Vulnerability has hit. My indispensable team member, MK Barr and I have been working full-tilt for over forty days, and I have hit a vulnerable place. It’s five days until my launch, and feelings of insecurity are sneaking into my fatigued psyche about how this is all going to go. I am giving this all I’ve got, everything, while trying to not be insane. I have some workaholic tendencies in me, and I also love what I do so much that I can become extremely involved with a project, and work all the time. I wrote the dense, 400 page Oracle of Initiation: Rainbows in the Dark book in four months. This campaign is putting myself out there in ways I have not in the past, and there is a part of me that is struggling to surrender, and let it be what it will be.
MK and I did a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in 2011 for The Painted in the Desert movie about my journeys in New Mexico, and from a rubber to the road, funding perspective it was a failure. We didn’t really understand how to do the process well, and were probably too shy about sharing it with others. We were also both at different places in our levels of confidence, and the movie gave both of us so much more belief in ourselves. The vision for the film was still forming too, so the campaign may not have had the solidity it needed to magnetize people beyond our core groups.
This time, I have been obsessed with researching the process, analyzing other campaigns, reading some of the surprisingly small amount of books there are, watching videos, going to workshops, and googling articles on the subject. There is a lot of good information I have found, and my project for this campaign is at a whole different level than the movie was in 2011. MK was recently at the Seattle Crowdfunding Meetup, and someone who has been extremely successful at raising six-figures for his movies said really, if the movie got made, which it did, you are a success. And that is true, we pulled resources out of a magic hat, and the film was finished in 2012.
So here I go again, throwing my enchanted chapeau into the ring for support on a project dear to my heart. Part of why this is an enormous deal for me is that I can be very thin-skinned, and in the past, I have struggled with having the confidence to hold my own in the face of other people’s opinions and reactions to my work and self. This seems to be the great cosmic joke, make the most sensitive, intuitive ones, the artists and visionaries be the ones who are to have enormous reservoirs of faith and trust in doing things differently to create new paradigms. Why not the super-self-contained, bad-ass, by any means necessary Navy Seals to create the new world? And, part of the mythical structure of life seems to be that we get to show up in all our complexities, with many self-doubts during our heroine’s journeys, so that others can relate to our story, stepping beyond their own perceived limitations to share their own gifts.
A couple of months ago in Seattle I took a wonderful workshop called, The Art of Crowdfunding, with the independent filmmaker Ian Mackenzie. This gathering was another important piece in making me a serious crowdsourcing devotee. One of the resources he shared in that workshop was a video for the brilliant book, Winning The Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future, by Jonas Sachs. Jonas lays out the history of our culture of overconsumption being created by savvy marketers after the wars in the 20th century to keep the manufacturing systems going that had been created to support the combat efforts. Before that shift a main cultural virtue was to live below your means and save, but when Inadequacy Marketing emerged, he says the companies began creating anxieties in people so they could fill those needs with their product. Sharing examples of both Inadequacy Marketing campaigns, and then the newly evolving Empowerment Marketing formulas, Sachs believes marketing can call forth the highest values in people, changing the world through helping others see their own brilliance.
My own offering for this campaign came from a very mythical heroines journey. I was the princess in the castle, married and affluent, Martha Stewart as my matron saint. Noteworthy is the fact that I wasn’t actually calm and happy in the castle though. I am an independent adventurer who was hiding in her home, and when we are living a life out of resonance with our true self, we may experience soul sickness as a calling to find our authentic path. As great myths will have, the Tower card from the Tarot showed up, and the castle blew up. Prince charming had died, and the broken-hearted one goes off on a seven-year vision quest on horseback to find her sovereignty. During her ordeal she encounters every insecurity, fear and struggle in her psyche, choosing to push beyond her old terrors as she descends nude, and completely vulnerable into subterranean graffiti tunnels to meet the darkness within. During this profound initiation, she actually finds that there are rainbows in the dark in the underworld, and that she now feels whole in ways never imagined. The boon she returned with, the treasure for the collective, is the wild beauty pulsing within The Oracle of Initiation deck. The deck is the magical tool that was created out of her own shattering to support others in navigating their initiatory breakdowns, embodying their own rainbows in the dark.
This campaign is my next level of exposure, and I am once again being called to find enormous trust, faith, and the ability to receive by welcoming others into my creation. One of the best articles I have read on crowdsourcing is “The Spiritual Aspects of Crowdfunding” by Britta Reque-Dragicevic. She offers that crowdfunding is an energetic exchange between the creator and the supporters. And that by sharing your work through crowdfunding, you are actually inviting the crowd into the DNA of your project. This is so true, and in order to co-create on this level, the artist gets to let go of the baby they birthed, letting it toddle around the room, engaging with the other people at the party. The article brings home the need for being emotionally, and energetically ready to meet this new economy, beyond the practical aspects of setting the campaign up. This is so brilliant, and true. This is an offering of oneself in the most authentic, surrendered way. “I am a child on the playground with a ball, the project of my heart, and am wondering if anyone else wants to play with me, and if so, will it be fun for both of us.”
I am being reminded, again and again to balance doing and receiving. I have given this campaign my all folks, and it has been exhausting, and a blast simultaneously, and pretty soon I need to bounce that ball out onto the schoolyard, and let it have its own destiny. Want to play?
The Oracle of Initiation new Tarot-Sized edition at $44 Indiegogo Campaign is live now, 5-20-14 to 6-21-14.