Thursday, February 14, 2008

True Life: I Work for CharityFocus

It's hard to classify what exactly I'm doing here in the Bay Area. Nipun once called me a volunteer executive committee intern, so i've been going with that, but really the job is pretty catch all.

I was thinking about how i'd capture what I've been doing as a job description. So far, I'd say it was

-doing small acts of kindness

-looking to be of service to whoever it is that i meet in whatever way i can

-use my skillset (business, technology) to do 1 & 2, and build on new skillsets

-meditate and practice present moment awareness

Weird job description and yet it has resulted in the most fruitful experience of my life to date. I'd like to share what i've done this week, but the caveat is that it is not necessarily indicative of the work. When this week started, i didn't have much of an idea of what would come up, and yet without any planning plenty of good stuff has happened.

Monday started with a long meeting about our new project. This is part of a new rollout of what CharityFocus is doing to try and make it easier to help others in the world by connecting people who need help to people that are looking to provide help (no money exchanged of course). It's currently in development though, so going to take a bit to go forward. In the evening I head to Nipun's house to have a debrief of his trip to New York City (where he spoke to Columbia on generosity, sparked a movement, etc lol). And there was meditation.

Tuesday was about Karma Kitchen. We were trying to figure out how to proceed with the project, where to proceed, and specific logistics about it. In the evening I went down to Santa Clara to meet 2 wonderful folks and see how we could serve. Joe is from India and he had been selflessly serving for 40 years building sanitation systems in the poorest of villages in rural India as a leader of GramVikas. He has saved tens of thousands of lives and bettered the quality of life for countless people, and recently was deemed a Skoll Fellow (with a $1M offering). Dipti is from the US, but was so moved by GramVikas' work that she has been in India for the past several years building renewable energy systems for rural villages there. The vision is to leap entirely by the system of energy that we're in now. And there was meditation as well =)

Wednesday is meditation day. The evening is marked by 40ish people coming to meditate and share their thoughts. The day is spent shipping smile card orders and preparing food as service for the meditators. There's hundreds and hundreds of orders to be shipped every week, and as this operation runs lean (to say the least), we do it all ourselves. In addition to this, we met up with Andrew Hoppin on this day. Andrew is something akin to VP of Utopia for NASA. He is trying to create open communities for sharing information in that space and get people to learn from each other in ways that aerospace has never seen (and he's trying to add a bit of spirituality to it too).

So far today on Thursday I've been with Pavi and Viral, and we've been writing, trying to get some research for the next thought-of-the-week and doing more work for Karma Kitchen, which will hopefully be re-opening up soon (and perhaps have a HBS case study on it soon as well). and of course there will be meditation ;)

So on this Valentine's day, I want to share this poem (not written by me) and just be open to the good things in life.

one more thing. an old hindi song on this valentines day:


here's a translation i found on the internets:

(1)
Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai,
ke jaise tujko banaya gaya hai mere liye
.

SOMETIMES THE IDEA COMES TO MY HEART,
THAT YOU ARE MADE FOR ME

(2)
Tu ab se pehle sitaron mein bas rahi thi kahin,
tuje jamin pe bulya gaya he mere liye.

BEFORE THIS YOU WERE LIVING IN STARS SOMEWHERE ,
BUT YOU WERE CALLED ON EARTH FOR ME

(3)
Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai,
ke ye badan ye nighanon meri amanat hai,

SOMETIMES THE IDEA COMES TO MY HEART,
THIS FLESH, THESE EYES ARE MY TREASURES.

(4)
Yeh geshuon ki ghani chhaon hai meri khatir,
ye hothon aur yeh bahen meri amanat hai.

THIS DENSE SHADE OF HAIR IS FOR ME,
THESE LIPS , THESE ARMS ARE MY TREASURES.

(5)
Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai,
ke jaise bajti hai shenhaiyan si rahon mein,

SOMETIMES THE IDEA COMES TO MY HEART,
AS IF AN INSTRUMENT IS PLAYING IN THE WAY

(6)
Suhag raat hai ghoonghat utha raha hoon mein,
Simat rahi he tu sharma ke meri bahon mein.

ITS THE WEDDING NIGHT AND I AM REMOVING YOUR VEIL,
YOU ARE COMING TO MY ARMS BLUSHINGLY.

(7)
Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai,
jaise tu muje chehagi umrabhar younhi.

SOMETIMES THE IDEA COMES TO MY HEART,
AS IF YOU WILL LOVE ME MY WHOLE LIFE LIKE THIS,

(8)
Utthegi meri taraf pyaar ki nazar younhi,
main janta hun ke tu gair magar younhi.
Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai,

AFFECTIONATE GLANCE WILL LOOK UP TO ME LIKE THIS,
I KNOW YOU ARE STRANGER BUT JUST LIKE THIS,
SOMETIMES THE IDEA COMES TO MY HEART.

peace

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