare, CEO of Everloop.

To whom did she give?

We have the write-up here at Nobody’s View.  We’re a day late (and more than a few dollars short!) but it’s here.  Check it out!

[You already know we blog America’s Got Talent here, because we believe that regular people living their dreams is worth a few words.  Heck, that’s sort of why we exist!  And, this season, we’ve decided to again blog Secret Millionaire.  Why?  Well, first, we’ve noticed some of you coming back from last season looking for the write-ups.  So there’s that.  But we also like the idea of people giving back.  And, we notice that sometimes people check in here for names and information on the groups that benefit.  So, if we can help you find some information, then that’s fine by us.  Enjoy!]

A mom from LA going to Long Beach to do some good.  Learn some things.  Meet some people.

Who benefits tonight?

Hilary Decesare is from California.  A mom of three.  A son and two daughters.  She’s the CEO and co-founder of Everloop in the Silicon Valley.  Made her millions early and went on for more.

The show sort of opened with Hilary and her kids in a vineyard.  Obligatory shots of nice cars and house.

But that didn’t last too long.  Soon, it was time to leave the money and phone behind and go to where one hour of her salary could feed a family for a week.  Off to Long Beach, 30 miles from Beverly Hills and an eternity from luxury.  Over 4,000 homeless, 17% are children.

She pulled up to her new digs and, well…it wasn’t Kansas anymore.  Graffiti, glass…sharp things.  Then, into the streets of Long Beach to meet her new neighbors.  Hilary met young Antonio (very young) who said he didn’t like his neighborhood because of all the drugs.

Decesare seemed to be having some second thoughts…as I’m sure most of the people on the show do…but, y’know…it’s a commitment, right?

———————–

After the break, Decesare headed to the library.  She found Love In the Mirror, a group founded by  6-year-old Jonas Corona and his mother, Renee.  According to Jonas, the organization helps the homeless and needy kids.  Apparently Jonas has been helping out and feeding the homeless since the age of 4.  His moment came when he saw kids in a food line without their parents, and it upset him enough to take action.  When he was told he had to be 10 to help…well…he knew better than to take that for an answer.  While making sandwiches with Hilary, Jonas said that he thinks it makes you feel good if you make other people feel good.

That’s pretty much the whole ball of wax, Jonas.

How big is the commitment?  Renee actually put law school on hold after one year to help Jonas make his dream into a reality.  He gives up so much of his youth to give something back to others.

They were off to Precious Lamb, a school for homeless children.  Jonas handed out toys and books to the children…children who have no real anchor in their lives.  A stuffed animal can be an anchor.

After that?  A park by the library to hand out sandwiches to the homeless.  Now, watch that scene carefully.  Jonas didn’t give a “test” to the people or ask about why they were homeless.  He didn’t care about their religion, past, or future.  He just gave.  He gave because it was the right thing to do.  He gave because he needed to give.  Plain and simple, right?

He told Hilary he wanted to do this forever, and Renee was very supportive.

Now, at one point, Hilary stated that she has a website that encourages kids to go out and make a difference, but she said she felt like a hypocrite because she didn’t feel as if she was doing much to make a difference.  But I have to differ with her (not that I’m an authority on Hilary’s life or anything).  The mere fact that she makes difference-making available on the web?  Well, that’s something.  Just because a marriage counselor has never been married or an OB/GYN is a man, doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer.

But that’s just Nobody’s view.

———————–

Jonas lit a fire under Hilary and it was off again to find new people.  She found New Hope, founded by Wayne Twedell and Susan Beeney.  New Hope helps the grieving find hope and healing.  At any age.  Apparently, Sue was a hospice nurse, so she saw grief firsthand on a daily basis.  Hilary took a tour of the facility and saw their resources, including programs for kids.

The group was off to a home that had faced a tragic loss a few years ago.  The Alonzo family was making a memorial in their yard for their son Christian.  Apparently, Christian got the car into gear while it was off, and then he tried to jump out, and was killed.  Luckily groups like New Hope exist to provide some comfort to those dealing with severe grief.  The family created a beautiful space in their yard where they can remember a child with love.

Back at the office, Sue gave Hilary, who has a family member in hospice, some good advice–the last thing to go is hearing.  So, say what you need to say to the person, and say it to them…even if they’re in a coma.

Just something worth remembering.

———————–

Shoestring City Ranch was up next.  Horses, goats, and founder Karen Thompson.  It’s a place for children 5-21, where they can come and be off the streets and learn responsibility.  Nothing to teach that like caring for animals.

Hilary met Benjamin, and helped him groom a horse.  Benjamin said that being near the animals makes him “happy.”  Animals don’t generally ask about our past or our baggage.  Often, they just sort of…give.  Many of the animals at the ranch were hurt or abandoned.  Karen said the ranch is completely volunteer, and Karen helps make ends meet from her own monies.  One volunteer said she’s been working there for 10 years, because it was her safe haven from a difficult childhood.  When she was 18, she moved in with Karen, who “saved me.”

The end of the day brought homesickness, but also a sense of purpose.  That’s not too bad a combination, right?

———————–

The next day?  Another visit to New Hope where clients were making plates to sell at auction to raise money for New Hope.  The plates are meant to be visual representations of how New Hope helped each person.  The clients shared their stories with Hilary, and told her how important group support can be.  But they also showed how special memories can be.  And tears…tears can be special, too.  Listening to them describe their plates, I was once again amazed at how quickly people grow when faced with tragedy.  How so much that is clean and pure can come out of darker times.

Upon reflection, Decesare said her time in Long Beach, and meeting the folks there, was something she would never forget.  I’ll bet they’ll remember her, too.

But then the time came for the reveal.

Her first stop was with Jonas and Renee at Love In the Mirror.  She gave the group a check for $15,000.  That can buy a lot of peanut butter and jelly.  Jonas was clearly blown away, but he had a big smile.

———————–

Next up was Shoestring City Ranch.  She gave a gift of $50,000.  Karen couldn’t really speak, but she cried.  And, I guess crying is speaking, isn’t it?

Last was New Hope.  Hilary got emotional as she talked about getting older and thinking about taking time to smell the roses.  And how we don’t do that enough.  And we don’t!  In celebration of an organization that encourages people to do just that, she gave $75,000.

Y’know?  Sometimes new life comes from loss.

———————–

Back home?  Recharged.  Ready to take a few more moments to smell the roses.

With the donations?  New Hope hired a new employee and is producing videos to train others on how to host grief support groups.

Jonas bought backpacks and other goods for homeless youth, and Love In the Mirror is seeking non-profit status.

Shoestring City Ranch is building new animal shelters and looking to keep its doors open to those who really need it.

———————–

Look folks, I have to say this again: just because you can’t give thousands of dollars or hours, you can give something.  A smile.  Try that.  Start there.  And you may find a life changed.