Monday, August 09, 2010

What Dreams May Come; or, A Tiny Little Auction For A Great Big Cause

I’m willing to make the bold assumption that most people have, at one time or another, been anchored down by a Daily Schedule mired in enough sludge to almost guarantee a future of trudging around in circles that seem all too certain.

I’m furthermore willing to forward the even bolder notion that, more often than not, most people choose to plod along in the status quo than to do the hard work of extracting themselves from the muck into which they’re steadily sinking. Hopefully the feeling passes, but maybe it doesn’t. Too many lives have run their course with no one at the helm making the Key Decisions, blazing a trail to Somewhere, taking shots at Something.

That’s why I’m always a sucker for any story starring a brave soul who has chosen the proverbial path less traveled. My heroes are those who—-win, lose, or draw—-make deliberate moves from Covered Ground into the Unknown.

Earlier this summer, some vivid textiles lured me to a booth at a festival I was attending with my family. Exotic themes, rich colors, and varied textures grabbed my attention, but a conversation I had with the couple running the booth held it captive.

Several months ago, Joseph and Belle were pretty typical adults working jobs that, according to Joseph, made them both miserable. Their story may have been an American cliché were it not for a game-changing-big-risk decision they made to build up enough savings to invest their summer into something a little bigger than themselves.

So when the warm weather arrived, they hit the road with a stock of Indian textiles and beaded jewelry and a cross country itinerary. Not that the days would be any easier—the weekend I met the couple, they were pulling 12-14 hour days—but now the work had meaning. Where their old jobs had trapped them, their new gig is all about freedom.

See, Belle and Joseph aren’t profiting at all from the sales of the wares they display. A full 100% of the profit from their sales is going to assist young girls whose lives have been interrupted by sex slavery in rebuilding their lives. The couple is working this summer in support of Sixty One, an organization focusing on their physical and emotional care of girls who have been rescued from the sex trade to which they were sold, often by their own families. This video offers a glimpse into what their particular brand of rehabilitation can mean in a young girl’s life.

According to the Sixty One website, “What makes this program unique is our belief that our girls can achieve anything once they remember how to dream.” See, the rescue of these lives goes far beyond removing their bodies from the physical environment of their entrapment. True freedom comes from the ability to dream.

And that’s a cause into which I can thoroughly immerse myself. One of Sixty One’s core beliefs is “That significant social change is born out of individuals doing what is within their realm of influence to affect that change.” That, Readers, is where this auction comes in.

See, I immediately fell in love with, well, just about everything on Belle and Joseph’s table. And I knew instinctively that many of you would, too. Originally, I hoped to post a little plug along and point you to a link to an online store—until I discovered that such a store does not exist.

So I decided to create one—albeit with limited hours and small stock. I purchased four items: a handbag, two bracelets, and a pouch. Sixty One already received the profits for those purchases. I am now reselling these pieces and sending all the money—minus nothing—collected to Sixty One as additional profit on these items. In other words, I am receiving nothing from this auction beyond the joy of using my online space--my tiny little realm of influence, as it were--to help build some dreams.

The auction will be open until Friday at noon. Each piece is be featured in its own post, and you may use the comment section to place your bid. The last comment appearing at noon Friday wins!

Whether you chose to bid or not, I hope you’ll take some time to think about your dreams this week. Because if you’re reading this, chances are you’re a lot freer than you may feel. If you’re going to spend your freedom in slavery to a list, then please make it an enumeration of things a little bigger than laundry, lunch meetings, and lawn care. Celebrate freedom. Remember what it’s like to dream. If you can, help someone else do the same.

Items Up For Bid:

Elephant Handbag

Mirrored Pouch

Teal, Amber, and Green Beaded Bracelet

Elephant Bracelet

Thanks for looking!

Come back later this week for an important discussion on the promises we make to ourselves, and for an exciting announcement on Friday!


Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

This is such a great idea and wonderful of you to participate in this. It's very inspiring to hear about Joseph and Belle, and Sixty One sounds like a great foundation.

Speaking as someone who is also about to jump ship on this life to live in a foreign country to help communities impacted by the sex trade, I can say from experience that it IS empowering and it IS liberating to break down the walls around what we think possible in this life. I'm going to Thailand to help girls dream of a better life. But the true irony? We in the States can afford to remember to dream big. To dream widely.

(P.S. My embassy papers just went through. I'm officially a dual citizen! Another big hurdle crossed!)

Erin said...

I love this, Cynthia!

I am participating in a walk in October for SCT NOW, or Stop Child Trafficking Now. I love doing what I can in lots of little ways to help those less fortunate. Another passion of mine is Alzheimer's, which I posted about today. I am going to tweet your post and check out your links. Thank you so much for sharing about Sixty One. You are wonderful!!!

Willoughby said...

An inspiring story to say the least! And their creations are just beautiful.


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