On September 10, Joseph sat down at the Public Trust table in Kendall Center with artist ambassador Furen Dai and said,
"I promise to forgive my flaws."
In the weeks since, the memory of his experience at Public Trust and the physical reminder of his promise, etched in graphite on white paper, have changed Joseph's thinking.
"I'm finding the compassion for myself to say these flaws are okay, are part of me being human. I keep my promise rubbing around, peek at it every so often when I am stuck in my head too much. Maybe I will frame it, put it up where others may see it as a true attempt at vulnerability with the world."
A month after Public Trust closed in Copley Square, we asked participants to submit their stories about how they're keeping and living with their promises today.
La Tanya, author and motivational speaker, promised not to be a silent bystander on August 28 in Dudley.
"It was a pleasure to meet and share a positive reinforcement conversation with Paul Ramirez Jonas. I am proud to say, I have been able to keep my promise! About two weeks ago, I witnessed a car accident first-hand and it required me to be calm, cool, and collected under this traumatic circumstance. Car accidents can be upsetting for the victims and the bystander alike. I was able to stand in the gap and assist my fellow drivers until the professional emergency responders arrived."
Hannah, age 15, said, "I promise to love myself and disregard the opinions of others."
"As a teenager, it can be hard to love yourself with all the expectations and pressure to be a certain type of person from your peers and the media. Making this promise has helped me stay grounded. Whenever I start to doubt myself or think something self deprecating, I remind myself of the public promise that I made and I feel better. Declaring something so personal publicly has helped me become more confident and I feel like I have an obligation to keep my promise and inspire other people to feel the same way."
Another promise was to never give up, inspired by an upcoming audition:
"I am going into this audition with a completely different mind set. I'm going in there to show them the real me and what I can bring to the table."
In Copley, Lynn made a promise to fight for people in chronic pain.
"I am keeping my promise by volunteering as the Massachusetts Ambassador for the US Pain Foundation. I also volunteer as an advisory panel number of the Massachusetts Resiliency Center, which serves trauma survivors. In addition, I donate my time as a Director of medical marijuana advocacy."
Sarah made a co-promise with her brother: "I promise to visit often."
"My brother and I independently decided to move to the East Coast to go to college. He's five years younger than me, so I feel like I helped raise him. It was hard being apart for five years when I was starting my life out here. Now, he's an hour drive away! I'll be visiting him in the next few weeks. So far, so good!
"This was my brother's first participation in public art. We had a great time doing it and it started an awesome conversation for us."
"I promise to be honest with myself & write my book."
"My promise hangs on my living room wall so I see it from my couch or heading into the kitchen. It reminds me that keeping a promise isn't something you do once, you live with it. My promise to write my book is now a goal to work towards rather than a someday wish, because I have spoken it out loud in public. Being honest with myself, getting out of my own way, not letting fear dictate what I accomplish, I promise to keep trying. Every day."
On the final day of Public Trust, Jendy said, "I promise to believe the promises and trust the process."
"This experience was so beautiful and so perfectly timed for the lessons that have been unfolding in my life and where I am on my personal journey. This promise is in my heart and mind everyday. It is a CHOICE and a practice everyday. And it is in recognizing that it is simply a choice that I have been able to hold this promise continuously before me as a reference point for forward movement and growth. No doubt, some days I find it harder to put this promise into practice than others...in fact, some moments it feels nearly impossible! The good news is ... if we find ourselves falling back, we can always come back and try again."
Thank you to everyone who shared how Public Trust helped you make a promise and live with more bravery, love, creativity, or intention. If you'd like to share your story, contact us here.