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I am overcome with joy and pride after wrapping up an incredible weekend where the world witnessed the next generation take to cities across the globe in an effort to courageously seek gun reform in the United States.

As millions ascended onto the streets of Washington, D.C, others stood in solidarity with those marching and showed support from around the world.

To say these students have ignited a flame to a much overdue conversation is an understatement. But above and beyond, they are inspiring young people (and adults) to stand and use their voice to create change.

As we gathered at our own event, there was one particular moment when a beautiful young artist was singing “Imagine” by John Lennon. Reading the signs. Seeing the students. Listening to the words. I closed my eyes simply to take it all in. They were filled with tears.

“And the world will live as one.”

In that moment, I felt hope witnessing the spirit of the next generation and all those standing together.

It was profoundly inspiring.

Collectively using our voices as one. Connected by a common purpose.

As we took a moment of silence to honour those who lost their life in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day, I silently thought about a dear friend who was tragically taken due to senseless gun violence years ago. I also remembered how it felt to drop my children off at school before we moved, never knowing if they might be next. I thought of all the parents who dropped their children off at school and watched them walk through the front doors, never to walk back out.

What I realized as I looked around at all the faces and thought about my own reasons for being there, is that each of those faces standing in the crowd also had their own story. Their own reason.

Our stories are the connecting points that lead to greater empathy and understanding. They lead to unity – a world like the one depicted through the melody of a brilliant musician.

But how many times do we actually stop to ask another person about their story? Or inquire about what makes them wake up each morning, what drives them to pursue their passion, what inspires them?

While technology connects all of us across the globe and provides information readily available at the touch of a button, it has also provided a distraction from true connection. Constantly looking down. Our heads buried. We forget to look up.

I am guilty of it as well and have found over the years that I need to be very intentional about crafting time to unplug.

Years ago, a friend and I joked about the day she gave birth to her child. Between contractions she was on her phone, still trying to get work done and within days of delivering and finding herself at the mercy of feedings and sleepless nights, she was still “plugged in.”

We all encouraged her to step away and to take this time, as the precious moments would pass by quickly and if she didn’t allow herself to stop, she would miss them altogether.

Much like we said to her, when you look up you allow yourself the opportunity to truly see, to be aware. You are fully present with those in your life. And when you are present, you open your ability to step into your true purpose and lead with passion, to remember that something or someone that has inspired you along the way.

For me, that inspiration recently came in the form of courageous young people using their voices to implement change. But my greater inspiration on a daily basis comes in the form of the two small humans I have been entrusted to lead through this lifetime, my children.

As I watched the sun go down over the Sydney Harbour and an incredible day came to a close, I stopped just to take it all in. To breathe the air, to feel the energy from hours before still lingering, my heart full knowing we had done our part to make a difference.

I reminded myself in that moment to look up. To be present.

How many of us get so busy with the distraction of doing that we forget the simplicity of just being? We forget to look up and take in the moments that fill our hearts and breathe life into our souls?

Don’t let the moments pass you by. Allow yourself to stop and look up.

Unplug.

You might just be amazed at who you connect with or what inspires you to step up and use your own voice for change.

Cheers to a new week and looking up!

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