Ordinary people, extraordinary love

In my opinion, love is always extraordinary, even when it is calm, even when it is casual, even, and mainly, in the little details of an everyday life.

What an unlike adventure: two souls to meet in this huge universe and, against all chances, be able to deal with the differences, the moods, the every day poison which insists in taking away the naive colors of romance.

So when you see people kissing each other passionately on the streets, as we’ve seen this week… it might be an ordinary love expressing all its glory and (why not?) magic.

I loved to see these images today.

image via

Image via 

The love wich reachs me from a distance

Tonight, after a long day of work, with a terrible headache reminding me that a sinus crisis is on its way… I got home to realize that tomorrow is my daughter’s party at school ( São João!)… And that I need to get somethings done: the braids for the hat, the ribbons for the hat and the dress… the works! All to make her  the prettiest “caipirinha” I’ve ever seen.
So, I finish everything by 10 p.m.
And all the sudden… I realize my mom did the same thing many times… I never realized it. I never noticed, never thought about all that it took to  wear all those beautiful dresses she always made me. But I realize that even more than work, it took a lot care, a lot of love.
And suddenly I feel it all over, so much love, crossing time and distance to embrace and comfort me.
Thank you mom! I love you too!

*tomorrow the pictures of my caipirinha.

***

Hoje a noite, depois de um dia longo de trabalho, com uma dor de cabeça terrivel me lembrando que uma crise de sinusite está a caminho, chego em casa e lembro que amanhã é festa de São João na escola da minha filha… E claro, preciso arrumar os laços de fita para o vestido e para o chapéu, tranças para o chapéu (detesto essas novas tranças finas demais… resolvi fazer as minhas), ahhhh e o bolo de aimpim! Enfim, às 10 da noite termino de fazer tudo, quase tudo… acordo as 6 da manhã para assar o bolo!

E de repente me dou conta: quantas vezes minha mãe fez isso? Nunca notei, nunca me dei conta. Nunca me perguntei o que custou a ela, para que eu tivesse o vestido mais bonito e mais bem feito da festa. Mais do que o trabalho, agora tenho certeza,  que custou muito cuidado, muito carinho, muito amor!

E de repente me sinto rodeada por todo esse amor. Um amor que atravessa o tempo e a distância para me abraçar e confortar.

Obrigada mãe! Também te amo!

*amanhã posto fotos da minha caipirinha.

Playing to Change the World?

This post was originally published at Instituto Elos’ blog, on April 9th 2010 … an essay about games and its potential as toll for social transformation.


We’re spreading the idea that changing the world is not only possible but can be fun. It seems like many people—many serious people—agree.

“Playing is the highest form of inquiry.”

Einstein said that—yes, Einstein, the one who formulated the theory of relativity. This quote comes to life in Jane McGonigal’s inspiring, passionate, and vibrant talk.

The Institute for the Future’s game designer is convincing, be it in front of a large audience or wearing her blue wig in front of a webcam. Her goal for the next decade is ambitious: to make saving the world in real life as easy as a virtual game. I believe her… Take a look at what she’s done to fulfill this goal.

“In order to solve urgent problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, obesity, global conflicts, we need to play close to 21 billion hours a week until the end of the next decade.” This amount is 7 times what it is now. And many think that too much time has been wasted playing games.

You may be asking yourself: Is this really what she’s proposing? Is she serious? Encouraging young people to spend even more time in front of the computer, playing?

Yes. She’s very serious, and I started paying special attention when she begins to describe player’s attitudes, attitudes I’d like to see in myself in real life more often. During a presentation the audience of TED, the designer describes players’ attitudes in facing the challenges of the game: they are ready to help anyone who needs it, determined to solve the problem no matter how much time it takes, and, more importantly, faced with an obstacle or defeat, they are always ready to try again. In a game, McGonigal says, we get closer to the best version of ourselves.

Changing attitudes through games

Players are adventurous beings: they calculate, take risks, plan, and execute. We are more creative, efficient, and focused when we play. How do you transfer that entrepreneurial, and truly innovative, attitude from the screen to life?

Jane’s proposal is tempting, and her call is convincing: creating games that can encourage people to invent solutions to challenges that directly affect them, in their daily lives.

An example is the World Without Oil (WWO) game. The backdrop is the first 32 weeks of a world without petroleum. A citizen commission is created to map and register all events and also to share solutions.

The online experience brings together all basic elements of a game: goal, rules, challenge. Two characteristics of cooperative games go into the mix: there are no losers, winners, or rewards, and playing well generates benefit for the whole community. The final result is a show of the potential of collective intelligence; a laboratory for hypotheses created by thousands of minds.

The best of all, according to the researchers involved in the project: participating in the game engenders an attitude transformation in players’ real lives.

“For me, here and now, I’m a different person thanks to WWO. I’m a lot more aware of how fragile the thread that sustains my lifestyle is. I’m making changes, but I still have a long way to go. But I AM changing, and that means that to me, WWO was a success.” Mtalon (player)

In another venture, McGonigal and a team of experts present a world possible in the year 2019. Players have the challenge of thinking of and showing ways to live in this world. It’s a game full of constructed and very plausible details. Superstructure was on the air from 6 October to 17 November 2008, and at the end presented reports on the principle insights and strategies created by the players to face the Superthreats invented by a team of 25 specialists.

The last challenge proposed to the world through her games was to create solutions for the real problems the world faces, the name of the game is Urgent Evoke.

With impeccable aesthetics, in Evoke, the Institute for the Future has constructed narratives so solid and challenges so close to daily life that it’s not hard at all to enter the reality of the game.

A course for changing the world that lasts ten weeks: that’s the description you’ll find on the website. The goal is to empower youth all around the world, but especially in Africa, incentivizing them to find solutions to the most urgent problems today.

The first round of Urgent Evoke ended on 12 May, when participants graduated as the first class of the Urgent Evoke network.

The virtual game ends, the real change begins

Urgent Evoke is different from previous games in that it directly connects to real transformation. The last task in the game, the Evokation, is an action plan, a clear description of a project to be implemented. Completing the Evokation gives players the chance to receive:

  • Online orientation by executive leaders and social innovators;
  • A scholarship to participate in the first Evoke workshop in Washington DC;
  • Seed grant to start your social enterprise

This strategy is directly linked to the approach of the World Bank, developer of the game created under McGonigal’s direction. Not everything is roses—throughout the research project, I didn’t find a way for non-English-speakers to participate in the game and discussions. I hope this is corrected because in the end, people want to change the world in many languages and dialects.

If you are like me, you’re dying of curiousity to know where this is all going to take place… Keep your eyes opened for more.

Val Rocha

Agente Urgent Evoke

Translated by Juan Carlos Cardoza-Oquendo


The Air Game

words

If you were a Warrior Without Weapons 2007, you would know I am not exagerating when I say this group was very verbal. Gosh we could talk! In the Fire Councils we inaugurated the tradition of translating the words in the languages of all people present, including the dialects. That’s why the story I am about to tell you moved me so much.

The night before the air game, I was tired… I looked for a light, thin, small bamboo, to make my flute… I don’t remember who helped me out, but I sure had some help to make my only flute, maybe that’s why I had the time to observe the ability of Bane, who made many and distributed them among those with less ability, or as tired as I was.

If you knew me (but only if you knew me really well), you would know I love to walk in the woods, especially if we are talking about going up hills and mountains, I love to go up high – I have to say that this feature of mine relies under layers of inertia, a sedentary life and God knows what else.

That explains why I was so happy in the air game day… that’s why I didn’t feel tired, I didn’t fear the snakes, and I didn’t notice the guide explaining the orchids… I was in touch with my inner world, with the exuberance of the woods outside, with the proximity of the blue sky, with Manu’s smile… In this day we talked – Manu and I – we got closer to each other, I remember well.

The highest point of the day for me was when, after we got to go around the circle 7 times – sounds a lot now – blowing our bamboo flutes, kaka asked if anyone had anything to say. I searched in the place where I usually find my words and they were not there… so I went a little deeper, where I search the words for special moments… nothing! I went even deeper, in a place inside were I rarely go and where, usually, what I find there is not easy to verbalize; this place was still full, but quiet… a warm and cozy silence. I stood there enjoying this moment, till I realized no one… I mean NOT EVEN A SOUL had anything to share.

Immediately I knew something was going on, I can’t say it was magic, but certainly special. And it was happening for all of us.

After that, Kaka explained that the game we just played “cleaned” a generation of words of our minds, every time we completed a round around the circle. End boy, we completed many! He also mentioned that the slight torpor we felt in our mouths would help us to think more before speaking, and speak more from our hearts.

This game really got me… every now and then I remember it, and try to keep my mouth connected to my heart… It is not easy… not at all! But trying fells kind of good.