Just in case you haven’t heard of Homeboy Industries and the work of Father Greg Boyle, I thought I would a share it with you. You can read the book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, or watch the documentary G-Dog, or eat at Homegirl Cafe, and much, much, more. There is so much goodness to experience through the work that Father Greg Boyle sparked. And that spark has now turned into Homeboy Industries wildfires. It has helped Los Angeles communities (and people all over the world) in such powerful ways, and it stands as an example of what is possible when love & compassion are unstoppable.
All I have to say is, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Below are a few clips from the G-Dog documentary, and a few other videos that share the philosophy, work, and story of Homeboy Industries.
“Don’t forget, you are the hero of your own story.” – Greg Boyle
‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.
‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’
Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’
‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’
The quote above is from Alice in Wonderland. It really got me thinking. I think believing six impossible things before breakfast is magnificent. But I think doing six impossible things is marvelous — and better yet, being six impossible things is absolutely magical!
In classic Aimee fashion (I’m always one to come up with crazy challenges for myself), I decided to take this on. I don’t necessarily have to believe/do/be a total of six impossible things before breakfast, but I would like to challenge what is currently possible first thing in the morning. The goal is to have an invincible & curious awareness daily, preferably first thing in the morning, for six weeks straight. I’m giving it a go, to see what happens.
This Saturday I was already in the spirit of it. I had an enormous amount of work to do. I sat at my work station unexcited about starting the day with drudging work. My secret preference was to move my body in the fresh air instead. It seemed impossible to put in a lengthy exercise session and accomplish all that needed to be done. Well… I decided to push boundaries and head outside with my trusty companion Penny (my dog) for our longest walk yet. We walked from one edge of town, to the next. (We’ll I did, she only walked part of the way. She’s old, and has tiny legs. So I let her do a quarter of what I do.) The walk was so interesting. I saw things I had never seen before, I waved to people that I thought seemed like wildflowers. Everyone seemed so happy! Maybe it was just me, acting as a mirror, and others were reflecting my enthusiasm? Whatever it was, it felt great!
Along our walk, there was a shop I wanted to enter. On the front of the shop door there was a sign in bold letters “NO PETS ALLOWED, NO EXCEPTIONS”. Since it was a morning of believing/doing/being the impossible, I decided to walk right in, as if we were welcome. I began to shop around, as if there wasn’t a dog in my hands. When I approached the counter to buy something, the store clerk looked at my dog with such delight. With eyes wide open he said, “Well hello!” And reached out to pet Penny’s head. Then he started a conversation with me, about his daughter and her dog, and about falling in love with animals that will only be alive for a few handfuls of years. After he was done, he said “You both come back anytime! We are happy to have you here.”
Now imagine how that Saturday could have turned out. I would have been slumped in front of my work station, begrudgingly working: no sunshine, no fresh air, no exercise, no pushing boundaries, no friendly hellos, no new discoveries. Instead, I challenged what seemed impossible — and the world opened up. Maybe it was just me that opened up? The world was reflecting my openness? Whatever it was, it worked! By believing/doing/being the impossible, everything felt new, exciting… and achievable.
Now imagine taking your life, as it is, for six weeks, and making sure each morning has its magic. Imagine doing what seems impossible as you start each day. How do you think it would make you feel? What difference would it make for you and those around you?
Please note: you don’t have to come up with things that seem impossible. Your random thoughts, other people, and life itself will do that for you! Each day impossibilities will present themselves, and it will be up to you to challenge them. But have fun as you do it. Turn it into a wild adventure. Play a game with yourself. Bring a childlike spirit into the challenge.
If you want to give it a go with me, let me know. I’m always looking for accountability buddies. You can leave a comment below, or contact me via email through the contact page.
For some reason the lesson of dropping “What if?” came in my mind this morning. I knew I had written a blog post about it in the past, but I couldn’t remember what I wrote. This morning I found it through my blog’s search engine, and re-read it. It’s from the time when I lived in an old building in New York. (I no longer live in NYC, the post was written in 2011.) I’m glad those days are over! But the lesson I learned, or maybe I should say “insight I had”, is still one that I need to work on. It was good to be reminded.
Ugh, where do I begin. Let me start off first by saying that it is 12:15am, and I am very tired. I’m afraid that if I write something right now, it will sound like a sleepy person babbling — and the blog post will be pockmarked with typos. But I’ll do my best!
Last night I was in dance class. I barely made it through the class because I got two huge blood blisters. One on each big toe the size of a silver dollar (that’s exaggerating… more like a quarter). Then, that same night, in the middle of the night, I hear a BOOM! The sound woke me out of my sleep. I thought a shelving unit fell off of a wall. I checked everywhere I could think of, but everything seemed okay. Then I heard another crashing sound, but this time it sounded smaller in size. It had to be in the bedroom near the front door, the room I had not yet checked. When I opened the door I saw that a big section of the ceiling crashed to the floor! Dust and sheetrock pieces everywhere! After that, I tried my best to go to bed (because it was almost 3am), and not think about it. I knew I had to call my landlord in the morning, and there was nothing tha could be done in the middle of the night. But my reasoning with myself didn’t work, I couldn’t sleep. Then, later that day, while on the phone with the landlord, I’m told that the supervisor of the building is coming right over to check it out. To make a long story short, the supervisor (after looking at it) said that he didn’t believe that the ceiling just fell like that. Someone made it happen, someone made it come down. He basically hinted that the whole ceiling in that room would need to be replaced, and he wasn’t sure the landlord would cover the expense. Two hours after that, I had to leave for a therapy appointment for my spine. Walking gingerly because I can feel the blisters under my toes, I notice a sign at the subway entrance. The subway train I need is not running – at all. (*sigh*) At this point I am really feeling in the dumps. But then something clicks. I have a little conversation with myself.
Big Self: Aimee, you keep thinking about the ceiling falling. When did it fall?
Lil’ self: Late last night.
Big Self: So that would be in the past, right?
Lil’ self: Yes.
Big Self: And if it happened it the past, it means it’s not happening right now, right?
Lil’ self: Right.
Big Self: And the other thing you are worried about, is having to pay for that ceiling. This would be something that could possibly happen in the future. The future doesn’t exist right now. So that means you are angry or upset about something that doesn’t exist.
Lil’ self: (*sigh*) Ya.
Big Self: So if you get your head out of the past, and out of the future, what is happening right now, in the present?
Lil’ self: I’m finally getting on a train that can take me to my appointment to see one of the best massage therapists in the world. (In my world that is!)
Big Self: So let’s look at this a little differently. Instead of focusing on “what if?” or “what was,” we are going to look at “what is.” You took one of your favorite dance classes and got to hang out with your friends last night. You got a few blisters, but now you are fine, they are healing nicely. Part of your ceiling fell in your apartment. The building you live in is 140 years old, so this kind of thing happens, old buildings break down. Good thing the supervisor came immediately over, and he is fixing it for you. And thank goodness no one was in the room when it fell, they could have been hurt. So this is very fortunate! Now you are on your way to getting a super-duper massage, and therapy for your spine. Soon you will feel amazing, and you finally found a subway that can take you there (after walking to a different train station). Lucky you!
After this little conversation with myself everything become light. The day was great. I had much to be thankful for. And all was suddenly well. It only took a bit of gratitude & awareness to change everything in seconds.
Now if I can only get some much needed sleep and catch-up on a few Zzzzzz… Tonight I am going to sleep through the night!
No, no, this is not a blog post about my life, nor will I be drawing anything. And it may appear to be another blog post about my love for Youtube — but it’s not that either. It’s a blog post about humanity. What it means to be human, and the common thread that we share.
I selected a handful of videos from Youtube. They are all part of the ‘Draw My Life‘ series (one of the many themes that Youtubers create and tag their videos with). Everyone’s stories and backgrounds are different, but they all had struggles. They also had unexpected twists and turns in their lives, that only the Universe could have planned or predicted. Often their worst experiences are what paved the way for their transformations, leading up to their best experiences. And the one thing that they all share, is their need for connection; their need to matter; their need to be seen and heard; their need to love and feel loved.
When you think of your life, what is your story? How did your suffering and challenging moments bring about a transformation and happier times? How has your life taken unexpected twists and turns? What is most important for you now? Is it making a difference in the lives of others? Is it being seen and heard? Is it feeling loved? Is it connection? Whatever it is, know that you are not alone.