TGIF: What I Learned About World Peace from JFK, Titanic and Miss Congeniality

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Remember the scene in the movie Miss Congeniality when Sandra Bullock’s character announces, “I’m not gonna parade around in a swimsuit like some airhead bimbo that goes by the name Gracie Lou Freebush and all she wants is world peace?”

In a later scene she finds herself in the Q & A round of the beauty pageant, facing the exact situation she was dreading:

Stan Fields: What is the one most important thing our society needs?
Gracie Hart: That would be harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan.
[crowd is silent]
Gracie Hart: [plastic smile] And world peace!
[crowd cheers ecstatically]

In the final scene of the movie, Sandra Bullock comes clean with her fellow beauty pageant contestants about being an undercover FBI agent.

And then … something unexpected happens. She gets teary-eyed, fans her face with her hands (like they often do in beauty pageants) and says, “The thing is … I really do want world peace.” [crowd erupts in applause]

Heal the World?

I think a lot of us can relate to Gracie Hart’s sentiment. We hear the news, we see the headlines, we are aware that people are hurting in Haiti, Japan and Israel.

It breaks our hearts.

But here’s the problem: the enormity of the injustice in the world is overwhelming.  It’s too big. It’s intangible. It’s monstrous nebulous form is hard to wrap our minds around.

Titanic Analogy

If the world and its endless problems are the sinking Titanic, then we are the panicking passengers on board the ship (of life) trying to find a piece of driftwood (i.e. job, SUV, iPhone, etc.) to hold on for dear life. We don’t make eye contact (or heart contact) with anybody because (God forbid!) we might have to share our tiny piece of driftwood. And let’s face it, that never works out in the end. R.I.P. Jack.

Here’s a couple reasons why wanting to change the world sounds cheesy and naive:
a. We don’t know how to help.
b. We have no time to help.
c. We have no money to help.
d. And there’s always some yahoo screwing over the system … so why bother?

Ergo, we fall into the trap of doing absolutely nothing.

The JFK Paradigm Shift

I love this quote by JFK! Let’s break it down … shall we?

Peace is a:
– Daily
– Weekly
– Monthly Process

Peace is:
Gradually changing opinions,
Slowly eroding old barriers,
Quietly building new structures.

So the “Top Secret Formula” for World Peace is really quite simple:
Little Acts of Peace + Everyone + Every day
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An Update on our “Little Act of Peace”

So for the benefit of those who missed last week’s TGIF post, here is the back story. Last week I asked our Vancouver SheLoves readers if they would join me in running a half-marathon in September in order to raise funds for the Living Hope program in Uganda.

The Living Hope program helps restore dignity to the lives of women whose faces have been mutilated by the LRA rebel soldiers who terrorize northern Uganda. Women have had their lips, ears, noses and even genital parts severed from their bodies.

Original goal: 20 Women + Half-Marathon= $20,000 for Living Hope

The amazing news is that under seven days we had 50 women sign up for the race! *doing my happy dance* It’s beyond my wildest expectations.

My original plan was to raise money for reconstructive facial surgeries for the women. In my emails back and forth with the organization, I have now learned that they are in the midst of processing over 150 surgeries.

Translation:
– 150 surgeries have already been paid for!
– 150 women get a second chance at life!
– 150 women will be rewriting their story!

You’ll have to pardon my excessive use of exclamation marks. But this is crazy exciting!!!!

Here’s where we come in…

So the immediate need for funds right now is not for reconstructive surgery. It is to provide trauma counseling, medical care and vocational training to the ladies who have undergone surgery. The surgery is one small but significant step towards restoring dignity to the mutilated women. It’s the beginning of their journey. Many of the women are HIV+ and ostracized in their own communities. They are treated like modern-day lepers.

The crucial key to restoring their sense of self-worth is training them with skill sets so that they can integrate back into their communities as contributing members of society. The funds raised through the half-marathon will be used to support ladies who have been through reconstructive surgery or undergoing surgery soon.

I love that we…

– Get to be a part of their new story …
– Get to beat our big drums and tell the world their story …
– Get to be inspired by their stories of courage and resilience …

But most of all, I love that….
Love heals all.
______________________________________________________

Here are 5 things that made me smile this week!

Spoken word + Beet Cake + Obvious vs. Amazing + J.Crew + Ellie Goulding= TGIF

1. Spoken Word: I was watching leadership videos on Vimeo (yes, I’m a super-nerd) when I came upon the regal and radiant word-maestro Amena Brown. All my fellow half-marathon sisters, listen to this gem on full volume before you head out for a run. It will make you misty-eyed and get your heart rate up.

2. Beet Cake: Some people meditate to the sound of ocean waves crashing. I, on the otherhand, like to take deep cleansing breaths while watching cinematic HD videos of cake being crafted. “Om” Nom Nom Nom. Tip: Watch the video in full screen to experience its full glory. Make sure you catch the time-lapse sequence of semi-sweet chocolate squares melting at 0:42 mark in the video.

3. Obvious to you. Amazing to others– Derek Sivers, best known for being the founder and former president of CD Baby is the next author being positioned by Seth Godin’s publishing venture “The Domino Project.” For the launch of his new book “Anything You Want,” Derek is creating ten animated videos to accompany the chapters in the book. I found this nugget particularly enlightening. All creatives need to be reminded of this simple truth.

4. J. Crew goes to Italy: I’m sure that President and Creative Director of J.Crew, Jenna Lyons paid her dues to get to the top. But … can you imagine being paid to look for print inspiration in the rich archives of Italy?

*sospiro* (that’s “sigh” in Italian according to Google Translate.)

5. Ellie Goulding: I’m a huge fan of English sing-songwriter Ellie Goulding’s album “Bright Lights.” Fun Fact: Ellie was the only live performer at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding reception. She sang her rendition of the Elton John classic “Your Song” for the couple’s first dance. Enjoy!

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So … my global SheLoves sisters:
– Have you had a “why-bother-it’s-all-so-overwhelming” moment?
– How do you overcome it?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, fears and inspirations!

Dear half-marathon Bravehearts,
– Does life look different since you’ve said “Yes”?
– What is your family’s reaction?
– Some of you have started training already! How was Week 1?
Share-share please. 🙂

For those of you who would still like to join the half-marathon: Click here
For those who would like to donate to our cause we will have information coming soon!

Love you more than perfectly popped sweet-and-salty Kettle Corn,(<- Recipe)
xoxo,
Teen

To read more TGIFs from Tina: Click here.

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Tina Francis
My name is Tina. Loved ones call me: Teen. Words are my chocolate. Music, my caramel. Photography, my bread. Girlfriends, my butter. Confession: Some girls dream about Manolo Blahniks or their next Hermes bag. Not me. I dream of freshly baked bread, perfectly barbecued meat & steaming bowls of Pho. My dream lover *cue Mariah Carey song* is someone who would read out a menu to me in Barry White’s baritone voice. I celebrate food, ask for help, interrupt conversations, laugh and cry hard, acknowledge the elephant in most rooms, fight for the underdog and believe in the power of storytelling. I was born and raised in Dubai and currently live in the beautiful city of Vancouver, known for some of the best sushi in the world.
Tina Francis
Tina Francis