The first time I walked into Planned Parenthood, I wasn’t prepared. I had an idea, an impulse, an inspired thought...and I acted on it. That day. And that’s what this challenge was about for me. Instead of overthinking and waiting until later. Which many of you know could lead to...N-E-V-E-R.
But, when I walked in, I didn’t realize just how nervous I would be. In fact, I started to have the same feelings that I had all those years ago when I walked into that music manager’s office unannounced.
You know how fear + projected rejection + am-I-crazy-for-doing-this shows up in your body? You get the shakes. Your heart starts to feel like it’s about to pop out of your chest and you just may have peed a little in your pants. That’s what I was working with the first time. (If you don’t know about my first time, go back and read about it on my blog). It’s no wonder that guard turned me away. I wasn’t ready. I probably needed someone to perform a meditation on me!!
But we can always go back and do it better. And so I did.
I walked into Planned Parenthood the second time with a plan. I was going to find out who I needed to talk to about proposing my idea of giving a meditation to the women in the waiting area.
I walk in, “Do you have an appointment?” the guard asked. “No, I was wondering if there’s someone in administration that I could talk to about proposing a volunteer-based meditation to the women in the waiting area.” “Oh, try the building next door.” Awesome, dude. Thanks. I wasn't even in the right building the last time.
Walked into the next building and spoke to another guard. This guard, asked me three different times to explain what I wanted to do. He just didn’t seem to get it. But he called his manager to come out and meet me. “Oh you should probably talk to “Jackie.” Awesome! But “Jackie” was in a meeting. I left my card and decided to try again the following week.
I come back, the guard recognizes me (thankfully, so I don’t have to explain myself again). He calls his manager who comes back down to speak with me...again. Oh, “Jackie” is now on a conference call and can’t speak to me. But he’ll let her know I stopped by again. Great. I think.
I let a few weeks pass, and I show up again. “Hi, it’s me again... Is “Jackie” available?” No. Again. “Does she have an email I can send her a note?” Sorry, we don’t give out emails or phone numbers.
The manager comes back down again. “What is it that you want to do again?” I explain. Again. Each time, gaining more and more confidence. He offers me a brochure how to volunteer for Planned Parenthood. No, sir. That’s not what I want to do necessarily. “Jackie” will give you a call. Right. That’s what you’ve been saying. I got that.
Then I start to rethink the idea altogether. Maybe I need to go back to the original source, where I first got inspired: Beth Israel Hospital.
I show up to Beth Israel, where I stood in line to get my first Mammogram, and asked who I needed to speak to. This time, I give her my personal story. I amped up all the feelings and emotions and I told her I am a yoga instructor who can teach meditation....I'm sure YOU get it by now... Isn't there someone I can talk to about this?
“Oh, you should speak to my supervisor,” she says. “Let me see if she’s available.” She calls said supervisor. I wait. She hangs up. “She’s in a meeting right now but you can leave your card.” Now I’m getting frustrated. “Is she really gonna call me back or am I wasting my time?” “Oh, yeah, she will!” I gave her my card and left.
Weeks pass...no calls. I show up again. This time, I just want answers. Something. ANYTHING!! I’m not leaving until I get to someone who knows something!!!
“Hi...I came a few weeks ago about meditation or even yoga classes for patients." A new lady chimes in, “Oh, you should speak to administration downstairs!” Perfect. Thank you.
I go downstairs and finally, I speak to someone who has some answers. FINALLY. I share my story again, she gives me two phone numbers to call. One is the Spiritual Care Center for Beth Israel and the second is someone who teaches yoga classes to cancer patients. I thank her profusely. I feel a mini-victory come over me, but I don’t get too excited...YET.
I call and leave messages for both people. Thankfully, one calls back. It’s “John” from the Spiritual Care Center. I explain, again what I wish to do. He really likes the idea. He thinks I should become a volunteer for the hospital but warns me that this could take some time. Right. Time. That’s seems to be the theme here. But, I feel like I’ve gotten somewhere. So, I start to get excited. He tells me I should be expecting a call from “said-name” by the end of the week. End of the week comes...no call.
I call, again. He says, “Oh yeah, that figures. We’re doing a lot of restructuring here. I have a new supervisor. I will give her your number so you can speak directly with her on what it is you want to do.”
OY VEY!!!!!!!! I’m so tired of being sent to this person and that person when all I’m trying to do is HELP people. That’s it. Give my services away. MY GOD!!!!! I almost wanted to give up but instead I said, “Do you really think she’ll call me back?” He says, “Oh yeah, she will.”
She calls me within thirty minutes. WOAH. I'm impressed. We speak. I explain, AGAIN what it is I want to do. This time, I’m drained, I’m dispassionate, I’m matter-of-fact about it. I'm almost numb about how I feel anymore. She says:
“Well, I just got this position and need to figure a few things out. Can you call me back in two weeks? I just need two weeks to see how all this works. And I just want to say, I turned Forty this past year and had to get my first Mammogram and I completely understand everything you’re saying. I had all those feelings and I just want to THANK YOU for being so thoughtful and wanting to do something like this…”
Wait - what did you just say???? YOU ACTUALLY THANKED ME???? I almost cried. Finally. FINALLY. A woman who understands and appreciates and ACTUALLY CALLS BACK!!!
Deep breath. Big siiiiiggggh. Thank you. There's nothing better than someone who actually gets you.
Two weeks. I can wait two weeks.
I could have waited to post what happens when we do speak (this was two days ago). But, I wanted to share this now because many times, we give up too quickly.
Yes, it’s frustrating. Yes, it’s time consuming. But, getting this far feels like a VICTORY.
And again, I want to celebrate these moments. This is what I know for sure, Oprah...
No one can tell you how many times to go back and try again. No one can tell you when to leave a relationship or a job or a career or anything. And, no one can tell you you’re “crazy” for doing something that you believe in. Anyone who did anything that made a difference always looked “crazy” at first.
This year has made me embrace my "crazy." And I kinda like it.
Forever Fearless & EXTREMELY Patient…
These blog posts are part of my #40daysoffearlessacts Challenge. When I turned Forty on June 6th of this year, I decided to STEP-UP my life and created a "40 Days of Fearless Acts" challenge. Follow along as I step out of my comfort zone, do things that scare me, that I've never done before and/or are just plain silly and make me laugh!