I got a little lost. But Aimee found me and set me straight.
This is a really busy time of year for me. Work consumes most of my attention, and I have little space in my schedule for anything else. For example, as happens every May, I’m currently fielding a ton of questions from graduating seniors who are looking for help with making decisions and managing the upcoming changes in their lives, usually involving employment or moving up to their next degree. I’m preparing presentations for colleges, service groups, corporations, and other clients and potential clients. And as soon as I button up the project I’m working on now, I’m going to turn my effort to developing the change management session I’m slated to present at the Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures later this summer.
Yessiree, I’m super focused these days. Lots of organizing. Lots of deadlines. Lots of work, work, work all about change, change, change. Is it any wonder that downtime is so precious to me and that I guard my weekends so possessively?
So I want to share with you what I did this past Sunday, why I did it, what it did for me, and what this all has to do with change.
A few days ago, my long-time friend Aimee Holtzman texted to ask if I would work with her this weekend. Aimee is the founder of Rock CAN Roll, (rockcanroll.org), an all-volunteer non-profit that collects non-perishable food items at public and private events and delivers those items to local food distribution centers. Her aim is to address the shameful reality of hunger in the most affluent nation on the planet by giving regular people like you and me the opportunity to bring even just a single can of tuna or a box of spaghetti to a concert, to our place of business, or to a party, and to donate that food through Rock CAN Roll so someone who would not otherwise have food to eat. Aimee told me that this particular Sunday, Rock CAN Roll was setting up a collection table at the Walk for Human Rights on Long Island, and she needed me to work the table.
Now, Aimee and I define our relationship as a mutual admiration society. I have such deep respect for her and her mission that I hate to say no to her and always feel awful on the rare occasions when I must. Also, I am certainly behind the effort to raise awareness of universal human rights issues, and I’m totally on board with being counted among supporters of the cause.
But Aimee, this weekend? I mean, I’m just soooo tired.
I didn’t say that. This was Aimee. Sigh.
I told her I would be there. I got myself out of bed and dressed on Sunday morning. And I made my way to Eisenhower Park by 9:00 AM, ready to, literally, Rock CAN Roll.
And as usual, I’m so glad that I did, and that I didn't say no.
The promotional literature for the Walk for Human Rights, which was sponsored by The Jewish Community Relations Council, the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, and The Workmen's Circle, carried a single line down at the bottom that said, “Please bring a healthy, non-perishable food donation for people and pets.” That’s all it took for the people who did the walk to bring cans and cartons and bags and boxes of food. One couple brought what looked like an entire supermarket shelf of canned vegetables. Another family sent their young son over to the table with a bag so heavy, he could hardly carry it. Many walkers who didn’t bring a donation of food made a donation of funds instead. Everyone who stopped by the table was fascinated by the simple brilliance of what Rock CAN Roll does and by Aimee’s commitment to change the status quo and make ALL PEOPLE HAVE FOOD AND NO ONE GOES TO BED HUNGRY the new normal.
After the event was over and I got back home, I realized that Aimee, my friend and inspiration, had helped me to regain my center yet again. By allowing me to participate in the transfer of food from those who have it to those who do not, Aimee reminded me that no matter how many questions I answer about change, or articles I write about change, or seminars I conduct about change, the only way to make change happen is to actually DO something.
Wishing will not change the way things are. Hoping will not change the way things are. Only action – like the action of one person bringing a can of food and the action of another person being there to receive it and then pass it on to yet another person who needs it – only DELIBERATE ACTION like that will ever make anything different … will ever make anything better … will ever change anything.
I admit, things have been moving quite fast for me over the past couple of months, and I fear that I had gotten a little lost. Then Aimee found me and set me straight.
But that’s enough about me. So, how was YOUR weekend?