Overcoming Difficulties and Making Breakthroughs to Achieve Sold-out Shen Yun Performances
(Minghui.org) We initially encountered a lot of resistance when we discussed organizing a Shen Yun performance in our city in 2012. At the time, only a few practitioners in our area wanted to host the performance. The rest didn't think we should because they felt local conditions weren’t so great, so they thought we should wait and see if the situation changed.
Later, after listening to experiences from fellow practitioners in other states, our local practitioners realized we could do it, but it would be necessary to overcome a number of difficulties. Eventually, we all decided to cherish this opportunity for saving sentient beings and to ask Shen Yun to come to our area in 2012.
Making a Breakthrough
Upon learning that we wished to invite the performance to our area, several experienced coordinators from other cities shared ideas with us. However, we weren’t quite sure how to determine the best way to promote the show with regard to our local situation. We tried several approaches, but the outcome was not so good. In addition, the temperatures in our area are the hottest in the U.S. It was still 40 to 50 degrees Celsius (104-122 Fahrenheit) in October. Despite our efforts, we only sold two or three tickets every day, and could not seem to make a breakthrough.
At the beginning of November, two fellow practitioners from other cities came to share their experiences with promoting the show on a larger scale.
The two major ways they suggested were putting up Shen Yun posters and distributing Shen Yun Special Editions in mainstream communities. But we felt it would be too difficult to do this, because we only had four or five local practitioners available plus some practitioners who had come from other cities. In light of our previous experience, we knew that at least several dozen practitioners were needed to complete the task. Since we really had no other way but to just do it, practitioners encouraged each other. We reaffirmed that Master has given us this precious opportunity to save sentient beings, so we should just do it with no reservations.
We used many methods in the promotion. Here I would like to share a story that deeply impressed me.
Putting up Posters with Amazing Speed
We printed several thousand posters of different sizes. At the speed we had been working at, it would have taken three two-person teams two or three months to put up all the posters. However, we only had one team. Thanks to Master's arrangement, a skillful practitioner came to our city to help. He and I teamed up—he put up most of the posters, while I drove the car and took care of other details. One weekend, when several practitioners came from a distant city and two local practitioners helped, we were able to complete the first run of putting up the posters within just over twenty days. We covered the city and its suburbs, an area spanning eighty miles from north to south, and fifty miles from west to east.
A local western practitioner said that all his friends, including those from the Rotary Club, told him they saw Shen Yun posters everywhere. Once, when the practitioner was promoting Shen Yun at a farmer's market, a man told him it seemed that the posters followed him wherever he went, so he had no choice but to go see the show. We often met people who wanted to buy tickets as soon as they saw our posters.
In thinking back over what we accomplished, I couldn't believe we were able to put up thousands of posters within such a short time. Practitioners said it is because Master strengthened us and our righteous thoughts. When I compared myself to them, I was able to see where I fell short. Those who were able to put the posters up the fastest only needed to say a few words and easily got permission from the stores' owners or managers.
Later we printed an extra batch of posters, and all of them were posted.
What We Learned from the Promotion
I learned quite a lot from practitioners while promoting Shen Yun. My experience is that everyone has a role to play no matter what kind of shortcomings he or she has. I felt that one practitioner was not cultivating diligently, but by coordinating with others she sold several hundred group tickets. Another practitioner who had previously left us with a negative impression came and sold tickets at a shopping center every day. When no one else was available, she worked until the 9:30 p.m. closing time.
These experiences really moved me. I reminded myself not to focus on superficial appearances, because every practitioner can play a role as long as he or she sincerely does the necessary work, whether it seemed they were cultivating diligently or not. I stopped holding negative thoughts about other practitioners, as everyone utilizes his or her unique skills to promote Shen Yun.
There are only a few practitioners in our area, but two quite capable ones did not step forward at first. One of them would not reply to our phone calls or emails and did not agree that we should host a Shen Yun performance. I kept trying to have him join us; he had not been coming out for group events for almost two years. Thinking of ways to encourage him, I asked an older practitioner who had contact with him to send him a box of the Special Edition brochures. Eventually he broke through his barrier and started to sell tickets. I believe it was our field of righteous thoughts that brought him back.
The other practitioner was an older woman over seventy and I didn’t expect her to be able to do very much. Then later I realized Master needed to bring up all the practitioners who hadn't stepped forward, and promoting Shen Yun was an opportunity He had arranged. So I drove her around, helping her distribute the Special Edition brochures. At first, because she had a poor sense of direction and no idea which way she was supposed to go, she distributed materials on the same street blocks that had already been covered. I started to assign her some easily identifiable street zones and reminded her to pay attention to the distinguishing features on the roads. Later she could distribute the materials at an amazing speed—even faster than the young people. She said she would ask Master for strength if she was tired at night but could not fall asleep. The next day she’d find her body was so light that she didn't feel tired.
These two practitioners coming out to promote Shen Yun also inspired me. As a coordinator, I certainly have some shortcomings in my cultivation and in my work. Sometimes due to my attachments, I have unwittingly hurt some practitioners and dampened their enthusiasm. To bring practitioners in to play their roles, we first needed to go out to the front lines ourselves. No matter how busy we were or how many issues we needed to coordinate, once Shen Yun promotion became a major task for us, we needed to go all out. Maybe our efforts would gradually untie the knots in practitioners' minds. We also didn’t need to spend much time on coordination. We coordinators didn't even have time to write emails for sharing our experiences or encouraging others. We just did it ourselves, with no comments on who was good or who was not, forming a field of righteous thoughts. Eventually all the local practitioners stepped forward, with no one left behind.
I used to assume those who were unable to speak English could do little in promoting Shen Yun. However, due to the lack of hands, every practitioner was needed to take charge of a location. One practitioner from China could only speak a few simple sentences, but with righteous thoughts and an easy manner, he needed only one or two minutes to get the other person to understand about Shen Yun and accept posters or Special Editions.
Another practitioner did not speak English at all. She went out to sell tickets with her son. When she saw people, she just gave them a thumbs up and made gestures to introduce Shen Yun. She said on several different occasions that several women hugged her with tears streaming down their face. Master says in “Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa”:
“... We really do have some people who have done a great job, who have gone about things in a very natural and poised manner in upscale neighborhoods. And when they’ve spoken with people, they have been quite at ease. Instantly the other party has been delighted, just as if they’d been waiting for you. That really is the case. There has been a great deal of groundwork done in advance. ...”
Every morning before going out to promote Shen Yun, we would encourage and remind each other that we were not just distributing materials, but saving people, and must maintain a very pure mindset. Whenever ticket sales dropped for a few days in succession, we shared experiences and looked inward to check whether we had affected the outcome by becoming too relaxed. In this way, we kept rectifying ourselves. Any touching stories which took place during the day were also shared among practitioners in the evening.
Local Practitioners Went All Out in Cooperation
At one time we needed a vehicle, and a practitioner lent us his new car. When I told him an old car would be fine, he replied, “This new one has good gas mileage and won't break down on the way, so go ahead and use it.” The new car was a great help to us for over five months while we did our promotion. As a student busy with his studying, the practitioner would work in the lab until 4 or 5 a.m., but he still drove his family members to distribute Special Editions during the day. All four of his family members undertook the mission of distributing several hundred thousand Special Editions. One couple sold about three hundred tickets while they did promotion in various communities.
Another couple was in charge of promoting Shen Yun at the local Rotary Club and several other communities. In addition, the wife sent forth righteous thoughts near the theater every week beginning in July. During the peak period, the hotline group was too busy to handle the phone calls, so a couple suggested that their kids (all of whom are practitioners), who were studying at the college, ask for time off to help with the hotline. The couple often worked on management issues until midnight.
Practitioners from Other States Did Their Utmost
One practitioner knew we didn’t have enough people, so before coming to join us, he had already printed the route map for putting up posters in the metropolitan area. I was quite surprised when he gave me his map because it was more complete, more detailed and easier to use than ours. In comparing our maps, I could tell the difference between this practitioner and myself in cultivation and the effort we put in.
Another practitioner distributed the Special Editions door to door. When she came back, her feet and legs were so painful that she was almost unable to walk. Still, she went out the next day. She said, “If it were an everyday people's job, I would rather give up my pay than work when I feel like this. But we are saving people, so I must do it.” Thus she kept going out for over a month before her feet and legs got better. We worked seven days a week to catch up to where we needed to be.
Through the efforts of both out-of-state and local practitioners, we completed many tasks beyond our imagination. This was mutual cooperation to form an integrated whole body. We knew we were strengthened by Master, and were ten times stronger and more capable than we used to be. Here, I would like to express our gratitude to practitioners from other states who helped us with Shen Yun promotion.
What We Do Is Strengthened by Master
Looking back at the process of organizing Shen Yun promotion, I gained the clear knowledge that Master strengthens what we do and magnifies its effect. Practitioners from other states came to help us one after another. When we needed more hands, practitioners came to join us.
I also have my personal experience of being strengthened by Master. Distributing the Special Editions always took a lot of energy and made my legs and feet tired and sore. But when I remembered that Shen Yun is saving people, I would walk faster and faster and even start to gently run, as I heard the song in my mind that goes: “Clarify the truth and save the people with urgency.” With the song, my steps became brisk and fast, I could feel a strong field of compassion surrounding me, and my tears would fall. Sometimes I would become upset when experiencing a test, but then when I’d go out to promote Shen Yun, I’d feel even-tempered, and all my negative thoughts disappeared.
To be honest, I was not sure what the attendance rate would be, and I felt it was only a dream to have the tickets sell out. When I was out selling tickets, I was encouraged when I met people with predestined relationships. Later I became more confident. I stopped worrying and my mind became clear. I felt that Master had already made arrangements for these predestined people, and our mission was just like that of mailmen delivering the message. Most of those who bought group tickets or personal tickets from me basically made their decisions immediately once they heard about Shen Yun, or when saw the beautiful album.
Checking My Shortcomings in the Face of Conflicts
A practitioner from another state told me it would be easier to coordinate and that we’d have fewer conflicts in our area because we didn't have very many practitioners. In fact, having fewer practitioners makes no difference, as long as we are still cultivating and have not let go of our attachments, conflicts are sure to surface.
While promoting Shen Yun, two big xinxing tests I encountered were about how to do promotion. At one point, I thought my idea was the best and the most comprehensive, and was directly related to whether we could sell out all the tickets. But the other coordinators disagreed, and rejected my suggestion. I was very upset, because I felt since I was stopped by practitioners' thoughts, it could actually impact the effectiveness of our promotion. When the conflict appeared, I was very worried but dared not have any negative thoughts, which might form bad things in other dimensions and affect the people to be saved.
One of my two ideas was rejected, while the other one accepted. In raising the issue here, I am not trying to identify who is right or wrong. My mind was stirred up at the time and I was attached to my “good idea” and my “good method.” After getting through these xinxing tests, I have been considering a serious question: while promoting Shen Yun or other truth-clarification projects, how do we fulfill our task while cooperating well? This is where I should do better in my cultivation. Only by improving my xinxing can I solve the problems of cooperation.
A Dream Come True
We eventually realized the dream of sold out performances! We began as a group that lacked the confidence to organize a Shen Yun promotion in our area, and then all the practitioners participated and cooperated well. Eventually we realized a completely successful Shen Yun performance. All of this helped me understand:
“... When disciples have ample righteous thoughts,
Master has the power to turn back the tide.”
—The Master-Disciple Bond, Hong Yin Volume II
After the performance, through a hint in a dream, Master helped me realize that the influence of Shen Yun is still not great enough, and has not completely met the requirement. Those everyday people's well-known shows only need to advertise on television a few times to notify their audiences. We also need to promote Shen Yun as early as possible. A “Shen Yun is coming” advertisement should be enough, and the audience will buy tickets on their own. Let's continue with our efforts to realize this.
The above is my personal experience in promoting Shen Yun. Please compassionately correct anything inappropriate in my understanding.