I’ve been thinking a lot about this journey I’m about to embark on (or have already embarked on!). The last post I made solidified for me the idea that it truly is a journey. An adventure. I will (at least I hope to) visit new places, discover new things, taste, see, touch, hear, feel, smell, breathe in new things. And like the good scientist I am (or want to be), I hope to catalogue as much of it as possible as I go along…the sights, the sounds, the surprises, the feelings, the take-aways and the leave-behinds…and to share them all with you.
As my last post indicated, my first stop on this journey was in the Garden of Acceptance. (It’s a beautiful, peaceful place. If you’ve never been, you should plan a trip there!) But although that might have been the first stop, the truth is that this journey didn’t really begin until I realized I was in the Realm of Possibilities. Let me explain…
Things were getting tense at work, and I started feeling that sinking feeling in the pit of stomach. “Something isn’t right,” a little voice inside told me. My boss had fallen down a rabbit hole, pursuing a project that wasn’t a good fit with his ultimate purpose (or mine), and I had allowed myself to be pulled into the hole with him. Worse, when I tried meagerly to express my discontent for the situation and suggest some possibilities to get out of the hole, my expressions were met with hardcore resistance. I was being blocked, barricaded, shut out. And so I started to shut down. Thankfully this didn’t last long before I used one of my lifelines and called a friend; my co-worker who was familiar with the situation and intuitively understood my soul’s struggle. We talked; she provided some relief; she asked me to join she and her partner for a dinner and a play; I said, “sure.” I had no idea what was about to transpire. But in retrospect, I see that all the right ingredients were in the right place at that moment.
The play was – I’m sure you can guess it! – the final performance of the brave group of women who precede me in the Artistpreneurs program with Christina Dunbar. I knew virtually nothing about Artistpreneurs before arriving. The program looked intriguing, but I honestly was not that interested in what was about to happen on that stage. I was mostly caught up in the dramas and dilemmas inside my own head, and curious why my co-worker seemed so excited to see the performance. And then I learned why…
To be brief, what I saw on that stage that night was courage, embodied. Seven complete strangers sharing some of the most intimate, deep, personal, long-held-in truths about their lives to a packed audience. I could see how hard it was for some of them, and yet they were doing it. One by one, front and center, spotlight focused on no one but them, speaking their truths. It was powerful. I wanted to do it, too.
I talked to Christina soon after that. She had had me prepare responses to some questions about why I might want to sign up for the Artispreneurs program. Those questions caused me to dive in deep, to uncover some things I had kept hidden in dark and disturbing places for a long time. My conversation with her was even more illuminating, and I knew at this point the program would be life-altering. It was calling something deep inside me to awake, arise, to step forward, and to speak. It was a done deal, as far as I was concerned. I was signing up!
And then…I saw the ticket price.
The tuition for the Artistpreneurs program was well beyond my means; not remotely feasible, even if broken up in monthly installments. It took a few days for this reality to set it. I resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to do it. I tried to be calm and level-headed and resilient about it, but the truth is that I was heartbroken. I called Christina and told her I would not be able to participate. She listened, she let me express my shame around not having the means to sign up, and my disappointment that I would have to pass up the opportunity. Then she said these magic words:
“Are you willing to consider that there might be a way?”
“What do you mean?” I said.
“Well, perhaps there is a way you could raise the funds. I’ve had women in my group who did Kickstarter campaigns, or direct requests for support to friends and family. They were successful, and they – like you – wouldn’t have been able to participate otherwise. It’s scary, I know, but would you be willing to ask for what you want?”
I don’t know how long I stayed silent, probably just a second or two, but it felt like a long time. And that tiny pause, that little instant had a miracle contained in it. Where I thought there was nothing but a wall, a window opened. Light shone it. And I entered the Realm of Possibilities.