Social Calligraphy Boosts Conections for Change

What if no one shows up? Maybe I’ve made a huge mistake. Those familiar ugly voices of fear begin to whisper.

After sending out promotional emails, I wait for people to register for the fifth Social Calligraphy workshop. Started by a serendipitous Instagram conversation, these workshops aim to carve out a collective space for creative community to gather, learn and grow our calligraphy skills, and dream up ways to use art to encourage and inspire change. It is also a way to raise awareness and funds to support the good work of organizations fighting for social change, including ending human trafficking. it-just-flows-social-calligraphy-sept-girlsAfter starting off with a full, sold-out house of 12 at the inaugural launch, several workshops later we eventually drop down to two when we charge a small registration fee to secure a spot. Now, we take the leap to charge a specific amount, get a little more serious by producing practice worksheets and providing supplies (with 100% proceeds still going to charity.)

Nervously, I wait. Nothing comes. I know that by charging a minimum suggested donation, we will likely only attract those who are serious about calligraphy or serious about social change. I suspect numbers might drop, but now I’m bracing myself for a complete flop, with zero registrations, and no event.

it-just-flows-social-calligraphy-girls2Finally, one registration comes in from Anna Mae. Turns out she is the producer of a new event in Vancouver. Next Day Better seeks to empower migrant groups and multicultural communities through powerful storytelling through events and new media to make a meaningful impact and create a better future. She’s the kind of person we want more of to come.

it-just-flows-next-day-better-chalkboardI was honoured and had a blast working with Anna Mae creating this chalkboard art for the Next Day Better Vancouver event.

Anna Mae’s registration provides a tiny boost of courage, I post it in the Facebook group for SheLoves, a community of women who share the Social Calligraphy Collective’s values of creativity, justice, and generosity. I wince, hoping it won’t be seen as self-promotional spam.

Idelette signs up. She’s the founder of SheLoves. She is one of my biggest encouragers to pursue the creative dream, and is a cheerleader empowering so many women around the world to find their voice and roar. She brings along two others, her 10 year old daughter, and a young gal finding strength in Mercy House, a ministry helping young women facing challenging issues.

it-just-flows-kids-social-calligraphyAnna Mae and I could relate to T., as we both began calligraphy around the age of 10. I was super excited when she chose purple and yellow brush markers to take home with her – they are my favourite It Just Flows colours! She must be a soul sister. 🙂

Together the small, but mighty five of us blaze trails. After some warm up drills, we let loose in writing words of beauty and strength to send to the vulnerable people being helped by Beginning of Life, a small Moldovan organization with a very big heart, working to change the statistic that Moldova being the country with the highest rate of human trafficking in the world. We begin dreaming of a sisterhood trip to Moldova, where one day there may be opportunity to go first hand to give words of encouragement in person.

I call us mighty because even though we started late, we ended early – and we created more messages in this one workshop than all previous ones combined. The youngest ones created the most (not that it’s a competition 😉 )

it-just-flows-love-messages-human-traffickingAnd it turns out *I* need to hear these messages too – I am not alone. I do not need to be afraid. I am Loved.  So to those voices of fear I say, “Shhh! You’re not welcome here!”

Add a heart of passion, a purpose bigger than ourselves, and community to create together, and good things happen to make change, think big, and chase dreams.

it-just-flows-make-change-think-big-chase-dreamsI love what happens when change makers, big thinkers, and dream chasers gather together. This was inspired by Kei of Bold Love, who was one of the speakers at Anna Mae’s Next Day Better event.