There is a spark, a yearning, a stirring in my soul that I cannot contain. It is a desire that comes from a deep, raw place inside, and it is desperate to be unleashed. After moving myself across the country 14 years ago, completing a Master’s degree and then a PhD, and working through some very personal obstacles, I feel the stirring to (finally) plant my flag, to claim my life’s purpose, to step into my truest and highest expression, to become the woman I am meant to be. I call that woman Dr. Gretchen.
Dr. Gretchen has big dreams. She is a passionate social worker who believes deeply in her bones that we can create a better, more just, more peaceful world. She has mad skills, and a willingness to get down and do the work. She has a ton of experience, credentials, connections, and motivation. She’s got potential, baby!
What she, what I, don’t (yet) have is the confidence, the boldness, to make that claim, to plant that flag, to say, “this is me and I’m unstoppable!” For too long I’ve listened to what other people wanted me to do, instead of listening to my intuition. For too long, I played it safe and performed well, but ignored the longings of my soul. I did this to such an extent, at one point, that I lost myself completely. It was a dark place, and I paid a heavy price.
I have worked very hard in the past few years to pull myself up from that place, and I have been fortunate to receive a ton of support. I got myself into therapy, sought spiritual guidance, surrounded myself with positive people, and held fast to the belief that the Universe wanted something better for me. I now find myself in a position to be able – once and for all – to put that dark past behind me, to express gratitude for the lessons learned, and to turn the page and begin the next chapter.
The most beautiful thing of all is that an amazing opportunity has been put in front of me to receive coaching, support, and a vehicle to free my voice so that I can begin that next chapter in a place of clarity and confidence. It is called “Artispreneurs,” and it is a six-month program that begins in August and culminates with me and a handful of other courageous women standing on stage and sharing our stories. Can you imagine!?!? Me! On a stage! ALONE! Telling my story! Me, who threw up on her 3rd grade teacher before playing the piano in the school talent show because she was that nervous to be seen and heard. Me, who still gets sick to her stomach thinking about the idea of being on stage, but who knows that it is in those scary (but supported) places where we grow the most. I want so badly to overcome my fears, to unleash my voice, to share my truth. I want so badly to participate in the Artistpreneurs program! (To read more about Artispreneurs, click here and to see an example of one of the courageous performances from a past participant of the program click here.)
Since I met the extraordinary Christina Dunbar, the founder of Artispreneurs, only four weeks ago, some incredible things have already happened in my life. Just the act of thinking about sharing my story and freeing my voice has allowed me to speak up at work when I otherwise would have remained unheard, to share a bold idea with colleagues at a professional conference, and to reach out for help from a friend at a time when I felt my voice was being dismissed. That’s just as I was considering signing up for the program! I can only imagine what magic will transpire in my life with six official months of guided soul work with Christina.
Here’s where we get to the support part – the request. This is really hard for me. I’ve never asked for help like this before. I’ve asked my parents to support me when I had trouble making rent; when I was just trying to get by. But I’ve never asked for financial support to do something that is beyond essential to my day-to-day survival. The Artistpreneurs program has a tuition fee: $4,500 to be exact. And I simply don’t have it; or at least not the bulk of it. I almost passed up this amazing opportunity for that very reason, but my soul is calling me to do this, and so I must raise the funds needed for tuition.
Any amount you could contribute toward this growthful, soulful endeavor – whether it be $5 or $20 or $100 – would mean so much to me. No amount is too small. Or too large! The details for how to donate are below. If you would like to offer support but don’t have the means right now, you might consider forwarding this email to others who are able to give and who would be inspired by the courage required of this venture. In gratitude for your support, I will send you a creatively-inspired, hand-written thank you note; keep you posted via this blog on a regular basis about my progress toward raising these funds and toward completing the Artistpreneurs program; and share with you a copy of the performance I will give at the culmination of the program.
This is quite a leap of faith for me, and it has taken everything I have to believe in myself enough, to believe I deserve this enough, to ask. Getting to this place, writing these words, has been an exercise in extreme vulnerability. But I know there are others out there who believe that all things are possible if we believe, and if we ask for what we need.
I do not know what Dr. Gretchen will eventually do. She might start up her own non-profit. She might run an advocacy center that promotes social justice in LA and beyond. She might be elected as President of the National Association of Social Workers. She might write a book. She might do things I haven’t even yet imagined! But whatever it is, it will be powerful and positive. Indeed, she is already beginning to show me what miracles can transpire when I even dare to set the diminished and silenced parts of my soul free. I need your help gathering my might, building my confidence, and freeing my expression so that I can plant my flag and dare to go where no woman has ever gone before. I would be blessed and grateful beyond words to have your support.
Thank you for listening,
Here’s how you can support me on this soul-expanding journey using PayPal:
- Go to Paypal
- On the tab bar at the top, click “Send”
- Enter in my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enter the dollar amount you wish to donate
- Next, when given the option, click “This is to friends or family”
- Follow the simple instructions from there. Note that if you pay either with your PayPal account (if you have one) OR with your bank account, you will not be charged a fee. If you use a credit/debit card, you will be charged a $0.33 fee.