Dawn Celeste LLC


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I will never…

Dawn Celeste LLC hosted a table at the ArtsKC Inspiration Breakfast this week and I learned about the Arts in Prison program. The Executive Director of the program, Leigh Lynch, started her speech with words she’d heard from inmates about their non-participation in the program.

I would never wear a dress on stage.

I would never sing in a choir.

I would never watch Shakespeare.

I would never go to the Symphony. 

And then she showed pictures of the same people singing, dancing, and watching. Amazing how when we are stuck in our own worlds and mindsets, we limit the possibilities. The Arts in Prison program is a terrific example of not only the power of the arts, but the power of opening our minds to things that initially seem out of bounds. 

I will never…

What have you been saying “I will never…” to for as long as you can remember that might be reexamined in this season? Author’s note: I will never lie, cheat, steal, or kill shouldn’t be options to remove from the list!

What about changing just one word in the phrase?

You will never…

Have you heard these words sometime in your life – either business or personal – when it fueled your desire to make whatever was deemed “impossible” to happen? For me, most of my work begins in places and moving things forward where “We will never…” is said or thought at the onset. We will never pivot a bank from a protection and safety mindset to a client-centric organization. We will never inspire lawyers who have been doing what they’re doing for 30 years to try something new. Both organizations evolved.  What “nevers” in your life have you broken through or proven wrong?

The last “I will never…” is embarrassing. It is not talked about out loud. It is when we do something that is not consistent with who we are and what we believe. The regret following these moments is overwhelming. The recovery feels, well, impossible. But it’s not. I hope that you don’t have these moments in your life, but I do. Know one thing about these moments: they are temporary setbacks and in reflection have something to teach us. I will never recover is simply untrue. You’ll feel it, but don’t believe it.

I look at the stories of our brothers and sisters in prison. They might have robbed or even killed another person. They will never be the same again. That’s true, but is it true that they will never feel joy again? Nope. Imagine this same person later singing in a concert at your church, dancing, or painting a picture.

“I never knew how many people cared about me until I was at my lowest. Arts in Prison cared for me even then.” - John Gilmore, AiP Participant

There is joy in our future. Believe.

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