Gosh – no posting since 05/13!
With good reason – was putting on Tuesday’s A Creativity Jam for Age Justice, which was as magical as they come. Complete with wild & wooly weather, a complete clear double rainbow that arched over a beautiful landscape, astonishing lighting turning the lush green treetops to golden. Only seven people braved the elements to make it, but they were the RIGHT seven, seven who delighted in the art show & enthusiastically joined into the wondrous Judith Sachs dance energies.
I’m baaaaaaaaaaack & ready to share lessons learned planning & executing the event. Putting on the Jam turned out to be more than a fun event. It was a learning experience. Some lessons were new, some were reminders of things learned long ago:
I drive people who organize everything to a T nuts because it looks like I’m not doing anything & then it comes together & is great fun & they can’t understand how it could have happened with at least a dozen lists & weekly meetings.
It is important for the organizer to enjoy the event as well as the participants.
I work best within collaboration.
Don’t tie your stomach in knots over things that aren’t working out as you’d expected – if you can do something to remedy it, do it; if you can’t, come to peace with it & set it aside.
You can’t control the weather.
Focus on the people, not stuff.
For me, it works to let things unfold & happen, but it would not have been the success it was if it weren’t for detail-oriented people partnering with me.
All of it was possible because of having a terrific side-kick in John.
Above all, the event brought the power of keeping things simple.
Simplicity is a 2-edged sword – – people value hard work & overcoming difficulties. Keeping it low key & simple – not so much. And let things unfold, tapping the Universe as a event planning partner, and onlookers can get their stomach in knots with worry that things won’t work out, distressed over the apparent lack of focused organization – and then they end up inwardly seething when it all turns out & it turns out their worries were for nothing. My older sister explained that my greatest accomplishments were mere trifflings they came too easily to me. “Only things that create pain have value.” Yikes!
But she was more right than wrong. That is how the majority of people seem to think. One woman in serious need of our playfulness coach services, with plenty of money to kick up her heels, balked over our rate, which was a bargain considering she got two for one. She wondered “why should I pay when what you do isn’t difficult & you enjoy it so much?” Am still sorry about her – she had the funds to do things most of our clients couldn’t dream of – Road Scholar trips, great bridge parties in her senior residence’s solarium, going to delightful restaurants or take in wonderful concerts in enchanting settings. It was just too simple.
There is a tendency to think of people who brood & are dark natured are inherently intelligent & that people who are sunny & bright are probably a bit of a dim bulb. There is the same expectation around the energies we put out to get something done My oldest brother impressed all of us with how super smart he was because he WORKED so hard to do well. I grew up thinking he was honors all the way – turns out he was okay, but short of Honor Role. My #2 brother & I picked up things easily, so naturally we didn’t think much of our brain power because in school & at home, expending lots of effort was emphasized, not finding the best way to get something done easily.
Praise be for my quarter century in corporate America, where I learned that the Holy Grail of business is a product or service that hits the mark, can be produced as easily as possible & easily replicated.
And then there was Molly Donato, who rocked my world when she asked, “Are you prepared to let this task be easy?” Was I willing to set aside my bias for hard word & prejudice against “Simplify! Simplify!“?
It is strange looking at the Creativity Jam through my rearview mirror. It worked because I kept it simple. If I forgot to ask someone or follow up, didn’t beat myself over the head for it. Kept my mantra – “The people who are supposed to show up, will.”
I took basic proactive steps. Finding the perfect space – well, it actually found me. Was delighted to hear Judith praise the charming church hall where she danced our feet off. Both the art & performances spaces could have been designed with the event in mind. I purchased 30 yards of white damask to cover the PERFECT 6′ x 18″ tables displaying the paintings & sculpture, ceramics & jewelry; printed out & matted quotes about living expansively (thanks to John for trimming); made water-proof exuberant signs for the entrances; bought serpentines & scrunched green paper at accents. Then I let things unfold.
Clayton & Ceri & Elizabeth, whose support were part of the rental price, were invaluable in keeping me & the event on even keel, the heart-centered detail folks who were ideal counter-weights to my loosey goosey self.
My goal, above all, was to keep it all simple. I did, it worked.
John & I aim to root our playfulness coaching in simplicity. Rambles, ball parks, dog parks, country inns, diners, bbq joints & tea rooms.
With Anne, nothing was more rollicking than eating in her senior residences Club Room, a table for four typically sitting six or more, all of us having a rousing good time. In the dead of winter, we’d head upstairs for Coloring With Sinatra – fun with crayons & Frank crooning in the background. In the nice weather, it was off for a ramble, hopefully a glorious sunset, or just nip over to IHOP for a scoop of ice cream for Anne. Simple, powerful fun.
With Richard, we’d ramble or – if it was icky weather – we’d put on a film fest in his room. We’d stop by Feast & Fancy on our way, getting cheese sandwiches for us, a thick seafood salad for him, then settle in for a classic film – – Fred Astaire & Audrey Hepburn were great favorites of his, with Funny Face watched several times.
Keeping things simple creates unexpected barrier s to success. People trust massively expended energies. It’s why humans tend to make a project MORE work, not less – one that takes a minimum of well-placed energies doesn’t get the respect of one requiring blood toil sweat & tears. It’s why even corporate big wigs avoid taking simple preventive measures but have not qualms spending mega bucks to clean up a mess.
Simplicity gets no respect.
But I am a simple soul & intend to stay just that! Instead of hemming & hawing over degrees I need or training I should get or all the different masteries I should master in order to be taken seriously by elder care professionals, will look to what I have that they don’t – – my deep personal experiencing with older family & friends. Mine & John’s.
Keep things simple. View your strengths & see where they can take you now. Learn new skills & brush up old ones, but don’t complicate things. Don’t wait until plunging into something you want to do. Don’t shrug off taking preventive steps to avoid calamity – we realized we had to take the Creativity Jam sign from a rarely used entrance & put it opposite where the event happened because the balloons meant Smark the hard-to-spot entrance were literally a wash out.
Aim for simplicity. Always. Make it your priority to be effective as efficiently as possible. Make it your gold standard. Enjoy more moments, help others to do the same.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~ Leonardo da Vinci