I found myself feeling really emotional tonight, at times sad, a few tears but with a huge feeling or content, maybe even relief. Tomorrow (June 7) at 9 A.M. ReTune Nashville will come to a close, although there will be some small responsibilities until next year the bulk of what we set out to do as a flood relief will be over.
It all started with a small idea that went viral and before I knew it I was deep into a project that would change my life for an entire year. 81 visual artist volunteered their time and talent to create beautiful one of a kind items from flood damaged instruments that were saved from the landfills. Musicians and songwriters came forward even after loosing their prize possessions and donated their gear to help. Businesses and independent sponsors came forward and helped us keep the project going so that we did not have to spend money that was raised through our art sales. And the volunteers…so many people put time into this project simply to help and not a penny was profited independently. We sold every piece of art (over 100 items) created over the course of one year from start to finish. We donated $6,000.00 to MusiCares flood relief and another $6,000.00 to the Nashville Musicians Flood Relief Fund the end of last year…tomorrow we will donate the rest of what we have raised and announce that number to the public and the media.
When I experienced the flood first hand a year ago and saw how it brought the community together in Nashville, it renewed my belief that there is still goodness in us all as human beings. Sometimes we have to be reminded through the humility and loss of others how fragile life is and how in a second it can all change. With the constant negative media coverage of our world and all its happenings, the drama our tv’s constantly embed with the click of a channel and the hostility that seems to be internalized in so many people it is often easy to lose focus.
I have never lost my worldly possessions to a natural disaster although I walked away form a verbally abusive marriage and most of my belongings many years ago. My life has had it’s ups and downs, most of my struggles have been self inflicted by bad choices and unhealthy decisions. I openly admit that I struggled with depression in private most of my life but in 2008 I faced several life changing events including a tragedy that set me on a new path of love and gratitude. In that period of healing I stopped focusing on all the negative things and began believing that if I wanted to feel good I needed to be honest with myself and figure out what it was that could actually make me happy. I started by learning to love myself, by accepting all the things I couldn’t change and focusing on the things I could. Where I stand now I have found it isn’t money, it isnt a relationship and it has nothing to do with success. It is having the ability to be grateful in a way that brings tears to your eyes. It is wanting to be happy so badly that it becomes contagious and for me it is offering help to others without any expectations. That was how ReTune Nashville started as it entered my life and it has changed me.
Baby steps have lead me to where I am right now. I can say that I have found more pride and satisfaction out of this one project than anything I have done in my life. Perhaps it is because it has nothing to do with me, maybe it is knowing I am helping others or the wonderful feeling of community it has created for all those involved. All I know right now is that it has lit a fire in me that will continue to spread, if I had more money in my bank account I would dedicate my life to humanity as a philanthropist but the world will have to settle for my creativity and volunteerism for right now!
Thank you to everyone out there who believed, who gave and who passed it on, you all are the reason that ReTune Nashville was a success and I am so very grateful to each and every one of you. This chapter is now complete…lets see what the next has to offer.
Sending love out to you all…..