I made two choices this week that were pretty significant. One is I finally decided (letting go, with much sadness) that I wasn’t going to Authentic Inspiration: A Writing and Meditation Retreat this weekend with Susan Piver at Shambhala Mountain Center. The other is that when the first round of tickets were released yesterday for World Domination Summit 2013, I didn’t buy one, (I’d already made this choice once this summer, while at the conference, when current attendees were for a limited time offered a discounted ticket).
It isn’t that I didn’t want to attend these events. In fact, my desire to go to both is strong. It’s also not that I can’t afford them, because I could. It’s just that there are compelling reasons to chose otherwise, and my heart and gut are telling me that I am making the right decision. This is something I’ve learned in the past year: after you trim your life down to the only things you really want and love, you will still have to make choices, and sometimes it means choosing one good thing over another, one longing over another.
Another choice I made is what I’m going to do with the $100 dollars I got at World Domination Summit (WDS) 2012. If you remember, each attendee was given a hundred dollar bill on the last day of the conference (watch the video below to see Chris Guillebeau’s explanation) along with a note that said “We’d love to see how you can put these funds to good use. Start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different–it’s up to you!”
I’m not going to lie, this gift, this challenge came with a lot of responsibility and some anxiety. I wanted to think of something “good enough.” I struggled with what to do for the past two months. I donated a similar amount to Save the Lyric, a Kickstarter campaign to save our local independent movie theater. Then I gave a similar amount to the John F. Ptak Relief Fund. John is married to one of my favorite writers, Patti Digh, and was diagnosed with kidney cancer while uninsured. I felt good about giving to these causes, but they didn’t feel like THE cause, the one where I should put my WDS $100. I kept waiting for that special feeling, the magic moment of realization, of awareness, of connection, that rush of certainty, but nothing was happening.
And then my cousin Sarah commented on one of my recent blog posts, and I noticed she’d started a new blog, Eulogy Postponed. When I read it (it’s new, so it’s only a few posts and an about page), I knew. This was it. I was giving Sarah my $100 so that she could “Go somewhere. Be a voice. Do something.”
I don’t have a life that allows me to do this. Yes, I can be a voice, and I can do something, but I can’t easily go anywhere. I have a house, a tiny family, and a full-time job, so whatever I do, I have to do from here, but Sarah can go, and I can help her.
On Sarah’s about page, she says, “My delusional mind also believes in the idea of helping strangers. If each and every person in the world is serving, then everyone is also being served. Karma. The Golden Rule. Love is the only rational act,” and
What if life wasn’t what ifs? What if we all actually did those things we talk about doing? What if we were each serving our families, friends, neighbors, cities, countries, solar systems as best we could? What if you let yourself be the gloriously passionate individual you are and shared that with the rest of the world? What if you stopped telling yourself no.
I tear up every time I read that. There’s an odd family pride, a sense of gratitude that she is “my people.” I am also flooded with nostalgia and love, memories of the sweet little girl she was, her love of dogs, how she could keep up with the boys, all the times she made me laugh, and how much she loved fresh fruit. I remember all this, and am amazed by the woman she’s become, strong and compassionate.
So, this hundred dollars is hers, an investment in the plans she has to help, to serve, to do good. I wish her all the best, and am sending her (along with the cash) so much love and gratitude.