Hi I am sitting in my she shed office of love here along the woods and shore of Sebago Lake lower bay. I am surrounded by piles of stuff and large Post-it pad with names of speakers email addresses and the target agenda for the upcoming in person conference October 21 22nd in Auburn Maine resting on a trip pod by my desk.
The panic of it all has subsided sort of like the calm in the eye of the hurricane. I know the next blast of intense adrenaline pumping stress will start to increase as the conference day approaches.
I fear no one will come. It will be a disaster. Looking to other people to fill seats is always a mistake. And I am just one person. One person in this adorable little she shed that my husband bought for me. It is nothing short of miraculous that so much good has been born out of this space. I’ve witnessed it all and poured everything I have into it and still sometimes it feels as if it’s all been some sort of dream.
I panic about location and the perfect location happens. I worry about getting the highest and best speakers on the topic focus for any particular conference I host, and the perfect speakers come. I worry about attendance and yet I trust that whoever is supposed to be present, is. And I just got a let go of the outcome. Do the best you can… And then let it go. TRUST is my word right now. It’s on a pink Post-it stuck to my computer monitor for me to see as a reminder… Every time my stomach clutches and my shoulders go to my ears… TRUST. The surrender isn’t born out of some ignorant blind face but rather experience. The experience of life but for this particular upcoming conference, it’s my fourth one. One in person in 2019, 385 people I think. Then during Covid two virtual conferences, 690 at the one I collaborated with the state of Maine school safety center with. And 350 at the next virtual training that I collaborated with the maine department of education. And now here we are October 2022 collaborating with the state of Maine school safety center and the state of Maine catholic diocese. I know will have around 350 students during the three hour Friday session… That one is just for students six through 12th grade. It will be live streamed and recorded. The following day will be for teachers parents and the public. That Full day conference will be from 8:30 AM to 5 PM With everything from being serenaded in in the morning by my beloved Master guitarist Gary Richardson and then a food truck and band for a quick 45 minute lunch break. Then back to our speakers for the afternoon session then a full panel discussion to round out the day.
My hope is that it is a full house filled with healthy people so no one gets Covid or the flu or anything else… That people have the experience of what they receive and believe is a five star training experience. My intention is that everyone will have a deeper meaningful education around what technology is and isn’t and how they can protect themselves and the children around them in a kind loving effective way. My hope is that children will understand that curiosity about the human body and sexuality is normal and nothing to be ashamed of, to release any feelings of shame or guilt, and that they feel empowered and in control of how that curiosity is manifested without being sexually exploited.
I didn’t understand any of this when I was young. I just wanted to be loved and accepted and I was willing to do things in the short term to receive what I thought was what I wanted and quickly found that it ultimately was the barrier from keeping me from what it was that I really needed. The whole thing set me up for a domino effect in my life of putting myself in situations for survival that led to repeated abuse including sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, survival sex under the umbrella of basic survival.
I guess I believed that kids like me were far and few between. I didn’t fully realize the extent of sexual exploitation of children until I was volunteering at Long Creek U Center when I was nearly 50 years old. My intention since 2015 has been to educate at least my community to the domino effect… The contamination… The corrosion of families homes neighborhoods towns cities… Rolling out like ripples… From a contaminant so easily eradicated. Give children everywhere what they need not only to survive but to develop and thrive. This is the answer to the vast majority of dysfunction everywhere human beings are. There’s a saying that hurt people hurt people… Well when they grow up that hurt contaminate businesses and politics and environmental endeavors… I believe if you have a problem with the leaders around our planet that odds are they are wounded leaders. If you want to save the world… Give children what they need to thrive. It is that simple. You don’t need to raise billions of dollars or apply for FDA approval… All you need to do is embrace the starfish story… Just help one. If everyone just did their own healing work, that alone would have a profound impact! Healed people heal people. Healed people create healthy functioning families, neighborhoods, work places, schools, hospitals, communities, global political healthy endeavors. It’s the key to everything in my opinion.
I have done and continue to do my work because God knows it’s ongoing. He and Mike question is always how can I be more impactful. More poignant. I do not long to do more… There was a time during this several years of nonprofit that I paid the price of missing out on living in the now and enjoying my life because I was trying to do too much. After having an adverse reaction to the second Covid shot and fearing I would have to stop this word completely… I learned to take everything off my plate except for what I believed I could make the greatest impact with. For me it is one or two conferences a year. There is one part that I do not enjoy and that is chasing money. I really do not like chasing money. I wish someone would just give me $50,000 a year and say here you go Cathrine create an amazing conference!
I believe that God understood this about me and I received more money this year’s than years prior without nearly as much bagging. $10,000 from the New England Patriots foundation most valuable player, the maine marathon, various organizations and individual donations and of course my faithful security net… My husband Charlie who always assures me that whatever I am short for any given conference he will find a way to meet that so that the show will go on!
This year instead of numerous trainers/speakers from one organization, I have a half dozen speakers from a few different organizations. Amazing men and women who are each true superheroes in our community both local national and internationally. This year the entire conference will be recorded and used for training purposes not only for our own state of Maine school safety center and private schools across the state but beyond. Bringing in professional A/V team came at a cost of just under $20,000. Had to be done. We have volunteers from two different domestic violence and sexual response organizations who are showing up in case anyone gets triggered. It’s so interesting to me who shows up and who doesn’t. I have learned that when you give to an organization… That doesn’t mean that that organization is going to give to you when you have a need. But I’ll give where I believe I am supposed to and then when I have a need I have learned not to expect it from where I gave but trust… TRUST that the help I am supposed to receive will come… And it does… But almost always not from where I have given. Fascinating. I have learned to trust. And to be totally open about where the good I am supposed to receive will come from. Fascinating!
I am a visionary. My intuitive empathy… My hypervigilance… I see things and feel things that other people might not. I have a feeling for what is needed and I have a feeling for how to meet that need. But I do not have the resources for hiring people with the skills that I am weak in. So I have to pull out my Tony Robbins notes and say to myself… If I was a project manager what would I do today? What are my priorities today? My husband says it’s like Chinese cooking… I have this little pile for this part of the conference on my desk… And then I have another little pile for another part of the conference on the other side of my desk… And I just keep plugging along. I’ve been doing this since March. The greatest sense of relief happened last week when I was on a zoom call with most of the speakers for the Saturday conference. I was so impressed with them! It was like I had been wearing a really heavy backpack for months and when each one of them talked about what they would share during the conference my burden lifted. And by the end of the zoom call my backpack was off. Now I need to focus on getting people to attend.
I feel like the locations awesome, the A/V professionals are epic, the topic is timely and essential to the well-being of our community now and for the future, the speakers are tremendous, I have food to keep people in the building… Entertainment to give the participants a little joy during break to help with everybody’s energy… An amazing panel to wrap everything up… Everything recorded for the edification of even more people… I’ll be on a radio interview next week that will help bring people to the conference. I’ve reached out to Rotary to let the people in the town where the conference will be and the surrounding area know that the conference will be happening. I should probably reach out to the other organizations in that area as well.
The next thing for me to do is to take care of myself so I don’t get sick prior to the conference. I have my girlie appointments just before the event to get my hair and nails done so I represent well. I I’ve been thinking about gifts for each of the speakers may be a framed picture of the starfish story…
The New England Patriots foundation invited me to be on a panel a week ago. It was a Pilate summit, a collaboration of CVS health and the New England Patriots foundation. It was for female lead nonprofits. I was honored to participate. Even in the midst of all of these spinning plates I felt honored to be invited. It was a lot of driving and a lot of stress and unfortunately I pulled something in my back and was unable to volunteer at the main marathon the next day. I felt and feel awful about that. But two of my girlfriends went and stood in the wind and cold in my stead. Not the people I thought I could count on for this particular event but they were the only two who stood up and offered. Fascinating. Anyway a interesting opportunity arose shortly after the New England Patriots event and I have an opportunity to provide a level of training that I never would have dreamed possible… IF… IF… I can get enough funding to bring the right people to the table of creation… It would be hugely significant and potentially go from local to national. So I wrote the New England Patriots contacts that I made to see if they would like to collaborate on this. Have not heard back but I have learned over the years that you’ll never get a yes if you don’t ask.
Lastly I will share a bit of my humanity. I have had issues with poachers. I hate to admit it. I take it personal. It upsets me more than I want anyone to know. It’s like junior high school all over again. Where some of the other kids that I share my toys with and I support in every way and include and every way do not reciprocate. Not only do they not reciprocate but not even tell me that there’s a party happening never mind not invite me. Show up at my events taking notes and then trying to replicate what I have done. What hurts me is I would have gladly shared everything I have done… How I did it all my resources etc. I would have been happy to make connections and share resources. Instead poachers go to my Facebook page and friend request certain people and then ask for support from those people. The whole thing always comes back to me. Everything comes out sooner or later. And it hurts me. I’ve cried about it a few times. What I do is I show up and support them. I make sure that I do not represent my nonprofit at their events. I’ll pay full price and take pictures and videos and put it on my social media to further their reach… I am fortunate enough to have thousands more followers than these folks and I am happy to share my reach with them. When I see these folks I make sure that I ask for what I want… I will nonchalantly bring up the fact that it hurts me when I don’t get invited and I hope that they will invite me yada yada yada but it has historically fallen on deaf ears. It is what it is.
But because of these experiences when I sat as a panelist at the patriots foundation summit for female led nonprofits… I was able to share with them the poison of us versus them and the expansion of good when we collaborate. So I feel like I was able to take my painful experience and use it to educate the new nonprofits who are just starting out and may feel tempted. It also revealed what steel needs to be healed in me. At 58 years old I am still waiting to get the love acceptance support that I did not get growing up. I’m still working on taking a letting myself daydream about a successful outcome. I never do that. I don’t celebrate. I don’t do a touchdown dance. I don’t even privately allow myself to daydream about what was accomplished. I really want to change that about myself and give myself what it is I wish I would have received. I’m still a work in progress.
So I was $7000 short from my $30,000 goal and a friend of mine was walking me to my car after our visit and she asked me what I was short. Mind you I have never asked my friends for money for these events. I have asked if they knew philanthropic people… anyway you get the point. So she asked me what I was short and I told her 7000 and she said that’s how much money my husband and I are going to give you.
So this blog is not edited. There is no bullet points or specific target messages or anything like that. I just pretend that I’m talking to a girlfriend and sharing what’s going on. I hope that you pick up what I’m putting down! Lol just sharing what’s going on. Where my heads at right now.
Thank you for reading my little novel. I hope that you got some thing out of it…