We decided upon The Help which is a book that has been sitting on my Kindle for the past year, but I’ve just never gotten around to it yet. Darn it! I usually like it the other way around: book first, then movie, but oh what the heck! Let’s see it. Great movie. Incredible storyline and well-developed actors – you care about each of them right from the beginning.
It moved me. It moved me to tears. And, as the movie went along, it began to sink deeper into my soul and found a place of profound sorrow. I was weeping by the end of the movie. I was embarrassed for my race. What was at the heart of it was knowing that this has yet to be remedied, even in our modern world and in our African-American-led country. The imbalance is still causing people to sacrifice themselves in order to move ahead in life. And, there are still plenty of pitfalls and hoops to jump through that seem really unevenly necessary.
Week goes by…another fulfilling day at MINDDRIVE and then, “what sounds good after dinner”. Ah, yes – a movie – dark theater, maybe some pretty people to stare at for a couple of hours and let my brain turn to mush. Sounds great! Choice this week = Sarah’s Key. Again, great movie. Great character development, felt the need to know each character and cared about them from the start, although this movie was much more frenetic at the beginning. Much more terrifying as well.
I was shocked! How did I get to this point in my life and NOT know that over 75,000 Jews were deported from France, sent to Auschwitz-Berkenow, Germany and exterminated upon arrival? Okay, that’s a little embarrassing to admit but to find out about this atrocity, through a beautifully told story expressed through the work and passion of a modern-time journalist whose genealogy reveals some connections and full-circle discoveries that rock her world…and mine.
Common thread…we are all connected. There are times in our past when this has been forgotten, has been suppressed by those in power for purposes of greed and sadistic control. But, on a gut level, a real deep soul level, I would like to think that we KNOW. We know that what happens on the other side of the world, when genocide continues to occur, happens to us, too. As long as we sit still and allow it to happen, we are part of the problem.
So, new goal… Stay awake. Stay connected. Do my part, whenever and wherever I can. Be a beneficial presence in the world. Because in the end and at the end, it’s all about “how well did we LOVE?”. How well did we love?
Anyone have similar experiences at these movies? Tell me.
MINDDRIVE on a good idea. A really good idea, that while not sporting a long track record, has worked out in many ways along this journey, by luck and skill and the combination of opportunity meeting an idea whose time has come. We are working with a group of urban teens, along with adult mentors, on an experiential learning project – - – building an electric car – - -teaching concepts in technological innovation, aerodynamics, light-weight efficiencies, battery power capabilities, and more.
We’ve scraped together a little bit of money, not a lot. We’ve made a lot of phone calls and asked a lot of people and companies to believe in us, to buy us the tools we need, provide us the space we need, to equip us with the teachers and mentors we need, and to trust us with their students. We decided that at some point you just have to pull the trigger and know that everything is going to work out in the end…even if it’s a little messy.
We are coming up on week 3 of our 18-week class and we are hitting our stride. We’ve done the research, we know what we are going to accomplish, we have a roadmap of where we are going and guess what – it’s GETTING DONE!!! We know that we will need to continue to foster new funding sources, recruit new mentors and promote our program along the way. It will probably get messy again. But for now, it just feels really good to be moving forward. I can’t wait to see how it will all turn out! We are in week 3 and the body of the car will begin to take shape.
My advice is to just jump in and start something. Don’t know how it will come together and it’s even better if the odds are against you – as long as you are passionate about it, it will be beautiful, and it will work out in the end. Because it always works out in the end…And, if it’s not worked out, it’s not the end!To start a non-profit, there are more rules and regulations than you can shake a stick at. There are forms and documents to produce, boards to develop and org charts to create, applications for this and for that, and operating agreements, schedules and appendixes, shall I go on? It’s complicated. The cru de tat is the form the IRS requires to determine whether or not you can be deemed a 501(c), thus making you tax exempt from “some” federal taxes and most states taxes as well as providing your donors with a tax write off.
This is Form 1023, which is the equivalent of taking on a task like translating the Encyclopedia Britannica into five languages. But, we did it. We slogged through it! Well, I actually can’t take much credit for it, but I watched two grown men, basically lock themselves into a house for days on end, hammering away at each and every line item, deciphering its meaning over and over again on each item. Finally, the volume was complete. Let’s run it by our friend and lawyer and get his sign of approval and send it off ASAP!!! Rumor has it we could wait up to six months to hear anything so time is of the essence!
Fast forward 6 months and we wait…and we wait…and we wait. We call and we hear this, we call and we hear that…”they are assigning the applications from October now” or, “no one has even looked at your documents yet”, or “you can follow your application on our website” ~ yeah, right. Have you ever tried to find ANYTHING on the IRS website? Thing is, we can’t really apply for much in the way of a grants from a foundation of any size or stature without the “LETTER OF DETERMINATION” which is what deems us a bona fide 501(c). It’s just a piece of paper. A letter signed by someone. A decision which left undecided keeps us twisting in the wind.
We’re determined to prevail. We are determined to succeed. We are determined to start our summer program for MINDDRIVE with the funds we’ve been able to scrape together from friends and colleagues and like-minded companies. But, we are ready to ROCK! We want to inspire, teach, expand futures, change outcomes and make the lives of our at-risk teens better through our experiential learning techniques. We want to build an even better electric car than the last one!
We are determined! Are you with us? Is the IRS with us? The answer is a resounding YES!!! We received our “Letter of Determination” and MINDDRIVE is now a non-profit company with tax exempt status with the IRS. YOUR donation is fully tax deductible! Please consider supporting our cause. And, thank you for your patience. Whew!MINDDRIVE, the 501(c)3 I am helping to start with my two partners, Steve Rees and Tom Strongman, has moved faster than the speed of light on many fronts and slower than molasses on others. We are just getting ready to begin the next project and two new classes on May 21st, 2011. I thought that I was going to have to teach our newest addition to MINDDRIVE, Contemporary Communication, when I met an amazing instructor named Dave.
Dave isn’t a typical high school teacher from this modern world. You know what I’m talking about…Young, in-experienced, time-clock-punching “teachers” who end up baby sitting and passing along students who continuously test below their own grade level in reading, math, science, writing, and just about everything else. Nope, Dave is different – he cares. He really cares about teaching. And he cares about his students. He’s got the patience of a saint, the creativity of a master artist, and a heart the size of Texas.
Contemporary Communication is new to MINDDRIVE this year. We’ve created this class, and are positioning it as if the Automotive Design Class is our client. So, we’ll chronicle the progress of the construction of our latest electric car, the efficiencies, the latest trials and tribulations, and most importantly, the SUCCESS of the new design, through analytics and timed trials and testing. We’ll teach our students how to create videos, shoot and tell a story through photography, write blogs and press releases, develop web site content and manage social media tools.
I’m pretty psyched! I’m also pretty sure I will learn more from the students than they will learn from me…but shhhhh! that’s my little secret!Create a Mission Statement for your life!
I’m starting a non-profit company this year (actually started working on it at the end of last year) so one thing that has been on my mind a lot are the questions of who we are and what we are trying to accomplish. You know ~ that 30-second elevator speech or “mission statement”. This can be really clunky and awkward at times OR it can be a well-thought-out statement about you and your company, leaving the listener to decide if they are emotionally moved, want more information, want to get involved…or not. So, what do you stand for? You’ve got 30 seconds! No room for hemming and hawing around the subject – just get right to the point.
Here’s a step-by-step process to reach a mission statement, either for your LIFE or for your company, non-profit or for profit, doesn’t matter. Personal mission statements often incorporate the financial, professional, relational and spiritual aspects of one’s life helping achieve a nice balance in all of these areas.
The definition of a Mission Statement is: A formal, short, written statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction and guide in decision making. Whew! That’s quite a bit to get into one succinct statement. I’ve always heard that a good mission statement is one that is easily understood by an eighth-grader, is no longer than a couple of sentences so that it’s easily memorized, and should be able to be recited at gunpoint. (As in, “State your mission, soldier!”)
Step One: Think about what you’re good at – list some past successes with your program, your company, or your life.
Step Two: Identify your core values. Develop a list of attributes that best describes your highest potential and desires for how you show up in the world. What is it that you value most? The list can be long at first, getting everything on the table. Then, choose your top 3-5 strongest.
Step Three: Identify contributions. This list describes all of your “hot buttons”. Do you want to make a difference in health care, the environment, poverty, hunger, HIV/Aids, your community?
Step Four: Identify your goals. This step is for short-term and long-term goals. What do you want to do right now, one year from now, and what lasting effect to you want to manifest?
Step Five: Write your mission statement. Using the things that you’ve learned about yourself or your organization in the first four steps, begin a rough draft of your mission statement. It can be messy at first but continue to hone it until it becomes clear, removing any unnecessary words or phrases until your mission is concise and completely YOU.
Lastly, review your mission statement on a yearly or semi-yearly basis, making sure that your project, company, or your life is in alignment with what you’ve written. Post it where it can be seen clearly by all of your colleagues, customers, clients and YOUR SELF! Make sure there is continuity on your stationery, your web site, and all of your collateral.
My company came up with this: MINDDRIVE: To inspire at-risk students to want to learn, expand their vision for the future, and to have a positive influence on the urban workforce.
My personal mission statement is: To inspire creativity and spirituality ~ one day at a time.
Now….What is YOUR mission? I’d like to hear it!Kak Sri
I love that quote and it is so fitting for the way things have gone in my life lately. I just want to ALWAYS choose the paint brush rather than the pity pot! Are you with me?
The way I like to start my day is with a gratitude list. This usually takes place in my head, during my morning shower or morning workout. I try to remember how happy I am to be in my house, under a warm water shower, thinking about my wonderful group of girlfriends, my fantastically talented and outrageously smart family, knowing that I have a wide array of clothes and shoes to choose from to adorn my body, a nice cup of coffee waiting for me, a job that I love, in a city that I love, and to be alive during this amazing time in our history. Ahhhhhhhh….life IS SO GOOD!
Sometimes I like to listen to “Grateful” by Mark Hayes from his album “All Is Well”, as I am getting myself ready for the day. Music makes me happy. It inspires me, calms me, fills my head when it needs to shift from the squirrel cage that happens up there sometimes. Music can carry me away.
The idea of painting a lovely picture from the place of adversity really resonates with me. It’s all about my attitude. Create an attitude of gratitude – you hear it ALL the time. I can take ANY situation and find some blessing in it, especially if I can wait long enough for it to be revealed to me. In the meantime, I sit in the knowing that everything happens just as it’s supposed to, all in the right and perfect time. If I could just remember that every day, my life would truly ROCK!
I think about the clients that come and go. When they go, you think it’s the worst thing that could happen. But after awhile it becomes obvious that it was really time for them to move on, and in fact, another door with an even better client has been able to come forth. It’s TRUE! It happens again and again ~ all I need do is recognize it!
I’ve never been a painter but this week I’ll be painting in my mind ~ in my shower ~ as I think of my blessings. I’ll be painting the lovely painting of gratitude. How about you?Universe is ever expanding – several million miles in every direction every minute, every day! So, what is it that the Universe wants most of all? More and more of the ever-changing, ever- evolving, nature of YOU! The Universe created you and It wants you to continue to grow and expand, grow and expand, grow and expand…like you were made to do!
Happy New Year everyone! I love to make Vision Boards during either the last week of the year or the first week of the new year. This is my board from last year…
The things that resonate with me from this board are the words on the board…like “volunteer”, and “for a cause” and “bring people together”. How’s that shown up this last year? I have created a non-profit company, along with my two partners, Steve Rees and Tom Strongman called MINDDRIVE. I didn’t know that was in store for me this year but I’m forever changed by this path and feel blessed to be a part of building something for the future of at-risk youth.
The MINDDRIVE Mission Statement is “To inspire at-risk teens to want to learn, expand their vision for the future, and have a positive influence on the urban work force.” Last year the kids and their mentors and instructors built an electric car – and not just any electric car either…THIS car tested and through a thorough analysis yielded a MPGe of over 300! It’s pretty sexy looking, too. Check out this photo by Tom Strongman:
Another amazing photographer that I’ve had the pleasure of working with – Tom is truly a gifted artist! When you create an object of such beauty that has done such good things for these kids, how do you top THAT??? Well, stay tuned…MINDDRIVE is just getting started and we are excited to introduce you to the 2011 class, starting in April. We can’t wait to see how our lives are expanded this year!I went to the Kansas City Repertory Theater today to see Saved and the last thing I expected was to LAUGH as much as I did! I mean the subject matter is quite tragic when you think of it. Homosexuality and teen pregnancy in a Christian High School? Great stuff! Tragic stuff, right? If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend it – it’s short, no intermissions and they cover a LOT of material in about an hour and a half.
The underlying message that I was left to ponder was this: when the sh*t hits the fan and everyone runs for cover, the prevailing strength comes from pure LOVE. When the going gets tough people react to you or your situation from their own past experiences, fear of judgement, fear of change, disappointment, and all sorts of things that can jumble us up and keep us stuck in the status quo. Sometimes we’re thrust into the throes of all of this without really meaning to end up there, but by the very nature of living an authentic life – it happens.
Some people are compelled to come to your rescue, to “save” you, or to fix you. It’s THE moment that separates the real friends from the others, in my mind. It’s the time when you get to sort out motives and expectations from people you would never think twice about having an “agenda” other than supporting you fully, lovingly.
Here’s the trick: Love them back. Love them fully and unconditionally and without expectations! Release your disappointments and judgements and attachment to their feelings and take responsibility for YOU and only you. Your feelings. Your life. Your side of the “love street”.
What I know is this: Love is more powerful than fear. Love can conquer all fear and pain. Love is all there is. Love is timeless. Thanks KC Rep, for reminding me of that today!
I was at the TEDxKC conference a couple of weeks ago and there was a speaker there, Brene’ Brown, whose message I haven’t stopped thinking about. I guess that’s the point of these conferences…to get us to think, and ultimately expand our outlook.
The topic of this particular event was “What Does the World Need Now”. A big shout out to Mike Lundgren at VML for curating such an amazing event!!! We heard about a new way of teaching, a compass for enhancing our innovative intuition, thoughts on not just clean water, but the human sewage problem that gets (pun intended) flushed from our minds by our denial instinct. The conference was sprinkled with inspirational performances by multi-media performance art group, Quixotic which did nothing less than enhance the mind to possibilities beyond our normal scope.
Brene’ Brown’s message was that we needed to get more comfortable with vulnerability. Huh? Really? I was intrigued. She said we are losing our tolerance for vulnerability, that our society has labeled it a weakness to show emotion, or to question ourselves, or to fail in front of our peers. The long-term effect of this, she says, is that America is comfortably numb – just like Pink Floyd meant in their song by the same name. How does this effect us in the long term in a negative way? Well, we all settle for disappointing lives, less than average lives, status quo. We don’t rock the boat. This is a BIG PROBLEM my friends!
This is a time, not unlike other times in our history, where we need to be taking chances, unafraid to fail and pull ourselves up to start again. We need to be thinking OUTSIDE of the box, because staying inside the box, inside the lines, following instead of leading will be the demise of our great country. It stifles innovation and creativity. It kills our spirit. No one wants to be average. Not to mention that now we need people to be innovative to solve our big messes and issues that effect us these days (need I mention them ~ health care, climate change, poverty, education system, corruption, dependency on oil, etc., etc.) We need to be AWAKE and innovative in our thinking, not burying out heads, staying under the radar.
She also said that in order for us to accept this less than optimal state of being, we typically get busy. We’re great at multi-tasking. Technology has helped us get there, too. We stay so busy that the truth of our pitiful lives can’t catch up to us. We live the lie because it’s easier to live disappointed than to FEEL disappointed. Ach! NO! We must feel our feelings folks!
Here’s the real truth about numbing out. When you numb out (either with alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, sex, chocolate, you name it) to the bad feelings, those feelings of inadequacy, feelings of boredom, hopelessness, etc. ~ guess what? You are also numbing out the GOOD feelings. You cannot choose which emotion to numb. If you numb, you numb – period. You can no longer experience joy, or happiness, or love, or ecstasy. You can no longer feel. So, it’s no way to live in my book.
So, I agree with Brene’ – this is an American epidemic! And, I for one will pledge to fall flat on my face in public, show you my weaknesses, share my disappointments and failures ANY DAY, over choosing an average life. Are you with me?fear behind it, because we want to conquer it, right.? Sometimes it’s the same old monkey chatter that says “Am I going to look stupid?”, or “Am I smart enough?” or “I don’t think I really fit in as well as she/he does.”, or something along those lines.
So once you identify that “primary question”, replace that question with a more powerful thought; ”What other people think of me is none of my business!”, or “I’m a very smart and savvy person and people recognize that and want my opinion!” You will notice a shift in your energy immediately. You can realize through playing out the worst-case-scenario in your head ~ all the way to the end, that it’s not as scary as you thought or as your mind has made you to believe. Change your mind ~ it will create a shift!
Ever say to someone, “In five years you’re going to look back on this situation and laugh! It’s no big deal!” Well, I say LAUGH NOW!!! Why wait! When we can learn to find a way to make light of the situation, no matter how embarrassing, or how grim it seems, we can effect change in our minds, our hearts, and our spirits. One thing that can almost always get a laugh from me, or at least an inner chuckle, is the daily message I get from Totally Unique Thoughts. They’re quick, they’re simple, and they are unique to me every day. (How do they do that?)
I believe that one can get stuck in the same old mental habits because of past experiences. So, it’s best to only reflect on the past “selectively” – taking the lessons and not the trials with us on our journey. You can control the meaning you assign to something. Whatever meaning you place on a thought or an event is important because your thinking is creating your reality. So, if you keep thinking, “oh, I really looked stupid when I went out with the group from work…” then, you’ll repeat that belief because you’ve attached meaning to it. Replace the thought. Or better yet….just laugh!