Outside it was cold and miserable (39 degrees and sleeting!) but to those designing Butterflies of Hope at my table inside the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Arts Center, the weather didn’t matter. Saturday afternoon was all about creativity, high energy, and glitter. I adore the stuff and it was everywhere — and I do mean everywhere! Contributing Artists got into the “butterfly spirit of things” with stick-on jewels. . . Crayons . . . Felt pens . . . Colored pencils. . . and more glitter!! I loved it!
Artists ranged in age from young teens to adults in their seventies to little kids and pretty much everyone in between.
You know one of the things I love most about this project? It’s hearing how people want to make a difference. Learning what they care deeply about. Here’s a sample of the messages on their Butterflies of Hope:
Taking care of needy children
Saving endangered tigers
Serving our community
Education for all
Taking the time & trouble to understand each other
Love one another
But the stories, the compassion, and sometimes even the pain behind the messages are what really speaks to me.
You might think “taking care of needy children” was written by an adult. No way. That butterfly was created by a girl of around twelve. What has she seen or experienced that sparks such caring? And how will she change the world as she grows up? I can hardly wait to see what she does!
“Taking the time & trouble to understand each other” was written by an older woman who has seen much of life. She gets it that deep divides can only be bridged by listening to each other with respect and compassion.She knows that dwelling in separate “us versus them” camps instead of being more open and inclusive hurts everybody.
And what about “Everyone shines?” Written by a teenager who appreciates that all of us have something positive to contribute. Her message practically shouts her recognition that everyone has value, everyone has worth. Pretty amazing for someone of such tender years, isn’t it?
So what happens to all these Butterflies of Hope? I’ll add them to the Forest of Hope we’re building. And what in the world is a Forest of Hope you ask?
“Trees” covered with thousands of Butterflies of Hope symbolizing Connection — to people and our world. They represent Community — where every voice matters and we’re were there to help each other. They highlight the Transformation that happens when people collaborate to change what needs changing and stand up for what’s right. When people like the Contributing Artists (and you and me) get involved in what they care about instead of just giving it lip service we transform our neighborhoods and create stronger communities. One person at a time. One message at a time. One action at a time.
We are all stronger and better when we work together. And that’s why we need YOUR butterfly message. Here’s how to become a Contributing Artist.
Bonnie Pond is the founder of the 10,000 Butterflies Project and the international Make Your Life Count Movement. She’s an inspiring speaker and the author of The Power of Three: How to be Happy and Get What You Want in Life (Without Doing Anything Illegal, Immoral, or Unethical) and Unlock Your Creativity: 30 Days to a More Creative YOU! Bonnie is a self-described “Bahooda Kicker” who helps women stop settling for less than they really want in life. Her mission is to motivate women around the world to live their purpose, love their lives, and make them count.