Ben's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Full Circle

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Washington, DC

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 11

BEN DREXLER

Poi Spinner

“I've got great benefits, I've got a great salary-but here's this other thing, and when I'm doing this other thing, I'm not just really happy...I'm extremely happy.”

INTERESTS:

Non-Profit Organizations Politics

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Choices Determination Values Risk Exploration Family Community Fulfillment Goals Inspiration Opportunity Transitions Culture Regrets Self-Reflection Societal Pressures Focus Passion

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

activism, burning man, Colorado, Darfur, festival, fire spinning, goals, happiness, helping people, human rights, instructional videos, Kenya, leaving home, mistakes, organizations, poi spinning, politics, practice, say yes, school

BIOGRAPHY:

  • In college, saw the film Hotel Rwanda and became an activist; worked to end genocide in Darfur.
  • Moved to Washington D.C. to work for the Genocide Intervention Network.
  • Became disillusioned by the internal politics at the organizations he worked for; decided to take his own trip to Kenya.
  • Had begun poi spinning after discovering it at Burning Man; taught the art of poi/fire dancing on his trip to Africa.
  • Felt more fulfilled teaching in Kenya for one month than he'd felt in two years working at the Network.
  • Started teaching poi spinning classes in Washington D.C., posting tutorials online.
  • Rather than wondering if he was making a difference, he now had people seeking him out to say he'd changed their lives.
  • Says spinning poi brings him so much joy because it's a form of meditation; there are no worries about immediate gains-you just spin.

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