Service Spotlight: The Million Kisses Foundation
I am super fortunate to work on The Pollination Project’s Global Kindness Team where we search for kind people across the country and give them $1,000 grants to continue their good work. That’s how I got connected to Emily Potter.
When my team and I decided to fund her project, we were actually sitting together in a room in California on our staff retreat. Our team lead put on some of her music and we swayed back and forth smiling as we listened to her.
Emily is as dreamy as they come and I am so happy to introduce her to The Smile Project community. Without further ado, allow me to fly us to Salt Lake City, Utah and introduce Emily Potter and the Million Kisses Foundation
Emily: Thank you, Liz, for the opportunity to be part of the Smile Project! What an exceptional endeavor you are doing to bring more kindness into the world. I'm honored for the chance to be interviewed.
Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion – give me a "Happiness is.”
Emily: Happiness is living my soul's purpose, and being surrounded with people who are also living their soul's purpose. Together we live fulfilled, meaningful lives as a human community! That feels blissful to me.
Liz: Tell me about the Million Kisses Foundation.
Emily: I am the "gift economy" musician and the director of the Million Kisses Foundation. I perform donation-based Dream Walk Concert internationally, providing original music and storytelling from worldwide adventures as the soundtrack of the performance.
It's a place for entrepreneur mamas, healers, light-workers, and change-makers whose soul’s purpose is calling, and they are ready to take the next leap of faith toward their dream. Our community believes it is possible to give millions of dollars, and gifts of time and talents to these endeavors, as effortlessly as one might give millions of kisses. We believe that the effect of even the smallest dream becoming reality ripples far and wide and "altruistically" uplifts all of humanity. It's exciting to see how people in our tribe are taking a stand that money is a free-flowing resource available to support our soul’s purpose of why we are here. And we've created a culture to celebrate one another's successes in cheering each other on.
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Emily: My motivation behind the concert was founded with the realization that, in the past, I have limited myself in dreaming big because of a scarcity consciousness, specifically around money.
In 2007, I met a man at a party whose eyes lit up when he talked about his dream of traveling to India and working with orphan children. I was so excited for him. When I asked him when he was going, he looked at me and laughed. "Oh it's only a dream. Maybe I'll go someday. For now, I gotta pay the bills." I nodded in agreement at the time.
But weeks later, that conversation really bothered me. Something in me woke up during that interaction, and almost overnight I started noticing similarities in every conversation after him. The phrase "gotta pay the bills" felt rampant, like a symptom of an invisible societal virus. This man will still have bills to pay in a year. I believe in paying my bills, but I just didn't want the conversation to end there. During this beginning era of contemplation, I began to realize that the pursuit of all life dreams that contribute to the whole of humanity are my passion. But I can't just go around telling people to live their dreams. I had to do the work myself, and what better way than to pursue my most vulnerable dream, the one that scared me to bits: to be a full-time musician.
On April 17, 2015, I quit my job and began a personal experiment living as a full-time musician within a gift economy model. Using my expertise in energy work, I started singing to the intelligence of the sleepy dreams burrowed deep within the core of my audience members. I provided donation-based concerts so that money was never an excuse. The Dream Walk concert acted as a meditative ceremony for my audiences, igniting feelings of courage and taking action in waking up their dreams. Most importantly for my own inner journey, I trusted that my dream was more powerful than my fears of how I would pay the bills. Almost four years and 14 countries later, this experiment has been one of the wildest rides of my life! The feedback I receive from those who have experienced a Dream Walk Concert is what keeps me going. Years later, audience members send letters and photos of themselves living a dream they committed to at my concert. I receive waves of gratitude from them for being a significant catalyst for change in their lives. I can honestly say, I have never been happier.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Emily: My audiences are invited to take a stand for their life dreams by signing their name to this statement: "I believe in living my life dreams courageously. I support others doing the same." This ceremonial act reminds the audiences that living their dreams courageously not only brings alignment with their own greatest happiness but acts as their life's contribution to the whole of humanity. This is what defines true service: empowering individuals in a myriad of ways in order for people to feel free to be their full contribution and serve one another.
Liz: How can people get involved and follow you?
Emily: Here are links to the Facebook, Instagram, and website.
Liz: Anything else you'd like to add?
Emily: The official Dream Walk album has been released! The finished album is 11 acoustic folk/blues songs, available as a free download and gift. The album has been dedicated to assist big dreamers in feeling supported to take their next leap of faith in living their dreams.
Liz: Do you have a favorite piece of advice?
Emily: Our dreams will always be too expensive, too scary, and too uncomfortable. Now that it’s acknowledged, it is our life's work to find a way.