Awesome Stories 358

This week Awesome Stories brings you Homeboy Industries, stone appreciation, and the secret to happiness.

Homeboy Industries

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!

Stone Appreciation

suiseki, Awesome Stories

Mt. Fuji stone by Mas Nakajima

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. 


24 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 358

  1. I love how you are always sharing the goodness in life. Whether it be through photos, in nature, or the lives of interesting people. Everything about this post, and your blog in general, brings a smile to my face. Thank you for being the sunshine on a rainy day. #grateful

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I learned some new things today – I didn’t know about the first two items on your list here. Incredible!! And just goes to show that one person’s vision can really make a difference. What incredibleness is that with “Homeboy Industries”!? The same idea is spreading in education: instead of punishing students (usually with in-school or out-of-school suspension), the idea is that bringing mindfulness into the classroom, and teaching students to meditate to work out their feelings is changing lives. And it’s helping with the school to pipeline scenario. Hmm…this post gives me some ideas to chew on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed Cynthia. One person can make a big difference when they follow their dreams and passions. I glad to hear the restorative approach is being used in classrooms! Yay! Thanks for sharing your passions.


  3. Great post Brad, good to see someone advocating rehabilitation as the way forward. I only recently found out about the Japanese art of Suiseki, while reasearching how to polish stones without a tumbler, an absolutely beautiful art! Have a happy and blessed week.😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Homeboys article Wow.. someone is seeing them as people showing them they are worthy, instead of worthless.. Wonderful.
    Brilliant that this scheme is giving them a chance and who are listening to them.
    It all comes down to being LOVED xx ❤ Great Post and subjects Brad x

    Liked by 1 person

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