The Opposite of Hate isn't Love

Thursday, April 25, 2019

I was at a National Speakers Association event recently and INSTANTLY connected with the firecracker standing next to me. She smelled amazing, had on a fabulous blazer, and the fun, spicy energy radiating off of her was palpable. We became instant friends through just a few snarky comments and smiles.

Within minutes we were sharing summarized versions of our life journeys and committed to stay connected. She gave me all the dirty details about where I could buy her same blazer, perfume, and lotion. The important things!

We took our separate seats and began messaging each other throughout the rest of the meeting on Instagram. When I went to her Instagram profile I was shocked for a second. Right there on her main page it said she was a Trump supporter. WHAT?! For half a second I thought...wait, there is no way I just connected and laughed with a Trump supporter like that. Really? I never would have guessed that about her.

But in the same breath I was absolutely delighted! It actually made me giddy that my theory that "the opposite of hate isn't love, it's CONNECTION," was proven true. It almost makes me like her all the more because of it. I get to learn a new perspective from her. I get to celebrate the dynamic harmony produced by our differences.

I have no doubt that if I would have stumbled across her Instagram account without having met her, I would have written her off and likely rolled my eyes. By committing to conscious connection we set aside our quick judgements, or knee-jerk reactions and assumptions, and we look for ways to connect person to person, heart to heart.

We don't have to persuade or manipulate or convince. We don't have to mourn that we aren't on the same page. We don't have to waste time and energy wishing our partners, neighbors, leaders, parents, or children were different. We don't have to love what they love or believe what they believe. We just have to commit to connection.

It thrills me that I get to dive deeper into this concept in my speeches and upcoming book and teach people actual tools to help them commit to and implement connection in their lives. I will never stop believing that it's the only way to heal and improve our relationships, businesses, and our world.

Sundance Film Festival 2019

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Every year, thousands upon thousands of avid film-lovers, celebrity chasers, and all around glamorous people with money coming out of their butts flock to my little mountain town to partake in the art of storytelling on the big screen.

Restaurants and retail stores are transformed overnight into chic and exclusive clubs and VIP lounges. While walking up and down Main Street each year, I casually stroll by at least half a dozen movie stars, directors, producers, or other "important" people whom I usually don't recognize. I try my hardest not to gawk at the beauty and fabulous fashion of the mob around me. It really is spectacular.

I could be making this up, but I swear, that as the herd of people make their way from screening to screening, bar to bar, lounge to lounge, and even while shopping at the grocery stores in town, we are all looking each other up and down, in the eyes, assessing each other's clothing, faces, and asking ourselves, "Is SHE someone important? Is HE someone I should know?"

Welcome to the Sundance Film Festival.

I even like to make up my own script about what others are thinking about me..."OH! She's pretty. I bet she's an actress. Which film is she in? She's walking so confidently. Do I know her? Look at those fabulous faux leather Jessica Simpson leggings from Amazon that she's wearing."

This year was no different. I met up with some girlfriends on Main Street, attended a panel in the Stella Artois lounge about women "in the business" where we were served free drinks, snacks, and sat in plush leather chairs, surrounded by people clad entirely in black, with big, unbridled and interesting hair and glasses.

There were carefully designed backdrops for photo ops, DJ's discretely tucked into corners, Ubers clogging the streets, and fans waving wildly for autographs outside.

My girlfriends and I made our way down the street, passing the comedian Richard Kind, actress Zazie Beets from Deadpool, and some jock-looking Channing Tatum type actor from that one show I've never heard of.

There was talk of Jada Pinket Smith, Oprah, JLo, Jack Black, and other A-list celebrities whom we had JUST MISSED.

When we arrived at our favorite over-priced deli, we got lucky and scored some seats where we gratefully sat to warm up, sip our hot chocolate, and indulge in a little gossip.
The place was packed. I could pick out the out-of-towners in a heartbeat and was thoroughly enjoying the people watching. So much beauty, so much diversity, so much creativity, so much passion. I love artists. I love performers. I could hear traffic being directed outside, whistles being blown, and saw steam rising from the streets. It's like I was in one of my favorite places in the world--New York City--without having to leave my hometown.

While stealing bites of my girlfriend's chili, I glanced around to study the people crowded around me. That's when I noticed the most beautiful person in the entire room.

A man. About 55 years old. Dressed in faded, slightly over-sized dad jeans and scuffed-up bulky work boots. He had on a fluorescent workmen's vest over his puffy coat, a tattered baseball hat on his head, and a walkie talkie hanging from his hip. He was clearly a laborer of some kind. Sanitation department, perhaps? Or from the city traffic and public works department.

What struck me was his face. It was covered in scars.

I know this sounds dramatic and makes for a good story, but I promise you that he was beaming. I couldn't look away. Amidst this crowd of celebrities and wealthy filmmakers, skiers on expensive vacations, and the artsy fartsy crowd of East Coasters--(whom I love)--there was this unremarkable man who, to me, stood out as a symbol of survival and courage.

I have no idea how he got those scars, what tragedy or accident took place in his life, but seeing him standing there, helping a coworker in the middle of that crowded coffee shop, left me speechless and deeply reflective for a long while. This man had lived to tell the tale. He had a job! He was walking on two feet. He wasn't hiding his face. He was just living his life and he had no clue that I sat there staring at him holding back tears. I wanted to approach him and thank him for not giving up on life.

I didn't point him out to my friends and I'm curious if they noticed him. Seeing a scarred soul continue to live their life out loud was more exciting to me than my brush with celebrity and fame further up the street.

And here's the thing--if I could see the scars of everyone else in that room I probably would have been just as astounded with their survival stories. I don't think I would be marveling at their expensive clothing, amazing taste in snow gear, or how famous they were--I would simply want to trace the map of their scars and hear about all the places their scars had taken them. All of the lessons they'd learned along the way, and how they landed in that little shop on a cold January day.

Little Red Riding Hood Family Costumes

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I still can't believe Peter wanted to be the Grandma. It was so fun to mix things up with the characters. The axe we borrowed from someone who had already converted it to a "prop" using a real axe handle. The wolf ears and teeth we purchased from Amazon, the grandma wig from Walmart, and the star of the show, the Little Red Riding Hood costume is from TJ Maxx. 

And now to figure out what we are going to do next year!

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