Awesome Stories 320

This week Awesome Stories brings you inspiration, understanding Muslim, secular sabbath, and the love of bees.

I’m considering winding down the Awesome Stories series. I find myself feeling both bored and conflicted writing weekly about living with passion, inspiration, and purpose, yet not living these values.

Muslim, Marine, and Muse

Mansoor Shams is a 34-year-old retired U.S. Marine who wants to help people understand the Muslim faith. For several years now, he has been traveling around the country talking to people about his faith. Mansoor wants to break the myths and stereotypes that too many of us hold about the Muslim faith. He also wants to help create more open dialog, understanding, and compassion. The prevalence of xenophobia that has come to the forefront since the 2016 US election has inspired this mission and website Watch this touching video of Mansoor talking to people around the country.

Secular Sabbath

Pico Iyer makes a compelling case for why we need to slow down and spend time in stillness or what he calls a “secular sabbath“. There is no doubt that we are bombarded daily with information in our modern digitally wired, always available, world. Even big corporations are waking up to the benefits of taking time outs from technology. Many people (including fellow bloggers) regularly take days off from the web in an effort to slow down, relax our overstimulated nervous systems and recharge. Research shows that these digital holidays act much like meditation, and can boost our immune system, slow aging, reduce stress, and enhance concentration, creativity, and general well-being.

Inspiration CampaignInspiration Campaign, Awesome Stories

Photographer Robert Bengston has changed the nature and direction of his art. For many years, he was a successful photographer, creating both commercial and art photography. In 2012, Robert realized his art was all about him and his art, so he started Inspiration Campaign to use art to uplift and empower others. Robert’s vision is to combine crowd-sourced content and purchasing power to buy and place inspirational messages on traditional advertising spaces like billboards. The campaign started in San Francisco with messages like “Humankind. Be Both, Love First, and You Matter.” The Inspiration Campaign wants to focus our collective power to counter the media’s focus on negativity, consumerism, and fear. Or as I like to say, together we rise. Read this article to learn more about Robert and his inspiring ideas.

The Love of Bees

Bees are very gentle. When you hold a bunch of bees in your hand, you can feel the vibration in your heart. ~ Meredith May

Meredith May inherited her love of bees from her grandfather who was a beekeeper in the central coast of Big Sur, California. She learned not only to love these gentle insects, but the community that comes from beekeeping. Taking care of bees, Meredith feels grounded and connected to something bigger than herself. In this article, she talks fondly about her family, bees, and storytelling as ways to connect. Thank goodness for people like Meredith who help preserve the tradition of beekeeping and taking care of these amazing creatures. According to various studies, bees are responsible for pollinating about 30% of our food crops and 90% of the wild plants in the world.

May your week be full of compassion, inspiration, and connection. 


58 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 320

  1. I love your awesome stories, Brad. I understand needing to take care of and be true to you. But I bet you live a lot of these values, and aspire to live them. None of us are perfect, that’s for sure. Maybe you could scale back?

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  2. I enjoy reading the stories you find and share, Brad, and thank you for them. And in the years I’ve spent in this life I’ve met people who are inspiring to many and people who are inspired to do or achieve wonderful things, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who could remain inspired or inspiring all the time! Life is traveled a step at a time; may each of yours be the best they can be, no more and no less.

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  3. Love the idea behind the inspirational campaign, Brad…wow! I see so many billboards…how nice it would be to have such inspiration on them!! And just for the record…when I see a bee I run screaming…try as I might I still can’t help myself!!
    Hope you have a super wonderful day ❤

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  4. Hi Brad,
    I enjoy your awesome stories, and I see ‘you’ in them.
    We are ultimately on the path, and sometimes we go in and out of alignment with where we think we are on that spectrum, but maybe that’s part of the full picture of what being ‘on the path’ looks like? I admire people who made it big (wow – i said that?) and then start to share with a wider audience and try to make a difference in the world with the social power they built. I guess you actually have to have social power to help make a change. Though I still believe in the power of the individual, alone. I think it took each a lot of focus and hard work, and were they really only thinking of themselves? That’s what they say…. Artists tend to discover the world inwardly, through the way they process it. I’m thinking of the successful photographer you mention here, Robert Bengston, who you highlight. I want to look into this more. Man, I’ve got a busy week ahead. Maybe it’s time for a time-out for me too, so I can focus on what I need to actually “do,” much like the secular sabbath. By the same token, blogging is good for me when the pressure is on elsewhere.
    Lots of love to you Brad –

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lots of insight and reflection here Ka. I tend to process inwardly and need that time too. I appreciate that you see me in many of the stories. I relate to many of them, and also want to embody them more fully. No doubt each of us can make a difference no matter how big or small our audience. I hope you take the time to recharge and focus. blessings, Brad

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  6. I enjoyed both these segments….and am a firm believer that the more we travel and meet people from around the world – the more we all understand one another….keeping an open mind is alway key. As for bees….well, we can’t live without these beautiful creatures….and on that note, I will have some fresh bread and honey 🙂 Janet

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  7. Although I’m not always able to catch them as much anymore, I’ve really loved your Awesome Stories series Brad, and I sincerely appreciate you sharing them each week, I imagine it’s quite time consuming putting these posts together. I understand why you might feel somewhat conflicted sharing them while you don’t see yourself as living out some of the passion, inspiration and purpose they portray, but many of them are things that you do feel deeply about, so they still carry meaning. If 320 is how many of these you have posted over the years, then I can see why you might be feeling a bit bored or burned out. Feel free to do as your heart leads with no guilt or regrets, we all support you. 🙂

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    • No worries Julie. I’m happy whenever you visit. I started with #100 on the Awesome Stories, so that’s a lot of readings, sorting, condensing and sharing of stories. A second part-time job may require I reduce my blogging. Thanks for supporting me in following my heart too. Hugs, Brad

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  8. I’ve always been a little afraid of bees, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them for all the hard work they do. So, kudos on that last segment. But the others also speak to me: over the past couple of years, I have worked with families from Saudi Arabia, Libya, South Korea, Japan, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and more. It’s been an incredible experience understanding folks and building bridges with Muslims and with people from other faiths. It’s deepened my own sense of spirituality (ooohh, I think I just gave myself a blog post idea, haha). Kudos to Monsoor for what he’s doing. The secular sabbath is a great idea, too. I had alluded to something like that in my own project, where, effectively, I’ll give up technology for a month (except for necessary work like website posting and the like. But, no social media and no tech on Sundays). Ah, I’m looking forward to it and it’s interesting to see that it’s becoming a “thing.” Thanks for another great post!

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    • Thanks Cynthia. I don’t know that I could unplug for a month, but it sounds great. I remember the days before I was always attached to tech! I guess that makes me a bee-loving, compassionate, old fart. XD


  9. Some great stories and hope you can manage to keep your blog going well too. Have scaled down myself at the moment as so much to do but miss some of the sharing.


  10. Great post as always Brad and I support whatever decision you make in frequency of posting, etc. Listen to the inner voice….I embrace secular Sabbath….especially from technology…I unplug from all of it usually once a week…I start each day with a half hour of prayerful meditation…what a difference that has made….can’t leave without saying something about the bees…bees are such a vital part of our plant eco system…we have a number of the honey bees (yes even here in the desert) around and they don’t bother anyone….I have even had them buzz up close and personal checking me out when I am in the pool….they are very gentle when they are making their plant rounds…keep up the great work! Blessings!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the support and tips Kirt. I start most days with meditation, but I like your twist of prayerful meditation, and big yes to secular or holy Sabbaths. To living and working in harmony with the bees and all nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Brad, like so many others, I have also enjoyed your selection of interesting stories. You seem to be at a crossroads. How could you live more “with passion, inspiration, and purpose?” What would that look like for YOU? Hoping that you’ll take the time to figure it out. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello Brad,
    Firstly, I was sad to see your small introduction to this post… from reading your comments here and the comments you place on my blog, I don’t see the part of you that you wrote about here. But I guess only you know your heart. Do what you must but please remember to be kind to yourself in the process.
    I love the idea from Robert… as one who loves photography and quotes… it had me thinking. I can also see the value of a secular sabbath. And the video sharing Muslim philosophy is a very welcome thing indeed.
    Thank you for this and wishing you all the best going forward.
    Hugs from Di 💐

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wonderful Stories Brad.. And so apt right now about the Muslim faith.. So many here are distraught that those use the label of Muslims are nothing of the kind..Not all are tarred with the same brush as this man so rightly states..
    And lets not forget the many within their own homeland who have been terrorized and murdered by these extremist who have nothing to do with the real Muslim faith..
    I admire this man for doing what he is doing.. To educate people..

    As for Bees.. You know they are my friend…. And good news we have a wild bees nest of bumble bees under our garden shed.. Big smiles.. 🙂
    Happy Weekend to you Brad

    Liked by 1 person

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