As I face the fresh white blank screen in front of me, I hope that as my words flow and dance I will reach a contented conclusion and final decision…..
Should I fundraise for my health is the big scary question?
Crowdfunding seems to be the buzz word of the moment but what is it exactly?
A present day opportunity for those with a big dream (and limited cash) to appeal to the people and get some financial backing to pursue a worthy project, goal or personal cause.
Basically, there are various forms of crowdfunding help depending on your intended goal, but it is an online fund-raising venture where a target is set and donations are given until it is met or exceeded.
- A chance for a generous giver to show (physical and emotional) support by graciously funding someone or something which resonates with them.
- An opportunity for those with a need to present their case and to humbly ask for (and receive) help.
Viewed positively, crowdfunding becomes a 2 way transparent soul partnership (of free-will) soaked heavily in altruism, choice and generosity.
Sounds like a win win situation right?
So why am I hesitating to set up a crowd funding page for myself?
Despite the simplicity of its breakdown I cannot deny that there remains an elephant in the room when considering whether asking for crowdfunding help is moral. Standing back objectively most people (including myself) would probably support it for others, yet be far more hesitant were they the ones asking….
Enterprising or distasteful to ask?
Philathropic or egotistical to give?
It just makes you feel a little icky doesn’t it? It makes you want to run and hide when you are faced with the dilemma yourself.
Why is that?
When it was suggested to me (by my sister) that I set up a crowdfunding page (to help finance my long-term and ongoing health care treatment) my initial response was total objection. The thought of begging for money felt distasteful and humiliating. And for many reasons the thought of asking for help massively pushed my buttons….
I instantly felt vulnerable, powerless and almost frightened,
Even more than that, I will (sheepishly) admit that I abhorred the idea of firmly stepping down from my own perch of the higher moral ground to a place where I would be the one who became visibly exposed. Where I could be judged.
When we rake the surface of uncomfortable feelings so much comes up doesn’t it?
Everything is so much deeper than surface level once we break the ice, and I realise (more and more) how much our ego plays a part in all our decisions. For it is only when we (unwillingly) find ourselves the ones thrown into the vulnerability pit, that we are forced to peal back the internal layers of self enquiry.
Sometime, however, along this journey of growth, I have this innate feeling that I am being tested for a purpose, and almost as though a challenge is put within my path in order for me to learn and evolve.
The challenge is never one which I (or you) would choose or desire. It nearly always has a dark side to it. But then doesn’t everything when you start peeling back? By its very nature it has to trigger a nerve and cause general emotional mayhem…. Oh and it does.
To crowdfund or not to crowdfund – that is the question I face?
I find myself standing at a precipice with everything frozen around me. Hovering uncertainly and knowing that the choice I make, either way, will be loaded and magnificent.
This is the space from which I must immerse, explore and deliberate fully. Where I must remain open. A place where I mustn’t let personal circumstance dictate it all, yet allow them some acknowledgement. For as ever in this life we make decisions based upon the very shoes we stand in. And ultimately that will influence us.
This is where I make my final decision….
Can I turn it around and make Crowdfunding an ethical and worthy project?
The tide is still deciding which way to turn in regards to crowdfunding and instinctively I feel that it is crucial that people with the right intention are the ones to mould it whilst it is still in its relative infancy. If it is here to stay then we need to make sure it grows with goodness and intention at its heart.
For that is the only way that I can support and indulge in crowdfunding help.
The intention to give must come from a pure and bright place where no sense of obligation is felt.
The intention of the gifted must always be to receive with honour and responsibility.
A soulful contract if you like.
My sister wants to do this for me. She wants to set up a page and help me to finance getting well.
To ask for support in helping me to access top doctors, pay for supplements and medication, travel and accommodation costs and wellbeing therapies.
I won’t give you a sob story as thats not my style but you can read more on my Wellbeing Blog (Living Brightly) about my 20 year struggle with chronic CFS/ Autoimmune Thyroid / Adrenals /Lyme Disease and Parvo Virus here and a little more about me generally here. I have done extensive healing work myself and embraced a lifestyle committed to recovery and gratitude, but my core heartfelt wish is to simply be well. To not feel unwell and exhausted every single day. To have a chance to embrace my dreams.
I really wish I had an alternative to asking (for so many reasons), but at this point I don’t.
I acknowledge that my hesitation to set up a page and just get on with it is perhaps even doing my lovely sister a disservice, as I appreciate that her suggestion to manage the account and do this for me, is soaked fully in love, sincerity and hope.
Is it fair that I hold back knowing that were the roles reversed (and she were the one in need) that I would have no qualms in doing this for her?
I wonder why we never feel worthy enough to give ourselves the same care?
Why it is always easier to ask for help for a loved one than for ourselves?
If I accept this offer (and challenge) I have to do so with complete grace and authenticity. I have to be brave enough to do this with pride.
For lets be honest here and admit that when we are in need of help we never want to ask. We want offers to come our way but without our involvement. We would all rather have rich relatives, win the lottery, or earn enough money ourselves to pursue our dream of a better life (or health.)
Because that removes any sense of shame on our part.
I assure you that I have no sense of entitlement what so ever. In fact quite the opposite. There are so many billions of people in more need than I. So who am I to ask for help from people I don’t even know?
But just play a game for a moment and say there was a pot of gold out there and that its owner wanted to do a good deed.
Would you put your hand up and ask to be considered?
I guess it depends on how much that help could change your life?
I found myself discussing it further with my friend Becca recently. Both of us have similar health issues and are in similar positions.
Interestingly she felt exactly the same resistance as me towards fundraising. And yet we both admitted that we would fully (and happily) support the other were they to embrace it!
Eventually we came to the (rather grown up) decision that (once we has broken it all down) our only obstacle was our own ego. Eek.
It was potentially holding us back from an opportunity which could literally change/save our lives. Uncomfortably we acknowledged that to personally reject crowdfunding allowed us to remain guilt free, good and likeable. Eek again…..
As we dug even deeper we unearthed that what we really and truly feared was that we may become perceived as victims and scroungers which would render us feeling worthless and powerless, in a world where we had already been misunderstood so much through illness.
Clarity just got a little sharper…..
My objections to crowd funding are not objections to the project at all it seems, for were I in a position to give (and often I do in small amounts) I love and support the concept of helping others.
Instead I accept that my reservations come solely from a place of fear – of how I will feel and how I will be judged.
Interesting when I write so much about trying to consciously act from a place of love over fear in each situation…. Perhaps it is time to practice that which I preach?
The bottom line is that if I feel that crowdfundng is good for my friend then I have to accept that it is good for me too.
And so in a somewhat liberating conclusion I can now hear my soul whispering gently that it is slowly coming round to supporting the concept of crowd-funding and even receiving.
However, I won’t deny that my ego is still balking at the concept that I am the needy one and desperately would prefer to be the generous one who could enjoy basking in the glow of giving and doing good. Ego check again?
Recently I felt only admiration and awe for the girl who shared with the world that she was donated £40k (through crowdfunding help) to start her sustainable business recently.
Some would judge and condemn her.
I found myself asking 2 fundamental questions….
- Did she hurt anyone?… Nope no-one. You don’t have to give to her.
- Did she help anyone?… Well actually yes. She proposed and started a business which appealed to people enough that they supported her and gave her their money! She inspired them, and her business is one which helps the world environmentally. She also lit a creative and passionate spark and inadvertently encouraged myself and many others to dream about possibilities and expand (limited) thoughts.
There is power in this project.
It is how we use power which counts.
Similarly, when my old school friend (whom I had not seen for 15 years) set up a fundraising page for her little girl who was born with a rare disorder I applauded her utterly and wholeheartedly and shed a little tear.
I sent her a tiny donation and in true British form) I apologised that it wasn’t more.
Her reply was profound and significant.
It isn’t about the money. It is about the love. Thank you so much.
Powerful. It really touched me, as I believe it did her. She taught me that we do not need to apologise for anything which is done from a good place of intention. I felt humbled.
Sometimes a somewhat icky topic has such magic hiding underneath that it shakes us up inside. Occasionally we do need to question that which we thought we were sure of and see if there is another angle which we are missing entirely. See if we can make it fit.
So the big question… Am I going to do this for myself?
Okay Ive reached a decision and I am going to own this and say YES PLEASE.
I am going choose to act from a place of love and to be grateful for this amazing opportunity and see what happens. I am going to do it for me, myself and I. And for my family and friends who love me.
I hope that I can make it bigger than me and even play a role in moulding the shape crowd funding eventually forms?
Maybe it is actually a balsy thing to do?
Or am I just trying to convince myself? hehe.
The responsibility feels daunting and huge and my fears are all still ever present. However, we work within the framework and context of our own lives (and situations) and we do our best to navigate through. One step at a time.
Facing the difficult words we are called to write can mean opening ourselves up to our shadow sides. It can move us forward on our paths and may be the exact action we need to humbly embrace right now.
My pledge is to pass the generosity on and help others.
For this to feel right for me I need to feel like it will benefit other people too. I intent to start a pay-it-forward-with-love campaign and commit to always being a kind and generous person myself who will help others as I can. For when you accept a gift such as this you inadvertently take on a unwritten oath that to receive is to always look for ways to give.
I desire to one day be a kind stranger who helps another.
A beautiful and unbreakable oath.
My idea is that if and when my target is met I will donate at least 10% to someone else in need. I will ask that they receive the donation with the intention with which it is given and to commit to paying it forward themselves one day when they can.
To create a ripple effect of generosity and kindness.
And perhaps (as recipients) we can give back even more.
I myself already blog and write for free and I hope that in some small way this inspires other people on their journey. I will continue to do so and offer as much help to those who contact me as I can.
Becca, had an even more amazing promise – she is training to be a yoga teacher (at her own limited pace) and if she was able to fund her treatment and recover she dreams of offering a free yoga service whereby she visits sick people in their homes free of charge.
How amazing is that?
Getting well to help ourselves and then to help others is a beautiful goal. And I can do so much more good in this world from a place of health.
Is it just me or is the vibration of this project suddenly seeming to shines a little brighter?
I openly say that I will spend the money (which my sister will pass on) on my healing and my self-development in my life as I wish. I cannot promise you results but I hope I get them. I will not be held to any explanation or accountability but know that you have my trust and my honour.
How do you know I speak the truth?
You don’t. If you have doubts do not give your money away. And if you need it yourself keep it and spent it on yourself. Please. I also genuinely do not want anyone who knows me to feel obligated to give. At all. You already help me with your support. Thank you. That is enough.
And so lovely friends, I delicately ask what you think? I am nervous to hear your thoughts? Is this something you would consider for yourself?
I would like to see where this could go and how big a wave of authentic and genuine kindness we could ride with it.
I’ve opened my arms wide to something which didn’t initialy feel comfortable and I am aware that I will encounter many emotions throughout this experiment. I ask for your respect and support.
Suddenly this feels as though it almost simultaneously has a purpose of its own, which is bigger than just me. I stand as the immensely grateful catalyst. I hope I do this justice.
I remain authentic, true, vulnerable and exposed. With nowhere to hide.
I offer up heartfelt thanks for any good intention or gift (of any kind) which comes my way. I am so grateful and if you so desire (with absolutely no resistance or obligation) here is the link to my sister’s fundraising page.
* It goes without saying that any money left over will be donated to someone else in need. All funds will be spent on health.
** UPDATE MARCH 2016 – READ ABOUT HOW THE FUNDRAISING IS GOING AND MY FURTHER REFLECTIONS ON IT ALL HERE.