Sunday, August 28, 2011


Week 1

In January 2011, I took part in a social and interpersonal experiment which I immensely enjoyed. One reason I was delaying my next letter is because I wanted to be able to update you about SPARKS and then continue to tell you about it when we continue in May 2011 without breaking the email cycle. That’s right; I’m leading a session of Sparks in DC with hopefully about 50 people. But I want to tell you about it now and how it went in January. Here is the letter we sent out:

Dear Friend:

Hey, this is Victor.
2011 is upon us. I want to share with you an event taking place January 11 through February 1 (Tuesdays @ 7 pm about 2 blocks from Union Station). For full details check out this blog post about the Spark Series in DC. I invite you to join me, or forward to anyone in your network who might be interested!

January is always especially full of possibilities – a chance to reset our priorities. But the rest of the year can often feel like a graveyard of good intentions that petered out back in February. This year I’m starting out with a bang – or perhaps I should say SPARK. And – if you live in Washington, D.C. – I invite you to join me.

For four weeks in January and February, I’m attending a SPARK series organized by my friend Andy Pisciotti. The series will help each person focus on this one question: What’s one thing I can do this week to make the world a better place, or myself a better person?

It can be in any area of life that you want…finance, health, romance, family, friends, spiritual, social justice, recreation/hobbies, etc. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is; all that matters is that you take a risk.

You’ll come up with an answer to that question, then we’ll come back the following week to share stories about how it went. We’ll repeat the process for a few weeks. It’ll be a great way to add some initiative to 2011, and it’s another excuse for a laid back evening with friends and food.

First, watch the 1-minute promo from SPARKgood.

Spark Promo from Spark Good Studios on Vimeo.

We’ll meet on Tuesday nights (January 11 through February 1) at 7 pm. Bring yourself. Bring friends. Bring some goals you’ve just been itching to get around to. I think you’ll find the atmosphere encouraging, inspiring and practical, too.
Contact me or Andy if you want the full details. How about starting your new year with a SPARK? Then, see it blossom in 2011.

During week 1, we just met. We had a total of about 8-10 people. In the first meeting, the concept was explained and we were given spark-generators, some worksheets that contained ideas about potential sparks (reconnecting with an estranged friend of 15 years, pursuing the man/woman of your dreams, building a home for someone in need, etc.). We ate food, talked, and discussed ideas. At the end we all shared what we thought we might do during the week. Because I have weekly communal dinners, I was hoping to open up my home to the homeless and invite them in for dinner, but because I don’t live alone, there are problems with that. So I decided what I wanted to do was to take a homeless person out to dinner. Now, I’ve taken homeless people out for a meal, but I normally have left after they receive their food. This time, I wanted to engage with them not prior to purchasing the meal and a bit afterward, but to sit down with him or her and spend time breaking bread and sharing lives. Next week, we’ll see how it went.

I’ve decided to start a new series in these email updates. Each week, I’ll tell you what happened in the subsequent week of SPARKS for me (I can only talk about me). It was an exciting time, and I quite enjoyed it. When it was over I didn’t want it to end.

Overall, it went well, though we had a few challenges about people wanting bigger and better things, about people risking bigger things. The problem was sometimes they didn’t, or they went for something that was easy instead of challenging, something that takes longer than a week instead of what could be done in a week, or something that wasn’t in their control, perhaps. So we’ll be doing it better, and we’ll do it again in May, and my friend Andy asked me to help co-lead. I’m really looking forward to it!!! VERY exciting!!

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