Grateful for “I Am” by Tom Shadyac – Let’s Talk About This

While probably a bit dramatic, this is one of those movies that will change you.  Yes a documentary and we all know what those are like.  We probably even judge a bit those who spend their time watching documentaries.  My family found their way today to places like the movies and the houses of good friends while I chose to stay back and take a tiny, much needed nap.  Candidly, I thought what better way to get me to the sleepy state than picking off one of those documentaries that had been in my Netflix queue for a while.  I selected “I Am” by Tom Shadyac and just thought I would read the brief summary of the film.  When I tried to go back after reading the summary to pick a different film, I accidentally clicked the title of the movie again.  Tired, and intrigued I set forth with fate.

While I won’t lie and say I stayed awake for the entire film, and trust me this is my affliction not the film’s, the film is truly amazing.  Amazeballs as the teens like to say.  Striking.  Impactful.  Filled with love and hope.  Tom Shadyac, director of “Ace Ventura”, “Bruce Almighty” and “The Nutty Professor”, set out to ask two (2) questions of very smart, courageous and world-impacting people:  1) What’s wrong with the world?  and 2) What should we do about it?  He ends up very clearly finding out what is right with it.  People willing to take a tiny step, do a tiny act that at the time seem insignificant and meaningless and end up changing the world.  He lands on an inspiring answer not unlike a fantastic article I read by Sam Polk earlier this week who in a self-professed way in this Op-Ed Piece titled “For the Love of Money” (thanks for forwarding John Trefethen) in the NY Times  summarized how he went from living like one of the world’s worst humans to making his life mission about making our world a better place – their paraphrased answers:  connect with humans and start small to make the change in the world you want to see.

We are all busy.  We all want great things for our family.  I hide behind these two things to keep from making changes I want to see in this world.  I’m grateful for this movie.  It will become mandatory watching material for my kids.  No shock, but I’m going to take the movie’s advice.  I am going to set out small and change my ways to make a difference in small ways.  My hope is this leads me to encounter clearer roads to doing what I long to do, leave the world a little better than when I entered it.  Don’t worry Mom, I realize I likely have already done some of this to an extent (especially in your eyes), just looking to broaden it a bit.  Here’s a few for starters that quickly come to mind:  1) help out more at home and be more present and in the moment when I am here, 2) to that woman on Friday who asked me to buy her paper to help the homeless while I was rushing to the train to get to my family:  I wish I had stopped.  Listened.  Who knows, maybe even shared a hot cup of tea together.  The next time I’ll invite you to join me.  I still may not choose to support the homeless in that way, but a warm cup of tea and an ear for a few minutes would have made both of our lives a bit better and 3) start more often from a place of love – I spend a lot of my life beating myself up for being 5 minutes late or working more than I should or not doing enough at home (admittedly it is hard to keep up with someone like Cindy – she is tough to match…) and instead just root back to starting from a place of love with everything.  This will be hard as it is not alway my instinct.  Sharing the way I feel on the inside when I greet people, but instead showing it on the outside with something as simple as a smile, who knows, maybe even a hug (I know Cindy, I know…”walk before you run Sutton.”) are my starting points.

I’ve digressed a bit (shocker!) but don’t let it distract you from my message.  This movie was really great.  I hope you will watch if you haven’t already.  If you can do no more watch the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes, I assure you these 20 minutes alone will impact you in a great and positive way.  Trust me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what are some of the things in your world view (big or small) that you’d like to impact and change one day.  I’m always looking to steal a great idea on this subject.

 

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Grateful for Air Drummers

In my last mile of five (5) quick, cold (10 degrees!) miles this morning I came across a gentleman driving a good-looking Infinity or Lexus who was putting on one of the more spectacular air drumming performances I have seen outside of a recent VW commercial. I can’t be sure but I’m pretty sure he was rocking out a Neil Peart drum solo (maybe YYZ) or the like with the flair of Motley Crüe’s drummer. I found myself smiling for the rest of what normally would have been a tough ending to my run. Thanks rocking air drummer. Thanks.

January 2014 – Disney Vacation Day 4 – Animal Kingdom

Disney Day 4 - Animal Kingdom & Downtown Disney

Our last day in O-town/Disney and Animal Kingdom was on the agenda. Other than running through it in a race or two, this is the one park I’ve never seen. Overall I was impressed. Good rides (Everest, Dinoland, African Safari to name a few). Nice snacks. Great buffet in Africa (Tusker House – eat that cous cous!) and some serious great animals (baby giraffes, hippos, lions, tigers, apes, etc). But likely my favorite moment of the day was enjoying a bit of a dance party with my sweet daughter in the middle of the street near the carnival. I even learned the Cupid Shuffle and found I’m quite good at it if I do say so myself. We had good access to characters, FastPasses to all the right stuff and the crowds were pretty manageable.

After a fun day at the AK we fulfilled Stewart’s biggest wish for Disney: swimming in the hotel pool. Yep, our family with a bunch of families from Canada and Minnesota took to the pool in 58 degree weather. In our defense as responsible parents, the pool was heated. And Stewart was doing that thing where she was hopping up and down filled with excitement…No Dad can resist that visible level of sheer kid excitement. Note to self – next big trip: any hotel with a pool.

Just prior to frostbite setting in, we plucked the blue-lipped kids (and clearly the only non-Canadians) from the pool, cleaned up a bit and headed to Downtown Disney for some Wolfgang Puck food on the Disney Dining plan. Note: this is one of the better places to use the Disney Quick Express Meal voucher. After dinner we headed to Legoland. Alright, we pulled a fast one on Charlie. We went to the Lego store and called it Legoland. He was blown away. Just imagine what he’ll think when one day he gets to the actual Legoland. Given his head cold throughout the trip we thought a 5th day in a park and a late arrival back to Fort Mill would be pushing it. We will have to right this wrong one day. One day.

Enjoy our pics from Day 4 at Animal Kingdom.

January 2014 Disney Vacation Day 3 – Magic Kingdom

Disney Day 3 - Magic Kingdom Main Street USA Day 3. Admittedly, we are getting a bit tired. Cindy and I noticed that we are also swollen. Eating out for most meals means we are likely more salt filled and less hydrated than at home. After getting up and out a bit earlier to fit my longish run in with 6 YASSO’S we headed to a Character breakfast at the Polynesian Resort. As an aside, running more than 3 miles in Disney is very difficult. Building some connected running trails that connect the various housing/hotels together seems like a no-brainer for an operation like Disney. What am I missing here?

Anyways, the breakfast with Pluto, Mickey, Lilo, Stitch, etc was a hit. Simple easy way for Charlie to get some autographs. We boated into the Magic Kingdom (MK) via small ferry. This got everyone wide-eyed as it was about 45 and the wind was blowing. The Magic Kingdom is always one of my favorites. Cindy pointed out that my enjoyment might be tied to how well I know the park. We hit most major rides (Thunder Mountain, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Alladin, etc) on the Frontierland-side of the joint in rapid succession. Around lunch we made our way back to Fantasyland (mostly new) and Tomorrowland. We watched some show, hit Buzz Lightyears’s ride and even spent time on the people-mover of all things (maybe my first time ever on this one) which seems to be Will’s speed. We wound the day down for an early departure (5pm) with the Hall of Presidents where Charlie promptly fell asleep and didn’t wake back up until the hotel. My arms are tired as I write this as he was hauled out sleeping on my chest. He was a bit of a boat anchor today. First in this obvious way but second as he’s found a heck of a head cold. He’s been quite a trooper.

It was a nice day, our coldest this trip in the park and one where we rode the most rides in the least amount of time. I also enjoyed my best snack of the trip: birthday cake ice cream between two huge, warm chocolate chip cookies. Yummers!

Slideshow of our Magic Kingdom day here.

January 2014 – Disney Vacation – Day 1

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Day 1 EPCOT! Not sure what’s more fun as a parent, watching the kids anticipation as we get closer to the Mecca or seeing the wonderment in their eyes as we get into the park and experience. There’s little like seeing the eyes of a 4 year old on their first Disney trip. Best part of EPCOT: Test Track. Charlie loved it. Stewart too. Will? Not so much.

Disney World Vacation – Day 1

Grateful for Good Examples

Over the weekend, late on Saturday, my best friend (and wife) found out about the death of a co-worker, someone who was not from our country and only recently moved his wife and 2-year old over from their home and extended family in India. Cindy did not know this person beyond a basic and transactional work relationship. What she did in this situation has meant more to me with each passing day since the tragic event. She got up on Sunday and went to the hospital to visit with his wife, now widow, and child, now without a father, who survived the single-car wreck by the grace of god.

The language barrier was strong. The grief was difficult to even imagine. The fear and loneliness of going through this with your only adult relation in the country now gone immense. The pending explanation to the child of the loss off a parent, a nightmare. Just Cindy and this woman and her grief. Sitting. Over the next hour friends from the community, many of them also ex-pats working outside of their home country too, showed up to offer support, love, friendship and start her on what I hope to only imagine a long process back to semi-normalcy (do you ever get back to normal after this?).

I get a lump in my throat when I think of what Cindy did. I’m grateful for the great example of good I get to see in her everyday. I’m especially grateful knowing her huge heart makes her one of the best examples of good in my life.

Apologies for the heavy post. I loved her example here: Be there for humans – only good can come from it. Know that she’d dislike everything about me posting this. Gratitude will be shared.