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Hi, I’m Amy – Co-creator of Love It Forward.

I’m very excited about our first Love-In-Action Cause.

We launch Love It Forward with two main branches. The catalyst for this Movement began with: Author Jeff Brown, his self-published book Soulshaping, his passion for helping others, and a man named Slim. You can watch the story here:  This was the initial spark for Jeff’s idea to create an new product distribution paradigm-- where heart-centered products are sold through the homeless and economically challenged—benefitting both the Consumer who gains an inspiring product; and the Seller who is encompassed back into society’s nest. This is ‘conscious capitalism’ in action, or what Jeff calls ‘Wintentionality.’ Everyone wins.

Our second branch of Love It Forward will feature regular Love-In-Action Causes-- aimed to lift (LIF-t) and boost the lives of individuals in our human community. Our Love-In-Action Goals will focus on a spectrum of different causes and individuals. Love-In- Action Goals are the essence of Love It Forward—putting love into action, lifting people up, and empowering them to Love It Forward. Creating an unstoppable chain of goodness-momentum.

We were inspired to kickstart our first Love-In-Action Goal with a focus on the YOUTH of our human community. Maybe it’s my endearment towards my teen son – seeing the fresh, unbridled exuberance that lives in our young adults...The gleaming potential waiting to be tapped and brought forth. Our youth are so ripe to discover themselves-- especially when they are given a climate of nurture and guidance. This is very exciting! So we present our first Love-In-Action Goal: GIVING YOUTH A BOOST.

Meet David and Mimi, two young people from Buffalo New York, with big hearts, wondrous potential, and much to give. They grew up in the downtrodden and unsafe recesses of the inner city, living under harsh circumstances like poverty and foster care situations, surrounded by drug use and extreme violence. They have come from dark circumstances-- and yet have stayed true to their own inner light. These two youth still believe in the goodness of humankind. They believe in integrity. And they are already ‘loving it forward’ in their own lives-- finding ways to take what little they have... and gift it forward.

I met David and Mimi through my dear friend Linda Appleby. Linda was their Mentor throughout high school – that high school music teacher with a compassionate heart, who was compelled to go above and beyond her job— to form a close personal mentorship with these students. To give them rides home from choir practice, after they had walked miles wearing only hoodies in the frigid snowy Buffalo winters. She believed in them. And that has made all the difference.

When she introduced me to David and Mimi –I knew we found our first Love-In-Action Cause. These are young people that embody true sincerity to move forward in their lives. They do not take any gesture of kindness for granted. They have worked hard to climb above their life-circumstances... David tirelessly works 12 hours days, lifting steel beams 3 times more than his own weight—so he could rise above, and secure an apartment in a better part of the city. The more time I spend with these two young people –the more touched and inspired I am. They have earned a boost in life... and they will continue to Love It Forward in wonderfull ways.

One of David and Mimi’s life-passions is MUSIC. Music have given them hope, and lifted their spirits during difficult times. Both of them are musically talented—David has a voice like silk, sweet as honey, that melts the heart. Mimi has a love for singing, and natural gift and talent for composing music; simply picking up an instrument and creating beautiful sound. Whether it’s break-dancing out on the city streets, or jamming together in their neighborhood—music has been their safe haven.

And lately, their love of music has unfolded in a surprising direction: encompassing other youth-at-risk into the nest. Through much hard work , together David and Mimi have purchased some basic music recording equipment set up in David’s apartment...This has become a magnet for other kids in the neighborhood—who are hungering for a way to positively express themselves. David and Mimi are mentors and role models to these younger ones. One day, 25 kids were jammed and crammed on the floors of their tiny apartment. Kids coming together to record music, to rap, to sing, to find their voice, in a supportive environment.

So, as our first Love-In-Action Goal – we aim to help David and Mimi take their makeshift ‘recording studio’ to the next level. We would like to purchase more advanced recording equipment, which will include a new laptop, with music software—for mixing songs. Some new mics. And a keyboard-- so Mimi can play her heart out (she loves playing piano)—and teach other younglings to do the same.

This is just Phase One of a vision that has the potential to grow – as these tiny seeds of goodness are planted... It is my vision (and theirs) that eventually these kids can fully follow their passion for music-- and for giving... Perhaps evolving into an actual recording studio/creativity space geared towards youth-in-need. We have many bright ideas for this studio. One step at a time....

For now – Phase One: more recording equipment for these kids to create and share with. We invite you to watch our intro-vid—which we recorded impromptu on a little handheld cam. Our video is not professionally-made and reflects our grassroots beginning—but I think it manages to tell the story. Watch video here.

If you feel touched in any way by our intention—consider making a donation. Or, simply purchase a heart-centered product, such as Jeff’s latest book... Enjoy the product AND the warmth of Loving It Forward- at the same time. Loving It Forward to David and Mimi. Who will then be Loving It Forward to other youth in need. Who will then be.... and on it goes. This Love-Wave will keep rippling... into a ‘Soulnami’ (as Jeff would say) of epic proportions. It may travel to some surprising places. That’s the nature of Love.


And, cool thing is –we will keep you connected to this entire process, every step of the way—through more videos, blogs, updates, photos. So you can watch the unstoppable force of Love-In-Action.

“So many live their lives feeling unloved, unseen, unrecognized, unappreciated. You may not know who they are because we are all conditioned to hide our truth below a bushel of shame. But they are everywhere. When you make an effort to share your love, you don’t always know where it will land. But be sure that it does. Sometimes it lights a torch for others to follow. Sometimes it gives them reason to believe that there is a better life waiting for them after a lifetime of disappointment. Sometimes it builds spirits and sometimes it actually saves lives. We just have to keep giving the love wherever and whenever we can. You never know how far it will travel.”

--Jeff Brown, from the book Love It Forward (COMING SOON)


 
 
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All my life, I have believed in the possibility of a unified world- not unity as a concept, but a world that is truly connected in real time, a world where we actually feel our connection to the other. I don’t know where this belief came from, growing up as I did on a family battleground characterized by hatefulness, fragmentation and despair. There were so very few signs of unity anywhere I looked. Nonetheless, a vision of a connected humanity has stuck to me, and I to it, for over fifty years. That vision is now humanifest as the Love it Forward movement- my best attempt at weaving a patchwork of possibility that embraces and connects us all.

We launch the movement with a particular emphasis on the homeless and economically challenged. The measure of a healthy society lies in how it treats peripheral people. If we attune to them, incorporate them, and recognize their precious human value …or if we just walk on by, shunning and shaming them, looking away. It lies in our compassion for those battered by a still unjust world, our respect for those who are voiceless and unseen. An evolving society makes determined efforts to open the door so that everyone has a chance to come back home, whatever that means for them. It prioritizes the nurturance and compassionate re-integration of those on the outside looking in. With our hearts on our sleeves, we never forget that we are all part of this human-nest. If even one is left out, the nest is empty.

Partly because I grew up with the sceptre of homelessness always hanging over me, I had a particular empathy for street people. They were on the outside looking in, but so were we- just one more missed rent payment from the streets. Strengthening my compassion for the homeless was my grandmother’s depthful humanism. She only had to say ‘But for the Grace of God there go I’ once for it to land within me as my humantra of connectiveness. I really got what it meant- if not for my Go(o)d fortune, I too could be sleeping in a bus shelter. Thereafter, I spent years contemplating the question of how karma or some other force had conspired to give me a roof over my head and another human, 50 yards down the road, little more than a bus shelter to sleep in. It all seemed so arbitrary and so easy to change, and yet society seemed to be doing so very little to change it.

In my twenties and thirties, my empathy for the homeless deepened. I frequently arranged lunch prep and distribution to street people in the downtown area. Whenever I had a little extra cash, I would go out on the streets of Toronto looking for someone to give it to. And, in one situation, I found out the bank account information for an individual who was intermittently homeless and made occasional deposits. I never imagined any of this as a noble act both because I make no value based distinction between myself and the other (Tat Twam Asi-I am that, too.) and because I am certain that we all have a responsibility to take care of those who are less fortunate. At this stage of human development, many of us are unable to live a life that actualizes our gifts and callings. This is not a reflection of our inherent value, but of the world we live in- one that is oriented around survivalism rather than authenticity as its primary way of being. This is slowly changing, but we will not get there unless we open our hearts to all of humanity. As we expand in connectiveness, we lay down tracks for a more humane world. And we begin to see ourselves in each other, to recognize our shared humanness, to realize that we are walking beside each other on the trailways of transformation. Hands held together, hearts intertwined, bridging our way to God.

It is all too easy to imagine ourselves inherently superior when we have been blessed with better circumstances than another human being. But this is a naïve, egoic lens. We must never forget that we could be walking in anyone’s shoes, if only a few of our life circumstances had been different. And, even more to the point, it is often those who are the most peripheral who are the most advanced souls on the planet. In a survivalist world, it is often the most densely armoured individuals that succeed. Yet the most sensitive among us- those old souls who feel everything and are more strongly impacted by the disparity between an authentic life and the falsified energy of the world- often end up in the most challenged circumstances. As I wrote in ‘Ascending with both feet on the Ground’:

We are powerful beyond measure, and so deeply vulnerable at the same time. This may seem like a dichotomy, but it isn’t. We have misunderstood real power. It has been something assertive, non-surrendering, pushing on through. This is not real power. This is simply willfulness. Real power is something else—receptivity, open-ness, the courage to keep your heart open on the darkest of days, the strength to feel it all even when the odds are stacked against you. Real power is showing up with your heart on your sleeve and absolutely refusing to waste one moment of your life hidden behind edginess and armour. The art of enheartened presence. Now that’s power.

After all the malevolent warriors end each other, the open-hearted will inherit the earth.

In 2007, after turning down a publishing offer for my first book- Soulshaping- I decided to self-publish it on my own terms. After a strong start, I got to talking with “Slim”- a homeless man who I had befriended while writing the book. I called him my “pushcart guru” because he shared great wisdom while pushing his cart of belongings around the neighborhood. The idea emerged- Slim would sell the book on the streets of Toronto. After getting him a sweater- “Buy a great self-help book here” and some laminates (author bio, book excerpts etc.), he got to selling Soulshaping on street corners (click here to watch video). In a matter of only a few months, he sold hundreds of books. It was quite something to witness. People would come to the area looking for him, and some even sent money from faraway places, asking me to mail back signed copies of the book. Not signed by me, but signed by Slim! It was really beautiful, and it was a co-creation that benefited everyone- Slim, those who enjoyed the book, and me- my book reached out to more people. Soon thereafter, I did a deal with a publisher for Soulshaping. But I always wondered- what would it be like to create a world-wide distribution system with homeless and other economically challenged individuals selling heart-centred products? What would it be like to create opportunities for those who are on the outside looking in? How can we construct a distribution system that is inclusive of all of humanity?

I still don’t have a definitive answer to those questions, but I am going to try to find out in real time. With this wintention, I have begun the Love it Forward movement. An experiment in connectiveness, we will make heart-centred products available to individuals to sell on the streets, door to door, in their communities, through internet links. Soul-diers of a heartfelt order, we will create pathways of possibility to support individuals and causes who need it. Check out the wealth of possibilities for participation at loveitforwards Join the movement page. The economically challenged will benefit on many levels- if they sell a product, they will earn a significant percentage of the profit for their efforts. And an additional percentage of money generated by the system i.e. through retail sales, donations, internet affiliate links will also be dedicated to supporting challenged individuals and causes of value. There is so much good work to be done.

If you get a moment, please check out our humanifesto. It is not a fixed document- this movement is a work in process. With the principles of benevolent intentionality and unity consciousness pulsing through our hearts, and with practical actions flowing through our hands, we move onward…from inward… to outward… to loving forward a new human-kind. Out with the old, in with the true.

We welcome your support and participation. We cannot rise alone. We rise together, on the wings of our love.

~Jeff Brown, at Love it Forward Heart-Quarters. April 2, 2013.


 

    Authors

    Jeff Brown: A former criminal lawyer and psychotherapist, Jeff Brown is the author of “Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation,” and the just released “Ascending with Both Feet on the Ground”. Endorsed by authors Elizabeth Lesser, Oriah Mountain Dreamer and Katherine Woodward Thomas, “Ascending” is a collection of Jeff’s most popular spiritual graffiti—quotes, soul-bytes and aphorisms frequently shared in social media. He is also the author of “Apologies to the Divine Feminine (from a warrior in transition)” and the producer and key journeyer in the new spiritual documentary - Karmageddon- which also stars Ram Dass, Seane Corn, David Life, Deva Premal and Miten. You can connect with Jeff’s work at www.soulshaping.com

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    Jeff Brown
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    Amy Gallagher
    Amy Gallagher: By profession, Amy is a Writer & Editor, Business & Marketing Consultant, Visioneer. She is the former Managing Editor of a national wellness magazine, and has co-created many inspiring ventures, including the launch of a multi-media company inspiring people to live their dreams and passions. Other creative projects include: collaborating on books and biographies, interviewing fascinating individuals, creating web site content, co-launching companies, writing business plans, consulting, and visioning. All her work revolves around self-development and touching the world in a positive way. For her, life is the journey of discovering our inner treasures, and passing them on...'loving it forward.' She is also a lover of cowboys, horses and Canadian poutine.  

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