Inception of the MADness
This date is the historic date of the inception – the precise birth date of the MAD DAWN Challenge. All this madness that you are either already a part of or just about to experience is a result of intense procrastination on an airbed in a tiny apartment in Paris with green and black walls…
Something must have been in the air, or maybe it was just the crazy wall colors’ effect… Either way, on the night of January 31, 2011 instead of finishing a lengthy assignment, I was watching inspiring videos online, chatting with friends and generally very intensely wasting the time. I realized the futility of all my efforts to tackle the assignment and decided to give up yet again and go to sleep… and this is exactly when it all has dawned on me…
To say that I had never thought of doing something similar to this may not be entirely true – some of the components of this project have been in my head since I can remember myself; others have been added a bit later in life. Nevertheless, an all-encompassing idea has only hit me on that night. So what all was it that got finally mixed into this cocktail?
First of all, I always wanted to help people. That is one of the first things I can remember myself dreaming about when I was about 5 years old – being a magician so that I could help others. Albeit, I also realized that simply giving people what they wished for is not the best kind of ‘help’: people value what they acquire by their own efforts, they get a chance to learn essential skills while working on obtaining what they want and it is more dignifying to receive something knowing that it is, however indirectly, one’s own hands’ doing. Thus, I wanted to be an opportunity-providing magician instead of a giving one.
Second, I traveled extensively and one of my life goals was to visit every existing country in the world. I think traveling, especially when one makes an effort to truly engage with the local people and to appreciate the local culture and peculiarities with an open heart and mind is one of the most effective remedies for many conditions we all so often encounter: stereotyping, hostility, misunderstanding, being bitter about expectations not met, boredom, closed-mindedness, dissatisfaction with life, sense of underachievement… It doesn’t even have to be a trip to the other side of the globe – it can be a journey into a completely unfamiliar hobby or a neighboring town, it could be a balanced documentary film on a topic one feels strongly against, a book on something one knows nothing about or any other similar venture outside of the cognitive comfort-zones we get so cozily lazy into so very fast…
Third, I like to dance. Exercising isn’t really my thing, but I discovered that combining various dance styles does the job just as well – plus it’s cardio, fun, social, positive and there is a dance in this world for everyone without exception. What I also discovered was the amazing sense of community among dancers of a style – the sense that transcends all borders, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, languages and other characteristics people most often use as a premise to set themselves apart from the rest. Dance in general is universal. It is one of the most deeply imbedded activities in the human society. It is a common language that we all around the globe can share. It is also often personal – if you dance socially, you get to see people beyond their appearance, nationality or what not else. You physically communicate with them creating something fun and beautiful together on the dance floor. There is no way after that you can go back to being hostile and close-minded, afraid of other people and suspicious of the rest of the world.
Fourth, I was struggling all these years to figure out how to be able to do all this and not starve to death. I didn’t wish to receive freebies for no reason from my parents – they deserve to enjoy their free time after years of hard work and struggles they overcame and sacrifices they have made for me and others – or from anyone else. Taking without giving something in return isn’t my strongest skill. Yet, a conventional job would make travelling and dancing extremely complicated…
That night on the airbed all of this simply came together as pieces of any puzzle would to create a full image. I finally discovered how to follow my passions sustainably and at the same time give back to the world, and to also finally reward those closest to me who gave me the most. The MAD DAWN Challenge was born.
The only missing link I needed was a partner in crime – and she came back home later on. It turned out that, when I enthusiastically babbled about the idea, she also had a very similar vision, wishes and goals. A hard-working, self-made professional photographer, Karen had singed up for the madness right away. She also has family to take care of, a wish to help the society and a dream to travel the world.
As for the rest – the rest is up to YOU! The triad upon which this project was designed to spread its wings includes virtually any human being on earth. In the times when divisions seem so profound, when conflicts appear to be so numerous, we need to do everything we can to bring the world back together and to weave a network of peace and harmony from the North to the South Pole. Regardless of who you are, where you live, what language you speak, what you have or don’t have, what you (think that you) can or cannot do – YOU CAN be a part of this global challenge – the challenge to unite the world despite all odds and differences and to make it a better, happier place for all.
We hope you would become a part of the MAD DAWN Challenge because you definitely WILL enjoy it!
The MAD DAWN crew: Leah and Karen.
Written by: Leah (I’ll be the blogging one here )