I didn't know Ichigo Ichie (一期一会) was the Japanese title for the Forrest Gump movie. Not that that has anything to do with this blog post. I just happened to discover that fact while beginning to type this in bits and pieces. But I jotted the phrase down when Julia Huang spoke the words at the first Unexpected Connections event in Long Beach on Wednesday, November 7th. Look it up. I can't do the meaning justice. I just remember it feeling meaningful when she said the words.
The same way John C. Jay urged us to keep an OPEN MIND, STAY CURIOUS and realize none of us really know jack. Unlearn to learn. This was right after John Maeda beamed in via hologram form.
Why is a "sneaker freshener brand" blogging about this? Because it really left an impression. (And because we're more than just a sneaker freshener. We're humans trying to build something.) And for us suburbanites (Daichi and myself), moments like this mean the world to us. Seeing and being around people we're inspired by. Isn't it sad? Suburban is defined as contemptibly dull and ordinary. And in all honesty, sometimes we feel that way. Or at least I do. (Sidenote: Is sulbculture to culture what suburban is to urban?) Especially when we're on social media much too often... seeing only people's accomplishments and all the cool things they're doing and cool people they're meeting and seeing how everyone wants to be perceived... we're all guilty of it. It's so important to disconnect with the digital and connect with the physical. And that's why, when David Choe told us to hug the stranger next to us and say something nice, we actually remember and felt that moment. We're all just humans living in a finite moment. Try to make the most of it. It seems so easy when reading those words alone..
"Hi Alex. Your eyes have a very warm feel to them. It's nice."
"Hi Kent. You have a very calming effect."
We both felt good after this, thanks to David Choe. I should incorporate this into my daily routine. Taking a moment to say something genuinely nice to someone. Because in that moment, It didn't matter that we looked different, come from different socioeconomic backgrounds or have different needs and wants.. the facade is stripped down. Although it probably helped that David Choe was shirtless with purple overalls, we felt connected. And that was unexpected as fuck, thanks again to David Choe.
It was a similar species of feeling when it dawned on Jennifer Ferro (KCRW) and she mentioned she felt this relief and the anxiety slip away when she realized (while staring at sand pebbles on the beach in Palos Verdes) that we're all going to die. That sameness takes the fear away from the fear of not being able to try something new. These are some of the moments that really impacted me.
So then the question becomes, what do I (fearlessly) do? Start With Why. And that's where I'm at. In life. In business. Trying to connect the dots. Trying to make sense of everything. Trying to find clarity within self.
Humility. Selflessness. Purpose. That's Jayson Mayden. And I'm so not there yet. Not on that scale. To think.. from Nike to helping kids through his company, Super Heroic. It's refreshing and out of this world to know that people like Jayson exist. It really puts things into perspective. Maybe someday. For now, I'll have to focus on myself first before I can help others at such a meaningful level.
We learned alot this day. We felt inspired. We met a few new people and a few familiar faces. We heard differing thoughts and beliefs. It was nice to take everything in and contemplate it all. And spending the entire day with Rob from BBALL Junkies and Kyoko was a treat as well.
Exciting times... we're just scratching the surface... and looking forward to the next Unexpected Connections.
It was an absolute pleasure meeting Eugene, Alex, Charis, Tommy, Lindsay, John C. Jay, Jun Cha, Levi, and a few others.
Oh, and here's a good article via The OC Weekly.
(Sidenote: I also recall Julia saying, "Don't squander your luck away.") Words from the wise.