It will take a few minutes to properly explain what this very low cost but very highly coveted award is.
Dr Jean Houston co-founded The Foundation for Mind Research.( John Lennon wrote the song Mind Games about Houston and husband Robert Masters. )
Jean tells the following story about an experience she had when she was 8 years old.
In my eighth year, I had two experiences within a month of each other that had the most profound effect on my life and work. They served to call me beyond the show biz "Me too!" imprinting from my parents that was the stuff of my daily life. Quite simply, they lured me into my Essence.
My father had taken me with him to deliver a script to the ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, whose weekly radio show my dad was writing at the time. Bergen's chief dummy, Charlie McCarthy, a wise-cracking little fellow in a tuxedo, was one of the best-loved characters in radio comedy and was featured in many movies as well.
When dad and I entered the open door of Bergen's hotel room, we found him sitting on a bed with his back to us, talking very intently to Charlie and then listening with evident wonder and astonishment to Charlie's answers. Unlike their usual repartee on the radio programs, there was no flippancy here, no "in-on-the-joke" sarcasm. In fact, one got the impression that Bergen was the student, while Charlie was quite clearly the teacher.
"What are they doing?" I silently mouthed to my father. "Just rehearsing," he mouthed back. But as we listened to what Bergen and Charlie were saying, we soon realized that this was no rehearsal for any radio program we knew about, for Bergen was asking his dummy ultimate questions: "Charlie, what is the meaning of life? What is the nature of love? Is there any truth to be found?" Charlie was answering with the wisdom of millennia. It was as if the great thinkers of all times and places were compressed inside his little wooden head and poured out their distilled knowing through his clacking painted jaws.
Bergen would get so excited by the remarkable answers that he would ask still more ultimate questions: "But, Charlie, can the mind be separate from the brain? Who created the universe, and how? Can we ever really know anything?" Charlie would continue to answer in his luminous way, pouring out pungent, beautifully crafted statements of deep wisdom. This rascally faced little dummy was expounding the kind of knowing that could only have come from a lifetime of intensive study, observation, and interaction with high beings. After several minutes of listening spellbound to this wooden Socrates, my father remembered his theological position as an agnostic Baptist and coughed. Bergen looked up, his Nordic face turning red, and stammered a greeting. "Hello, Jack. Hi, Jean. I see you caught us."
"Yeah, Ed," my father said. "What in the world were you rehearsing? I sure didn't write that stuff."
"No rehearsal, Jack. I was talking to Charlie. He's the wisest person I know."
"But, Ed," my father expostulated, "That's your voice coming out of that cockamamie block of wood."
"Yes, Jack, I suppose it is," Bergen answered quietly. But then he added with great poignancy, "And yet, when he answers me, I have no idea where it's coming from or what he's going to say next. It is so much more than I know."
At that moment my skin turned to goose flesh, an electric hand seemed to touch mine, and a fractal wave of my future activities crashed on the shore of my eight-year-old self. For I suddenly knew that we all contain "so much more" than we think we do. The image came to me of a house with many floors, and I saw that our ordinary awareness had us living on a shelf in the attic of our selves, leaving the other floors relatively uninhabited and the basement locked. link
Inhabiting the Mask
In many cultures people put on masks and are able to "Inhabit the Mask" and access parts of themselves that they normally cannot access. It's funny but putting on a mask allows people to" take off their masks". Charlie Mc Carthy, was such a "mask" for Edgar Bergen.
I give people finger puppets, when they put these on magical things happen and people act in ways that they would not, without having these puppets on.
If we win, each of the other "winners" (aka all entrants) will get a set of 10 VIP finger puppets aka Model Z249 Self-Organizing Schmooze Facilitators
These will not only allow entrants to Inhabit a Mask, they will also have other benefits...
The Brain and Rewards
It''s important for people to feel acknowledged and to receive awards and honors. Chemicals such as dopamine and endorphin are released in the brain when this occurs. As it turns out, for many people, there is not that great a difference emotionally if the awards/honors are given by Barack Obama, President of the United States or me handing out Model Z249 Self-Organizing Schmooze Facilitators.
On March 5, 2014. Members of City Year, Americorps (above) were honored to meet President Obama(top row center) in Boston
On Sept 8 2014 Members of City Year, Americorps (below) were honored when I handed out several VIP's (Very Important Puppets) to work with these members of City Year.
Our brains are very well set up to enjoy receiving honors and awards..and our brains are not very well set up to distinguish the source/monetary value of these awards.In plain English that means a low cost award is appreciated just about as much as a high cost one.