About Me  

I'm joining Service Space because ... it feels like my community

A good day to me is when ... good day implies there are some that are not. I must be in denial about those, for every day seems good to me.

My hero in life is ...ordinary decent folks who just persist and do the right thing day after day .... ok, the Dalai Lama, Rev Desmond Tutu and others who laugh easily also tug at my heart strings

My favorite book is ...Ten Tall Tales by Dr Suess, The Little Prince, Stories from Panchtantra and many more

One thing I'm grateful for is ... a good enough life that enables me to serve


Lessons From Loss

Apr 20, 2019, 3 smiles The nature of life itself Is change. Learning to let go Is hard. Loss brings us The lesson to cherish Every moment.

Hole In The Heart: Space

Mar 12, 2019, 3 comments, 5 smiles On the days When the heart feels like it has a hole or two in it I appreciate that It is kind enough to Hold space for me.

Raza: The Will Of God

Mar 09, 2019, 2 comments, 5 smiles In urdu, Raza means the will of God. A neighbor of almost two decades, here in California, called Mary, reminds me of my mother. At first we would meet in the shared park where she and her retired husband would walk in the evenings, as I would watch my little son play with his friends. From neighborly greetings we proceeded to learning that the retired couple were originally from Iran, and had moved to the US after the revolution. Over the years, the handsome man developed and battled with Alzheimer's, while his wife diligently cared for him, until he passed away. Now, she walks with a walker and only comes to the garden rarely. Sometimes, she will knock on my door for simple assistance, such as when she could not put her key in her house door, or her central heating was making strange noises, or once when her ipad was ... Read Full Story

Give, In Order To Get Back

Jan 10, 2019, 3 smiles During the recent Christmas holidays, I decided to write up my experience of everyday kindness I experienced earlier in the fall term while at work, as a professor at a Catholic Liberal Arts College. It was an act of appreciation for the joys my job brings into my life and a way to amplify what I value by bringing attention to it. I value community and like the way Nipun Bhai articulates it as 'We before Me' and encourages small acts of kindness. I shared the note with my colleague, Brother Charles, a history professor, and director of the Cummings Institute. Bishop Cummings served Oakland for 25 years and this institute named after him is one of the ways the college promotes dialog between faith and reason. Brother Charles said he would share my note with the editorial team for the Institute blog to possibly see if might be for ... Read Full Story

A Minute's Pause Ripples

Dec 20, 2018, 2 comments, 6 smiles In giving, we get back. As I teach, I learn from my students. In adopting the practice of a minute's pause before class, I have learned how it ripples forward as students send back their reflections. In reading the following one from one of them, I learned, how I can add a minute's pause to getting out of my car, to set my agenda for the day, and get more done. "I have learned so much from this class that I can take back to my work and personal life. I really enjoyed the silent reflection in the beginning so that you can focus on what it is you want to accomplish. I take that to work with me. Before I even get out of my car, I take a moment to self-reflect on what it is that I need to work on and accomplish for the day. It seems to ... Read Full Story

A Minute Of Silence Ripples

Dec 12, 2018, 1 comments, 5 smiles I have borrowed Birju's idea of a minute of silence in the classes I teach to working professionals. I see my class as a co-created space for learning where I hold space and set the agenda, and just as the students are learning from my expertise, I am also learning from them and about them. I set up the minute of silence as the pause to decide for themselves what they want to take away from the class. I also check in afterwards as to how that minute went, and get permission for doing more in the future, if they are open to it. I asked for mid-course reflections on how the class was going, and here is what one of the students wrote, reproduced below in his own words.: "On the first day of class, I learned a valuable lesson in our minute of silence –self-reflection is important. Taking ... Read Full Story

Empty Nest To Open Nest

Nov 09, 2018, 1 comments, 6 smiles Awakin started when the group of friends meditating together decided to leave the door open, for others who wanted to join them. Trust the ripples and just pass it on, along with bloom where planted are other commonly practiced values in ServiceSpace. Putting these into practice in my life has led me to convert my empty nest into an open nest. I left the door open and offer the same patient listening I have enjoyed at Awakin circles, to pass it on to whoever walks in through the door. There are several young families in my neighborhood who, like me, are first generation immigrants. They have left their family elders behind in their birth countries and started their young families here. I simply started by talking to the kids and parents as they played in the park right outside my front door. They soon learned that I leave my door open ... Read Full Story

Making Ordinary Extraordinary With Consistency & Care.

Sep 21, 2018, 6 smiles This week's Awakin reading was about Love. An ordinary home in Santa Clara is where I had the good fortune to attend the Awakin circle. There are too many people and too many small acts that convert this ordinary home to the extraordinary Kindness Temple for anyone to describe it all but a couple of things that make magic happen are consistency and care. This home has welcomed complete strangers every Wednesday, to come join the Awakin circle, for twenty one years. This consistency is remarkable, if not unparalleled. No excuses and no reason is great enough to break the weekly hosting practice. Earlier this year, as I presented the ServiceSpace story at a conference, Barry Schwartz in the audience confessed that although he was really pessimistic, hearing about the 21 years of unbroken Awakin circles had given him reason to be hopeful. Not many can sustain their efforts this long. Food ... Read Full Story

Poetry Pals Present

Aug 19, 2018, 1 comments, 4 smiles I have been hosting monthly poetry circles in my living room for almost a year. For 2-3 hours, a few friends and strangers who are yet to be friends come to sit together, read some poems aloud. Sometimes the poems are written by the people reading them, and more often, we read poems we want to share with others. There are poems in all different languages and impromptu translations, followed by heartfelt conversations about the reading. It is a treat to have poems read by people who have been touched by the poet's words and what is beyond words, in-between the words, beyond the lines, in the musicality and cadence, the tone and mood of the poem. Everyone listens to more poems than they read, for that is the nature of the circle we meet in. By listening, we make the poem our own and also connect with the person ... Read Full Story

Passing It On

Jul 03, 2018, 1 comments, 7 smiles For the past several months, a young lady has attended poetry circles at my home, and the heartfelt conversations about poems have led to a friendship between us. Recently, as we were discussing something about the inequalities in this world, she expressed her frustration and helplessness in a manner that led me to spontaneously throw out a suggestion that we could do something, maybe cook lunch and take it to those near us who happen to be homeless. Her initial reaction was to say don’t sign me up for anything, but as the weekend approached, she followed up to ask if I was serious. I had wanted to do this for a while and only needed a companion. We agreed to do it. As we made plans, she asked why we couldn't we just buy some food to give away. I told her I want to offer home-cooked food, as they ... Read Full Story