I have just returned from Brazil where I was working for the last few weeks.
As it was a job, I flew business class and was privy to an interesting conversation when we finally landed. A group of people – dressed simply and in shorts – were dismayed how others during the flight had asked them what they were doing in business class. The question came as a result of this particular group not looking the part of what we imagine a successful group must look like.
In our pre-conceived minds someone who sits in that aircraft class must look and be a certain way. This group didn’t.
The conversation got me thinking how many times we judge others based on societal concepts. When we stereotype we put others in a box and miss opportunities to learn and relate in different ways. It is as if we are compelled to assign labels for easy processing. Unfortunately the results are often erroneous.
There is much to be learned in the time of crisis. What is important and what isn’t. What we can do with and what we can co without. Finding serenity in chaos. Finding love for others and oneself.
My dad has been in the ICU for the past two weeks. While he’s doing a little bit better, the outcome is still uncertain.
But wait only a couple of weeks ago I was reflecting in what a good time this is for me personally and professionally. After mourning the passing of my husband for the past two and a half years, I have now started to feel strong and happiness has come back to grace my heart. And professionally, this too is a good time.
When my dad first got sick, I got angry. Why now? Haven’t I gone through enough? Why now that I’m feeling my life is finally moving forward? I had thoughts like: “All I want is to be left alone and quiet for a little while and just live my life.”
The below CNN.com post discusses vacation or lack off in the United States. I love the post because it gives statistics to a subject I’ve written quite a bit about.
Somehow somewhere the idea of happiness and accomplishment in the US became tied up with work. Here we wear multi-tasking and working seven days a week as a badge of honor. Here always being plugged in makes us feel important or needed.
I wonder if in this country’s past history, a group of men got together and said: “How do we make people work around the clock – without them thinking about it – so we can make tons of money? Let’s convince them, they will be seen as respectable and dependable.”
Yesterday I saw an amazing documentary – Waste Land. The film follows renowned Brazilian artist, Vik Muniz, as he travels from Brooklyn NY to Jardim Gramacho in Rio de Janeiro- the largest garbage dump in the world.
If never thought twice about throwing out a piece of paper or a plastic bottle, watch this film and you will through any effort to dispose of your trash in the correct way. The mountains of garbage are astounding and it makes you wonder if we are not well in our way to be buried in it.
But what is transformational are the people portrayed in this documentary; women, men and children making a living by going through the garbage to find and then separate recyclable materials to sell. Doing all of it with a sense of pride and community.
The subjects of this documentary are mostly illiterate, but their sense of contentment is huge. They are able to turn working in a garbage dump into a society of individuals who are doing a service; recycling and thus helping the environment.
Vik Muniz created a series of portraits of the garbage pickers – together with them – using photography and actual garbage. The pieces have been sold all over the world and have raised over $250,000; money being used to help the community. The president of the garbage/recycling pickers at the end of the art project was flown to London to watch the auction of his own portrait. The documentary – about Vik, the garbage pickers, and the art project – was nominated for an Oscar.
The garbage pickers who are people living in shacks who work sifting through garbage are now shaking hands with environmentalists from all over the world, going to art openings, museum, auctions, and being guests in television shows.
There is a scene in the film where Vic Muniz discusses with his wife and assistant if it is correct to open such doors to this group of people if most likely at the end – when the art and documentary projects are finished – they will go back to their lives of picking through garbage. The wife is uncertain but Vic asks her: “If I offered you to fly to London to see things you never seen before but told you at the end you would go back to your old life, would you want to go? Wouldn’t seeing other things in the world force you to come up with a plan to live differently?”
People across the world singing John Lennon’s Imagine. Beautiful!
by Deborah Calla
I was married at age 20 to a man who was 11 years my senior. When I married the man, I was a recent Brazilian arrival doing a lot of drugs and hanging out with all the wrong people. I thought getting married would settle me down and straighten me out, but instead it marked the beginning of the worst period of my life. The man was intelligent and creative, but he was also possessive, manipulative and had an ego that didn’t allow any other human to occupy the same space as his. Within the first year the intelligent man showed himself as delusional and abusive…Continued
The below Huffington Post by Mark Hyman touches on many significant topics including the importance of family bonds on our future relationships and the value of good nutrition.
While growing up in Brazil, my mom, sister and I, always had lunch together. At dinner time we were joined by my dad. There was no TV and of course no texting. We sat together, ate, and talked. We created family bonds.
This was so important to my family that even when we had serious arguments and didn’t want to see each other, we sat together at the same table. I remember once when I was eighteen years old and had a big argument with my dad. We didn’t speak for months, but we sat at the table together every night. From that I learned that people can have disagreements but if we love each other we must find a way back to the relationship. I learned not to walk away.
I’m in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the city and country I grew up in, visiting my parents.
I have not lived in this city for over twenty years, and so being here is always very emotional as I reconnect with past feelings and history.
I am here staying with my parents who are now in their 80s. I’m aware of their frailty and our time together coming to an end. I’m not living the pain of loss, but I recognize the beginning of my own grieving process. I honor my feelings while I create new experiences.
As I deal with my emotions, thoughts come to my mind: would it have been easier if I had let past disagreements have broken us apart? Would it be easier now, if I had stopped myself from loving them as much as I do?
As I entertain those thoughts I realize that’s what so many of us do with our relationships, wishes and desires.
That’s a tough one. I know because I’m one who has had to struggle with this issue my entire life. I also know I’m not alone.
To be able to do things and derive pleasure from doing them without being dependent on the outcome is a wisdom we need to gain for our well-being.
Letting go of an outcome allows us to be in the present and fully enjoy it. Often worrying about the success of our actions only robs us from the energizing and liberating feeling which comes from doing something that is special to us.
Will it work out? Will people like it? Will it have the result I think it deserves?
How many times a day do we say or think: “People are crazy?” That’s because we feel it is hard to navigate through their expectations and/or agendas. We often don’t know what is motivating them and so we are startled by their reaction.
We all have our fears, hang-ups, and hidden motivators. If we are the kind of people that invest in our personal development we tend to catch ourselves when acting from fear but a great number of us are disconnected from their truth and go through life acting out whatever drama is playing in their heads.
How do we deal with that?