Have you met Vidal?

I am going to be real with you. I sometimes go into a deep existential crisis when I think about the future of humanity. When I think about the world that I must grow old in, the world in which the children I will one day give birth to have to grow up in. What kind of world will that be?

My optimism allows me to hope for the best. When I see the youth of today, I think of myself and remember that most things are just a phase and we need to go through certain life experiences in order to grow and expand our consciousness. However, this new generation has an obsession with technology. Striving to create virtual connections yet failing somewhere along the line to nourish and value true connections, emotions, people.

A lot of what is needed currently in the world are more of us being present in the moment. Absolutely present. Mind, body and soul connected to the action.

 However, I know for a fact that not all adolescents are the same. No human being is like any other. We are each unique in our experiences, our thoughts and our beliefs.

I put a lot of faith in the youth. I believe we are underestimating their power. I believe a ten year old has infinite potential within him yet he doesn’t have the space to express it.

That’s why I’m always moved when I read stories about very young children making a difference, whether at home, in school, for their community or their country.

It shows a powerful soul knowing its purpose and overcoming any adversity.

You might have met this young man already but if you haven’t, I want to make sure you do.

Meet 13-year-old Vidal Chastanet from Brownsville, Brooklyn. He had a chance encounter with Brandon Stanton, creator of the popular website Humans of New York.

Brandon took Vidal’s photo, and asked the teen who the most influential person in his life was; Vidal replied it was his Principal, Nadia Lopez, at Mott Hall Bridges Academy. The interaction went viral in this touching photograph.

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Curious Brandon just had to meet this amazing principal.

It turns out that Ms. Lopez was in the middle of raising money to send her students on a trip to Harvard, a college she wanted them to have in the forefront of their minds. Soon thereafter, Brandon found himself joining the cause, helping to raise over $700,000 for the trip in just four days.

“Nadia’s unbelievable,” Brandon tells Ellen’s Good News.

“She’s like a movie character, she just cares so much and she’s tough. It’s what you need in this area. She’s tough and she’s unbelievably committed and ambitious, but ambitious on part of the kids. She could have been CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but decided to be principal in one of toughest neighborhoods in Brooklyn.”

Because they’ve raised so much money – their original goal was only $100,000 – the entire school will be visiting Harvard, and subsequently, the sixth-grade class will be able to go for the next ten years. Additionally, they will be able to establish a summer program to run for the next 10 years, as well as a scholarship fund named in Vidal’s honor.

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“When people tell you they’re from Brownsville they get cringes. There’s a sense of hopelessness. I want these kids to know that there are no limits or boundaries to where they can go… I also want those institutions to see the impact they can have on those children’s lives.” says Nadia. She is making a huge impact on her students. She started the school in 2010 as a way to change the narrative of the neighborhood, and to empower students to believe they are more than their surroundings. Vidal says he began school with a “short temper” and often got in trouble, but Nadia changed his attitude.

“If you’re from Brownsville, they don’t expect you to be much in life,” he says. “They don’t expect you to have a quality education, they don’t expect you to know what you’re doing. They expect you to fail. They don’t want you to become anything that you want to be… I realized that if I want to be anything in life, as Ms. Lopez said, I have to learn how to be better. It doesn’t matter about the past and present, you must focus on the future. Your future is what you set it to be in your mind.”

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The most recent post shows Ms. Lopez at an assembly on Monday where Ms. Lopez explained the fundraiser to the entire student body. Most of the students had already heard bits and pieces about what’s been going on, but Ms. Lopez projected the blog onto a screen and walked through the entire story. She began with Vidal’s original post and ended with the final tally raised thus far. ($707,000 at the time. over a million now!)

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“I have something to admit to all of you. Before all of this happened, I was about to give up. I was broken. I felt like typing my resignation. I told my mother: ‘Mom, I don’t think I can do it anymore. Because I don’t think my scholars care. And I don’t think they believe in themselves enough to care. I’m afraid they don’t think they’re good enough.’ And she told me to pray on it. But I told her, ‘I might be too angry to pray.’ And I know this is hard to believe, because you guys have never seen me break. But I was broken. It’s just like when you see your mom break down. You only see your mom cry when she’s been fighting so hard for you and she doesn’t think you care. That’s how I felt. But then a couple nights later I was with my daughter at a Broadway show, and we were waiting for the show to start, and I started to get all these text messages from my teachers and former students. And then I saw Vidal’s face pop up on my screen. And my first thought was that something bad had happened. Because that’s normally the case around here when someone’s photo shows up unexpectedly. And the moment I realized that Vidal had said something nice about me, the usher came over and made me turn off my phone. When intermission came, my daughter said: ‘Mom, we’ve got to find out what’s happening.’ So we went and sat in the car. And I read what Vidal said, and I began to read the comments. And tears started coming down my face. Because even though I always tell you that you matter, up until that moment, I didn’t feel like I mattered.”

This is love. Care. Inspiration. Kindness. Solidarity. Hope.

This is Humanity.

That’s why it touches us all.

PS – There are still 7 days left to donate! If you’re interested in reading more about the cause or adding your little grain of salt, click here.

PS 2 – Aren’t you glad you met Vidal? 🙂

How to Change the World!

We are all praying, crying or begging for change. We all wish for “A Better World” There is so much pain in the world. I cannot pretend to be deaf, blind or dumb to it. Everyday I witness more and more people protesting injustice, hurting, bleeding, numb, lost, confused, resigned, resentful and caged. From police violence to racism, from virus diseases to lost aircrafts to suicides. But I also can’t help but see the good too. From Michael Franti’s song to Kindness blogs, upworthy news, inspiring stories, inspiring ideas, inspiring people, amazing people doing amazing things. I’ve said this before. If you really look, depending on the vision you have, you will see: There is Inspiration Everywhere The issue again is: Consciousness. It is a deep yearning of the soul to live in harmony and enjoy a peaceful world overcoming fears that separate us. Spirituality teaches us that we are actors in the stage of Life and that the masks that we use to relate to and interact with others are not our true identity. The true self is behind those masks, the spark of light that animates the body we inhabit. What the world needs is a SHIFT. A shift in mindset, in attitude, in vision.

So how do we create a change? By BEING the Change.

We all know HOW to be Good. Kind. Loving. Honest. Happy. Beautiful. Friendly. Peaceful. Supportive. Cooperative. Generous. Caring… but how many of us put it into practice?

May 2015 be your time to make a leap of courage, from material consciousness to spiritual awareness. That eternal leap from your masks to that spark of light: the great journey to our original nature. From spiritual consciousness, a friendly and respectful coexistence emerges naturally and change becomes a reality. We celebrate the conscious choice that drives us to the eternal beauty of the simple things, enjoying the grace of each moment. Congratulations to you, you gorgeous soul for this wondrous journey you’re on and thank you for joining me along the way. I wish nothing but the best for you in 2015. Make it your best one yet. 2015

Happy New Year!!!!!

PS – OMG! I just got my annual report in the mail, and you guys just BLOW MY MIND! Literally, I never expected this blog to be anything more than a corner of the Universe for me to rest my thoughts. The fact that it’s connecting with you beautiful souls means the world to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being YOU. For searching, for seeking, for looking, for improving, for learning, for sharing… Infinite Thanks my WP Family. 

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The Human Nature of Connection

Every choice we make
And every road we take
Every interaction
Starts a chain reaction
We’re both affected
When we least expect it
And then when we touched
And it all connected
And then when we…

It’s embedded in us. I’d almost say it’s a part of our DNA, Connection is a basic human need. Connection, intimacy, belonging, being understood. If it’s so basic, so instinctive, so necessary… then why is it so rare?

We live in world surrounded by over 7 BILLION people. 7 Billion! How many do you know? Forget about how many you know, how many people around you can you say you have a close and meaningful relationship with? Usually this interaction is limited to our family and friends.

We like the idea of wearing our hearts on our sleeves, of being open and vulnerable to every possibility but in our moments of honesty, how much of ourselves do we really put out there? And how much are we expecting to receive?

I recently read a post by a stranger on the Humans of New York page, which said:

“Sometimes it feels like I’m not a part of anything. There are so many people here, you’d think that I’d be able to make friends with one of them. But it always seems like everyone has got their own thing going on, or their own group of friends that they hang out with. Most weekends I just take a long walk, or go to a restaurant by myself. I’ve done some neat things alone, and I’m glad that I did those things, but I’m really getting to the point where I’d also like to experience things with other people. Everybody tells me: ‘You should do this,’ or ‘You should do that.’ But nobody says ‘Let’s do this,’ or ‘Let’s do that.'”

This hit home. Now I don’t know this woman, but somehow she doesn’t feel like a stranger anymore. That’s because no one ever is. We are all just friends waiting to be reunited. At least that’s my Utopian mentality.

“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”
— Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

I’ve said this before but they are people out there that we don’t know that we might have more in common with than our closest family members or friends. Someone going through the same process as us, thinking the same things, feeling the same things in different contexts.

This is the true nature of life, of humanity. This is the underbelly of society; in truth, we are invisibly connected by our thoughts and our emotions; by our energies.

Now, in my personal situation. I just moved to a new city and the buses and the subways are crowded, there’s people everywhere I look, but no one talks to anyone. I’ve joined organizations and groups linked with my interests and even these amazing people I’ve met only relate to me through that social circle.

There’s a sense of loneliness creeping into me. And i find it funny because deep down I know that I am not lonely. I am alone, yes but not lonely. I am everything I need, all that I seek. But I am also a creature of connection. I crave meaningful relationships with other human beings. It’s how I learn, how I grow. And i’m devoid of them.

“I enjoy controlled loneliness. I like wandering around the city alone. I’m not afraid of coming back to an empty flat and lying down in an empty bed. I’m afraid of having no one to miss, of having no one to love.” —Kuba Wojewódzki

I’m just looking for someone who would want to kidnap me at 2 a.m. to have an honest and full length conversation about life, about human beings, about stars, about where we are and how we feel, about dreams, to laugh, to cry, to share. Am I asking too much?

I don’t want to be one of those people. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to be the kind of person that breaks the silence. That tears down invisible walls. I’d want to be the person that says “Let’s do this”. I want to be the one to Find the Others. But sometimes I fall short.

I realized there’s nothing much that I need to do. I just need to be. Inevitably, we attract what we seek. Things come when they’re ready. When it’s meant to be. So the virtue of patience is all we really need and the courage to live authentically. To be you. To be me. The real you.

I have many friends and family, people I know on such a deep and personal level. Our connections are transcendental, not limited to physical space or time. They all live very far away from me. I’m always travelling and the fog of daily routine fills up our lives. Sometimes we don’t speak for weeks, months, even years. But when we do, it is a treasure.

They are people so close to us that mean so much to us, but do they know it? One thing that I am currently working on is cultivating my already existing relationships. Not because I take them for granted but because I can give & get so much more from them if I put in a little extra effort. And you know the people that are worth the effort.

Are you feeling lonely? Is there anyone in your life worth making an effort for? If so, are you making it? If so, how can you improve on it?

Maybe it’s just me but I’m pretty sure i’m not the only person on Earth to ever feel lonely. In those moments of loneliness, I remember the one relationship I will always have. The one with me. I implore you to get to know yourself. To seek the joy of your own company. The more you discover who you are the better you will relate to others and the easier you will attract things more aligned with your true self. 

PS! –

If you want to learn how to be alone without feeling lonely, click here (you won’t regret it)

Namaste.