Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive. Neil Peart
I’m leaving Cleveland today, where I have spent an excellent weekend being extremely well looked after by some lovely friends, thanks Frank, Tammy, Melissa, Dan and Tim. I’m heading down the road to Columbus, Ohio, to see more friends, before going to watch Rush play live at the Nationwide Arena.
I am a big fan of this band, expert musicians who ooze respect for one another and the people who buy their records and turn out to see them perform. I’ve seen them play live loads of times, and with the news that this may be their last tour, I’m excited to be having this opportunity. Thanks Carole, for being so generous and helping me make time to extend this adventure.
In preparing to move on, yesterday afternoon I spent 45 minutes wandering and wondering around downtown Cleveland, looking for a mailbox. In my hand were 25 envelopes, each one containing a small piece of original artwork, a ‘kind note to self’, drawn and written by some of the 100 people who came to my Art and Soul of Work session at Summer Brandcamp. I will write more soon on my exciting, humbling, powerful time at this event in Dallas last week, but for now I just wanted to share this idea of a hand written kind note to self, both as a way of extending the experience of spending time with good people, and reminding ourselves of what’s important to us in our own unique way. I succeeding in posting the envelopes, so in a few days time, 25 people will be able to begin their day with their own friendly voice.
I first heard about this event a few years ago and I’ve been attracted to it ever since. After watching from afar for a couple of years, a few of my American friends suggested I should try and find a way to get over to Dallas and take part. I think it was Joe Gerstandt who first put me in touch with the founder of Summer Brandcamp, Joni Doolin early on in 2013. We’ve been exchanging notes and ideas, missing each other, falling in and out of sync and all kinds of things ever since. Never quite managing to make it happen.
Truthfully – I thought about letting it slide this time around, maybe it just wasn’t meant to happen. Or maybe it was. Several months ago, Joe gave me another nudge, so Joni and I started to share ideas again. Then I spotted Michael VanDervort putting in a good work for me, which was followed by another thumbs up, this time from the totally HR Famous – Laurie Ruettimann.
The conversations continued and this time, the ‘net’ in network tightened up just enough so that the idea didn’t fall through. For longer than I care to remember I’ve been an ordinary person taking part in an extraordinary network. I think I’ve been good at investing in that, because connections matter. Without People – You’re Nothing. I’m slowly getting better at asking too. Laurie – thank you for recommending The Art of Asking to me, I love the book and I’ve bought copies for three other people so far.
It’s 2015 and I’m going to Brandcamp. I’m going to catch up with many friends, and I’m sure I’ll make some new ones too. This time, with the help of some lovely people, I persisted. I’m excited and I’m grateful.
After someone dies, we uncover many things, and we remember many things too. I’m uncovering and learning just how much Dad was involved in and supported his local community, it’s quite overwhelming. And I’m remembering Dad’s love of music. Skiffle and early rock (he was a big Lonnie Donegan fan), and traditional jazz were high on his list. If you have two minutes, take a look at this old video of Lonnie Donegan. It is raw energy, imagine how exciting it was to hear this for the first time in 1960.
After someone dies, as you start to go through paperwork and make the necessary arrangements, you often stumble across previously unseen stuff. I found Dad’s army discharge certificate last night. About him, it says:
Sgt Shaw has served with this regiment for the past two years. Right from his early days as a recruit, he showed tremendous promise and strength of character. All his work is marked by attention to detail, conscientious effort and enthusiasm. Completely loyal, trustworthy and of sober habits, he sets himself very high standards. A most reliable man who should be completely successful in his chosen profession.
After someone dies you are reminded of the power of friendship. The loss of a dear friend hurts, and the support of dear friends is powerful and vital. Thank you so much to everyone who has been in touch. It matters – and it’s sincerely appreciated.