Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘understanding’

Barilla Out/Bertolli In

This website is about deepening our understanding about human emotions especially dealing with grief and loss. The topic of loss comes in many forms. An important one is the loss people experience from a lack of respect from others due to their lifestyle. We are, after all, created by the same Universal Energy of pure love. This site is about trying to make the world a better place one person, one blog, at a time. Rarely do I enter into current events unless my heart moves me to do so- and it did today.

Guido Barilla, chairman of the world’s leading pasta manufacture on Wednesday stated, “I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role.” Why am I having a hard time accepting his explanation? The latest add for his company features Antonio Banderas baking biscuits (it seems there are 15 different brands and products made by the Barilla company) and talking to children about a chicken called Rosita. It was MR. Banderas who was featured in the add – but didn’t Barilla argue his point by saying ‘women play a fundamental role? Mr. Barilla also said he opposes adoption by gay parents. Ah…the real issue surfaces. No question where he stands on the topic of respect and equal rights. After a firestorm on social media sites, Barilla responded, “I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding…” His words ring both hollow and insincere. Notice he didn’t apologize for being discriminatory but simply of “generating controversy” sounds like he is worried about the bottom line – money – and his PR folks were probably pleading with him, on bended knee, to recant his words. Mr. Barilla I think, ‘ thou protests too much!’ One just has to wonder why.

Misunderstanding really? Mr Barilla there is no ‘misunderstanding.’ Your comments were judgmental, offensive and lacked the integrity needed for a leader of a major company. You have a right to your own extremely limited perception but NOT as a CEO of a major company you inherited from your father which employs over 13,000 people. I wonder how some of your employees who are, no doubt gay, feel working for a company that promotes such discrimination. Do they have to hide in the shadow hoping not to be discovered and fired due to your stance? You made yourself both sadly and perfectly clear. Your comments were not a simple misunderstanding but a hateful and judgmental attack. You might want to contemplate on the statement, ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’

Now it is up to us, as consumers, to stand up and be counted. There is no place in my world that can accept a company that promotes discrimination, that includes Chic-fil-A and any other company that promotes division and discrimination among people. I accept the suggestion from Mr. Barilla that if his words upset me, simply do not eat his pasta – actually I could no longer stomach it. With each bite his comments would ring in my ear. Now let’s see if his 5.4 billion in net sales with be likewise effected. It’s up to us to decide.

It is good to know that alternatives exist. For instance, Bertolli, another Italian pasta maker company is NOT discriminatory and chose to feature a commercial highlighting a gay couple back in 2008! Imagine that! The character of this CEO and his company speaks volumes. They now have me as a permanent customer. I’m putting the intention out there that over the next year or so Bertolli will increase their sales by 40% because of both the integrity of their company and the quality of their product.

There is no room for discrimination, judgment or hateful comments in my world. Not now – not ever. Mr. Barilla will reap what he sows. That’s just how the Universe works.

Please forward this blog on to your friends and family. Information is a powerful thing. Let’s give others the chance to make a difference – an informed choice – so everyone can be accepted and treated with respect.

Have a great few days!

Learning from the Australians

Recently I had the opportunity to visit my son in Australia. Going to a different continent, albeit one that speaks a form of English. can at first rattle your cage after 30 hours in planes and airports and crossing 15 different time zones. When arriving you realize everything is so much different than you may have expected. But, as the phrase states, ‘when in Rome do as the Romans’ and as a visitor you quickly realize that patience and understanding is not only valued but expected – it is the Australian way. The major differences in choices and accessibility … food, entertainment, shopping, transportation, and just basic living as well as the overall cost associated with each activity reminded me of how much we take for granted as Americans. We have it VERY good. We have more choices, options, and opportunities than we realize. Maybe it takes an opportunity to get out of our comfort zone to truly get it.

The Australian people are gentle, kind and accepting. Their highly efficient, immaculate and safe transit systems have signs that say, ‘please give your seat to someone who may need it more than you. If students are riding another sign directs them to give up their seat to an adult. Amazingly, these students – frequently teenagers – all do so willingly and with a gentle smile on their face. In the grocery stores people pushing their trolleys (grocery baskets) have just a few items – enough for a day or two in them. Food is costly and it appears never wasted. Also, you don’t see papers or trash on the sidewalks or streets. There are signs that instruct people to report anyone if they are littering. Consequently, people do not litter. The Aussies seem to take life in stride in a peaceful, unhurried manner. When driving people do not cut you off, honk their horns or merge quickly. They drive as they live. At work if they do not get everything accomplished they had planned, well, there is always tomorrow. Their mantra, ‘no hassle, no worry, no problem is truly their way of life. They just don’t seem to get rattled over anything. As Americans we have LITTLE patience with interruptions, delays or inconveniences. We know what we like or want and are usually able to get it. In Australia stores close at 5:00 P.M on weekdays and every Sunday. In America we are a 24/7 culture. We move fast, talk fast and usually expect – even demand that complete accessibility is available.

Our nonstop work ethic demonstrated the greatest difference between the cultures. As Americans we seem to be in a permanent state of rush, rush, rush just going faster and faster to get more things done. The good news is that as a culture we do get a tremendous amount accomplished. We are the innovators that seem to be in a seamless morphing state of constant improvement in everything we do. We work hard and can take great pride in what we contribute to the world. There is a reason why we are a world leader.

But, could it be that in our rush to accomplish more and become better and better that we have forgotten to give ourselves permission to really live and enjoy the special moments of our lives? I ask this with great humility. I lived the 24/7 lifestyle for years, now I wonder if it really was all that necessary or if I could have modified it slightly and taken a little time to smell the roses.

I remember a time …. long ago when as Americans we did enjoy a little more relaxed lifestyle – true it was years ago but I still remember. Family time was valued, holidays celebrated together, actual cards were sent in the mail telling someone how loved and important they were in our lives. Service personnel were treated by customers with appreciation and respect. Drivers were courteous. Living just felt safer and life a little more in balance.

I believe every experience we have can teach us something. My take away from this visit was to make a greater effort to take a few minutes and genuinely thank people for being in my world. To reconnect with friends and tell them how important they are to me. As Americans we are very generous when a major catastrophe happens – it is part of our DNA. We can take great pride in this and tap this part of our DNA by extending these thoughts of caring to a daily basis by remembering to be a little more gentle, patient and understanding with others and ourselves. As people of the world we have the power to change it one person at a time as we extend a hand to our fellow travelers.

Have a great few days!

The Unanswered ‘Whys’ in Life

Have you ever asked yourself when facing a tough time in life, “Why did this have to happen to me?” Possibly the better question for me to ask is, “Have you ever NOT asked yourself that question?” When we face difficult life challenges, loss of our loved ones or other heart wrenching issues, it seems our first response is simply, WHY. We are thinking beings who are just trying to understand. Maybe by understanding the why, it will make more sense and help us process through the hurt. Being human we seek a rational understanding of events; especially when they appear to be random acts of devastation in our lives.

I have been in search of the meaning of life since age 26. I’m not kidding here. Maybe I am just a slow learner when it comes to the big question of why are we here on this planet – at this time – and for what purpose. The why is the trigger for me. It has been a slow process of discovery. Just when it seemed like I was close to a deeper understanding, a new and more difficult challenge would appear.

At times I wanted to say to God/Universal Energy, “Really, are you seriously throwing this at me now – or again.” I truly did think those thoughts, more than once. I guess I was just feeling overwhelmed, undervalued and sorry for myself. After licking my wounds yet again, I would finally regain my sense of what I had discovered as truth and move through the latest challenge, nursing my bruises back to health.

This is what I have discovered through my years of searching for the meaning of the “whys” in my life.

1. There is a source of LOVING power in this Universe greater than ourselves.

2. It is available to us, at any time, simply by asking for help. ASKING is the key. One has to humble oneself to ask.

3. There really are no “random acts of devastation” in life. As my son, who has passed on, has repeatedly told me, “Mom, everything is as it should be.”

4. Everything I have lived through has had a lesson in it. Once I truly learned the lesson, it did not reappear in my life.

5. I chose these lessons to work on in my life to develop greater compassion, patience and understanding.

6. Most of all, I have learned that life really is fair. When we look at the lives of others and think they got a better deal – think again –
they have their own lessons they are working on which are as difficult for them as our lessons are for us. Unless we walk in their shoes we cannot fully understand.

Does any of this resonate with you? I would love to hear from you.

Have a great rest of the week!