SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 353: “Like Mother Teresa Said”

Left to Right: Simona, Jasmine

“With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.”

No… I have not been paid by any evil empire to commercialize 365, but you have to admit that TOMS is founding a business model on principles greater than that of the bottom line.

Plus, I have a little inside scoop on the company, which by the way, positions themselves as a movement, when in a coincidence of timing connected me with one of it’ founding members. Katie (not pictured) is her name, and when, several years ago, I photographed her, she left a grand impression in my mind, one that to this day has been a reference to me in my own personal decision-making. I’ve never told Katie this, and I hope she reads this blog.

The seed she planted led me to self examine my creative purpose and pushed me to embark on projects the likes of Seven and 40something. Two endeavors that have been core to shaping my perspective in building the 365 project, soon to become a movement in it’s own sphere (I hope you stay with us as we grow).

I tell you of Katie because her name comes up in my conversation with today’s stranger now friend, Jasmine.

I’ll not say that my meeting of Jasmine is by chance or by reason, those are both weighty concepts that we have discussed many a time and with a variety of our 365 friends. And again, being slammed in keeping several projects going this month, I’ll pass on pontificating too much about the laws of attraction.

All that I know is that on a random walk of a busy thoroughfare, in a city of almost ten million people… Los Angeles, with all its diversity and staggering scale, I am pulled to speak with Jasmine.

“I’m always smiling no matter what… It just brightens someone’s day.” She tells me as she encourages me to reach out, “…Like when you see someone who is blank… you just smile at them and they smile right back to you.”

But it’s more than her smile that draw me in, she is connected in a way that is remarkable and her no ownership in claiming her advice position touches my heart. “’Like Mother Teresa quoted, ‘Peace begins with a smile,’” Jasmine credits.

“What about the TOMS thing? Richard.”

Oh yeah… sorry guys… did not mean to wander. Jasmine works at TOMS. And in her eyes I can tell that her life is dedicated to helping others. You can just feel it in the air in talking with her.

As we speak, up walks, Simona, friend of Jasmine. “I’m going to school in New York, and we haven’t seen each other is two years” Simona reveals as Jasmine and I chat.

Yet here I stand, linked to Jasmine by some act of fate by our both knowing Katie. No big deal in a small community, but like I said… LA is huge.

And now, and the trail lengthens in meeting Simona (who by the way is also dedicating her life to people helping in choosing a career as in the medical profession).

I throw myself to the court in telling Simona of 365, kind of a hard thing to do while being surrounded by the joy of separated friends united. I’d be a liar if I told you I did not feel little out-of-place in feeling as if have intruded into a sacred moment. But with energy and charm, Simona too agrees to contribute.

“Wow, I feel like I am being interviewed for a broadcast, those are big questions,” Simona pauses in smiling with Jasmine.

“I have not though about the next one–hundred years,” she positions.

“What about in the now?” I inquire.

With a thoughtful tone, Jasmine replies, “To get to anything good, or to achieve a goal that you want… take it one step at a time.”

Jasmine grabs the reigns, “’Live in the now… day by day, and be positive.

You never know… stuff happens in life. But you’ve just got to keep going, and always have a positive outlook on life. Because if you’re thinking that you are depressed, or you are negative, then that is what you are going to believe. And, if you think positive… ‘I’m going to get through this,’ or whatever, you will grow.

I think it is through the challenges that we go through that we get stronger.

People ask, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ But, we have to go through them to become persons that we are.’”

I’ve taken far too much of my new friends reunion time, and with fond farewells I leave my new friends to catch up.

I know I’m stretching a bit in sharing my take away. But here it goes anyway. I’ll own the notion that it was through the meeting of Katie, many years ago, that I am, on this particular day, directed to Jasmine in gaining a perspective.

A perspective that I will shamelessly steal from the TOMS business model in comparing it the global footprint that I dream 365 will become: The vision is simply this, People connecting with people, not necessarily as close friends, that is unrealistic. But what is my hope, is that in this age of awareness and oversaturation of mind, body and spirit, that as a whole, we as a human race can learn to better respect of one another… any place… any time… and for any reason.

In taking a bit of liberty, I’ll slightly borrow from the words of TOMS: “One for One Movement.”

Let’s reframe, and for our purpose in label it: “One to One Movement.”

TOMS, I mean no disrespect in borrowing your words, and I promise they will not become any part in promoting our expanding 365 community; I merely share them in the greatest respect to what you are doing.

Chin up and eyes open to the world is our charge, and Jasmine, Simona, thank you for your open eye-lines in accepting my smile.

Like Jasmine references in quoting Mother Teresa, “Peace begins with a smile.”

Talk tomorrow friends.

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