So close, and yet…

If I said the name to you aloud you’d probably think, “nice Jewish boy.” In fact, Michal Friedman was a girl. And a Buddhist girl at that. Such are the pitfalls of nominal profiling.

Michal worked for us. That was a part of who she was. A very small part as it turns out. She was also an accomplished professional musician. Under the oh-so-appropriate moniker “Michal the Girl” she released multiple albums and reached a worldwide audience. Her sound is lush and moody– like a combination of Robbie Robertson and Fiona Apple. Very cool. Definitely check it out on iTunes, Rhapsody or what have you. Additionally, she did voice-over work. Amazing voice-overs in fact. I’d wager nobody else on the planet could pull off the seldom attempted “Speed Racer” cartoon VO and an ad VO of a teenager with tampon-angst on the same reel! That’s range, people.

These are but a few of her many accomplishments. The craziest thing about them? I just learned of them over the past couple of days. You see, despite the fact that Michal and I worked for the same company for years, I didn’t know her. Now, she was in our New York office and I’m in Boston, but I’ve been to that office dozens of times. There were opportunities. There is no doubt I’ve walked by her on multiple occasions.

And did not take notice. And did not see. And did not pick up on the fountain of talent right in my midst.

Too busy. Too focused. Too distracted by things that ultimately don’t mean shit to notice things that do.

And I’ll never get a chance to. Michal the Girl Friedman died last week while giving birth to picture-perfect twins. Though Michal was small in stature, she’s left a titanic-sized hole in the life of her husband Jay and her twins that will never know her.

That’s it and that’s all, folks.

So, do me a favor. Carve out some time to take the headphones off, put the mobile down, and clear your mind for a bit– almost like a Buddhist meditation you might say. Then try to take notice of things around you, people mainly, that are familiar but only on a superficial level. Learn more about people you ‘know’ but not really. Discover what’s right there beneath the surface if you only work at it a bit.

Start today. See what you’ve been missing.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”– The Buddha

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