The Words of the Ushiroda Family
Exploring My Heart
by Naokimi Ushiroda
From the beginning of this condition I felt excited about fundraising. During the first week, I perfected the external aspects of fundraising, making sure that it was efficient and productive. I also did pretty well. On the seventh day I determined to achieve my highest external goal. My internal goal for that day was to have absolute faith. It was awesome because it came down at the end to achieving my external goal. I had to make it, when I realized that it was already pick-up time. Actually, I wasn't even sure when my pick-up time was, so I was very frustrated. I tried so hard during the day, and I Couldn't stand having to lose now. Just then I remembered that I had five more minutes, so I ran to the last shop. The manager surprisingly was able to offer for four pictures, allowing me to reach my goal. I achieved my highest result that day, and I felt that I could do anything, even control the spirit world.
The next day I changed my internal goal to explore my heart. The reason was because a few of my team members really challenged me by saying that I was just a good salesman. I realized that I didn't have enough heart while fundraising. I had the will and determination, but not the heart. The day before I chose this internal goal, we ate at a Chinese restaurant and strangely enough the message in my fortune cookie said, "The heart is wiser than the intellect." Everyone thought that it was a message from God, and I'm sure it was.
I had decided not to change my internal goal until I fulfilled my external goal. However, I didn't achieve my external goal for the rest of the condition, and I knew it was because I wasn't able to accomplish my internal goal. Everyday, I would try my best to explore and find where my heart was.
The last day was the most memorable day throughout the condition. My internal goal was, of course, to explore my heart and have absolute faith. In my first run, I did well, but on the next two runs, I couldn't receive many offerings even though I was trying my best. At the end of the third run, I was really disappointed. It was raining, and I was waiting for my pick-up. I was thinking about why I wasn't able to receive anything even though I gave 100%, and reflected on my internal goal. An elderly woman from the last house came out and invited me inside to stay warm. I said "no, thank you." because I was waiting for my pick-up, even though I wanted to go in. She came out two or three more times to ask if I was cold. Through this person, I felt so much love, not just from her but from God, as though he were comforting me.
At the beginning of the blitz [short late night runs], I was dropped off with Mo Sook, one of my team members. She offered a prayer to prepare our spirits, but I was shivering from the cold. In the prayer, she kept asking God to let us forget ourselves, and focus on our internal goals. I pushed myself to deny the weather and very best. The first restaurant on that run, I explained what the PLA was without trying to inspire the waitress with words. I decided to have absolute faith in God. She seemed unsure and I felt that she was going to kick me out, but I blurted, "I know I'm not supposed to be here, but it's for a good cause, and I just wanted to know if you'd be interested in these pictures."
A strange thing happened. She then picked out 12 pictures and, because of that, I was barely able to reach my external goal for the day. Our team, which only broke $700 once, almost achieved $1,000 that day. It was totally awesome.
I'm so grateful for my team. They helped point out my weaknesses, and strengthen me, especially Jamal and Mo Sook. However, I still need to work on expressing my heart and caring for others. I feel that I now have more focus on my goals for the year. I hope to open up to people and develop great relationships with the brothers and sisters here in STE.
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