Project Kinect
Sharing, Endorsing, and Kinecting Positive Social Change

Today I had the luxury to ride for four hours with someone who I have established a deep connection with since arriving to Little Rock. While driving, we began speaking about inspiration and how it impacts our daily lives.  For anyone who has read my blog, followed Project Kinect or spent even just a little time with me most likely has been witness to my emphasis on inspiration.  Inspiration is necessary in order to get positive change moving forward.

I thought that I would post a couple previous thoughts on the topic of inspiration.  The first is from my blog while I was doing a two-week journey on figuring out what I was going to do next in my life. This is from the summer of 2010.  If you’re interested, here is the beginning of the two week journey.  Keep in mind it was an off the cuff experiment and was intentionally just written and not edited.  Here is Day 7 discussing inspiration and making sure we have inspiration catalogued somewhere so we can easily access it.

Day 5 Beliefs and Inspiration

Inspiration comes from so many different avenues. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come all the time, that’s why we have to be able to record what inspires us and be able to access it. While I was watching Grey’s Anatomy today, I realized that one of the reasons that I have been such an avid fan for such a long time is because I am always inspired by it and am able to go back to it and watch it again and again to get those feelings repeated. That is the main reason why such a show as Sex and the City are so popular. Yes, entertainment value is there, but so is inspiration.
Inspiration and Spirituality. There are of course, many reasons why we, as human beings are spiritual. It is a way to come together in communion. It helps keep us balanced and grounded and holds us accountable to the actions we take. Above all these things though, it inspires us. I must say, because for some of you reading that don’t know me as well, when I mention spirituality, it doesn’t necessarily mean religion. It can be religion, meditation, exercise, Wicca, or whatever. For me, it is Rilka’s Letters to a Young Poet. When I really get into the thick of life, I go back to it. I have been through probably, at least, twenty-five copies. I give them away, write too much, or just get the most out of them. It is one of my touchstones.
 
This weekend I am going to log down my areas of inspiration, continue with what I believe in while mixing it up with my wants and my needs. At the end of the weekend, day 7, I’ll bullet point the week and have a full list of these topics. Once that is there, I have a funny feeling integrity is going to sneak its way in and we will throw that up against our lists.
The last part I want to write about stems from another T.V. show. I have recently fell in love with the show Parenthood, thanks to hulu.com, and the season finale paralleled this little journey. The matriarch of the entire family is going through the exact same thing that we are. It is just a reminder that this is a check and adjust system for our entire lives, not just now. The other thing that was mentioned was that you have to be actively participation in your life. I’ve taken quite a few courses with Landmark Education, and this is a reoccurring idea with that organization too. We cannot sit on the sidelines of our life. If we do, we will vanish and there will be no evidence of our existence.

 

This is a post from June twenty-third of this year.   It really gets to how inspiration leads to momentum.

Beginning with Inspiration

What do you do with inspiration once you have it?  We have to remember that inspiration doesn’t always stem from a great or beautiful happening; it can be ugly and sad yet still inspiring.  To be inspired, you just need something that triggers a movement inside you.  Something that is compelling or moving enough to make you sad, angry, extremely happy or so overwhelmed that you have to find out more about that particular subject and share it with someone.  That is inspiration.

Unfortunately, inspiration gets lost much too quickly today.  It gets lost because we don’t want to notice it or we have so many other “important” things happening, that we let it fall to the side where it can just be an amazing feeling one moment followed by the next task, or, we are just too lazy to do anything about it.  When we are struck with an inspiration, we often look at it with an all or nothing attitude.  A forty something man or woman sees a professional hockey game or figure skating competition and think to themselves “I really wish I could do that but it’s too late for that”.  Well yes, it is too late for you to get the next gold medal in the Olympics, but the inspiration there is not all or nothing.  In our realm of life, there are so many ways that we can use that moment of inspiration and make it into a tangible action that moves forward and gains momentum.  For these two forty something adults, they could sponsor a skate team, start a fundraiser to buy skates for children in their community, learn how to skate or take their children skating.  There is so much space in between all and nothing that we have freedom to let an inspiration guide us.

I find it funny in a way that we so often say to ourselves, “but what can I do?” when somehow, we can watch a singing competition on television and are able to call in and vote.  We are inspired by the performance to pick up the phone and make that call to vote yet we still say in our everyday lives, “what can I do?”

As I continue to show you what I am doing through my project, Project Kinect, please really start answering that question to what you can do?  There are so many possibilities that many are probably not even thought up yet in your head. While we have been helping at the kitchen next to the once Church of Christ, a woman who had been stopping by for supplies found herself inspired by what was happening at this kitchen.  She found herself with nothing but time and now she is volunteering two days a week there at the kitchen.

Inspiration is just the start to creating something possible and real for anybody.  Many times, inspiration can just be what gets an idea going. The idea itself inspires someone to use their resources which then builds into a large united change from a cycle of inspired thoughts stemmed from one person.  Never underestimate how large or small your contribution is when inspiration pipes its vocal chords.  Anything you do when you are inspired is greater than not doing anything at all.  It just takes a conscious effort of not sliding into an all or nothing attitude but, finding out what is in your reach that you can make a contribution.

Inspiration is really just momentum; Kinetic energy that is sitting there ready to move forward through some vehicle one way or another.  The next time you feel that momentum, test yourself and see if there is something you can do with it to benefit someone else.  I think that moment, that small millisecond of a moment, right there is the moment that each one of us has the ability to change who we are as a whole society and possibly get ourselves moving in a more positive direction.  We are all involved.

Art fascinates me.  I’ve never been one to be able to draw, paint, sew, work a pottery wheel or anything that entails arts and crafts, but I still get extremely fascinated by it.  This week in the late summer, I the Monday Spotlight to look at what some communities are doing to use art as a vehicle to bring them together.    With in these examples, I hope that you can bring something to one of the communities that you belong in.  Art is one of the best ways to bring a community together and have something to look at and know that you all worked together.

  • Art in the Public Interest: (API) is a nonprofit organization that supports the belief that the arts are an integral part of a healthy culture, and that community-based arts provide significant value both to communities and artists. Based out of North Carolina, they have really put focus supporting art that reflects not only a commitment to quality but a concern for the culture in which that work appears. One of the most influential projects they represent is the Community Arts Network. CAN is able to help you with direction and obtaining the tools you may need to create a community art based organization in your area. 

 

  • Made By Survivors: Created in 2005, married couple Sarah Symons and John Berger pooled all of their savings and with the help of their community of friends, organized Made By Survivors that is dedicated to fighting human trafficking and slavery with empowerment and social enterprise.  Their mission really speaks to me and I feel that what they are doing to assist with personal empowerment is an inspiration to us all.  You can read their mission right on their Facebook page. While you’re on their website, you can donate directly to their cause, or you can peruse their products and purchase a beautifully made handbag or set of earings.  Take some time there thought because the website has an infinite amount of information.

 

  • ArtInfo Sometimes you just need to keep up with what is happening, find a little inspiration, get some new ideas or just read a little gossip; Art Info can help you with that. This online magazine brings art, ideas, meeting show times all together to share with anyone who wants to view or be apart of the art community.  “ Our mission is to provide unparalleled access to the world of art and culture.” 

What do you do with inspiration once you have it?  We have to remember that inspiration doesn’t always stem from a great or beautiful happening; it can be ugly and sad yet still inspiring.  To be inspired, you just need something that triggers a movement inside you.  Something that is compelling or moving enough to make you sad, angry, extremely happy or so overwhelmed that you have to find out more about that particular subject and share it with someone.  That is inspiration. 

Unfortunately, inspiration gets lost much too quickly today.  It gets lost because we don’t want to notice it or we have so many other “important” things happening, that we let it fall to the side where it can just be an amazing feeling one moment followed by the next task, or, we are just too lazy to do anything about it.  When we are struck with an inspiration, we often look at it with an all or nothing attitude.  A forty something man or woman sees a professional hockey game or figure skating competition and think to themselves “I really wish I could do that but it’s too late for that”.  Well yes, it is too late for you to get the next gold medal in the Olympics, but the inspiration there is not all or nothing.  In our realm of life, there are so many ways that we can use that moment of inspiration and make it into a tangible action that moves forward and gains momentum.  For these two forty something adults, they could sponsor a skate team, start a fundraiser to buy skates for children in their community, learn how to skate or take their children skating.  There is so much space in between all and nothing that we have freedom to let an inspiration guide us. 

I find it funny in a way that we so often say to ourselves, “but what can I do?” when somehow, we can watch a singing competition on television and are able to call in and vote.  We are inspired by the performance to pick up the phone and make that call to vote yet we still say in our everyday lives, “what can I do?”

As I continue to show you what I am doing through my project, Project Kinect, please really start answering that question to what you can do?  There are so many possibilities that many are probably not even thought up yet in your head. While we have been helping at the kitchen next to the once Church of Christ, a woman who had been stopping by for supplies found herself inspired by what was happening at this kitchen.  She found herself with nothing but time and now she is volunteering two days a week there at the kitchen.

 Inspiration is just the start to creating something possible and real for anybody.  Many times, inspiration can just be what gets an idea going. The idea itself inspires someone to use their resources which then builds into a large united change from a cycle of inspired thoughts stemmed from one person.  Never underestimate how large or small your contribution is when inspiration pipes its vocal chords.  Anything you do when you are inspired is greater than not doing anything at all.  It just takes a conscious effort of not sliding into an all or nothing attitude but, finding out what is in your reach that you can make a contribution.

Inspiration is really just momentum; Kinetic energy that is sitting there ready to move forward through some vehicle one way or another.  The next time you feel that momentum, test yourself and see if there is something you can do with it to benefit someone else.  I think that moment, that small millisecond of a moment, right there is the moment that each one of us has the ability to change who we are as a whole society and possibly get ourselves moving in a more positive direction.  We are all involved.

It wasn’t until I heard my friend tell me a story about her visit to China while she was in the graduate school on a cruise ship that I really began to digest what I have been doing for the last three months.  If you haven’t been following me and Project Kinect, here is a rundown of the first three months.  Writing this down also helps me comprehend what I have done and where this year is going.

I started out the end of February in Las Vegas. There I met with the Human Feng Shui Project, witnessed my god daughter’s baptism and got a good look at the economy of Vegas and what they are doing to try and grasp the magnitude of their situation.

From there I was in Texas.  I spent a good amount of time in Austin with my friend Jess.  There I helped with the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO) conference, witnessed the South by Southwest Interactive portion.  I also got see some extremely innovative theatre and learn about the ATX equation.  Austin led me to San Antonio, a thriving city, and then to Beaumont, which is a barely hanging on city. 

 With the assistance of my friends Alyssa, Levi and Megan, we journeyed to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Mobile and onto Saint Petersburg. Outside of Mobile, AL we checked out Dauphin Island and how it has coped with hurricanes, the BP oil spill and the constant erosion that is inevitable for an island in that location of the gulf.

  In the Tampa/Saint Petersburg area, I learned about what is being done to fight against the high rate of pedestrian accidents.  I spent a night in the Gram Place Hostel and met Jo and Valoree who are contributing to their communities in great ways.  After the hostel I met Stacy, a friend of a friend and we got to talking about technology in schools and what that looks like as an educator. 

Stacy brought me to the train station and I went to New York with a fifty degree change in weather and an incredibly empty pocket book.  In New York I met with the Central Park Conservancy, The True Colors House and a whole bunch of different people adding their gifts into their communities.  New York was amazing because I had a chance to see what ten years of healing looks like after the travesty of September Eleventh.  New York came and went so fast that I feel like I hadn’t accomplished any connecting but then look at my picture from the today show and remember what great strides were made.

From New York I went to Connecticut, more specifically Mansfield, CT and hung out on the University of Connecticut (UCONN) campus for a few days.  I chatted with some graduate students about how their lives had changed at UCONN and sat through the technical rehearsal of Urinetown which is a musical that has so much relevance to our society right now. 

I then was in D.C., had a great sit down at the EPA, realized how amazing it is that majority of the Smithsonian Museums are free, and just took in our nation’s capital in a way that I had never done before. Washington D.C. was pivotal for me though when I realized I had connected an idea from one community, Yoga for youth, to another community.  That was when I realized what I was doing was actually getting people to think about what is happening in their communities and what they can learn from other communities that don’t cross their train of thought.

D.C. brought me to Baltimore.  In Baltimore I learned about what a city with such a bad representation with crime does to change the opinion of an entire nation.  Baltimore’s most significant addition that I saw was The Circulator that is a free bus.  It has three routes that venture through much of the city and prides itself on ten minute services until nine in the evening.  When I return, I will look further into the managing of this by the local government and how that bus system got budgeted in.
I then arrived into Milwaukee where it was raining, snowing, hailing with thunder and lighting and I was whipped around like a leaf from a leaf blower.  My friend Melanie picked me up and got me safe to Rockford where I gathered for her birthday, painted a wall and spent some time with Dana from the Weed & Seed Kishwaukee Corridor. 

Dolly came and got me from Rockford where I went home for a week, spent some time in Madison getting some follow up news on the Governor Walker Protests in February and March.  I had a quick look at Porchlight and the AIDS Network while I was there but I really wanted to spend some time with family before I was off to Los Angeles. 

In Los Angeles, other work had to take priority but I still got a chance to talk with the film maker Katherine Brooks and her summer project Face 2 Face where she is going to spend the summer meeting fifty of her facebook friends and filming it.  How amazing is that?

From LA, I flew into Minneapolis/St. Paul and went to an organizational meeting for the creation of a new nonprofit that will be dedicated to the goal of connecting LGBT youth so they have an even larger support system which will ultimately help to lower the rate of teen suicide.  To be on the ground level of such a purposeful endeavor was truly a gift.

I then went to hide out at my father’s house in Eau Claire, WI.  I spent some time up at our cabin, and then attempted to get caught up on editing and developing the next three months.   I had a chance to inquire into my Circle K club from college and to find out that this once small service club that I was once the president of is currently the second largest club of the entire international organization.  That is a ton of service hours helping to benefit the world that we all live in from an enormous group of selfless young people. 

I then made my way back to St. Paul and the Minnesota Aids Walk with my friend Danny’s kids from St. Paul’s area Gay/Straight Alliance clubs.  The following day was a huge rally at the capitol building where I interviewed people who were fighting for the right for gay and lesbian couples to marry.  The week gave me a chance to see four different people from extremely influential moments in my life.  It was a great week of reflection and then two fantastic female Lutheran Pastors drove me back to Wisconsin Dells where I am now preparing for a month helping out the schools that were destructed in and around Tuscaloosa, AL.

As I proofread this, it reads as if someone else has done this.  I sit and digest that this is my journey and I think how it is missing so many great details.  If you are reading this and this is your first introduction to Project Kinect, then please read what you’ve missed.  Something may inspire you to look at the communities in your life and involve yourself in a new way. 

If you are a faithful follower of what I have been doing, then please continue to follow and PLEASE share this with your friends.  My project doesn’t work if it isn’t shared.  I need people to continue emailing me, commenting and adding what they feel when reading and watching what is happening.  It is a group effort and in this group, everyone counts.

Well, next is Tuscaloosa.  I’m going to go get dirty with my friend Alyssa for a month and really try to help a group of people who lost everything.  I’m teaming up with The Forsaken Generation but still need your help.  Larger sponsors haven’t joined on yet so I’m still depending on the last of my savings and donations for living.  If you have been wanting to donate and haven’t yet, now is the time:  Now that my fourth month is starting, there is really no turning back…