goodbye 2015

it's been a while since i've written.

i attribute my inspiration to Jason Murray and some recent filming i've been doing for Starbucks.  Jason began his travels (coffee break) this past Thursday with a one way ticket to Mexico City.   witnessing his intention coming true and all the work that comes with that has been so inspiring.  on the work side, i've been asked by some folks in Partner Resources to be apart of a project for Partner Appreciation Week that will roll out to N. America and Canada.  

so, where do i start?  i can tell you that 2015 has been one of the most difficult years i have ever encountered.  in a word, it sucked.  

i'm ready to put it in the past and with time be grateful for what i still haven't gleaned from it yet.  i can only trust that things will get better, they always do.  this last year my relationship ended with the person i love dearly and wanted to share the rest of my ride on the planet with.  i can tell you the up side to this is that we truly respect and love one another.  for that i am grateful.  i have never experienced that with the ending of a relationship.  however, the complexity that comes with that is HARD.  keeping a relationship with the kids and with her isn't always easy but... i can't imagine not.  i believe living thru this will make me a better person.  so, there's that.  

my home was falling apart this past year.  i had a roof leak that caused back mold and a tree fell on my house.  if you know anything about black mold you know that it's dangerous and can make you ill.  well, that happened.  i now have a new roof and will begin remodeling my home in January.  i call it the lemonade project.  this is compounded with the relationship issue since we had spoken of shacking up, blowing out my house and being a family.  now, i'm remodeling and without that family i was so hoping to be apart of.  it's bittersweet, hence the name The Lemonade Project.  

then, my dog... my very best friend in the entire world was diagnosed with cancer.  within days he had 3 large tumors and 3 small growths removed.  he looked like frankenstein when we picked him up.  after 6 weeks of healing i decided to take him to meet the ocean.  just me and my dog, in the car on an adventure.  it was pure magic.  everything on that trip was all about Chuy.  it shifted me and my life.  it reminded me that we (me) have a tendency to over complicate things.  to make them difficult and laborious.  what really is important is simple, genuine and real.  lesson here... get out of your own way and stop making things so hard.  go for a walk, eat something good, run around and play, and if your having a bad day... shake it off.  you can learn a lot from a dog, a kid and an older person - you just need to know how to listen.

I was reminded of my time in Africa.  the people that really understand happiness and being grateful seemed to me, to be the people who had nothing - or so it seemed.  no electricity, no water, only the clothes on their backs, nearly no food but they had relationship and community.  they knew what joy really felt like.  i remember sitting on that hillside in Rwanda and telling myself "never forget this!"  so, now when things are going bad, as this past year has been, i put it in perspective.  things may have not gone they way i wanted or hoped but i have so much to be grateful for.  it is me who needs to change my focus and i have learned to choose to be happy.  

on the other hand my concept of The DreamMaker Project seems to be gaining interest.  being asked to contribute the digital storytelling piece of Partner Appreciation Week was a highlight for me this year.  one of the people i'm working with started  PAW last year.  the idea is to celebrate our partners (employees at Starbucks) for a week, once a quarter and increase engagement.  it gained so much positive attention regional that they are rolling it out nationally.  this coupled with what i had been working on for the last 3 years seemed to be cut from the same cloth.  i was approached and asked to participate but we couldn't use the brand The DreamMaker Project.  that didn't bother me, i knew that day was going to come.  besides, The DreamMaker Project is mine, it is something i can fall back on if this thing with Starbucks doesn't happen.  so, i suggested we name the new project The Dream Lens.  i mean, shit - i just named something for Starbucks!  i mean ...holy shit!  They rented camera equipment for me and i am currently making 3 videos for them to roll out internally to North America and Canada in February.  there were going to be 4 but the one about me, i decided to pull.  see, here's where it gets complicated.  i had to sign over my rights for the content i create for The Dream Lens.  yep, it's all owned by Starbucks, which i understand.  however, my story - my content of my coffee break would become property of Starbucks and that... that i couldn't do.  not until i have secured a new job with The Dream Lens full time will i consider such a thing.  even then, i would need to negotiate licensing and derivative works.  sorry Starbucks, but i climbed that mountain and there is no way you can own that content. 

the other thing that happened is this fear inside me surfaced.  what keeps Starbucks from taking The Dream Lens (which is the essence of The DreamMaker Project) out from under me and not including me?  some of my friends and family have voiced their concern.  we've all heard the stories of the MAN taking from the little guy.  i decided to start telling people what i was afraid of.  i shared my feelings with my boss and the regional partner resources person  i'm working with.  i told them, "my fear is that Starbucks will take this idea and give it to someone or a team and not me, that they'll say 'thanks' and give me a job doing social media in a cubical down the hall."  as i was having this conversation, in the lobby of Mikes Camera, i realized something.  if i let fear make a decision for me, it's the wrong decision.  my entire life i have leaned in to fear.  in fact, my general rule of thumb is if it scares me i need to move toward it.  that rule has offered me the most genuine and fulfilling life.  i have to trust that Starbucks won't do the wrong thing.  i have been putting this content out to the world for three and a half years.  i mean seriously, if Starbucks were to dick me over on a concept regarding partner appreciation - that would be a story they wouldn't want to tell.  bigger than that, is this entire concept was built on believing the best in people and this company.  Starbucks has always redefined what a corporation is and can be, i trust that will continue to be true moving forward.   it goes back to choosing to be happy in my life and sitting on that hillside in Rwanda.  


so, as i approach a milestone of a birthday, i raise a glass of San Pellegrino and toast goodbye to past and hello to what will be.  the entire time... being grateful for the moment.