What an incredible month it’s been! I wanted to write to you all from the road, but alas technology was not on my side this time. So, here it is, No Strangers: a mini Storytelling Tour in Poland.
First, it must be said, that the people of Poland are some of the kindest I have yet to meet. I caught a nasty flu last week & generous people I’d just met took most excellent care of me for an entire week; me doing nothing in return, but sleeping and coughing and a bit of complaining on their couches (and in one instance, in their daughter’s room, which they so kindly gave up to me so I could rest properly, thank you Michal Malinowski!)
A Summary of Success:
It’s not about the money.
1. The Tour began in Gdansk, Poland at Starter Inkubator, an amazing facility which provides space for Start-up businesses to meet, inspire, discuss and participate in workshops. I presented Wild Women Who Dared in honor of International Women’s Day. I shared stories of Wangari Matahaai who created the Green Belt Environmental Movement in Kenya & inspired the planting of 30 million + trees worldwide. Hannah Brencher, Founder of The World Needs More Love Letters: Her story began with 1 Love Letter to a Stranger on the subway and now she inspires people in 47 countries to share letters with others. And Irena Sendlerowa, a Catholic Social Worker in WWII Warsaw who helped rescue 2500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto. I also shared a bit of my own story, of taking a Leap in 2005 to sell my home & most possessions to create/facilitate a volunteer literacy project and how it’s grown beyond my wildest dreams.
After the presentation I received hugs & countless thank yous for helping others to see that Daring can Open Doors. Over the next week I also received multiple messages from “serious” business Start-ups in Gdansk, Poland who said my presentation, “Wild Women Who Dared” at Starter Inkubator inspired them to Dare to take a Risk, 1 step toward Their Dream & realize it could be Reality. Here’s a clip: Wild Women Who Dared
2. TEDx Warsaw was mind blowing and Heart expanding. So many of us shared the power of Story, of Serendipity, of Seeing the Story of the Other as being similar to our own. I shared No Strangers about the williness to step outside of our comfort zone, reach out to another and connect whether through a Hug, Listening to someone’s Story, and building a bridge across. To realize in this Beautiful World there are truly NO STRANGERS; we are All Interconnected. Afterwards to see the Tears & receive Hugs & Heartfelt comments made me realize yes, indeed, We are in this Together! And Together we can make this world a better place. A Kinder place.
3. I shared Superhero 101; Release YOUR Inner Superhero at several high schools and a college in Poland. The best reaction was from a group of high school students in Minsk Mazowiecki. After hearing about my experience connecting to homeless through FREE HUGS, these students went out on their own & offered Hugs. After, they shared how deeply it impacted them.
Ania Zarzycka shares: That was just amazing! at first we were a bit frightened we were thinking that nobody will wanna hug us… that was not true! there was plenty of people who wanted a hug! the most thrilling of this was the fact that they were so different: there were young and old, various subcultures… and we couldn’t stop smiling. After the whole day of hugging we were so happy that I just can’t find words to describe it! I’m just sure that we will repeat it again and again and again… <3 FREE HUGS in Minsk Mazowiecki Poland
And then I caught a nasty flu. And learned again how wonderful people are. Michal Malinowski’s family and friend Piotr who made sure I was warm and had herbal concoctions to heal me. Ula, a new friend who offered to care for me over Easter weekend and brought me to her sister’s home in Warsaw to share healthy food even though I was sick.
Feeling Blessed Beyond Compare. Love this Life!