Sunday, August 8, 2010


Friends, I have gotten several inquiries recently about why I haven't been writing lately. Jay passed on a message from Babumama reminding me that Big B posts to his blog every day.

The main reason for the lack of writing is that over time I've learned that when I don't have anything worthwhile to contribute, it's better to just shut up. Typically for this blog I wait for posts to write themselves; whenever I try to force them to the page I end up with something...well, forced.

That said I have been inspired to write something recently, and while I work on the post (promise it will be ready soon!), I thought I'd share some ramblings from another venue I write to from time-to-time. Amongst some of the CharityFocus coordinators, we have been using an internal Twitter-like tool to share reflections and updates with each other, mostly under the prompt, "What are you learning?" As with all things CF, it's all about the journey, and this is a fun way for us to learn from each other's journeys, 1000 characters at a time. Below are some of my recent posts to the CF-Twitter, as an appetizer for more to come here on TOI:

Aug 8
One of my favorite conversations with people is the benefits of meditation and how it has positively changed my life. Sometimes I clutch for the right language to precisely describe the virtues one develops through regular practice. Recently I was sitting in a rickshaw in India and a word came to me: gumption. Wikipedia defines the word as "courage, also known as bravery, fortitude, will, and intrepidity... the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation…". When you meditate, you practice seeing things through all the way. You practice resilience of mind, intense engagement, holding your mind steady against the hard gusts of thought-winds. When I played competitive soccer, a phrase we used a lot was "get stuck in." Meaning, get lost into the game. Surrender to it wholly, with intense focus, and absolutely don't disengage. Meditation is a practice of developing mental gumption, of "getting stuck" into the present moment.
Aug 7
Malcolm Gladwell: When Wayne Gretzky (greatest ice hockey player of all time) was 2 years old, his parents sat him in front of the TV to watch hockey matches and when the games were over, he would burst into tears. At that age he could hardly walk, let alone play hockey, but he already loved this thing so much that for it to end was the end of the world. So what is talent? Typically we associate it with ability, but what if talent is about being in love? A far more appealing notion of genius than a high IQ is that it is an extraordinary love for a particular thing. What separates us from the genius is that the genius loves what he or she does more than we do.
Aug 2
Some new research that shows poor people are more generous than rich people: The researchers imply that poor people may adopt generosity as a coping mechanism, but perhaps it's deeper than that. When you are incapacitated in one realm, you build other muscles (blind folks usually have great listening skills); poor are doing much more than cope and rich also need to do much more than indulge :)
July 22
Just learned about the remarkable story of Barbados. A Caribbean island comparable in terms of history and resources to Jamaica 40 years ago, now has twice the median income of Jamaica, is thriving economically, and has over 95% literacy while Jamaica remains poor and lacking in education. The difference? Years ago Barbadian economy had financial crisis, and country's leadership made a decision against status quo historically by exercising monetary restraint and asking its population to spend less. Labor leadership stepped up and asked people to accept massive wage cuts under slogan "Save Barbados". Business leadership recognized labor's patriotic sacrifice and decided to accept a lower profit margin. Through mutual trust and solidarity between government, business, and people later formalized as the "Social Partnership", the country came out of crisis and real wages are now higher than before cut. And Barbadians are actually happy with their political leaders!
July 21
Reflecting on this week's thought on status quo and leadership ( Our internal status quo becomes apparent during meditation. The mind is so noisy, so chaotic. The status quo is to entertain any thought. The status quo is to disengage with the present moment, to roll in the past or roll in the future. The status quo is inattention. The status quo is to react to temporary discomfort. To go against the internal status quo is to keep the mind still, to not identify with temporary sensations, to experience them with greater awareness and patience than you thought possible. Going against internal status quo is discovering new vistas of personal strength and capability. That is self-leadership.

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