I’m writing this blog as an observational ponderance on the PASS-IT-ON Books that I originally set out to create and pass-on in about March this year. The theory behind them was threefold:
1) For me to spend money and time on something and not keep it, but instead to give it away without expecting anything in return.
2) To get people to interact with each other in person by passing it on from one hand to another and jointly participate in the act of passing on good thoughts and good energy, without ANY technological or electronic anything being involved.
3) For me to pass over control to God, for me to have faith that one day a book would have made it around the world and God would return it to me.
So I set out to follow the calling of getting 100 A5 Books covered in inspirational collages and contact plastic and passed on to 100 people around the world by the end of 2014. Through trial and error I learnt that some pens don’t last under the contact glue. I learnt that people need exact instructions (yet others still don’t follow them and do what they feel like). I learnt that I had to write and ask people not to write on the back of each page as ink bleeds. With the enthusiasm of a child I went about giving away the small creations made with love, given for free and in the faith that their journey would be one that inspired a few people along the way.
5 months and 72 books later, the lessons for me have evolved.
1) I have learnt that many people are not inspired. They walk around daily without a passion or drive or anything that makes them feel joy inside. One person received the book over a month ago and I visited him recently and it was still on his coffee table. He said he didn’t understand what to do… The instructions on the first page read like this: “Please fill in a line with a quote or inspirational thought and pass on as soon as possible. If you can’t think of anything, pass on anyway. Please don’t hang on to the book.” I was amazed that a man with a dean’s list qualification in one of the highest positions a company has to offer couldn’t understand what “fill in and pass on” meant!
Further to this, peoples’ responses have varied to such extremes it has shocked me. From “I always knew you were strange, I’ll just tell the next person that…” to “That is such an incredible idea, you are so inspiring!” “How odd.” “Amazing idea!” “Seriously?” “I’d love to, may I have two?”
2) Far more people in the world have control issues than just me. “But don’t you want it back?” “Surely you want to control where it goes?” No, I’m giving them away and trusting that one day I’ll find one complete somewhere in the world. “Are you serious?” Yes, very serious. Take it and give it away…
3) People fear what others will think of them. They don’t know who to pass it on to. They don’t know who will accept it; they don’t know who to choose. They are worried about what they will look like passing on the book. One girl has had a book since April and I spoke to her this weekend, she’d filled it in, but hasn’t passed it on… Then other people filled it in with a random “It was fun” comment and no idea that their words are possibly going to travel around the globe and last longer than their lifetime! They just didn’t get it. Some knew straight away what their life motto was and they were keen to share it with the world. Yet, some fear what the world may think of them, appearances mean that much to them.
I’ve now realised that if/when I do manage to see a completed book it will truly be a miracle in itself.
The exercise has served to shock me. The diversity of peoples’ reactions and ability to love and share and find joy are galaxies apart… this has saddened me and left me with the prayer that God will help people to let go and share and realise that in their sharing they will come to know that there is nothing to fear and only love, inspiration and joy to be gained… Please Lord, in Your Name I pray. Amen.