Tag Archives: movie

The Macho Side of Beautiful

I made an interesting observation today. I have been participating in my 428 Days See Beautiful challenge for 17 days now. I have told lots of people about the idea. I chatted with friends over meals. I’ve discussed the impact of seeing more beautiful with folks on Facebook. I’ve even handed out some inspiring See Beautiful swag to people I’ve connected with in the community. Nothing too surprising there. Here’s the interesting part: By and large, most of these people who I have interacted with about Seeing Beautiful…are women. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had one extended conversation about the project with a man.
The tough questions that I am now facing are: Why is this happening? Am I avoiding interactions with men about the See Beautiful campaign? Is there a part of me that feels that it would be inappropriate to give another man a See Beautiful bumper sticker? I’ve really been wrestling with these questions. I believe that I have answers for most of them. I just don’t like the answers I’m getting.
The past 17 days have been inspiring, revitalizing, and just plain fun. I can’t imagine that any human being would not benefit from seeing and sharing more beautiful with the world. And yet, there is a part of me that feels that as a man I am not supposed to reveal this part of myself to the world. I am not sure when I learned this lesson. All I know is that I learned it and I learned it well.
My wife posted this short video on her Facebook page last night. I watched it and immediately connected it to my dilemma. As a father, teacher, and community member, I want the boys and men that I care about to truly experience and appreciate the parts of our world that are beautiful. In order to nurture this idea, I need to really consider some of the lessons I learned about being a man in this world. Likewise, I need to think about the lessons that I may be unconsciously teaching my own son (and daughter) about being male. Truth be told, I’m truly challenged with this one. I guess some lucky guy will be getting a See Beautiful bumper sticker!

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Lesson’s Learned From A Cardboard Arcade

Today is the halfway point of my 28 day journey; day 14!  My first post was inspired my daughter. Coincidentally, today’s post is inspired by my son, David. It is nice to be reminded of how much I learn from my two children. A couple of days ago, David came home from school talking about Caine’s Arcade. He talked about it while he did his homework. He talked about it during dinner. He talked about it as he got ready for bed. Finally, he came to my room right before bedtime and asked if I would search the net for Caine’s Arcade. Needless to say, by this point, I was more than just a little curious. I pulled out my phone, tapped on the browser, and stepped into a beautiful example of innovation, imagination, and commitment to a vision.
The story of Caine and his cardboard arcade taught me a couple of very valuable lessons. First, while there are plenty of beautiful people, things, and acts in our world, beautiful may also exist in the form of ideas and visions that have yet to be realized. These things only become a reality when the dreamers are courageous enough to commit their time, energy, and resources to them. As I watched the story of Caine’s arcade, I realize that throughout my life I have had plenty of cardboard-arcade-like-ideas. Many times, I have decided against acting on them because I doubted that others would see the beauty in them.
That brings me to the second lesson from Caine. Simply put, it is important that you see the beautiful in your dreams, ideas, and visions. You must see the beautiful that exist in you. How else would you build a cardboard arcade and sit in your little chair in front of it day after day waiting for customers to come and share in your creation? Inevitably, Caine’s arcade was successful because he wholly believed that his creation, blue t-shirt and all, was a beautiful one.
Finally, Caine’s Arcade is also the story of a community acknowledging and celebrating an act of beautiful. It is true that the vision for the arcade was rooted firmly in a child’s imagination. However, the reach of Caine’s beautiful creation was extended when others decided to connect with Caine, play in his arcade, and share his vision with others around the world. As a result, Caine’s arcade has inspired millions and launched a movement to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in children (www.imagination.is/cardboard_challenge). David and his classmates have been inspired. They are working on their own cardboard arcade at school. And I have been inspired to continue to contribute acts of beautiful to our world, to trust in my own visions of beauty, and to celebrate the beautiful works of others. I hope that you have also found some inspiration in the simple (but beautiful) creation of Caine!

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I Accept Love

Yesterday was a tough day. I found myself facing challenges to which I saw no immediate solution. I received news throughout the day that was ripe with disappointment. I left work feeling mentally and physically exhausted and a bit defeated. It was just one of those days. On my drive home, I kept thinking to myself, “How in the world am I supposed to see beautiful in all of this?”  As I attempted to answer that question, my phone rang.  For a second, I considered ignoring the call.  After all, it was just one of those days. In the end, I decided to take a chance and roll the dice in hopes of landing on a bit of good news.  The voice on the other end of the phone was that of a long time friend and colleague.  For much of the day, she’d been trying to get in touch with me.  I explained to her that my day had been spent putting out fires and trying desperately not to start new ones.

“It’s been a tough day to See Beautiful,” I said.

“Well, let me help,” she responded.  “Today, I was reminded of something beautiful…thanks to you.”

Of course, I had no idea what she was talking about.  I hadn’t seen or talked to her all day.  With the mood I was in and the day I was having, I seriously doubted that I had aided anybody in seeing beautiful.  She went on to tell me that she’d been looking for my contact information on her phone when she came across the last text conversation we’d had…almost a year ago.  At that time, she was caring for her dog who had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  On the day of the text messages, she had traveled with her dog to see a specialist at a local university.  I’d sent her a text on that day to ask about the visit and the doctor’s prognosis.  She went on to say that she really appreciated the text messages on that day, and that it meant a lot to her that I thought about her and her pet.  She also mentioned that rereading the text messages brought back a host of beautiful memories of her dog and all the wonderful things he brought to her life.

I smiled as I listened to my friend describe this inadvertent brush with beautiful.  I smiled because I also remembered her wonderful dog with bright eyes who was always ready to play.  I smiled because her memory inspired memories of my own dog who I’d lost years before; the lovingly patient one with wise eyes who was always ready for a walk.  I smiled because I realized at that instance in time that beauty can be found everywhere…even in moments of pain, loss, confusion, and disappointment.  In other words, beautiful can be found on one of those days.

I went to bed last night thinking about this very important lesson.  I woke this morning, September 11, 2013, with a renewed commitment to see beautiful.  On my way into work, I listened to the local radio station’s rebroadcast of news clips from the attacks of September 11, 2001.  As I listened, I recalled the events of that day; the fear and sadness, the calls to loved ones, the anger and frustration.  Immediately, I found myself spinning in the same ball of confusion I’d been met with just the day before.  “Where is the beauty,” I wondered.  Immediately, I thought of the conversation with my friend.  I was immediately reminded of the acts of beautiful that grew out of the tragedy our world experienced on September 11th.  I was reminded of the acts of bravery and kindness enacted in support of community.  I was reminded of my own renewed appreciation for family and friends. I was reminded of the calls for peace, nonviolence, and cooperation that went out from communities around the world.

Recently, I came across footage from the ABC show, What Would You Do?  I believe it is a nice example of a beautiful act in the midst of struggle.  Given the players involved, I feel it is also especially relevant for today.  If you have some time, take a look at the clip.  I hope that it will remind you of the beauty that exist around you today; the smile of loved one, kind words from a stranger, an act of forgiveness, or a walk in the neighborhood with a furry, four-legged friend.

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Be the Change

I have to admit. I’m pretty uncomfortable with change. I like my coffee with a splash of cream and a couple of spoon fulls of sugar. I find comfort in tradition. For 28 Days is pushing me to really consider the value of change; especially when it is for the better. The funny thing is that sometimes you won’t know the benefits of a specific change (be it large or small) unless you embrace it.
Enjoy the video. I look forward to continuing this journey with you tomorrow. Be the change that you want to see!

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A Letter From Fred

A powerful example of beauty in action. A group of musicians connect with a man with lyrics of love to create a beautiful piece of music. To love openly and freely is truly an act of beauty!

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A simple video with a wonderful message. Sometimes we aren’t aware of the beautiful acts that shape our world. However, at times there’s a hint if we know where to look.

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