So, I’m sitting on a colorful blanket under a palm tree on Hollywood Beach. Having found a little shade in the heat of the day, I am content. Toes in the sand, I have a notebook and pencil with me.

There is sand, breeze, and salt in the air. Heavenly. About an hour into my “allotted” two-hour window, (how much money I’d put in the meter), I noticed the sand around my blanket was moving. Little red ants were going about their business.

At first, I was startled. I love all things outdoors, but some of the DNA in my family tree does not.

However, I’m not them, and they’re not me, right? Trying to be calm about it, I use hands and feet to push piles of sand around me and move the ants (without harming them..mostly) away from the blanket. Surely, they would get the point if I kept digging these moats and building these…well, ant “defense” hills?

Nope. These industrious critters kept on their merry mission. United and focused on the task at hand. They seemed to be working together towards a purpose of higher calling. One that largely involved moving around my blanket, though not on it. Mostly. Some of them did make it onto the blanket as I held still and tried to focus on my book, the ocean, the breeze… is something crawling on my leg? Nope, nothing there, wait….nope nothing. Oh, there’s one. Crap.

I was fascinated by their determination, their collaborative instincts.  The way they worked together reminded me of an article I once read about a forest of trees all of whose roots were connected.  They communicated with one another in an organic, almost mystical way.

This red army was on their own little scavenger hunt for who knows what…food?  Building materials? A Ms. Pac Man machine with a joystick that works well? Not sure what, but they had a mission, and somehow they were energetically connected.  Did they ever quarrel? They must sometimes.

I recently saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Queen, like all bands, had their fights. But they also did some amazing work through collaboration.

Did you know that infamous foot stomping, drum-banging part at the start of “We Will Rock You” was not Freddie’s invention? Rather, it stemmed from the genius of guitarist Brian May. At the start of a rehearsal that Freddie hadn’t yet arrived at, May got tired of waiting and pitched his idea to the band of somehow involving the audience in part of this new song. Giving them their “own part.” Can you hear it? Stomp, stomp, clap…stomp, stomp, clap!

If you’re reading this before Dec. 6, and are inspired to do something collaborative with the entire community, join us in our annual city-wide scavenger hunt. We’ll challenge you, have fun, get to know each other, shine a light on some local non-profits, and celebrate all the good that Hollywood has to offer!

Here and everywhere, we are intrinsically interconnected. Amidst the daily grind, it’s easy to forget how nearly every action we take, or decision we make, has a domino effect on the ones around us. A butterfly effect if you will. Keep that in mind every day, every moment. At work and at home.

Think about it. Stay present. Give, collaborate, lift up your neighbor, breathe, rinse, repeat and do it again. Dare to see through the eyes of the other, dare to truly listen, be a great friend, an inspirational teammate, a leader who makes a difference.

United all boats rise.

All together now, get to it.