#PeacefulMondays: Bridging the gap with those who serve

On Monday May 25 2015, I attended my first Memorial Day observance ceremony, and met my first war veteran.

He spoke of his encounter with the enemy, deep inside a tunnel in the Pacific.

I offered him some words of comfort and encouragement, and his eyes moistened with gratitude.

It planted a I-want-to-help seed in my soul.

This weekend, that seed officially found its patch of soil and began to root.

I attended the 6th annual San Francisco Veteran’s Film Festival, a 2-day event that shares the stories of US service men and women while bridging the gap between civilians, active duty military and veterans.

On the first day, I walked in the doors of the auditorium with an open mind and heart. By the time I returned home this (Sunday) evening, my mind was racing with a mountain of possibilities to help. And my heart had been moved by stories on the screen and from audience members.

Filmmaker, veteran and organizer alike…all were there to do right by those who serve. The films took months, even as long as 10 years to make. But you wouldn’t know it by talking to the filmmakers. They were fueled by an inner fire to breathe life into these untold stories, stories unsullied by Hollywood glitz and polish, stories that shed light on critical issues for this invisible 1% of the American population who secure our freedoms all over the world.

In a very small way, I was already beginning to understand the bond between brothers in arms. The refrain of “no man left behind” felt more palpable. It became easy for me to extend honor, dignity and respect, because the sacrifice represented in the room called it forth.

There are too many stories and experiences to fit into one #PeacefulMondays note, and I will share more as I go.

What I do know is that the I-want-to-help seed in my soul will grow into a 2018 project, another branch on my peaceful leadership tree. When it takes more shape, I hope you will join me in helping it become as strong and resilient as these fine service(wo)men need it to be.

Questions to ponder

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About the author

Maya Mathias

Maya Mathias is a global leadership veteran, with a life and career spanning 3 continents and 5 inspired self-reinventions. She is a peaceful leadership advocate and mentor, bringing her unique blend of East & West to her leadership development and innovation management practice. Maya’s life began with a lower-middle class upbringing in Asia, surrounded by poultry & vegetable farms and the ‘simple life’. She doesn’t forget her humble roots, and her body of work seeks to bring more equality, justice and personal purpose in troubling times. Learn more about Maya here.

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