Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Inspiration For Week 10

Week 9 is history folks! Today, we are at 400,103 pennies (or $4,103.00). That is almost halfway to our goal of 1,000,000 pennies. I believe we can raise 1,000,000 pennies for Pyramid programs and so do you. But first, here is your inspiration for Week 10.

"Why believe? You know, its a whole lot easier to thnk that things just aren't possible and to believe that if it hasn't been done yet, its because its to hard to do. To believe that the arts is something that we can live without. More math in the schools and less art will make our kids better problem solvers right? Its inevitable and their is nothing that can be done about it, right?

Well, every time I start my fundraising campaign, the first thing I need to do is believe that I can do it. I do not come from money, never had to raise money before I got this job and do not have the "connections" that you are "supposed" to have. So, if I believed that these elements were the deciding factors, I should have packed it up already. No one would blame me. Its alot easier to say that something is somebody else's responsibility and that its their fault that I am not as successful as I should be. I grew up with alot of that. If school sucked, it was my teacher's fault. If my life sucked, it was my parent's fault. If my parent's life sucked, it was the world's fault After my folks got divorced, it was my dad's fault that my mom and brother and I struggled as much as we did. After my dad passed away, it was my mom's fault I struggled as much as I did.

A turning point in this whole process for me came when I went away on a men's retreat 6 years ago with a group called The Mankind Project. I had thought of doing it for a few years before I did, but just rejected the idea of doing it. I thought , "I am not that kind of guy. Those kind of guys, they are weak they need help, but not me, I'm strong." I didn't need any help and whatever I was going through wasn't my fault anyway. I didn't need anything and if I did and I couldn't get, I could just do without. Then one day, I decided I needed to go. I decided it was time because the thought of doing it scared the hell out of me. That is usually when I know that there is something important that I need to do. I begin to understand that their is something waiting for me their and the sooner I confront it, the sooner I can get on with my life. So I went on the retreat.

My good friend Rachel and her boyfriend Tony drove me out to it. It was out in Rolling Ridge Virginia. It was hard to find and once we did, I will admit, it was a little creepy. Rachel and her boyfriend were not allowed to drive in. They left me at the entrance and pulled away. I was scared, but, their was something waiting for me inside and I was not going to be able to move forward anymore with out confronting it, so I might as well go inside and get it over with. It was dark inside and there was a guy at the front who asked me to put my keys, wallet and cell phone in a big box. Whoa, I was really scared now, what if I needed to call for help. When he wasn't looking, I hid my phone and kept walking. I came to another guy who checked my pockets and found my phone. "What's this" he said. "Oh, I forgot," I said. He took my phone and told me to keep moving along and I did and then I went into a room with like at least 30 other men. Some my age, some older, some even older still. I don't know who I was expecting to find in there, but these guys looked like guys I'd see on the Metro everyday. Guys just like me running to work and running home. Running to the bar for a beer or going to see a movie with a wife or girlfriend. Normal guys, just like me, struggling with expectations. Expectations of who we thought we should be, what we thought we should be doing, what we thought people needed us to be and it made us all angry, we just didn't know it. We knew we were angry at someone or something and because we didn't know, we just became angry with ourselves. It didn't matter that most of the people that we were really angry at were either dead or no longer in our lives. We were still angry and blaming them kept us from being the people we had the capability to be. We thought we were in control of our lives, but it was really these ther voices that did all the talking.

That weekend was about turning the volume down on those voices and raising the volume up on my own voice and taking responsibility for who I had become and who I had the potential to be. Looking back on that weekend the other thing that strikes me the most about it was how safe I felt around all these men. Until that weekend, men had threatened me. I didn't trust men. I believed I was in competition with other men. This man wanted my job or this man wanted my friends or this man wanted my life. I always felt like I needed to defend myself against other men and prove that I was stronger than them and that I didn't need anyone.

Well, what that weekend taught me was what a crock of shit all of that is. These guys didn't want to hurt me and the toughest guy among them was just as scared as I was. The reason that I was living the life I was, was because I believed that I had to. There wasn't anyone in my life anymore telling me to do it. If I wanted to change things, the first thing to do was to begin to take responsibility and believe that I could. There is that great quote, one of my favorites that says, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us" I believe that is so true.

After the weekend was over, all of the guys got together with friends and loved ones for a graduation ceremony. We invited the peole we cared about most to it and it was great to see all of these men with all of these wonderful people in their lives. I remember what my wife said to me at the graduation ceremony, when it was her turn to say a few words, she said, "You know, I always thought he was a great guy and I think now, he believes he is too." I did."

I hope I inspired you to join me in raising 1,000,000 pennies for pyramid. The pennies will help support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid. Its easy:
If all this penny stuff is too complicated and you just want to make a contribution, you can donate in any form of currency to Pyramid Atlantic by clicking here. I will add up your donation in pennies and include it in my campaign.

Remember to Save the Date for the Pyramid Atlantic 31st Birthday & Open House on Saturday April 14 from 2 pm to 6 pm. It will be a day full of activities in the studios, cupcakes and ice cream. Get your tickets today and tell two friends.

Bring your pennies on the 14th too and I will take them to my friends at Eagle Bank.

No comments:

Post a Comment