Meeting The Mayor…. By Hal Eisenberg, L.M.S.W.

lightworkers, change, charity, youth devlopment

Meeting The Mayor…. By Hal Eisenberg, L.M.S.W.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist

 

CEO of Windows of Opportunity with Mayor Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte, North Carolina… Blessed by her presence….Prayers that our NYC Mayor will learn from her and bigger prayers that the rest of our government will as well….

I haven’t written in awhile, but with all the efforts going on throughout Windows of Opportunity surrounding the revamping of our website, which includes the promotion of our blog site being a solid platform for youth to express themselves as well as being a massive resource for various needs, I am feeling an overwhelming sense of putting pen to paper in order to capture some of my thoughts and feelings. It has been a long time since I really sat in silence in order to try and capture my emotions both intellectually and profoundly. I have not been inspired to write again until a few days ago. The last time I wrote a blog was this past October and November in response to some articles about Eating Disorders, but that was different. I was asked to respond to those articles professionally so I did so. Those of you who used to follow me know that I used to put out a weekly inspirational blog, some of which I will transfer to this site in the near future. Those blogs stopped partially because I lost some inspiration due to my personal life, but more so because the growth of Windows has consumed so much of my time. It has been a few years since I publicly put anything out there. However, I’m about to embark on a venture that in this moment I feel should be captured. I’m sitting in my car right now, the rain pelting all around me. I am right outside a local little pizzeria called Villa Rustica. I just grabbed a slice before getting ready to run into the city. If you are ever in Oakland Gardens, you should stop in and grab some food. It is very good. I often daydream and do some soul searching while I sit in these little eateries up and down this strip on Bell Boulevard. One of my thoughts that often cross my mind is that if one day the success comes the way I truly desire, and I am traveling the world doing this work, will I return here in gratitude and appreciation of my memories. Will I make my way back for a walk in these parks, or to grab my favorite Japanese food, visit the schools again, or even come back to Hollis Woods Community Church? Will that non-denominational church really grow into a spiritual center and home base for global leadership programs? So many questions plague my mind. I have many memories here in this town, and the surrounding areas, but I know my work is only just getting started, and there is much I desire to do… and I sense tonight is a key moment towards the next steps in this journey.

I’m heading to the home of my dear friend Alex Garfield, who is the owner of Peace of Cloth, and a sponsor of Windows of Opportunity, but to be quite honest and real, he is way more than that. He is a philanthropist, an altruistic genuine spirit who believes in, and embodies the meaning of “peace, love and happiness”, “black and white together”, and a sense of oneness. He always shares his love for humanity, his dogs, and his son. He promised his son that before he goes (which will be a long time since he is a 66 year old teenager) he will bring the peace, love, and happiness back to this planet, and his every move in life is about that. He is the first to admit that he is crazy and his antics can bring fun to any situation, but I consider him a dear friend, a role model, and in many ways a mentor. He has pride in his history, which far surpasses anything I have done with Windows of Opportunity, yet he feels like he is only just beginning. His work and passion behind charities like Dress for Success and Cure by Design, among many other charities only builds my sense of being blessed that he has invested so much in the vision of Windows. It humbles me to say the least and I am forever grateful for what he has done and is continuing to do for me and for the youth of Windows of Opportunity.

Tonight, Alex has opened his home for an intimate dinner party and fundraiser for The Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, with about 20 guests in attendance, including The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. It’s the type of dinner party that may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. How often does a little nobody from Queens (born in the South Bronx), who has this gigantic dream of changing the world, get an opportunity to be in a room and at a dinner table with so few people that includes The Mayor of the greatest city in the world? Just saying it and thinking it makes me feel like a “fan boy” and I am the last person to ever be star struck, as I have been blessed to meet some very big stars in the past and have great conversations with them. However, something inside is telling me that this is different because it is not about me, or just some random conversation about whatever you speak on when you meet someone “famous”. This is about the agency, and the fact that I’m going to have the opportunity – a chance – to speak about my vision and the work we are all doing – personally with our Mayor. That is priceless in itself. It’s like the time when I had a former leadership student in the West Wing speak about WOO to some of her colleagues. It did not lead to anything super tangible, but to know we are somewhere as important as The White House, and mentioned in a conversation, is pretty awesome and precious to me. I am thinking about a few of my students and their amazing political careers in Washington DC they are working on, and I am so proud of them. Seeing their success and their posts daily brings tears to my eyes. Seeing people find their deepest confidence and chase their dreams, when there was a moment they crossed our path feeling hopeless, is just priceless to me. They’re doing incredible work, and part of me wants to call them now and share with them my news. They are politically savvy and would have great advice for me. There was always a part of me that toyed with the idea of running for office one day, but I do not think I fit the mold of a politician. I always think about my dear friend (and staff psychologist) Kasia Wilk, and how we often talk about how much more powerful it would be to work with, inspire, and share the inner light work with multiple leaders of the world. Much like Tony Robbins, the dream is not to be a politician but to work with leaders across the globe, bringing them together in conversation and unity, with the grander vision of healing our planet. Connecting with who they are and bridging the gap of our differences that lead to more love and acceptance across nations is truly the answer to many of our problems we face as a society. Wow… I can tell I have not written in awhile because I am completely rambling and all over the place at the moment. The point is I’m not sure what’s going to happen tonight, or what my impression will be, but I am open to the positive energy and vibes that the universe has provided to me. This has been an incredible slam dunk week of positive universe vibrations, that began Thursday evening with an incredible get together with a Public Relations professional I was trying to connect with for the past year, who again, I immediately discovered is much more than “just a PR person”. I do not know how to explain moments and meetings like that. Powerful, heart stopping, dream lifting, alignment, win-win, complete 100% awareness that the universe is delivering who and what I need to not only make the dream happen, but what is needed to also lift my soul to an entirely different level. To know in a moment that a puzzle piece is perfectly inserted is an answer to my nightly prayers. This is all the coordination of the universe and I feel beyond blessed for these rare moments, talks, connections, and opportunities. Now I have tonight, and another huge meeting this coming Wednesday. The pieces of the puzzle that I have been pushing and building for years now are finally coming into alignment. There is something powerful going on here and despite the pouring rain and bad weather enclosing me, life seems amazing, beautiful, and full of possibility. I will write after I leave this dinner party and try to capture my immediate thoughts and emotions. Until then…

I just parked near Alex’s townhouse on the Upper West Side. I’m walking in the rain now, speaking my thoughts into my phone, in which I will transcribe tomorrow. I was not nervous driving all the way into the city, which took me about two hours with this weather and traffic. It gave me some time to self reflect on this week and I spoke to my sister on the phone. She shared with me how she feels this is my big break finally after all these years. We discussed how we have amazing family members that could help us both with our funding needs, but choose not to. I know that is a weird statement and if I ever get to write my life story, I will share deeper what that means. For now, let us just say we have family that could fund us 10 times over, but sadly are not in the picture as much as I would like… but that being said the philanthropy they do is off the charts and I am in awe of them. I surely know what I do is in the blood somewhere within my genealogy. I love them deeply and maybe one day when I have made a name for myself and we are speaking to political global leaders, they will be at the table. Enough of that random thought for now… I am trying to not get wet as I walk with this small broken umbrella skipping over puddles. My sister wants me to text her “mission accomplished” after I leave because she thinks I am going to get funding tonight. I know tonight is not about that at all but I am sure it is going to be powerful and a major building block to our future. The wind is strong and I don’t think this umbrella is going to make it. Now I feel my stomach getting nervous and in knots. Why? I can’t even think straight right now. I am trying to pull my thoughts together and connect to who I am. I am trying to not to get my hair wet. Lol… I’m in a sports jacket, a black shirt, and jeans, which is probably more dressed up than I normally am, because the work I do always comes purely from my passion, and not being what society stereotypically wants to impress others. I am me and I am as real and as honest as I can be. Jeans, tee shirt and a heart is what you get. I’m so nervous and can feel myself shaking. Maybe its because of the cold wind and rain, but I do not think so. I know who I am and I know what I’m worth. I deserve to be at this table. The universe brought these 20 people together and I wonder if my accomplishments are the least in the room, but I have ran hundreds of events, impacted over 175,000 youth and years of success under my belt. I have the strategy and the infrastructure on paper to build a global empire that could heal the world. Serious real empowerment work in all areas of the world. I need to speak from my heart and be confident in the me I know I am, with the passion and hope that the Mayor is a smart enough man to sense my energy, vibes, genuineness, and connection. Just like during our public relations meeting this past Thursday, where the alignment was pure and obvious. A moment that was so magical that it led to a higher vibration bringing in 60 youth leaders visiting from Lebanon and a conversation about WOO going there to do some work. They could have chosen anywhere else in the city and they walked into our conversation – our energy. I was blown away. Never would I choose or think of Lebanon but I have no doubt that the evening was completely orchestrated form start to finish by the universe. People attract like people who have the same vision, passion, mission, and the same grounding… I just turned onto the block and I feel my socks are wet. I am laughing at how absurd this blog is going to be because who thinks to themselves, “I am about to meet the Mayor of New York City with wet socks?” I should be professional and make this sound more profound, but the truth is I am going to keep it real. A life that has experienced many sacrifices, many in which the masses do not know about – from personal to professional – and it has all led to this moment in time. Nobody knows the whole story, which is rushing through my head right now like a movie on fast forward. Maybe one day I will write the book and maybe this entry will be a big turning point in the story. I’ve had so many quintessential moments in my life. I’m hoping tonight is one of those professional moments. Okay… here we go. I am walking into the townhouse. I just rang the bell. I’ll be back…

So tonight was surely interesting. I should be exhausted but my mind is on overdrive. Unfortunately, The Mayor of New York City cancelled a half an hour before he was supposed to arrive. I know… I feel like an idiot because I was so excited and writing about it intensely. I felt the realness of that moment in my soul. Maybe the universe wanted me to experience the feeling to prove to myself I would be ready for anything when it appears. It was truly disappointing, but when I arrived at Alex’s apartment no one had arrived yet other than myself, The Mayor of Charlotte, and her head of fundraising, who was part of the DNC for 15 years. I was very blessed to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with the Mayor before the other guests arrived. Her presence was a blend of powerful, down to earth and personable. I have to say I learned a lot tonight from her. The one thing that became clear to me is that I think I know the issues, because I’m in the trenches every day, seeing what society has trickled down to our youth and what they are experiencing, however discussing it from a political level in conversation was so fascinating to say the least. It showed me I still have so much to really learn. I know I’m making a difference, but I wonder if I should be making a difference on another level. Mayor Roberts was awesome and shared with me stories about her leadership, which I do not think I can share here, but showed me a real human side to politics. One of the things I like to ask people when they share their stories is how did it feel to be in certain positions as a “leader” or in a moment of trauma or tragedy. I was blessed one night to have a personal one on one conversation with Rick Allen, the drummer of the legendary rock band Def Leppard (who also has an amazing charitable organization in California and who met his wife here in Queens) and he shared with me so sincerely and dearly the night he lost his arm and what he went through. It was just he and I in a dressing room after a concert, sitting down, having a heart to heart real life conversation about overcoming obstacles and sharing that love and inspiration with the world. It was profound, rare, and unguarded. A very real moment that I also was blessed to have with Mayor Roberts. The Mayor shared with me about her leadership perspectives at different points in her career and term so far, and as a matter of fact, I almost didn’t take her as a stereotypical politician, but more like a human being with real compassion for the people of her city, and the people of the world. I was very impressed. I am reluctant to share the specifics but I was inspired and learned much from her. I will leave it at that.

As the guests trickled in and The Mayor got pulled away, I realized how amazing those few moments were to my life and my future career. I was very present and in the moment of the experience. I also got to spend time with so many other powerful leaders that were in attendance. I met a wonderful lady who knows Alex very well. Her name is Daryle and she shared with me some of the wonderful charity work she is a part of and we had some quality time discussing WOO, Shortstack, and the youth I work with, along with the issues within society and social media that impacts our youth today. She asked me really intellectual questions about what is happening and where we are going as a society, and I just loved that I was in an environment that was spawning mature, intellectual, and respectful discussion on issues. I was so blessed to have my dear friends who I look up to in attendance as well. Jeanne and Robert were there from Project Share and we discussed, and began to strategize some wonderful projects that WOO is going to collaborate with them on this coming year. I am so beyond excited to be a part of the work they do, as it is truly inspirational. You must check them out. While Mayor Roberts was speaking to us in Alex’s living room about her plans for Charlotte, and the country, which led to her visit of New York City, Robert from Project Share expressed his viewpoints publicly. He shared about his experience working in Charlotte, which was nothing less than profound, sincere, and supportive of the Mayor’s initiative. He is so well spoken and I sense he is a big part of our future as a team. I do not know much about politics but I did learn that what is happening in Charlotte is very progressive and a microcosm of what is going to happen in our country, or is actually happening in our country. I will not write more than that because I will surely show how unknowledgeable I truly am on these issues. It would also be shameful if I failed to mention how wonderful it was to share conversations last night with Kyle, Crystal, and Gary (AKA Mr. K.) from Council for Unity. We have youth in Shortstack that also attend their program in Forest Hills High School, and their passion for supporting the hearts and souls of their students truly sets the bar for other youth leaders around the world. They truly get what it’s all about. So many people at this dinner are making a difference and it’s a blessing to work amongst them. It is always magical when we come together. Our evening ended with a reduced crowd and a conversation on how today’s music is impacting youth. I jumped in and shared about our vision for Rock Your Heart Out, and shared how I could see a program like that bringing back great music, within all genres, that give society and youth inspiration, strength, and positivity. Yes, I would love to take on the music industry and big business, and bring real heart, soul, and passion back to creating music… and I am sure that there would be many artists that would get behind that vision. One thing I learned this week is that it’s all about strategic partnerships, right? I truly feel confident that we have the answers for many of society issues. It will be a long haul, and maybe several years to see the shift in the planet we truly desire, but it first begins with building the right infrastructure within Windows of Opportunity, a project we have been working on for the past year. I know that is going to happen soon, and I will have the right people in place in the right positions to take this vision to an entirely new level of impact.

 

 

Alex Garfield and Hal Eisenberg

 

respect, 9-11. making a difference

Remembering Those Who Sacrificed…

I am truly excited for this coming week. I am so excited to experience and see how the universe is going to deliver my dreams. There is no doubt it is going to happen, and it will be a blessing to experience every moment of its unfolding. I’m definitely disappointed I didn’t get to sit down with our Mayor, and I’m feeling a little sad in my heart about it, but he is running this phenomenal city, and as a leader I know you have to make some tough choices at times. I was ready for that meeting despite my earlier nerves, and I will be ready the next time that opportunity comes. I sense it will not be my last interaction with the Mayor’s office. I’m going to spend the rest of the night, as the rain continues to fall, reflecting on who I am and what I am becoming, keeping my positive vibration high, and really thinking about what the next steps are for the development of Windows of Opportunity to move forward with our larger scale vision. We teach everyone to believe in him or herself, and I see no better way of doing that than leading by example, and showing people that I made my dreams come true. If I can do it and go through everything I have been through and have seen, then anything is possible. I am excited to see where the universe is taking me…

 

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