Cultivating While Working on Shen Yun Projects
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings Master, Greetings fellow practitioners,
I am a Dafa disciple in Toronto. I would like to share my cultivation experience participating in promoting the Shen Yun Shows in Toronto.
1. Maintaining Righteous Thoughts
Last year in Toronto the Mid-Autumn shows encountered some obstacles. Toronto was the first city to hold them, and although we put forth a lot of effort, the ticket sales weren't very good. As one of the main coordinators, I didn't look for the reasons for this within my cultivation, but used the excuse of doing another project that was quite difficult and had a tight deadline. Due to the attachment of pursuing comfort, I was unwilling to hold the show. When I think of it today, I feel ashamed. Later, through Fa study, I realized that the importance of holding Shen Yun is beyond comparison. The more shows, the better. However, some practitioners still had different notions. In the end, we all reached the common understanding to hold Shen Yun Mid-Autumn shows. However at that point, we only had two months left.
This time when we held the Spring Shen Yun shows, I went to check our ticket sales during last year's Mid-Autumn shows and found that the ticket sales were very high. In my heart I felt impressed. How did we do that? In fact, in the month of August, many people were on vacation, and people rarely bought tickets to watch shows. Even the ticket office in the venue was closed for one month during the holidays, so people couldn't buy tickets at the box office. Under such conditions, with righteous thoughts and righteous actions, Toronto practitioners demonstrated Dafa disciples' unshakable spirit and courage, assisting Master to rectify the Fa. Many practitioners bought dozens of tickets and then sold them. Some practitioners set the goal of selling 100 tickets. Other practitioners introduced Shen Yun wherever they went and even sold tickets on the bus.
I was responsible for coordinating ticket sales during the Mid-Autumn shows. As our time was tight, every single ticket booth was hard to come by. I felt that every ticket booth should make the best use of time. It not only promotes Shen Yun, but also enables people to buy tickets right on the spot. Therefore, I adopted some different approaches from what had been used in the past. I also used some "controversial practitioners" among the group to sell tickets. My action was criticized by some practitioners. They thought that my way of doing things was not in accordance with the Fa, and some thought that I had arranged people to sell tickets based on friendship. Practitioners at the ticket booths also felt a lot of pressure. Sometimes at midnight or when I was at work, I received phone calls criticizing me. At that time, as there were a large number of tickets to sell with a very tight schedule, I was very busy and under a lot of pressure. With the constant criticism, I felt I had reached my limit. No matter how I explained things, I couldn't persuade anyone, and for a few days I felt very sad. During this time, frequent reciting of the Fa helped me a lot. Reciting the Fa helped me to calm down and think about whether my actions were right or not. I think the process of selling Shen Yun tickets is a battle between the righteous forces and the evil forces. On the battlefield, we should deal with different issues based on different situations. I didn't think that I had done wrong; however I also didn't consider fellow practitioners enough. I often made phone calls to ask about ticket sales, thus giving practitioners unnecessary pressure. I needed to improve on this. Nevertheless, after careful thought, I still insisted on my way of doing things. However, I no longer made phone calls to ticket booths to ask about ticket sales. In my heart, I tried my best to treat well the practitioners who complained about me. After a while, no one complained. Instead, some practitioners said that they finally understood why I had used that strategy. At the same time, practitioners at different ticket booths also encouraged me, which helped me a lot. The ticket sales at all locations became better and better, and in the end, we indeed sold over 100 tickets per day.
Through this xinxing test, I came to understand that everyone wants to do better at selling tickets for the Shen Yun shows. As different people have different opinions, their perspectives on things are also quite varied. As a result, having different opinions is to be expected.
2. One Ticket is Hard to Obtain
After the Mid-Autumn Shen Yun shows, the Toronto FXH decided to hold New Years Shen Yun shows in Mississauga and coordinate ticket sales there. I don't live in Mississauga, was not familiar with the city, and there was only a bit more than two months left. To sell all the tickets within such a short time was a big challenge for me. What should I do? By focusing on saving sentient beings, many of the potential difficulties weren't encountered.
Based on the experience I had in promoting the past Shen Yun shows, in order to make Shen Yun shows known to all people within a short time, we had to place advertisements, set up ticket booths, post posters, go to affluent neighborhoods to distribute flyers, and go to office buildings to do promotions as quickly as possible. However, the places for selling tickets couldn't be set up immediately. We went to shopping malls to meet with managers, sign contracts and purchase insurance. Free ticket booths are difficult to find. A retired local practitioner who doesn't speak good English, but has done truth clarification quite well, negotiated with a few business buildings to give us sites for free. With other practitioners helping to find places, we secured four ticket booths for the first weekend. On the second weekend we had almost ten ticket sales locations, however some locations didn't sell many tickets. Among them was one found by that senior practitioner. Some practitioners told me that it was difficult to sell tickets at that location because the people who live in the area are poor, thus it was a waste of time and manpower, and I should just remove that site. I also became impatient and asked that senior practitioner whether or not we should remove that booth. She said not to worry and not think whether it sold tickets or not, but rather just be there to promote Shen Yun and let people know about the beauty of Shen Yun. I calmed down and still asked practitioners to go there to sell tickets.
The next Saturday, as usual, practitioners worked in that spot to sell tickets. In the evening I went there to pick up the TV and other equipment. Before I went there, I rested, practiced the exercises, and recited the Fa. When I arrived, I asked the other practitioner to leave and I stood there for a while. A Vietnamese couple walked by and looked interested. I introduced Shen Yun to them, guided them to watch the TV introduction, flipped though the Shen Yun book, and showed them the seating chart. Seeing the tickets in my hands, the man agreed to buy tickets. When I was about to pull out the two tickets for him, he waved his hands to stop me, flipped the picture book again and watched the TV. At this time, the very air froze and time seemed to stop. In my heart, I told him: Falun Dafa is good, Falun Dafa is good. At that moment, I knew that in another dimension, a battle between the righteous forces and the evil forces was taking place. This life's one thought will decide his future. At this time the TV was playing reviews from different circles about Shen Yun. I then told him, "Look, so many famous people have given such a high appreciation of this performance!" It seemed after a century had passed, I saw him nodding his head and he paid cash for two tickets. This is the first time that tickets were sold at that location.
Later this location was taken over by the team to clarify the truth to Chinese people in Toronto. Practitioners from Toronto went there every weekend, and some also went during weekdays. On this spot, they sent forth righteous thoughts and told people the beauty of Shen Yun. Many Chinese and people of other ethnicities bought tickets there. That location became the site which sold the most tickets in Mississauga. The spirit of the practitioners touched a Chinese businessman, and he often gave them a big bag of pork.
Since we worked very hard in the beginning, the ticket sales increased quickly. I then became complacent and thought that just following the routine would be good enough. However, tickets sales dropped as it got close to Christmas. During the peak shopping time, some malls only sold two tickets per day! I suddenly became worried. I knew this was no small thing, however I didn't look inside, and instead I criticized another practitioner who was coordinating ticket sales. I told him that he didn't help Mississauga to find ticket booths and only knew how to help the city of Hamilton to sell tickets. I made so many human complaints, but he didn't say anything. After I calmed down, I knew that I had done wrong and sincerely apologized to him. I invited him to immediately go looking for ticket selling places with me. He also put everything aside and drove with me to find other ticket sites. We successfully found a ticket booth. At another store, since the boss was not there that day, a practitioner went there again and got the spot on the second day. On my way to find sites to sell tickets, a coordinator in Mississauga told me that three people ordered more than 30 group tickets. I enlightened that as a coordinator for ticket sales, I should go wherever there was difficulty. The divine beings are watching us.
Time flies, and soon it was January. That senior practitioner found a few ticket sales places which were open during weekdays and weekends. One day I couldn't find others to sell tickets so I took time off work to sell tickets at one location. Later, two practitioners joined. Although one of them doesn't speak English and the other is relatively shy and doesn't speak much, we all coordinated very well and sold many tickets. I noticed that when selling tickets to couples, when the husband wanted to attend the show and the wife didn't want to, the husband would persuade the wife and then buy the tickets. For many people, only a few words would make them buy tickets. In the end, I was able to sell many seats which were not even grouped together. At that time, I felt that selling tickets was like picking up peaches, very smooth. I later found out that this was because Dafa disciples were promoting everywhere. After two days, the coordinator in Mississauga told me that there were still 200 high-priced tickets not sold, and we had to find some more sites. I called practitioners at a few ticket sales locations and told them about the situation. One practitioner said not to worry, that we will sell out of those tickets.
On the second afternoon, another coordinator called me and told me to immediately close all the ticket sale locations, as we didn't need to sell any more. I thought he was joking! He told me that we had completely sold out all the tickets. I didn't believe him and called the coordinator in Mississauga to confirm this. He told me that indeed, we had no tickets left and asked me to notify all the practitioners. I made phone calls to notify other practitioners. That practitioner asked, "Yesterday you told me that there were still 200 high end tickets not sold, didn't you?" I told him that we were all sold out, there were no tickets left. Some practitioners said after hearing my notification, "It's lucky I went out to sell tickets yesterday, otherwise I wouldn't have had the opportunity to cultivate. The Fa-rectification process is so fast!''
Ten days prior to the show, we had sold out all the tickets. During the process of promoting Shen Yun in the spring in Toronto, we met many people who were unable to buy tickets in Mississauga. As soon as they heard about the Toronto shows, they immediately bought tickets.
3. The Less Important I Am, the Happier I Am
After the Mississauga and Hamilton shows, Toronto practitioners went back to Toronto to promote the Spring Shen Yun shows. Through our efforts of selling tickets in these two cities, a group of excellent coordinators, marketing people, promotion organizers, and sales people had matured. I felt so happy for them in my heart. I also saw how different kinds of sales techniques had also matured. I didn't need to worry much about finding ticket selling spots. Instead I positioned myself to harmonize with others. Wherever I am needed, I will go.
During the ticket promotion for the Spring Shen Yun shows, The Epoch Times sponsored a few trade shows. They promoted The Epoch Times during the exhibition and also set up a table for Shen Yun. We found that at the exhibitions, many people bought high-priced tickets. The exhibitions were excellent ticket selling and promotion spots. However, The Epoch Times applied for only five trade shows. I searched online and found that there were many other exhibitions, so I asked an Epoch Times practitioner whether he could help me apply for those exhibitions. This practitioner who works for The Epoch Times also wanted to pave a new path for promoting The Epoch Times and Shen Yun and so agreed to coordinate with me. When I found new exhibitions, she contacted them and helped to design ads. A few other practitioners gradually became involved, and we naturally formed a team, finding exhibition opportunities. Whenever we met with difficulty, I discussed it with others during the Saturday night Shen Yun group Fa study. We all helped by sharing ideas, and very soon we overcame the difficulties. We found exhibitions every weekend during the last four weekends before the shows, thanks to our effective teamwork. We attended two to five trade shows every weekend. It helped ticket promotions greatly. Sometimes at the exhibition, people told us that they saw our ads in the newspaper, but didn't pay attention. They asked us to give them another special edition and promised to read it carefully and go get tickets. Some told us that they bought tickets at the previous trade show that we had attended. One practitioner who introduced Shen Yun to a person learned that he ordered nine tickets the next day.
For the past two years, running ads in the Toronto newspapers hasn't had a good effect, so this time, our budget for advertising and promoting the Spring Shen Yun shows was not much. I believe however, that when the Fa-rectification reaches this stage, the effectiveness of ads will be much better than before. Practitioners on the coordinating team also saw this situation and they quickly changed their strategy for advertisements, and adopted many good strategies which increased the effect of the ads greatly. I often talked with another practitioner who was in charge of doing ads. When an ad had a very good effect, we analyzed what factors made it good. When the ad didn't have a good effect, we also tried to determine the reasons. We assigned ourselves different tasks for reading one newspaper per person per day. We also looked at how other shows were doing their ads, and analyzed how we could spend the least amount of money to achieve the greatest effect.
When I was involved with the Mississauga Shen Yun projects in the past, some practitioners gave me a big thumbs up. However, I felt anxious. This time I basically just harmonized with others and wasn't involved much in coordination. Not being praised made me feel very happy. Cultivation is not for the purpose of coordinating and being an official. To cultivate solidly is most fortunate. When the methods of promoting Shen Yun become sufficient, we don't need to place emphasis on and depend on one person. That is how a normal and professional business operation is run.
Toronto will soon start promoting Shen Yun shows during the New Year. Let's hold righteous thoughts and righteous actions to assist Master in rectifying the Fa and allowing more and more predestined people to attend Shen Yun shows. While doing the promotion I have to cultivate away more attachments and purify my heart as well.
Thank you Master and thank you all.