The Blue Sweater for March – Book Review

So I went ahead with the Blue Sweater book for the month of March. It has been dragged along with me everywhere for the past year waiting for the moment I decide to go for it. It is an intriguing book telling the story of the founder of Acumen Fund, an organization established focusing on finding solutions to poverty. They attract investors who are philanthropists to invest into entrepreneurs who are bringing sustainable solutions to big problems of poverty.

The book tells you the story of how Acumen was born by the founder herself. It starts with a compelling story of finding her own blue sweater that she has given away for charity worn by a kid in Africa. And using this as the beginning of her story intrigued me. Few pages down the book I was getting a little bored and started flipping until I reached half way and read:

“I’m supposed to be an anthropologist, so what am I doing studying vector analysis and the Black-Scholes theory?

He reminded me that I’d come to learn the skills I needed to change the world- at least that was my mantra. The developing world needed management skills. It needed people who knew how to start and build companies, not just people with good intentions. It was growing clear to me that those who sought power and money made the rules; yet power alone could corrupt and corrode. “Power without love,” Martin Luther King Jr. said in one of his last speeches, “is reckless and abusive,” and, he continued, “love without power is sentimental and anemic.”

This passage is what made me want to finish the book reading and not skimming. For to be an anthropologist one needs to be concerned with the other as an equal human being, and to have a goal or a mantra to change the world, that I resonate with as cliche as it may sound. So how did Jacqueline Novogratz the author of the book The Blue Sweater (bridging the gap between rich and poor in an interconnected world) make it happen starts only after half the book has been read.

The first half is also of importance as to how she has reached the second half. But personally I felt it was too long. I only was excited about the second half. It discussed her experience with the aftermath of the genocide that took part in Rwanda. How she forged an understanding to how silence can feel criminal. It is an interesting book that explores how the need to help others overcome their difficulties, enable them to find the way to secure their basic needs turned from an empathetic approach to a business oriented approach generating millions in number to serve the world to become a better place.

She also tries to bring to the readers attention the power of listening and how that can strengthen relationships and foster abundant joy. Which I find to be also important to share, for listening I have myself come to learn is a work in progress. And in many situations where we ignore the power of listening, listening can actually be the source of making a difference in the present moment.

“Just start. Don’t wait for perfection. Just start and let the work teach you.” Is how Jacqueline was able to succeed, and it is how I was able to make it work once. But it is easier said than done. For to start something new requires goal setting, more like goal specification. And it does not necessarily require a full goal drawn, but a clear step visualized before approaching, a step that can latter take you to many steps, and the most important factor here is to imagine yourself not five years down the line, but twenty and forty and even after your death, where will what you plan to do be, take the world, the people, where will it leave them, influence them, inspire them? Those questions might make a difference before starting, but starting should not be disabled just by being afraid of imperfection. As I agree with the quote in the book that imperfection is only perfected through practice.

After all, the book is a great read for all those who plan or are in the process of starting something humanitarian or not, for having a humanitarian approach in everything we do, can be life changing for many. And to start somewhere even if that is nowhere close to where you see yourself is still considered a good start. Jacqueline started in the finance world when she knew she wanted to be in the humanitarian world, and through banking she learnt how to bring it to benefit the poor through micro-finance, philanthropy and investment. And as she started small, she made many mistakes that are only human mistakes and one can only learn to grow and to form bigger ideas only through living the full journey. Allow yourself to try and fall as many times as you need to, and in the end something bigger than all those that have fallen will take place. And if you have failed enough, than that bigger thing might over live you. And to the world the benefits can be infinite.

I recommend this book.

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Loneliness

Stumbled upon this on instagram @damascus_son and it happened to be stumbled upon at the perfect timing for me.

I liked it for one reason: that I related to both feelings at the very same alone time. And I know for a fact that it is us who decide. Of course circumstances do play a part in us deciding, but if we do feel lonely, then there is at least one thing that can be changed for us to feel freedom. Mostly, it is 1- our mind set, 2- a situation we are in that we don’t agree to and are procrastinating about dealing with, 3- or we have limited comfort zone. To feel lonely is also to lack self love, motivation, goals. When we are alone, the world is under our feet. We have the quality of time to think, to meditate, to read, to relax, to work on personal growth, to write. When am alone; I personally don’t know where to start from, I always have a list of things to do. And when we are alone, that is the perfect thing to do. Get that dreams list done.

My New Years Resolution

I always have a list of wants and wills for my new years resolution, but this new year I only want to be grateful, I want to listen to life, I want to accept what it brings, and when it brings what it brings I want to make sure I listen. Some things are sent our way, but are not ours, and we know it, but we don’t listen, while other things we pass by and we want, but are not good for us, but we don’t listen. 2017 taught me to let go, not by just going with any flow, nor by just being careless, but instead, to let go from wanting to over think, to let go from wanting to be in control, and to let go from questioning why, when, and how it happened. I let go by letting life take me where it wants to take me without having to understand. I choose, but I no longer swim against the tide, but with the tide. Today, my resolution for 2018 is to give back. It is to believe in the unseen or the un-comprehended, not only at times of difficulties, but at all times. We meet people, and we know from the very first moment where this new relationship will take us, we do not need to design it in our heads, as much as take the steps we feel is the right step to take and to believe in our souls that can hear. Whenever we are on a new path, we know where it will take us, but we are never certain, we don’t have to be certain, all we need to do is believe in our senses, and instead of clouding our own selves, to help open the doors by believing in our own readings. This new year of 2018, I want to strengthen my soul’s hearing, by accepting, by letting, by practicing, and above all by believing. This new year, I might be clueless to where I might be going, but I am thoughtful of my capabilities to know by feeling. And when felt, I will write it down, and I will remind myself that something good will happen.

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Maybe, or Maybe not

One of the few things I know about writing is this:

Spend it all, shoot it, play it, loose it, all, right away, every time. do not hold what seems to be good for later, place it in the book, or for another book, give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better pace later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for latter; something better.

These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly, becomes lost in you. You open your safe and find ashes.

Annie Dillard

Daily Prompt: Maybe

Maybe, red door, blue door, door, doors, architecture, montreal

The Letter B – حرف ال ب

Sufi mystics say the secret of the Qur’an lies in the verse Al-Fatiha.
And the secret of Al-Fatiha lies in Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

And the quintessence of Bismillah is the letter Ba,

And there is a dot below that letter…

The dot underneath the B embodies the entire universe…

ب

From the book – Forty Rules of Love

– Kilimanjaro View

Quote, Kilimanjari, Mystic

From my readings… On Faith

My heart beats, my lungs breathe, my ears hear, my hair grows. And I don’t have to make them work-they just do. Planets revolve around the sun, seeds become flowers, embryos become babies, and with no help from me. Their movement is built into a natural system. I am an integral part of the system, too. I can let my life be directed by the same force that makes flowers grow-or I can do it myself. 

To trust in the force that moves the universe is faith. Faith isn’t blind, it’s visionary. Faith is believing that the universe is on my side, and that the universe knows what it’s doing. Faith is a psychological awarness of an unfolding force for good, constantly at work in all directions. My attempt to direct this force only interferes with it. My willingness to relax into it allows it to work on my behalf. Without faith, i’m frantically trying to control what it is not my business to control, and fix what it is not in my power to fix. What I’m trying to control is much better off without me, and what I’m trying to fix can’t be fixed by me anyway. Without faith, I’m wasting time.

A year of Miracles – Marianne Williamson 

  

Relaxing into my Center

There’s a way to relaxing into our center, letting other people have their say, knowing our being is even more reliant at times when we’re in a space of not-doing. When the ego steps back, the power of God steps forward. To often we feel we’re invisible unless we’re making the cool comment, doing this or doing that. But we’re so much more powerful when grounded with silence. Taking a deep breath, knowing that what you don’t say can be as powerful as what you do say, thinking deeply about something before making a response-such actions leave room for a spirit to flow, to harmonize your circumstances and move them in a more positive direction. How many times have we felt we’ve blown it simply by talking when we later wish we hadn’t or by showing off when we could have just sat there and seemed intriguing? 

God’s spirit will always reveal the truth to us if we simply don’t block His guidance. And we block it by talking fitst, attitudinally walking ahead of truth. This happens when we push too hard, trying frantically to make things happen, or keep things from happening, because we lack faith in an invisible order of things. That is why a holy instant matters: it uis a moment of quiet when the spirit enters and nakes right all thins. 

From my readings, A Year of Miracles