We landed in Amman in August, but our sea shipment from Canada only made it to Jordan a few days before Christmas. Over the holidays we unpacked, and finally settled in our peaceful and charming home in the Levant.
With all boxes undone, we were left with much cardboard to recycle. We posted an ad on social media: 'boxes for reuse up for grab.' Out of the many takers who popped in my inbox, Muna was first. When her husband dropped by to pick up the goods, he informed us that the boxes would be repurposed into canvasses, for his wife enjoyed painting on large pieces of cardboard. We were pleasantly surprised and asked him to let us know and send us an invitation, should Muna ever choose to exhibit her work.
After few weeks passed, we had forgotten about the episode. Then one day, we received an invitation from Muna. She had decided to stay away from painting this time. Instead, she had turned her living room into an imagination room and used the cardboard to make a décor and some costumes for a kid play. She was inviting us for the first rehearsal. The minute we stepped into her home, we found ourselves surrounded by a dozen children laughing, dancing, and singing. We joined in the spontaneous play. Joyful souls. Shinning eyes.
Back in America, we have an adoptive family and an adoptive dad. His name is Jake, a Navajo medicine man, a Purple Heart Vietnam veteran, and a much-loved healer and messenger of peace in his community in Pennsylvania. Before we took off to the Middle East, we sat with him in a sweat lodge ceremony to receive his blessing. As he looked into the fire, he said to me: "Dominique, I am very grateful for your support to my daughter Ruhiya in this new chapter of her life. In the beautiful land of Jordan, you will soon find your footing. Your peculiar ways of being and doing will be well-received". I welcomed the encouraging words of wisdom with gratitude but was left a bit puzzled by the mystery. When I picked up the maracas and started to connect, sing and dance with the kids in Muna's imagination room, I understood what Jake had seen in the fire for me.
The moms had been quick and keen to volunteer support. They made for a delighted and passionate audience before their little ones. Macadi, a composer and singer, wrote the lyrics of a song for the play. Samah, a dabke dancer, will teach the traditional dance steps to the kids. Rania, an entrepreneur with a purpose, will host the premiere in her bookstore for the youth on Rainbow street in the spring.
A couple of days after the rehearsal, Muna sent us a message with a few pictures and informed us that the kids had given me two nicknames: "the man who speaks English" and "the funny uncle." She also included a poem by Derek Walcott she thought could well find its way into The Book of SO WHAT.
Thank you, Muna. We are grateful for your powers of re-creation and for the many shining eyes that surround you.
© Dominique Bel, 2020. All Rights Reserved in all Countries.
Love After Love
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was yourself. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
Derek Walcott (1930-2017)
Ya Khyam يا خيام
Lyrics by Hani Nadim, Voice and Music by Macadi Nahhas
Video produced by The Big Heart Foundation
هذة الاغنية هي اهداء من فريق العمل و كل من ساهم بظهوره و اتمامه لكل اللاجئين في بقاع الأرض
نتمنى ان تنتهي الحروب في العالم و ان يعود كل صاحب ارض الى ارضه ووطنه وحياته
"This song is a gift from the team and everyone who contributed to its emergence and fulfillment for all refugees on the ground ... We hope that wars in the world will end and that every landowner returns to his land, country and life. All the love" - Macadi Nahhas
Inspiring Leaders START WITH WHY.
For What's Next, We Ask: SO WHAT?
Far from being a fad, the search for a purpose is foundational to our quest for a better future. In words that sing to our ears like a Chopin melody, French writer, poet, aviation pioneer, and author of The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry put it beautifully:
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
Doubting that the quest for a purpose was a silver bullet, I embarked on a strange journey beyond purpose. The CEOs, entrepreneurs, social innovators, advocates, researchers, artists, adventurers, and spiritual leaders I met en route revealed some of our new blind spots: purpose bloating, purpose washing, and purpose myopia, to name a few. The leaders and changemakers I interviewed also shared valuable keys to clear the way forward with courage.
To organize my unorthodox findings and unsure of where the adventure would take me, I started to write The Book of So What, with stories of reconciliations and transformations from the Loire valley in France, the St. Lawrence valley in Canada, and the Jordan valley in the Middle East.
If I had to pitch it to you in an elevator, I would say that The Book of So What explores the liberating powers of the modern jester's question:
"Inspiring leaders start with WHY. For what's next, we ask: SO WHAT?"
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#asksowhat | Book Launch: Fall 2021 | © Dominique Bel, 2020. All Rights