Have you ever had one of those weeks where the same thing comes up again and again? It feels like God or the Universe is trying to send a message.
That happened to me a few weeks ago. First, I finished reading Ashley Judd’s book, All that is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir. I wasn’t an Ashley Judd fan, but my friend recommended it. WOW!! It blew my socks off! I was so affected that my husband got sick of me talking about Ashley Judd. But I just couldn’t help myself.
I didn’t know much about Ashley, except that she was “a Judd,” an actress and married to a race car driver. I didn’t realize that she was an ambassador for PSI. PSI is a global non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world. They focus on lack of family planning, HIV/AIDS, maternal health and the greatest health threats to young children, including malaria and malnutrition.
Ashley isn’t one of those celebrities that flies to Africa for a day of photo shoots to lend her name and face to the cause. She gets into the trenches, often visiting brothels and AIDS orphanages. She works with people who are dying, sex slaves, prostitutes who work to feed their families and sick children. She visits the most impoverished areas in the world, and she works hard to educate, hand out supplies and medicine and give lots of hugs.
Then she comes back to the US and has to make sense of all she’s seen. As I read her book, I was trying to make sense of it too. It’s agonizing and sad.
Waiting for Superman
As I was wrapping up the book, my husband and I watched the documentary Waiting for Superman. Here filmmaker Davis Guggenheim tells the story of inner-city children who are trapped in a broken education system, because their families can’t relocate or afford private schooling. He focuses on a few resilient kids, giving an insider’s look at the parents and kids who are waiting for “Superman” — or anyone who can save them and give them a chance at a better life.
He contrasts the broken schools with passionate teachers and visionaries are saving a failing system and the kids trapped inside it. Guggenheim takes us inside creatively run charter schools that produce successful students. Here’s hope and proof that it’s possible to create outstanding schools, even in the most troubled neighborhoods.
However, there are precious-few of these charter schools, and they are in high demand. There are only a handful of openings every year, which are filled by holding a random lottery. We wait in suspense as each family sits in the lottery meeting, hoping and praying that their son or daughter will get in. Even the kids understand that their entire life can be changed instantly if they get the lucky draw.
And of course, only a couple of the kids we have come to love get into the schools. The rest are “sentenced” to the broken system. It’s agonizing and sad.
The week ended when we decided to watch The Help. After all, the Oscars were coming up, so we needed to see as many as the nominated films as possible.
The Help chronicles the (fictional) lives of African American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi — all during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. We get to see the hardship and prejudices that they endure in a system that is really perpetuating a form of slavery and bigotry.
These strong and amazing women are finally given a voice when an aspiring author interviews them and tells their stories. We also get to see one of the maids get hired at a house where she is appreciated, loved and well paid. Ironically, this household is run by a woman who is ostracized by the other “ladies,” because she came from the wrong side of the tracks.
At the end our main African American heroine is dealt a final unfair blow, but I’m not going to spoil it if you haven’t read/seen it. But I can tell you, that blow is agonizing and sad.
That was my week — filled with seeing injustice and human suffering. I knew I was supposed to take something from it, so I meditated and prayed. What am I supposed to do with this information? It’s too overwhelming! How am I supposed to help the world? I don’t know where to start! What can I possibly do?
The message came almost instantly. It’s all about seeing the preciousness in every human life — including our own — and spreading that message. I don’t necessarily need to travel to Africa or to the inner city, but I need to help people feel their self worth and see the value in our other brothers and sisters sharing the planet. And I need to continue to feel my self worth, which is sometimes a challenge.
Almost everyone has that little voice deep inside that tells us that we’re not good enough or lovable enough, and I have it, too. It tells us we’re not worth it, or that we don’t deserve better. We’ll call ourselves stupid, lazy, fat, weak … losers. When we believe that voice we give up hope, and we give up trying. We accept what the fates have given us. Some of us put others down to try to make ourselves feel better.
A boy in Harlem joins a gang. A woman in India sells her body to earn enough money for food (and her husband thinks that’s okay). A white man man worries that the Latino sitting next to him is going to mug him. We get stuck in the muck.
What I’m doing about it
After getting my message I took a page from Ashley’s book, literally. She talked about a fabulous service organization called Women for Women International. They work with women in eight different countries where war has devastated their lives and communities. Some have lost their husband or children. All struggle for survival.
These women are enrolled in year-long programs where they learn job skills and receive business training so they can earn a living. They come to understand that the have rights — that they are precious humans — and begin to fight for those rights in their homes, communities and their nations. They become leaders who are the beacon for other women.
I am sponsoring one of these women, which means more than just sending a $30 check each month (seriously, $30 is all it takes). As a sponsor I also get to write letters of hope to my sponsored sister. I get tell her that someone else is pulling for her. I can cheer her on and reinforce how valuable she is. Some women will even write or dictate a letter back to their sponsors.
Each woman only has one sponsor. They don’t get admitted into the program until someone starts contributing. The sponsor can choose the country that she wishes to help — countries like Rwanda, Afghanistan and Kosovo. I wanted to let Women for Women decide who needs the sponsorship most right now. I’m waiting to see which country and women I’m given the privilege to help. I’ll keep you posted.
What I’m doing for YOU and everyone else
As great as that sponsorship is, it’s only one woman. I want to reach more people, and I want to get started now. I just knew that I had to roll out my Fearless Life class on the internet. It’s been a busy couple of weeks getting the technical side sorted out, but I’m ready to roll … TONIGHT!
I’ve done this seminar in person here in Wisconsin, but with this new web-based system I found, people all around the world can change their lives from the comfort of their home. Now, you might be wondering why I’d choose the Fearless Life class. I mean, what does Fearless Life mean? And what does it have to do with self-worth?
Again, the message came through — loud and clear — people need this class and they need it now! I’ve always talked about the Fearless Life concepts as being a way to clear your mental and emotional clutter and reduce stress. What I now see is once you clear that clutter and stress, you’re left with the beautiful gem that is your true self. Once you get beyond the excuses, complaining, expectations and negative self-talk you begin to see what an amazing gift you are to the world. Step-by-step, Fearless Life helps you free your soul!
So the first class is free because I want to get it out to as many people as possible. Again, it happens tonight at 7pm CT. Sign up here if you want to attend the teleclass. If you can’t make it tonight, sign up anyway, and I’ll send all the materials (including the audio recording of the class). You’ll be able to listen whenever it’s convenient for you.
To get in on the rest of the teleclass series (5-weeks total), click the “Buy Now” button and register. We’ll meet every Thursday in March, and remember that you’ll still get all the materials even if you can’t make the calls.