Greensboro and Building People

I haven’t stopped smiling.  My energy is at a new level. Thank you UBBT 6 members, Pam and especially Coach Tom Callos for a truly life changing experience!

It takes a while to digest the whole experience.  I’m sure there are going to be several journals about it.

I met some incredible people.  Rori, who quickly became my sister/daughter (she is the same age as my son, but I think I have found a sister soul in that dynamic little package!)   Matt, who I only connected with on the last evening, but wished I had much more time with.  Rick and Jen,  Katrina, Chris and Christine, Chan, Jeff, so many others.

We left our egos at the door.  Really, we left them wherever we came from, because Tom laid the law down the first evening.  He drew a very clear picture of his vision for the weekend, and motivated us to live, at least for those few days, outside ourselves.  It worked.

Let’s face it.  We had the potential to be an environment of way too many “chiefs”.  But the chiefs all of us are in our own lives and schools became willing helpers.

I worked on the Rosenwald School for the most part, with a little time on the last day at the Thrift Store.  I was drawn to the Rosenwald project because of my past experience with renovation.  I’ve done 14 complete renovations over the years, several looked much like Rosenwald on day one.  A few  won historic preservation awards here in Little Rock.   Driving and walking through Greensboro, looking at all of the fabulous Victorian and Antebellum homes, I was like a kid in FAO Swartz.  My hands were itching to grab every single unloved  house and make it a home.

Of course, I’m usually the one in charge.

There was something liberating about walking up to the jobsite, asking who was in charge (Corrine) and saying “what do you want me to do?”  I grabbed a sander, put on my goggles and face mask, and got to work.  Working on one of the walls, I noticed there was a lot of damage to one of the windows.  I pointed it out to Corrine; she asked what I thought we should do.  “Pull it out.”  So that’s what we did.

The school, when we finished, had a barn owl in a chimney hole, the sky peeking through some of the walls, and no windows.  But it was lovingly, carefully sanded and painted by a group of diverse people who truly left their egos at home.

The Rosenwald School became a symbol to me of what the UBBT is all about.  When I started, I was in the same state as the school on that first day, standing, but with vines intertwined slowly tearing me apart.  Just as the school had become a storehouse of junk, so had I.  Stress, bad eating habits, lack of focus was slowly tearing me down.

There are still holes in the walls at Rosenwald, just as there are spaces that need to be rebuilt within me.  Some parts of the school could be re-used; some parts will need to be built from fresh clean lumber.  So it is with me.  I can reuse some of the existing Michelle material.  But I’ve got to fill some of those spaces with new material.

I found that new material in Greensboro, and I brought it home.  Tom provided much of it, with his guidance and wisdom  and example on how to live as a true martial artist and a citizen of the world.  Andy, with his passion for changing the future through education about Diabetes.  Pam, with her joyful smile and dedication to making a lasting impact on the people in Greensboro.   Every UBBT 6 participant provided it with the smiles and willingness to help and share.  Susan, one of the most awesome women I have ever met, will be in my thoughts for a long time.  Randy Edwards with his calm laid back attitude of just getting things done.  And my special girl Rori, who has so much wisdom, energy courage, and joy in her heart and soul.

So thank you, all of you that participated in Greensboro.  You’ve given me some very high quality material to build on.

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