This week Awesome Stories brings you Homeboy Industries, stone appreciation, and the secret to happiness.
Father Greg started Homeboy Industries as part of Dolores Mission with the idea to invest in gang members rather than simply incarcerate them. Based in the LA with one of the largest gang, prison, and poverty populations in the country, their success has helped change the conversation and possibilities around gangs and incarceration. It has grown to become one of the most successful and comprehensive intervention and rehabilitation programs in the country. They serve about 10,000 men and women a year with a job training program that employs 200 people at a time for 18 months to gain the skills they need to find gainful employment. Additionally, about 46 states and countries have modeled parts of their program to deal with gang and violence problems. Their success comes from understanding that the former gang members need skills, jobs, and social support. Kudos Father Greg and Homeboy Industries!
The Japanese have many arts that are rooted in Zen, appreciation for nature, and cultivating inner qualities by practicing a craft like bonsai or tea making. Suiseki is the art of appreciating stones, finding and displaying stones to highlight their beauty and essential nature. Much like Bonsai, people spend years learning the craft and subtleties to highlight simple aspects that bring out the beauty of a plant or stone. This article offers wonderful insights into the art of Suiseki as learned from a Japanese master by Masahiro Nakajima and his wife Janet Roth. Having collected rocks from around the world on my hikes and travels, I can really relate to this art. Although I never picked the stones consciously or with the idea to display them, many have found their way to displays around my house and gardens! I’m also intrigued by bonsai but have not practiced that art yet.
The Secrets to Happiness
This article called The Secret to Happiness shows us there are many approaches to happiness, and it is greatly affected by cultural differences. Much like my spiritual practice, a multicultural approach offers the possibility of finding the path (or blend of paths) that best suits you. And my personal belief is that we put too much focus on happiness when meaning is more important to our long-term contentment and satisfaction in life. If you’re interested, I’ve written about it many times including these two posts called chasing happiness away and the meaning of happiness.
May your week be full of beauty, happiness, and meaningful service.