"You are constantly looking for something grand out of life, and that could be the reason why you are so restless", my family tells me. I keep wondering if that is indeed true!
As I get older (and maybe wiser!) my thoughts keep playing scenarios on how I can do better...in this lifetime. You see, when I was young, I was a rebel and an idealist. I could afford to be that in the safety and comfort my parents.
I spent a good portion of my professional life finding my place in this world. I worked hard and the more resistance I had for growth, the harder I fought. The resistance ranged from a quota system based on caste and societal structures to nepotism and personal connections. It was these headwinds that kept me motivated. It kept me on my toes with a chip on my shoulder. It sure seems like a simple enough blueprint for the all to follow, right?!
In retrospect, while it felt like swimming against the current then, there were many small yet powerful waves that were nudging me forward. I now see how blessed I am to have gotten those "breaks" in life. I had mentors who looked after me, groomed and guided me and continued to provide me a safety net to grow in life, both personal and professional. I had family and friends who connected me to opportunities and supported me, both emotional and financial.
I appreciate how much my network has given me for the life I have now. I can also see so many others who do not have the opportunities and support that I once had.
Changing the Conversation...
How can you think of anything "grand" when you do not know where your next meal is coming from or have never had the luxury of a father or mother, let alone a mentor. How can you see ahead, when you or your dearest ones chemotherapy might suck the last living breadth and will out of your family or the next experimental drug costs twenty thousand dollars for each dose? How can you think when you are only ten and have been thrown into a war you do not understand and have no means to learn and think for yourself?
How can you...How can you....How can you...? And suddenly everything seems so hopeless and morbid!
And then it hit me...again! It will be like this forever, if we, the blessed ones, do not effect a change into this vicious cycle of life. No, I am not talking about something grand or donating money. We all have our causes and am sure we give when we can. I am talking about us changing the conversation from "How can I...? to "What if...?".
Last year, I asked myself...
What if I take the hobby of mine (photography) and create something out of it, say a calendar, something that many buy in retail stores?
What if this calendar was all about travel adventures and stories about places that I have visited and can inspire wanderlust in others?
What if I absorb all of the costs of the calendar, so others can contribute 100% to a worthy cause?
That small experiment led to a very humbling experience for me personally. With a modest goal of $300/-, my small community gave back more than $1000/- to St. Jude's Hospital Cancer Research Hospital! How cool is that!!!
It taught me that things do not always have to be "grand". They can be small steps and these steps however small can in fact make a big difference to someone else.
This experience encouraged me to think of more "What ifs..."
What if we could not only inspire, but also help spread some of the goodness?
What if there are others who also want to share their time and skills?
What if something small from each of us becomes much, much bigger than any of us?
What if...What if...
So, how do we make that happen. I thought long and hard. One thing was for sure, it was not about asking for money. It was something more than that, something personal. The answer was pretty simple actually. It lies in the fact that most people care and want to give back to their community. And, they do that in so many different ways...some give their time; others give their skill and yet others donate some of their hard earned wealth.
Art2Heart is a concept that brings all these three things together...
Think of it as a kindred marketplace where selfless artists donate their time and skill while kind donors support them. These artists are everyday people like you and me, our kids, our friends...
The artists can then donate what they do best and anybody who purchases these products are helping both the artists AND the cause. can make sure. This way 100% of your contribution goes directly to the cause. I reached out to three good friends of mine to see what they think. Every one of them were surprised that I would think of them and without a moment's hesitation gifted some of their finest work to Art2Heart.
This will allow us to create or receive art from these generous artists, convert those art into fine products like calendars, greeting cards, wall art etc. Now we have products our community can buy, not for profit, but to help worthy causes.
Sometimes I wonder, "Is this all too grand a thought?" and then I think about my friends who did not hesitate a moment to share their work and suddenly Art2Heart does not feel like a concept anymore. It is starting to feel very real, something achievable!
What do you all think? Will this concept work? Would you contribute your time or skills? What else can we do to make it real?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or by liking the post.
I leave you all with this quote:
“For it is in giving that we receive." — St. Francis of Assissi
Until next time...Cheers!