In May 2005, I quit my career! I was burned out and exhausted.
I had always thought I was going to be some kind of successful businessperson and here I was completely abandoning that possibility. Ah, to be free of working myself into the ground and hungering for the approval of others! You may ask, Why? Well, it no longer had any meaning for me - it all just felt wrong. My body was tired, my energy was low and it felt like I was constantly swimming upstream. Life seemed to be beckoning me to a whole new direction.
This idealistic quest for freedom was soon followed by the practical realization - "Shit, I still have to make money!"
I vividly remember looking through the classifieds in the local rag and seeing the words leap off the pages - "Wanted: Male Manny".
No, could I really take that kind of a leap? Well, I phoned up, had some interviews and in July 2005, was officially sworn into the very slim ranks of Male Mannydom!
What I thought would last about 3 months, ended up lasting 3 years! What had started out as a way to pay my bills turned out to be the birth of a magical journey!
It was like dropping out of the system. I mean, who wants to 'network' with a nanny? My reputation went from being 'somebody' to a supposed 'nobody'. No more name dropping or sharing the 'important' job I was working on. Friends thought I was nuts. I had worked with some great companies and had a good career ahead. From all appearances I was a 'success'. Dont worry, I had some therapy to make sure my head was ok. (In reality, I discovered it was actually my heart that needed all the work!). After I picked myself up from the meteoric fall down the status ladder...and the personal ego assualt, an interesting thing started to happen....my life miraculously began to open up....fresh and anew.
I began to feel and experience the potential for a happiness not based on outer things. No, not some fantasty nirvana-enlightened or pure state...I was still making all the ordinary blokey mistakes....I was just contented with 'what is', right here...right now. A radically new experience for me!
I threw myself into a world of simplicity, children, nature and discovering what was really important to me. I sought out leading teachers and visionaries such as Eckhart Tolle, the gorgeous Pema Chodron and other mindful scientists and authors. I had no real explanation to offer friends and family...or my partner as to what or why I was doing this...but I did stumble across some pearls that I now hold dear....
- The ultimate luxury good: Peace of mind!
- The greatest assets: Time, kindness and Health (found in Voluntary Simplicity)
- This moment is enough: The power of presence.
- The good life: Kindness, Friends, food, nature and the arts.
- Contemplative practice: Meditation, yoga and presence.
- Being of benefit...the seed to one day grow into Wake Up Sydney!
I also began to reconnect with my passion for social change. A few things became clear....
- We are at a Crisis Point: The verge of unprecedented collapses.
- World peace comes from inner peace: Inner transformation.
- Connection needs to be ramped up - people feel fragmented.
- The new form of social activism is fun, profitable & inspiring.
- A local platform for all this to happen needs to be created....
The obvious insight...someone had to create a platform for Sydneysiders to come together for entertainment, dialogue and inspiration.
The surprise news....Extra, extra, Readallaboutit...In July 2008, my services as Mr Manny were no longer needed! You know the gentle handshake....but without the 'golden' part.
The freak out..."I don't want to go back into business and besides, I haven't got the money, confidence or experience to do this anyway!"
The conclusion...take the leap, find ways to leverage my passion for social and environmental change, don't get too serious, focus on Kindness and inner transformation, find ways to be mission and profit driven, be willing to fall flat on my arse, collaborate, be maverick, don't sell out, have fun and see what happens!
A year later....out of a little rented apartment, the Wake Up Sydney! experiment continues: I now have a team of generous people helping out; I managed to keep my lover; we have sent out over 60,000 kindness cards; we have a great website; have filmed conversations with tons of inspiring Sydneysiders; we offer uplifting downloadable audio from our Boulder friends in Colorado (thanks to the beautiful Tami Simon and the inspirational Sounds True!)...and we have sold out nearly 20 events for around 10,000 people!
At the heart of all this is my whole-hearted desire to 'chip in' my small part to accelerate a more kind, creative and conscious world...have fun...make a living...and still have time for walks to the beach, swimming, friends, dogs...and all that good stuff!
This is my story. Feel free to take a look around the site. Check out the videos, come to a monthly evening, implement some of our "campaigns", drop us some feedback & order some free kindness cards.
We are just ordinary folk who feel it is time for you and I to make some shit happen! Sydney knows how to pull together...I mean check out the Olympics, Earth Hour or New Years Fireworks! We know how to lead the world. Now is the time to focus all that talent and passion to co-create Sydney as the Kindness Capital of the world. Idealistic? Yes! Worth trying? You know it!
This is a 'work-in-progress' and your feedback and support is welcome and very important to its success.
Here's to good times!
Founder, Wake Up Sydney!
PS. Sign up and tell your friends about what we are doing.