Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Inspiration for Week 20

What do you do with 10 days to go and 300,000 (or $3,000) more pennies to raise? You dig down deep and keep moving forward. 

You don't stop.  We have raised 700,000 pennies (or $7,000) to date.  In 19 weeks, so $3,000 more in 10 days, while a challenge is not impossible  People like you and me like a challenge.  We like the challenge of making arts education, artist studios and arts events possible for people of all ages and all abilities. We are a small group of people who care a whole lot.  So, here is your inspiration for this week:

"So last week on Father's Day, I did something that I had never done before in my life:  I took a golf lesson.  I have wanted to for about two years now, but there was one thing holding me back.  I was not prepared to be as bad as I knew I was going to be during that first lesson because that's what happens when you are trying to learn something new. You are really bad for a while.   I mean really bad because you are so conscious about what you are doing.  You are thinking about it every step of the way and it just sucks.  It almost takes all of the joy out of that thing that you are trying to get better at.  I always hated being bad at something as a kid. I would get so angry and that would make me try harder and harder and I would still suck.  I remember playing football in the front yard with my Dad and my cousin Pablo.  My Dad was quarterback for both teams and every time my Dad threw the ball, my cousin would score.  Everytime he threw it to me, I would either drop it or he would overthrow me or he would tackle me before I could score.  I was furious and eventually, I just walked off not wanting to play anymore.  I remember my Dad trying to talk to me, telling me to calm down, that it was just a game, but I couldn't listen.  It wasn't a game to me.  The irony, of course, is that my older son is that same way  He is a real athletic kid and can pick most things up rather quickly, but when he doesn't he just gets angrier and angrier and I talk to him and try to call him down and he doesn't listen.  Ironic, I know. 

Forme this scene of me trying something new and not being good at it right away and getting angry played it itself out over and over again in my life for years.  The setting changed (it wasn't always my front yard) and he characters changed (it wasn't always my Dad and my cousin), but the rest remained the same. It was me, mad at myself, because my expectations and my reality were at odds. I just could not slow down.  I could not enjoy the moment.  I think maybe that's why I like playing golf.  I find that the harder I try, the harder it is to to make contact with the darn ball, so it is really pointless to try harder. It would make for an incredibly miserable 3 hours and who has that kind of time.  So I just have to surrender and "embrace the suck,"

I think that's why I waited for as long as I did, I wanted to make sure that I was really into the game of golf first.  I went out and did a golf tournament and was terrible. I went to the driving range a few times.  I played 18 holes with a friend.  I was terrible. I don't think you could call what I was doing golf, but I loved it.  So I took the plunge and took a lesson.  As expected, I sucked.  The instructor worked with me on my swing and following through always reminding me to "not think too much."  (That's never as helpful as it sounds when its being told to you.)  I reminded myself to relax.  I thought about all the kids I coach in rookie baseball and how hard it is for those seven year olds to swing a bat for the first time and make contact with a little ball coming right at them.  It sure seems easy to me 34 years later.  I forget what it was like to be seven and seeing that ball headed right for me and freezing up.  I had a coach when I played little league baseball in Miami for the Latin All Starts named Coach Roberto.  He was the nicest guy. I was a terrible baseball player.  One day he saw me struggling with my hitting and took me aside and said "look, I am going to throw the ball and you just swing the bat.  That's it, don't worry if the pitch look good or bad, just swing that bat everytime the ball is headed your way." So I did and I tell you what, I hit the ball.  I hit the ball more than I ever had working with Coach Roberto.  My expectations and my reality were simpatico.

So, there was one thing my instructor said on Sunday that has stayed with me.  He said, "Listen,guys go out and say, hey, let's hit some golf balls, when actually what they should be saying is let's swing the clubs.  You need to think about swinging your golf club and that golf ball, well, it just happens to be in the way." I like that. The ball just happens to be on the tee when I am swinging my club.  It was liberating to think that way, for me anyway, and it gave me something to focus on during the lesson rather than continuing to notice that my ball was going very far when I was making contact.  I got through it.  My first step into being really bad and being alright with that and working at it still, hoping that one day, I get a little better, and enjoying the journey regardless of how long it takes for that day to arrive.  I have my next lesson this Sunday."

I hope you are still inspired!

Your contributions support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid.

Together, we do amazing things at Pyramid.

Its easy to join:
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. I will take them to my friends at Eagle Bank

Join me this Saturday, June 23 from 6 pm to 9 pm for a Tiki Party and Artmaking Night at Pyramid Atlantic. We will have "Tiki Party" themed hands-on arts activities and fancy fruity cocktails for all. The cost is $10  which will help us reach our 1,000,000 penny goal.

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