Posted by Chava Tombosky
There are those times when we arrive at a crossroad in our lives when a particular place with a set of circumstances all point to a moment that we can decide to use our actions to set a course that has the power to make a difference beyond our wildest imagination. When film student, Bobby Bailey, arrived in Uganda in his early 20′s to find stories to film, he never thought he would have ended up at one of those crossroads.
We all have crossroads that whisper our destiny and that position us in the perfect place to be able to create change for others, which inherently can affect positive change and outcomes in ourselves. In my search for finding meaning and purpose, I was blessed to have had the chance to interview Bobby and find out how he found the story that became one of the greatest movements of our generation. “We had no idea that Uganda was even a war zone. I was a kid, I got my news from MTV, what did I know.” And yet, upon arriving in Uganda after a long day of experiencing tribal life and watching a woman eat corn with her fingers, a bomb exploded in the center of town setting off the reality that Bobby had indeed landed in a dangerous terrain with an even more important story that needed to be told. Invisible Children was a film that was born from this “accidental” unforeseen trip.
One night as Bobby and his team were standing around during dinner time, thousands of footsteps were heard stomping through the center of town. These footsteps belonged to fifty thousand Ugandan children fleeing for their lives from their smaller unprotected villages at night where they sought refuge to sleep in the bigger towns in an effort to avoid being kidnapped by a war lord named Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
“If this ever happened in the United states, it would make the front page news. How was it that no one was doing anything about this?” A strong statement, that led Bobby and a team of other filmmakers on a mission to not only create a film but create a movement of awareness for thousands of children who had no hero to turn to, no hope to look towards. Bobby’s ability to remain humble despite his collaborated past efforts, which has included raising millions of dollars toward helping these desperate children by mobilizing thousands of American teens into action to raise money to rebuild war-torn schools in northern Uganda and providing scholarships to African youth as well as being part of the team that created a film called “Invisible Children” that has gotten over five million views world wide astounded me.
The question is, what would cause someone to risk their life at the tender age of 20 and go up against one of the greatest war criminals our generation has seen? Because of Bobby’s efforts, ten years ago, countless children have been rescued, and lives have been completely changed forever.
There were two character traits that Bobby embodies that struck me more than anything. Bobby loves telling stories, because he truly believes our stories can have the power to reshape our lives or G-d forbid, the opposite, destroy them, a responsibility he holds dear. He is driven by his idealism, and his imagination. And at the same time there is a humility to his power and his ability to achieve the impossible . Sometimes we believe we are nothing, and therefore we do not even attempt to make a change. But to believe we are small somethings that can create a butterfly affect which matters, while remaining restless enough to seek more and push the envelope further despite success is true humility. Bobby’s thirst for knowledge of what drives mankind is his motor that allowed him to end up in a war zone with out very much thought to consequence. It is this motor that has fueled his success as a filmmaker, a story teller, a social activist and a brand consultant and that continues to challenge the status quo and inspire so many people.
To date, Bobby is no longer with Invisible Children, and although he is outside of those gates now, Bobby’s thirst for truth and for the art of story telling is no less palpable. When I asked him what was next for him, he said “I’m not sure, I believe there are a lot of programs we come up with in industrialized society. I still think we are stuck in a vision that is killing this planet, and we need new visions not just new programs. I want to create new myths that will lead to giving our youth a strong myth that inspires this generation. I am also working on helping brands build ideologies that reshape people’s spiritual lives.”
Bobby is clearly not short of vision and taking action. He is constantly in search for truth and purpose and this fuels his creativity in all areas he delves into.
When we become the story tellers in our own lives, then we can become the heroes that make them. But they don’t happen by chance. They happen when we decide the crossroad we have ended up walking on can indeed become our moment to take action. We don’t need to look around to see who else is going to pick up the pieces and make a difference, we can look inside ourselves and realize we have all that it takes to accomplish what is needed to make that change because we were put at that place at that exact moment that required our talents and know- how.
Today more than ever we have the power to find meaning and purpose in our own lives by looking at our own environment and opportunities that whispers the mysteries of our destiny.
Today for me, the meaning of life means taking action.
To watch Bobby’s interview and become part of “The Search” check out this link here: BOBBY BAILEY
To learn more about our campaign to bring meaning and purpose to the world explore more here: EXPLORE MORE
4.11.13 at 9:59 pm |
3.10.13 at 11:38 pm | Next week I kept telling myself. Next week I will. . .
2.7.13 at 9:55 pm | “You know, there is one other wine in the house. . .
1.21.13 at 12:58 am | One of our generation's biggest problems is the. . .
12.21.12 at 12:23 pm | ....immersing ourselves in this tragic news. . .
11.14.12 at 5:17 pm | Do our negative thoughts and fears have the power. . .
4.11.13 at 9:59 pm | (14)
10.21.10 at 12:17 am | She doesn't save a thing...... (6)
9.22.10 at 6:34 pm | Lucky for us, we don’t have to wait a year to. . . (5)
July 8, 2012 | 12:08 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
I am not sure how to get over a broken heart. For what is a broken heart, but a deep swelling in your body that remains void where an unconditional accepting love once filled in. What do we fill this void with? Does every person carry this void around at some point in his or her life? I’ve seen folks allow this space to awaken a destructive force instead. I’ve seen folks replace depression and bitterness for this space that once held beauty and acceptance.
It is easy to never have to own the space, look at it, and fill it in on our own with joy or creativity. It is much easier to become subservient to the space. It is even possible to become despondent by this space and even angry at it, forcing us to resent the hole that fills our heart spreading its sadness into the cracks and crevices of our broken place.
As July 23rd approaches, I can’t help but want this space filled with all my being. For the past two years I haven’t thought much accept for this open space. I have stared it down, teased it, even tried laughing at it, yet there it stands with its cocky insolence refusing to be repaired. I hardly speak of this space. This dark space that lurks behind my work, my thoughts, my creative spark. Sometimes I wonder if it has become my reason for being. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever be filled or if it will remain deeply imbedded in me like a stubborn scar that eats at the flesh without any apologies.
The only solace I have is in knowing its source. For what is a broken heart, but a deep swelling in your body that remains void where an unconditional accepting love once filled in. Before this desolate space took over, there was life and vitality that stood in the now dank desert with accepting love. Accepting love that grows both ways can never really die, for it is everlasting. At the root of this dark space lies a very full, very colorful, extremely powerful memory that if I allow it to take over, can not only fill the dark vast dank space but if I allow it, maybe it can take it over completely and correct it.
I have a hard time believing this is possible today.
But just having the hope gets me up everyday with vitality and a strength that even I never knew I could muster. As he used to say to me every day, “replace your fears with faith.” Maybe what my father meant was that on those mornings that the broken space overwhelms even my ability to breathe because it takes up so much room, he meant to say, “Lean on your faith, lean on your memories, lean on me.”
I don’t know how to get over a broken heart, today. But I have the hope and faith my father’s untimely death will one day repair me and teach me how to fill in the blank.
What is the meaning of life? I guess today it is repair.
June 19, 2012 | 10:13 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
June 19, 2012 | 10:10 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
June 7, 2012 | 9:17 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
What is the meaning of life? Why are we all here? Is there purpose to our existence at all? Human beings have been asking these questions since the beginning of time. Geeze, I ask this question to myself EVERY day. In Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he is quoted by saying “The meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves, but rather detected.” Victor wrote Man’s Search for Meaning originally in German in 1946 and that book alone has sold more than 12 million copies. Obviously Victor was on to something when he posed his own questions asking “what is the meaning of life?” We all search for meaning and find different ways to execute it. It is a constant quest that can be detected, which is why I am so excited about my upcoming project that promises to ask this question and search for answers in a very different and innovative way.
Many of my readers know I have devoted many of my creative endeavors for the search of meaning and purpose. For years I gave a class on this very subject inspired by my dear friend and mentor, the famous author and speaker, Simon Jacobson who wrote “Towards a Meaningful Life.” I have worked with countless teens and adults all searching for their mission and purpose and have spoken to hundreds of people on this very subject throughout the years. It’s no wonder Nationlight productions asked to partner with me on an incredibly daring mission to attempt to find the meaning of life using film as a medium.
Nationlight Productions, is a production company that has dedicated their projects to create positive messages with films like “Everything Must Go” with Will Farrell, “Cafe” with Jennifer Love Hewitt, and “The Buddy Story” with Elizabeth Moss from Madmen. When Marc Erlbaum, the President of the company reached out and asked me to join his team in creating a website that would have a year’s worth of content featuring celebrities, musicians, entrepreneurs, and spiritual guides in webisodes all geared to detecting the search for meaning, I couldn’t say YES fast enough.
It’s not enough to create engaging short films and interviews, more than anything we want the world to travel this road WITH us. Which is why, we’ve decided to create a crowdfunding campaign that will allow full audience participation in becoming searchers with us. The point of this endeavor is not to tell everyone what we think the meaning of life is, but rather to allow the world to discover it together, collectively in unison for ourselves. When we ask questions together, when we search together, then we can find those answers together.
As Victor Frankl said in his book: “Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
In other words, we all owe it to each other to find these answers out for ourselves collectively and individually. The hope is to partner with the world in the most incredible discovery man has ever attempted to make on the worldwide web.
For the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you wonderful interviews of celebrities, musicians, writers and spiritual guides who will be participating along WITH YOU to get this project up and running. The point of this project is not just the actual website or the films, but the journey we are taking together globally to galvanize eachother into making this dream a reality. For as Derek Sivers writes in “Anything You Want,”-
“Don’t be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big ideas.”
To find out more and to get involved check out our crowdfunding page where you can become a searcher with me:
Visit our fan page on facebook too at: http://www.facebook.com/nationlightproductions
Let’s not just talk and meditate, let’s ACT NOW- TOGETHER!
May 21, 2012 | 5:05 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
I have been getting many texts and emails asking me to weigh in on the latest New York Times article entitled, ‘Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own’, regarding the reports of horrific sexual abuse cases that have gone ignored or have been swept under the rug by religious leaders in the Orthodox Jewish community.
After much deliberation, I have decided this particular crisis deserves a critical response.
And because silence is a form of inaction, I have decided to act through the written word.
This topic is a difficult one to approach without a little silence before proceeding. A momentary silence that allows one to take a deep breath before trying to process such a tragedy. A moment to gather one’s thoughts before responding from a place of pure raw emotion.
My momentary silence is out of deep respect for the silent pain that has been inflicted on the innocent victims of abuse - many of whom have been forced into a coerced silence for years or even lifetimes. It is to these victims that I dedicate this essay.
My immediate and visceral emotional reaction to the New York Times article was one of rage, frustration, and sadness for the victims. This was followed by a deep disappointment and disgust for those who still attempt to conceal these heinous crimes that can and do occur in the Orthodox Jewish community, a community that has yet to fill the Citi-Field Baseball Stadium with the masses to discuss this issue openly and to apologize to every abused child forced into their own silence. I have personally experienced this pain and have had firsthand experience in dealing with the long term psychological trauma caused when a community attempts concealment as opposed to open dialogue. However, I wish not to speak of my own personal experience but rather on my own complex reaction to these heinous crimes and some thoughts on how we should build from it. Thus, I am making my own Cyber-Asifa on the matter. Because I can.
There are many reasons for deep rooted pain over this issue. Innocence lost. Victims being treated as villains. Abusers posing as protectors for their own manipulative domination. After taking the time to reflect on the root of its darkness, I was reminded of an axiom my father often shared, “We are only as sick as our secrets.” Secrets, dishonesty, and lies are the hallmark trade of the abusers and when those charged with leadership of the community choose to engage in the secrets, lies and dishonesty they inadvertently create very fertile ground for these malignant abusers to fester and grow. The exact behavior men and women who tote a higher calling are sworn to defend against.
It is this duplicitous behavior that torments the victims of sexual abuse long after the abuse has taken place, for closure and healing cannot be fostered while community leaders are preoccupied with misguided efforts of concealment. When I say victim, I include the child, as well as, the parents and the siblings of the child. Of course I can expand that scope to the community and the world at large that suffers when dark secrets are kept behind curtains of lies as well.
Secrets are at the root of chronic and long-term psychological pain. When we are secretive about our secrets, we become ill and allow our souls to be filled with a poison that it fights to purge.
At the core of every human being is the determination to be loved, to be acknowledged, to seek purpose, to fight for justice and truth, and to belong to a personal and collective consciousness of goodness, innocence and G-dliness.
Chassidic thought teaches us that a person’s soul is inherently created to be on a quest for honesty and truth. When this quest is interrupted by being forced to accept lies and corrupt behavior in the form of a “higher calling” or as norm it can wreak havoc on a person’s self esteem, spiritual relationship and emotional well-being. It is a toxic contaminate that battles against the natural order of how our holy souls flourish. Since we are part of a collective consciousness, this does not just interrupt one person’s quest but every person the innocent tormented soul then goes on to experience. Thus when one soul is wounded, an entire world is indeed affected.
The soul is the most precious gift we have for it is the most intimate connection that links us to our creator. The soul is the slice of a Higher Power inside all of us. Sexual abuse is the kind of abuse that torments the body for the purpose of stealing the soul. No one ever has a right to steal another’s soul for their own personal gain. Judaism vehemently abhors this offense. Embezzling truth and larceny of the soul is a malignant cancer that threatens to destroy the very Jewish values that we are entrusted to uphold. The world is watching as stories and claims of abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community unfold on the media stage and the world is eager to see the Jewish response. The world is watching as we re-examine how we are passing our core values on to our children and to the rest of humanity. Even G-d himself is watching to see how His children are reacting in the face of such dark and deplorable corruption.
To be part of a community is a privilege and a right. To exist with others who share a moral code is a given we are all entitled to. It is time for new communities to arise with like-minded individuals who will not stand for secrets to lurk in the shadows of our neighborhoods.
As G-d stands watching our reaction, we are forced to create an initiative that I dare say, can take on a new day if we are willing and open.
As a first step in destroying the silence I invite you all, Jew and non-Jew alike to belong to a new community and a new higher consciousness. This community is one that rejoices with authentic Chassidic fervor over the human right to own one’s soul without it ever being exploited. This community has no place for elitism, for ego, superiority, or dominance. We all equally have the right to be loved with sincerity and without control or manipulation. This community has no room for secrets nor does it have room for others to force their own agendas. This community raises our souls to solicit truth and abhors deception. This is a new age. We will no longer be silenced. We will no longer cower in the corners waiting to be hurt, judged, or demonized. We are taking back precious faith into our own protection.
We are all the victims of sexual abuse and we are taking back our souls. In broad daylight.
Let us offer a moment of silence for those who have suffered. NOW let us make some noise, because this new community needs a cheering squad.
Indefinite silence in the face of corruption is a form of inaction. Who’s ready to let their voice be heard?
May 11, 2012 | 11:21 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
This Mother’s day wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t find a way to scoff at the hilarious and ridiculous social age that we live in that causes mothers and their children un-needed and sometimes impossible conflicts. Today we have texting, emails, and now facebook, a social media outlet, that although I adore, can bring a mountain of new social faux pas to the table. How many of us have ignored our parent’s friend requests, maybe avoided it hoping she wouldn’t see our pathetic lives that we hope she imagines is more glamorous than Michelle Obama’s? How many of us have been forced to friend our mothers only to be forced then to friend her weirdo friends that only showed up at our Bar Mitzvahs? How many of us have been De-friended by our own mothers, then friended again, cause we were guilted into it? Do you see the social drama we have become victimized too? If it wasn’t for 1-800-flowers I don’t think we’d ever survive the Facebook social scandal that has wedged between mother and child.
The reason why I love Mother’s day so much, is because it gives us a chance to connect with our mothers because of and despite the social technology that we now inhabit. Also it’s a way to get free flowers and candy. Mostly it’s a way to tell your mom, she rocks. This Mother’s day, whether you are a mom on the end of bitter teenage drama, or a teen on the end of being De-friended because you missed curfew, it won’t matter, because Mother’s day will come, and all will be right with the world once again because there is Hallmark.
I love you mom! Thank you for starring in this Epic short! You really are a star!
And thank you Facebook for allowing those who live far away from our mothers to tell them, and all their annoying friends who we are forced to invite to every family function, how awesome our mom is!