Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Week 16 - Getting Out Of The Way

We are at 540,000 pennies today (or $5,400.).  We have 5 weeks to go, so buckle up for your inspiration for week 16:

 "I received the greatest email response last week from my friend Stephen.  It inspired me and gave me so much insight.  He said: "It’s funny, when we grow up poor like you and I did, we grow up with this misshapen notion that everyone is looking at us judgmentally.  That can have the unnatural effect of making our lives about us.  What I’m finding at this late stage of my life is that most people are more interested in what I’m doing to benefit them and what opportunities can I give them."

He hit it right on the head.

When I used to act, there was a saying I would use after I had performed a scene or monologue particularly bad.  When I  knew that I had been too self-conscious with the material I was working with.  I would say, "I got in my way" and "I have got to get out of my own way."  I didn't make this up, I know many actors who say it.  It was so appropriate then.  I knew what I had to do, what I had to say, the kind of conviction I needed to have in my portrayal, but at the last minute, I backed off.  I didn't think I was capable of doing it and I got in my way.  It's like what Stephen said.  I would make it about me and not what my character had to say or had to do.  So, I would go back to the beginning of the scene or monologue and just focus.  Focus on being in the moment (actors say that alot too) and not in my head.  Then it would work and when the scene worked or monologue worked, it was never about me.  It was about communicating with the other actor and about getting them to understand what it is I needed from them or about what I needed to do to them.  Its not so hard when you don't make it about you.

I agree with Stephen about when you grow up poor and I think there are all kinds of poverty: material poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty and spiritual poverty. When you grow up in poverty, you think its about you.  You grow up thinking you messed it up and your the only one who can fix it only the funny thing is, you can't, because you don't feel good enough too and what I have learned is, nobody is.  Nobody is.  We all need each other.  One of the things that I have learned on my inspirational email journey these past two years is that when you reach out and ask for help, people respond. There is no way that Pyramid would be the organization it is today if it were not for so many other people.  People who were more interested, as Stephen says, in how Pyramid could benefit them and what opportunities Pyramid could provide them.  These wonderful people picked a piece of Pyramid up and we have all walking together, supporting this wonderful organization and supporting one another.  Pyramid would not be what it is today if it were not for all of the generous people who breathe life into the organization every week by creating art in the studios, teaching youth in the classroom, or mentoring a fellow artist or intern whose struggling with a difficult project.  People understand its not about them.

Sure, its a little scary, because you lose control (but that's okay because you never really had it, you just thought you did).  But by getting out of their way, I get out of my own too. I remember that its not about me and in the end its not even really about Pyramid.  Pyramid is not a big red building on Georgia Avenue. Its huge group of people on Georgia Avenue, people from all walks of life. Our community gets bigger everyday and will continue to indefinitely, as long as we focus and get out of the way."

I hope I inspired you to join my ever growing community of penny philanthropists who help support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid. It is an amazing group of individuals.  It's fun and 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.

Join me tomorrow on Thursday, May 24 at 6:30 pm for a night of conversation with Former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and author Shirley Sagawa. We'll drink wine, eat chocolate and talk about how ordinary people like you and me are making extraordinary contributions to their communities.  It's $20 and well worth it!!  RSVP to me so I save you a seat:

Bring your pennies and I will take them to my friends at Eagle Bank.

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