Friday, March 6, 2009

Live Simply. Love Generously. Pay it Forward.

Dear DHF Family, I saw the title above recently at the bottom of an email signature line. I thought— what an amazing way to not only represent WHAT you are, but an awesome way to live.

It’s been an extremely busy week, filled with the experience of meeting intriguing, intelligent, loving people who are changing the world. These people and each one of you is growing DHF in ways that are beyond my imagination. This reminds me of what Lao-Tzu calls the “Three Treasures” in the 67th verse of his timeless writing, the Tao Te Ching: compassion, simplicity, and humility.

Compassion: Think of others (first!) by being willing to exhibit kindness and love. What if you think of everyone the way you think of yourself? They too have unbounded joys, needs, deep sorrows, constant worries, unmet needs, hopes for their lives. If we SAW people this way, we would see the great gift in front of through everyone, our teachers.
Simplicity: Be willing to take only what you need with a lack of attachment to it. The less attachment you have, the more you can give generously.
Humility: Surrendering to a force greater than your ego. Great leaders are grateful, generous servants.

February ended on a high note last week with our “Planting Seeds of Hope” event at the Great Outdoors. About 75 folks were graced by the gorgeous atmosphere of the nursery as we were tucked away so that guests strolled their way through a luminaria-lit pathway. The evening was simply magical; the people who turned out were filled with Light and a common desire to be part of the fabric of the Hope House, our women’s development center in Peru. The TX evening was filled with warm wind and the sound of 15 foot deep chimes that provided a miraculous backdrop for our presentation. One of my favorite stories of the evening rooted with a friend Ahmed, who bough 10 necklaces to send to the women in his family in the cities of Chittagong and Dhaka in Bangladesh. Talk about connecting the world, powerful women to power women, all wanting the same thing—to care for their families. That moved me.

We raised over $6000 to open the doors of the Hope House. If you missed the event and want to be part of this place of power, we continuously seek to raise funds to sponsor classes for the women inside the walls. I am simply filled with Gratitude for the volunteers who created this vision while I was in Peru and led the DHF guests to an inspired evening.

Nora and I wait anxiously for Monday March 9…when the final inspection of the Hope House takes place and the keys get put into her hand. We’ve both worked so much on the brokering of the Hope House and want to start enjoying it. The contract is signed (after many Spanish revisionsJ) and the money has been wired to Peru for Nora to start shopping to fill it up…sewing machines for classes, shelves and resource books for literacy classes, kitchenware for cooking classes, tables and chairs for women to come into. I know Nora is set to go, as she already has 9 classes pre-scheduled for this month based on what women have asked for!

March whipped in with opportunities to meet brilliant people. First, I was invited to speak at the
Austin Women in Technology conference to speak about Leadership Power. The theme for the conference was “The Power of One, the power of many.” I found myself couched between my two other panelists who taught me so much about being a woman Leader. One of the panelists spoke about Being on Purpose and Being Resilient. We had an amazing group discussion about the resilience and vulnerability that come with being entrepreneurs. I’ve mentioned that before, a true and honest part of this wild ride.

On Monday March 2, someone (unknown) nominated DiscoverHope to be featured amongst Austin’s young philanthropists in the upcoming digital issue of
Giving City Austin. I will let you all know when the issue goes live—but talk about humbling! I was honored to share an evening with nearly 40 young philanthropists. I walked away literally on fire with Life and Energy.

The week, I enjoyed the networking during
RISE Austin, entrepreneurs giving freely to entrepreneurs. I attended about seven sessions to help DHF’s work grow, including subjects like using social media for growing your organization and engaging the Latino community. I was also a host for a session, How to Start a Nonprofit, where I had the pleasure of sitting with nearly 15 folks with nonprofit visions. I am thankful to be part of their paths and hope my session helps them on their journeys. I also met some lit-up ladies at the Austin Women Entrepreneurs mixer and the week ended with another dose of woman power as I sat amongst the ladies of Dell Computers at the W.I.S.E. Women gathering.

Last but not least, I wrapped it all up by listening to an unbelievable entrepreneur, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, founded here in Austin. Last night he lovingly versed several hundred people on
conscious capitalism and the not-so-secret success of Whole Foods. He noted that conscious capitalism has three components: 1) a higher purpose 2) considers stakeholders on every level of the organization 3) leaders are servants to the organization. It was really fascinating listening to this man who puts his employees (team members) first on the stakeholder list, knowing that they will serve the customers well because they are valued as employees. That brings people coming back, and helps profit, which the investors as stakeholders like. He spoke about his role as a servant to Whole Foods, seeing himself as a person who is on this planet to assist others, not to make money as his purpose. I left once again, humbled, inspired, and ready for another day as a Leader.

To being leaders who are eager to serve the world, MM

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