Today, October 20th, marks the one-month anniversary of W-BAD Rocks of Kindness.
First, for those of you who may not know, a very brief background. This project is the brainchild of a woman who, like so many, has been healing from severe neurological injury as a result of taking benzodiazepines responsibly and exactly as prescribed by her doctor.
One day she happened to notice some painted rocks of kindness in her Facebook newsfeed. She knew this popular hobby had potential. Realizing this idea could integrate creativity with awareness-raising for the World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day mission, she started a group where people could come together and create. The interest was there. The people came.
Eventually it developed into what it is today.
(If you’d like to read more about this project’s birth, check out the photo-rich blog post, “A Rockin’ Creative Outlet That’s Raising Benzodiazepine Awareness“)
So What IS It Today?
I thought a little update would be in order since this initiative is in the beginning stages of getting off the ground.
Some curiosity may be surrounding the project:
Could it actually be effective in reaching the public and raising awareness? Is this something that can go the distance?
I can tell you already, the answer to those questions is a resounding YES.
Since our launch one month ago, we have experienced so many positives. I hope you’ll take a few minutes with me as I break down five important things we have learned, experienced, and witnessed in a very short time.
1. Personal/Therapeutic Value
Engaging and exploring personal creativity, as most people know, is highly beneficial. It can be especially beneficial to those who may be healing from injury and trauma – both physical and mental. It is an incredible healing modality and an outlet for individuals to express themselves.
Many of those who are involved in the painting and creating of these rocks are using this outlet as an uplifting coping tool and distraction. It can bring some purpose and cheer to an otherwise challenging and gloomy day. It provides an activity that one can look forward to.
Due to the depth of injury and trauma, some who have struggled to function and get out of the house are finding an uptick in mental well being. Why? Because this outlet tends to foster motivation, purpose, and a proactive mindset. Despite battling disabling symptoms, the important mission of touching someone else’s life with kindness and awareness, can be quite the motivator. Finding added focus and incentive to venture out to plant rocks is just another bonus.
As our benzodiazepine-induced neurological injuries can bring a very difficult up-and-down, nonlinear healing experience, some days are better than others. Some days, people simply cannot paint, connect with creativity, or get out of the house. And that is perfectly normal and okay.
Like with anything in this often-grueling healing process, some acceptance and patience are necessary. There are no pressures or deadlines with this project. We do what we can do and are there to encourage each other through the ups and downs.
The bottom line is this: The project is working on a very personal and therapeutic level.
2. Nurturing Connections
The personal connections being established, and the camaraderie and encouragement found in our rock painting group, is really something special. We’ve become like a growing family in a lot of ways, and we support and encourage one another as we share our latest creations. There is no judgment. There is warmth and acceptance.
We’ve also experienced some familial connections growing out of this project. Some parents are painting with their children. Other adult family members and friends of the injured painters are taking interest. This is opening the door to more personal conversations on the topic. We have some family members and friends joining the group to offer support and watch the creating in action. Some of them are even painting with us for the cause!
Oh, and here’s a story that will warm your heart: One of our painters brought two of her rocks to her doctor appointment. Not only did her doctor take interest in the project, she ended up taking the rocks and said she was going to check out our Facebook page (which contains links to the informational www.w-bad.org site). Additionally, she said she would help plant the rocks in public with her three-year-old son!
There is also the general public outreach that is happening every single day.
Basically, we are using our art and rock creations to increase bonds, make connections, spark conversations, and raise awareness. It is very naturally happening and unfolding, on many levels. It’s a beautiful thing.
3. There is No Failure
We are already very excited and impressed with how many of our rocks have been found and reported back to us!
This is extra impressive because in the rocks of kindness world, it is commonly known that you may have a larger percentage of rock output, with only a smaller percent of return. There may be lulls in the frequency of rocks being reported back. There are various reasons for this occurrence. However, it’s not at all cause for disappointment or concern for us if this happens. No matter how you slice it, our project is and will continue to be a wonderful success.
For starters, just the therapeutic aspect alone makes it worthwhile. Also, we may never know who may come upon our planted rocks and how many smiles we bring forth. Using our hashtag, #WBADROCKS (written on the back of our planted rocks), the finders may have looked into us further and found our awareness information. Just because a finder does not connect with us directly, does not mean a positive connection was not made!
Additionally, some rocks may end up showing up months later, long after they were planted. Sometimes the rocks will move from one person and location to the next until eventually someone reports them online.
That’s part of the excitement in this: You never know what is going to happen once you release your rock out into the wild!
4. THIS IS WORKING!
How do we know this is working? How do we know we are reaching people, not just for the sake of kindness, but also for our very important awareness-raising efforts, as well?
As we watch our public Facebook page and see the interactions, and as we take note of the page analytics, it is very obvious we ARE reaching people.
Some of the finders have specifically told us they were previously unaware of the dangers of this class of drug. They have expressed to us that they looked up more info here on the www.w-bad.org web site. They have told us they stand behind us. We have noticed some of these rock finders “liking” and following the page, sticking around, and watching what we are doing. We have noticed that some of THEIR friends/connections are visiting and engaging with the page. We have had a lot of activity and interactions on both Facebook and Instagram.
All of this is showing us that we ARE getting visibility and this IS working,
Simply put, this rock art is becoming the mediator, the buffer, being injected into what can sometimes be a very difficult and controversial topic. It seems to be a rather unique, noninvasive way to subtly, yet effectively, introduce ourselves. This more naturally creates an amiable connection which raises curiosity and allows us to show more of ourselves (the benzodiazepine-injured). It’s enabling conversation and allowing room for non-pressured presentation of info that can educate the public.
And we must always remember that each interaction can create quite a ripple effect.
5. No Special Talents Required!
You don’t have to be an experienced and talented artist to get into and enjoy this hobby with us. Many of our painters had zero previous experience with this kind of craft – nor would they have considered themselves artsy or crafty. Some have discovered how much they enjoy creating – something they never knew about themselves!
Also, I’d like to mention that many of us are using nontoxic, virtually odorless , water-based paint pens. Some are finding the paint pens much easier and less messy to use to do the majority of their rock decorating.
There are so many different supplies and techniques. There is truly something for everyone. Yes, even those who struggle with chemical/odor sensitivity!
Additionally, some of the painters suffering from more difficult symptoms have even been able to use minimal supplies to create from the comfort of a cozy chair or their beds.
Literally the only requirements are some basic supplies, the desire to try it out, and the drive to spread some kindness and raise awareness!
If We Paint & Plant the Rocks, They Will Come
As long as we have people painting and planting rocks, this project will continue to be a great success. It will inevitably keep growing. And we’d love for you to come grow with us!
For more information, please click here: W-BAD Rocks of Kindness – #wbadrocks and visit our Facebook page. Shoot us a private message if you are considering getting involved and are interested in joining us in our closed group. There is never any pressure. If you are curious yet unsure if you’d like to get involved, you can always come check out and observe what’s going on behind the scenes. And, as always, we are more than happy to give you any information and help you need to get started! All you have to do is ask!
And things are just heating up. As we get more settled in, we will be planning some fun group activities and giveaways for anyone interested in participating!
So, in closing, as we officially wrap up our first of many months to come, we would like to give a special thank you to not only those who have gotten directly involved, but to everyone who has been so supportive. Your support and enthusiasm mean so much to us. You are giving us a stronger foundation on which to reach more people.
Please stay tuned and continue to follow our progress. Watch as our small rocks of kindness turn into boulders of awareness and change. 🙂