SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 196: Could This Be A Banner Moment!

At almost 200 days of circulating, I’m beginning to see a noticeable difference in my community. But before I explain what that difference is, let me tell you a little more about where I live.

For reference you can picture the Radstone lifestyle as somewhat loose and flowing mixed with the traditional regiment of daily routines and expectations of consistency. My wife refers to us as conservative hippies, a bizarre marriage of locked agendas and unpredictable spontaneity.

With that, we live in a metropolitan suburb, know as the San Fernando Valley, not really an open and nostalgic countryside, more like an urban city on the outskirts of an urban city.

And in these urban suburbs are 1.76 million people; like I said, it’s not the country escape many of us visualize when thinking of the inhabitants living on the edge of a metropolis.

Think of it this way, at only twenty-four miles of traffic jammed Interstate 101, and to the West of the City of Angels, my community has all the joys of an exploding populous, with a little more elbow room than that of the mentioned city to the East.

And with this elbow room comes a strange sense of isolation. Strange because even with the 1.76 million living in my neck of the woods, enough people to see movement at most hours, it is still possible to travel un-noticed by auto or by foot.

I don’t know how, but people seem to want to disappear into the wider streets that surround my suburban bliss and 1965 faux Colonial fixer upper.

But here is what I find brilliant. After 195 days of chin up and eyes open to the people around me, my community is shrinking before my very self, not so much in head count, but rather in my understanding of it.

It’s an amazing thing. I can truly say that on a regular basis I know the faces I pass and somehow I keep running into people who I know or know someone I know. Many times I am even flabbergasted by the people who, upon overhearing a 365 interview, reach out to me. A vast population is getting smaller every day, and I’m loving every minute of it.

I won’t say that I’m an icon of celebrity attraction, but the 365 thing is blowing me away. This simple change in perspective has literally shrunk my circle of influence, and in a bazaar way has put a weird magnet of, talk to me, in my stride.

My over-sized office bulletin board  testifies of this occurrence, for on it lays a growing list of referrals and passed on business cards. What I’m finding is one basic truth, “The more I pass on our 365 message… the more I find it passed back to me.” A very revealing finding that screams, “We receive what we give,” and once the ball of positive energy begins, it projects a gravity-like pull that I hope will grow to become delightfully uncontrollable. Like Keith of yesterday’s entry, I too must admit that I am a hopeless optimist.

This entry is a little offbeat from many of my past articles, and leaning on all of the “pass it on” gestures, and referrals from my 365 friends, I am inspired to activate us to a day of outreach.

Yes, I’ve seen a change in my own life, but now I’d like to understand what is happening in yours. Selfishly, I have been encapsulated in my own experiences, and to set the tone for a challenge today I must again restate my motivations, “All I am doing is following wherever 365 is taking us.”

And as deep as we are into it now, it is apparent to me that the more I keep my chin up two phenomena are emerging. 1) As my pool of strangers- turned-friends increases, the volume of referrals befalling me increases; and 2) (And this is the real interesting side effect) The people I see everyday in my life travels are becoming more and more familiar, and my controlling thoughts of self are diminishing incrementally.

The result, it’s not that strange anymore to hear, rolling in from over my shoulder, “Can you interview me?”

I wish I could interview and photograph everyone who reaches out to us, but that endeavor would be extremely overwhelming, and being a self-funded little rag-tag movement, that task would be a detriment to my livelihood.

Still, at times I wish I was resourced enough to be able to dedicate 24/7 to 365, then maybe I could make a deeper stab at getting everyone’s message to our minds. But with the necessities of a mortgage, a family to feed and the growing length of my honey-do list, that is just not practical at this time.

This is where you come in. Your efforts and outlook matter to what we are doing. And with this sentiment, I want to conduct a social experiment.

I’m throwing you a random opportunity to “Pass It On.”

Think of it as a bonding shout out, and with it I ask you to take a personal and uninterrupted couple of minutes in reflecting on how well you know your neighbors.

OK, here is the meditation music (you pick the tune)…

You’re cheating… Just humor me… try again and take a pause from your reading.  I know I’m fascinating , but I’m not going anywhere.

Go grab a tea, a crumpet, or something. Or better yet, stick your head outside and see if there is anyone to chat with for a little while, if not, maybe call that person or family member you have been thinking about. Whatever you do, give yourself allowance to escape and settle your intellect, to open up and listen to the world unconditionally. The rest of this blog is not leaving, we’ll be here when you’re ready to read on.

Thanks for sharing in our combined breath of unity, or the act of outreach you just placed upon someone else. Hopefully, with whatever you did, you found a bit of perspective, or perhaps brought a smile to the face of another, or better yet, experienced a sampling of both.

“Why do I do this?” you may ask. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Your participation is appreciated, and I’m sure we would all like to know about your experience. So please comment. Possibly this could be a banner summit for 365. It’s up to you.

To direct us on our path in introducing today’s friend of influence, we’ll flash back a few days to our interview of new friend Chris. When, as he and I were taking our photos, I had one of those over the shoulder experiences I am speaking of.

“Are you covering a story?” is inquired of us from a young woman who has been observing our impromptu photo session.

Like I said, it is so hard to interview everyone, but something about her energy made it impossible to ignore the idea of an interview. Plus, the day was so close to an end and with the fact that this bubbly young woman who engaged with us actually was employed by Follow Your Heart, it was just not the time to stop and chat. So we agree to reconnect today, thirty minutes before her shift.

Without further ado, please pass on a warm hello to Kat.

One thing I must reveal, and give credit to whom credit is due, the above challenge is not of me, it is a by-product of Kat’s opening statement, “Hating yourself is the worst thing to do. If you respect and love yourself, you are doing the world a huge favor. If you don’t like yourself, what you do will not be genuine.

“It doesn’t matter what people think of you. Hang around with people who like you for who you are.”

You must trust me that I’m not saying I hate myself, or implying that any of us do. Quite the opposite. What I am doing is respecting Kat’s council in offering us a view at a thought that Kat has introduced, “Are we genuine, and do we like who we are?”

Kat says, “It doesn’t matter what people think of you. Hang around with people who like you for who you are.”

The question that her words pose to me came to fruition in the form of a challenge. A challenge to do something to support her claim of a genuine people, and again, the genesis for today’s random past it on.

Kat thinks sensitively about the world ahead of us, “I really don’t know what to say, it is so unpredictable… (Big pause)… We are messing up the planet… (Pause two)… I guess I just hope we see it happening and choose to do something about it.”

We pull back to the present, “Some people are here for each other and some are less genuine,” Kat generalizes.

Pauses over, she quickly sums up her premise with an observance. “I see too many acting with each other through illusions like the internet and TV. Places where people can project false images. You have no idea of who the person at the other side of keyboard or screen really is, but when you interact face to face you get a better picture of the genuine person.”

(Kat… thanks for moving us towards Richard’s challenge today!)

 I look forward to hearing your Pass It On experience. May this become a banner moment that we can one day look back upon.

Talk soon, my friends!