A performing songwriter/friend of mine asked me to sing harmonies for her performance at an upcoming festival. Lori Diamond is a musical force to be reckoned with, a mom of three, with a voice to die for. Not only has she inspired me to get back to my own piano-playing roots, but in a world where people can be so catty and cutthroat with each other, Lori is a generous spirit of collaboration. We are both moms always working for life balance – it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in trying to navigate this “follow your bliss” life, and that there are others who are in the same boat and willing to help. She keeps an impressive performance schedule at www.loridiamond.net.
Lori is one of the performers in the upcoming Eve Rising Festival, Sunday, July 18 at the Winnikenni Castle in Haverhill, MA. The festival is spearheaded by Elle Gallo, an amazing performer in her own right. Elle dreams big – she wants to change the world. Starting the Eve Rising festival is how she plans to do it – featuring female performers across musical genres, and raising money for charities and organizations that empower women. Elle’s music website is www.ellegallo.com, and more information about the Eve Rising Festival is at online at http://everising.org.
I asked Lori and Elle to answer three questions for me:
What drives you to be a positive and helping force for other women, rather than competing with them?
Lori: I think it’s incredibly important for women to work together to raise each other up. Too often we feel as if there is only room for one at the top – when in reality, success is both abundant and boundless!
Elle: I’m driven by an inner certainty that when women come together with honesty, sincerity and compassion, there isn’t a thing we cannot accomplish together. Part of the female DNA is giving birth – we are capable of sowing the seeds of new ideas, new ways of thinking and approaching challenges then nurturing them, feeding them, loving them into fruition. Not only are we capable, but we are responsible for this! As well, I know that the key to a happy and successful life is to cause others to have what we feel we are lacking in our own lives. One woman liberated affects the whole, and the contagious energy of the freeing of spirit can affect the climate of our communities.
Was there an a-ha moment or event in your life that made it obvious that this is how you want to be? Have you always been that way?
Lori: Unfortunately, it took me longer than I would care to admit… but, luckily, somewhere down the line, I figured out that everyone brings valuable gifts to the table, and it’s not up to me to offer judgment. Offering support and upliftment is not only easier, but is profoundly more joyful – for everyone involved!
Elle: I’m not sure that there was ever a single a-ha moment that set me on this path. I’ve certainly always embodied a compassion for humanity; but perhaps my varied personal history caused these seeds to grow within me.
Just in the short time since I started having children I’ve been “that” mom who stood in the grocery line with 3 babies (age 3, 1 and a newborn) after hours of very challenging (torturous, really) shopping – at my wits end, fighting tears – to be told that my credit card was declined -3 times in one month. I’ve also been the soccer-mom proudly signing my children up for one of the more expensive private schools in the area.
My younger years exposed me to high-risk situations as a rebellious teen, and brought me to the State Senate as a spokesperson for the importance of open communication between adults and teens. I walked in dark alleys with pennies in my pocket and in the spotlights of Atlantic City Convention Center wearing expensive gowns and donning the crown of Miss MA. I’ve had lunch with friends in the homeless community of Boston, and champagne with celebrities and dignitaries. In my early 20’s I was diagnosed with severe depression, and today help others to change their mindset in order to achieve lasting happiness. I’ve been a breakfast bar waitress, a hairdresser, a special needs teacher, a momma, and an entertainer. I’ve covered the gamut of social circles and emotional levels, so I think I have a pretty solid understanding of people. Perhaps these are the reasons I care so deeply about other people’s trials and am committed to their successful outcomes.
I’ve spent years learning the philosophies of different “religions” and ways of thinking. They have stirred my spirit and awoken me from slumber. I feel a responsibility to share the approaches that changed my life with other women. We are all sisters, after all.
And – how do you see it working for you as a result?
Lori: Does it work for me? I’d say so. I’ve only had a couple of folks challenge me on my “style”, but as cliché as it may sound, in the end, I listen to my heart.
Elle: How have these outlooks served me? I have the most meaningful relationships with those around me. I have been blessed with a support system that overwhelms me with gratitude every single day. I AM truly happy knowing that I am fulfilling my destiny in this lifetime.
About Eve Rising’s Charities
This year, Eve Rising is a benefit for Emmaus of Haverhill, MA and the YWCA of Greater Lawrence. Emmaus is a non profit organization that provides housing and services for homeless individuals and families, developing affordable housing and helping people to rebuild their lives. http://www.emmausinc.org/
The YWCA’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. The YWCA provides all kinds of support services – in situations of domestic violence, sexual assault, transitional housing need, women’s health advocacy and gender-specific programs for girls. On their website, a statistic is listed that the YWCA helps 32 women to secure restraining orders every week; 46% of women have repeat mammograms through the YWCA’s programs, 139 calls are received by their Domestic Violence Program, that the average household income of families using YWCA childcare is $15,000, and that 88% of donation dollars go to fund programs like these. http://www.ywcalawrence.org/donate/index.asp
If you can get to Haverhill, MA on Sunday, July 18 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm – join Elle, Lori, and the other amazing women giving their time and talent to raise money for moms helping moms and women helping women. If not – consider looking through the websites of the amazing charities and sending a donation, or spreading the word about them. Or – find charities local to you that do the same. Whatever you can do, whatever you can give, however you can help will be appreciated.
Get inspired – a little help goes a long way!