Play Big: Embrace A Stranger The Nicula Way


I’ve been working in Belgium this year. Typically I take flight out to Brussels every Sunday night or Monday morning. And take the flight back to London late afternoon every Friday.

I work with a great bunch of people: Jeroen, Martijn, Patrick, Rupert, Arun, Prashanth, Alexandra……. They show up and travel in a manner that leaves me feeling welcome, respected, part of the team.

There is something special about Alexandra. She kind of ’embraced’ me without ever having met me. How by ringing me whilst I was recovering from back surgery.

Upon my return to work/Brussels Alexandra made me feel welcome by seeking me out and taking me out to lunch.  Not just once but several times. Now and then when she takes a break and goes out for a cigarette she invites me along. Sometimes I take up her invitation.

This week Alexandra invited me to her home. I found myself both surprised and delighted. Why surprised? “She hardly knows me!”  Why delighted? She trusts me enough to invite me to her home; and she finds me sufficiently interesting to invite me to her home.

The result? I spent a lovely evening at her place. I met her son: a beautiful young fellow, alive, curious, playful and intelligent; he enjoys chocolates; and loves his mother. I got to learn a little about her partner.  Alexandra also shared some of her life with me. Being English I tend to be somewhat reserved yet I found myself telling Alexandra about some aspects of my life.

What is there between myself and Alexandra? Gratitude! Gratitude for what? For being the first and only Belgian person who has invited me into her home, her family, her life.  For  puncturing my sense of being a stranger in this land.

I invite you and I to play big by embracing a stranger the Nicula way!  Who can you invite into your life and by so doing touch his/her life for one lunchtime, for one evening, or for a lifetime?

And finally, I dedicate this conversation to Alexandra Nicula – a remarkable woman. And someone who now shows up for me as a friend.  Thank you Alexandra for your kindness, your generosity, and your way of being – which I find refreshing and inspiring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giftivism: Transforming Life Through Small Acts of Radical Kindness


I start by gifting you that which shows up for me as a profound truth:

“What we will do for love will always be far more powerful than what we will do for money. What we can do together will always be far greater than what we can do alone.”

– Pavithra Mehta

This wisdom, this truth, this gift found itself to me through coming across and listening to what shows up for me as the most radical-inspiring talk of recent times.

It occurs to me that the being of the speaker and that which the speaker shares is in complete alignment with that which I share in my speaking through this blog. As such I am paying it forward by sharing this profound-radical-inspiring talk with you.

http://youtu.be/p_QLGvp_stI

Here are some words that have caught my attention, may they speak to you and resonate with you. May they act as an opening for you to enter into and lift ‘giftivism’: small acts of radical kindness 

“So in a world where everything has a price — what happens to the priceless?

We live in a time where we have mastered the art of “liking” each other on Facebook but have forgotten the art of loving each other in real life.

Our purpose doesn’t lie in our commodities it lies in our sense of communion …. Compassion. Empathy. Generosity. Trust….

What practices, systems and designs emerge when we believe people WANT to behave selflessly?

Generosity is generative. Everybody wins because generosity is NOT a zero sum game.”

And I leave you with the speakers invitation:

“We begin to move from being a market economy to being part of a gift ecology.

 It begins with small steps. I invite each one of you to think about what your small step will be. What is YOUR giftivist resolution?

May we each take that step. May we change ourselves, may we change the world.”

At your service and with my love

maz

 

On being wanted, loved and cared for: how I arrived with one sister and left with four sisters!


“According to Mother Theresa, the greatest disease in the West is not Tuberculosis or Leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, uncared for.” Tim Sanders, Love Is The Killer App

A life full of ‘business as usual’ encounters

Can you remember a time in your life when you turn up at someone’s house because it is something you should do. And as you knock on the door you expect a superficial experience because the people are in the room and humanity has gone walkabout – including your own? My life if it was a container would be full of these superficial encounters: unwanted, unloved, uncared for. And I am confident that I have had the same impact on many of my fellow human beings.

Three extraordinary sisters and an extraordinary day

Yesterday I encountered Asma, Saima and Selena (sisters) as I have done several times before. Yet this time I so enjoyed their company that I did not want to leave and return home. The speaking, relating, listening and the experience of each others company was extraordinary. Full of humanity – genuine sharing, caring and laughter. What was present that had been missing in previous encounters?

I was coming from the context of ‘Playing BIG’ and being the source of powerful conversations that bring the experience of the extraordinary into being. And the people I interacted with (including Asma, Saima and Selena) were touched by my honest sharing (including vulnerabilities and mistakes) and put their humanity into the mix with me. Together we touched each others lives in an ‘extraordinary’ way – definitely not a ‘business as usual’ experience’!

I got that I have four sisters and not three: I simply had not been willing to see this before. Asma is amazing and loves me; I got that Saima is amazing and loves me; I got that Selena is amazing and loves me; I got that they are amazing together and love each other; and I got that they are being loving towards their mother and father.

I love my sister Freda and the relationship is so strong that I have never wanted or wished for another sister. Today I ‘have’ four sisters. Put accurately, I declare that I am an elder brother to four sisters: Fred, Asma, Saima and Selena. And as such I take on all the ‘stuff’ that goes with ‘playing that game’. How do I feel? Great.

Final thought: ‘Playing BIG’ has expanded my circle of concern and of care. And it has also enriched my life I am delighted to be in relationship with four sisters – each of them being amazing.

I love you Freda, Asma, Saima and Selena, Please know that you have a brother in me and all that goes with that. Asma, Saima and Selena I apologise that it took me so long to get that you want, love and care for me as your older brother. I totally get that you are amazing and it is a privilege to step into being your elder brother.