14 Apr Means to Receive: An Interview with Wind Dance’s Leslie Milbourne
Leslie Milbourne is a soul-colleague from way back. She lives and works and has her being in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, where I live, too. She’s my daughter’s mentor of many years as an educator at Wind Dance Farm and Earth Education Center, co-founded with her husband John Devine. Wind Dance just inaugurated its first Kickstarter for a new building–an ambitious leap. A profound change in Leslie makes this leap possible: I share with you Leslie’s journey to becoming someone who could receive:
I’ve always been a giver. And to step into the role of a receiver, I had to think about things differently, put aside fear, and be receptive to receiving. I needed to step into that space in order to accomplish what we want to do here at Wind Dance, and that is continuing the development not only of our fundraiser for our building center but the overall essence of developing our programs and the entire physical space.
Tell me more about that space you had to step into?
In starting to learn how to raise funds, I met with you with an idea for an annual appeal. In developing the annual appeal–our first one was, I believe four years ago– you helped me formulate what to include in the mailing, what to limit it to, what to emphasize, and what to actually physically put in the mailing.
The space I had to step into was learning how to not only organize a mailing and other fundraisers but also learning to speak from my heart, learning not to plead, learning to write in a way that reflects my own personal inner voice, learning to be clear about what I’m asking for, and before asking–this is really important–being grateful and thankful.
A few things helped me get into that space–a huge shift:
1. One is meeting with you. (Thank you for the birthday gifts.) And talking over not only how to do fundraisers, but how to be open to receiving, how to reach out and how to accept. The channelling between you and I has helped that to grow.
2. Another thing I do is I pray. I do yoga every morning and I pray. And in that prayer, I really try hard to be most grateful first for having a day to be here at this space and for this space to be available to share with others. And then I ask. I ask for blessings for my family, for myself, I ask for blessings for myself, I ask for blessings for my relationships, and if there’s a fundraiser going on, I ask for blessings for the fundraiser.
Today, I’ve been working very hard, endlessly, tirelessly, (but I am very tired) on this Kickstarter campaign, which is trickling in, which is nice, it’s growing but it’s also the most stressful fundraiser I have ever done and I’ve been sending a lot of emails out, Facebook messages, making phone calls; we’ve been making little packets and taking them to the Farmer’s Market, Russell Mokhiber did a write-up in Morgan County USA about it, reaching out to many different avenues. This morning, I imagined little rainbow raindrops reaching down to people who would receive them into their hearts and then further into action.
3. I read inspirational writings. I have a few books on my bookshelf, and sometimes it’s random, sometimes it’s, “This is what wants to talk to me today.” I have a few books I really rely on to keep my inner peace and keep me going and give me confirmation and direction. Today, I pulled–I don’t do this every day, because I’m just so busy getting ready for the kids-–The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher I open it up and just randomly read a paragraph. Would you like me to read to you what I read today?
The way of love unites us with Tao. Those unitive moments when we reach out lovingly in consciousness or service bring us the purest joy we can know. We’ve all been blessed with such moments but they usually occur unexpectedly, sweeping us into brief but beautiful communion. As Tao people, we expand this vision to encompass all we do.
And when I read it, the thought that immediately came to mind is: I work really hard on the emails for the Kickstarter campaign, formulating them, and the Facebook updates, and also the updates for the Kickstarter. I don’t want to be overbearing, annoying, burdensome, I just want to inform people and reach out. And when I press that “submit” button, or the “send” button, when I have written something that I feel is solid, from my heart, reaching out, it’s that moment that was mentioned in the book, that “brings us the purest joy,” that moment I spoke from my heart and with my own voice, and trying to be really clear and concise. Because I think people don’t take time to read a lot of emails. They like short and simple, and I have a hard time with that. I’m always editing to make things as brief and not long-winded. So that was a little lightbulb that went on this morning: when I press those buttons, that’s what’s happening and I feel good about what I’m sending. And that’s important: to feel good about what you’re sending.
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PS: Leslie mentioned how sweet it had been to make notes this morning in anticipation of our call. When I said I was honored and couldn’t imagine how she had the time or focus to do it, she responded, “That’s what meditation, yoga and prayer do for me. If I didn’t feed myself w/those things, I would not be able to do what I’m doing and I would not be able to do the graciousness and the professional aspect of it.”