When I worked with groups as a university professor, I collected data as a qualitative researcher. My colleagues and I often said of the people we worked with, “Perception is reality.” We frequently discovered that differing perceptions of the same event was the source of conflict. We knew if we could change the perception, we could change the reality. The following brief YouTube video shows a former magician demonstrating why we may see something that is not actual reality. Enjoy.
Each one of you has something no one else has, or has ever had: your fingerprints, your brain, your heart. Be an individual. Be unique. Stand out. Make noise. Make someone notice. That’s the power of individuals. – Jon Bon Jovi
The college campus was near the center of town. The boys walked past a fire station, a Unitarian church, a small hardware store until they reached a road that circled a large green area in the center of town that served as a rotary for traffic. In Massachusetts, the green is known as a common. Small stores lined the street on both sides of the common. One of the stores was Martini’s Deli.
The boys crossed the street, walked across the green, and crossed the street on the other side of the green. Nick tapped Buttons on the arm, “How about a meatball sub?”
Buttons nodded, and pointed to an old guy fishing in a trash can outside of Martini’s Deli. “I can’t stand that guy. Look at him. He disgusting. He carries a trash bag with cans and who knows what else in it. I bet he eats road kill.”
“Do you know him?” asked Nick.
“No, but my dad said stay away from him, he’s no good,” said Buttons.
“I know him. His name is Johnny, Johnny Balboni. He’s a nice guy,” said Nick.
“He’s dressed like a homeless bum. Look at his clothes, even the Salvation Army wouldn’t take them. I bet he hasn’t had a shower in years,” said Buttons.
Nick ignored Buttons, as the boys passed Johnny, Nick said, “Hi Johnny, how’s it going?”
Johnny looked up from the trash can, and gave a smile. His beaming smile opened a mouth with four teeth on top and three on the bottom. He tipped his worn old gray fedora to Nick, and said, “It’s a going okay. I find maybe twenty cans. They a nickel each. So far I make a buck.”
“Good luck, Johnny,” said Nick as he opened the door to Martini’s.
Nick ordered the meatball sub. The boys ordered Cokes and took their order to a booth near a window. Nick gave half of the sub to Buttons, who unwrapped and bit into it as if he hadn’t eaten for a week.
Nick took a sip of his Coke and said, “You can’t judge a guy by how he dresses, Buttons. Johnny does the yardwork around our house in the summer. He doesn’t charge much. Mom gives him a sandwich and some money when he’s done. He never counts the money. He stuffs it in his pocket, tips his hat and takes off until the next week.”
Buttons wiped his mouth on a napkin, “What’s with him and that hat? I never seen him without it. You think he’s hiding something inside it?”
Nick didn’t answer. He slid out of the booth, “I’ll be right back.”
“Where you going?” asked Buttons but Nick was already at the door.
Buttons looked out the window. Two guys from their class were hassling Johnny. He saw Nick talking to them. One of the guys pushed Nick. Nick stumbled backward and fell. As he was getting up, the other guy hit him in the face bloodying Nick’s nose. Nick got up and charged into the guy that hit him, wrestling him to the ground. The other guy was pulling Nick off his friend when Tino Martini came out and broke it up.
Nick brushed himself off. He went back into the deli. He returned to the booth but didn’t sit. He reached for some napkins and wiped his nose and the blood off his chin and hoodie.
“What happened?” asked Buttons.
“They were bullying Johnny and taking cans out of his bag and tossing them back in the trash. They thought it was funny. I didn’t. I don’t feel like eating, let’s go,” said Nick, grabbing his sandwich and Coke.
“Look what it got you, a bloody nose,” said Buttons.
“If you don’t stand up to a bully, they’ll never stop, said Nick.
“Yah, but they weren’t bullying you. You made it your fight,” said Buttons.
“Johnny’s old and can’t fight back. Somebody had to stick up for him,”said Nick pressing the cold can of Coke aside his nose.
The boys left Martini’s. Nick walked over to Johnny and handed him sub. Johnny took the sub and tipped his hat to Nick.
“I have to find a way to go to college anyplace but here,” said Nick.
Buttons didn’t say anything. The subject changed to sports, girls, and Christmas. By the time they got home, the fight was forgotten.
Nick has a good heart. Come by tomorrow and see where our story is headed.
Too often I find myself so close to my challenges, I lose perspective. When I step back and view my challenges from a new perspective, everything changes. I see my strength. I see meaning in my challenges. I see everything with a different set of eyes. I am filled with gratitude. I am filled with wonder. I am filled with awe. In the following the YouTube video an American astronaut describes his sense of gratitude for our planet Earth from his view on the Space Station.
We never get to the bottom of ourselves on our own. We discover who we are face to face and side by side with others in work, love and learning…
– Robert Neelly Bellah
Once in a while a powerful question puts my mind in overdrive. It makes me think; and, when I think I have the answer, the question makes me dig deeper. In the following video, the video producers asked 50 people in Brooklyn, “Where would you like to wake up tomorrow?” Dig a little, talk to friends and family about it. Where would you like to wake up tomorrow? Enjoy
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/2540216″>Fifty People, One Question: Brooklyn</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/askyourself”>Fifty People, One Question</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now. – Jack Kerouac