The World is a Better Place Because of You … Fatemeh!

Source Unknown but deeply appreciated!

I was inspired to become a social worker given my passionate commitment to help people ‘live a great life anyway’ … despite all the people, circumstances and situations that often compromise our best efforts to do so.  As such, I attempt do so in a variety of ways. I am a counsellor working with people in my private practice to help people find ways to savor the moments in their lives rather than merely enduring them.  I am also an EMDR therapist (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)  and an ART therapist (Accelerated Resolution Therapy)  invested in helping people process and heal from the traumatic events that often prevent them from living their best lives.  And, in my role as a Certified Integrative Coaching Professional with The Ford Institute, I have been trained to help people transform any areas in their lives where they are feeling ‘stuck’ in some way, shape or form.

I have been a life coach for about 17 years now.  One of the blessings of coaching is that it is done over the telephone, and so over the years, I have had the good fortune of working with oodles of wonderful individuals from all different parts of the globe! Notwithstanding that, I could never have known the gift that I was about to unwrap when I received this coaching inquiry almost four years ago  from the Coaches Listing Page on The Ford Institute website. .

March-22-15 11:53 AM
Subject: Coach Page Inquiry
Message
hi my name is fatemeh from iran. spring is start of our new year. i am studing the book “the best year of my life” in persian. can u send to me some schaduale?

I was delighted to discover that a woman from Iran was reaching out to me for coaching!  Unfortunately, I did not have any space available at the time.  And so, I responded by saying:

Hi Fatemeh …

How nice to find your coaching inquiry in my email expressing an interest in being coached! I trust you are enjoying “The Best year of Your Life”. It is such a powerful piece of the work offered by Debbie Ford and the coaching experience is one way of truly bringing the concepts into your life in powerful and transformative ways!

Unfortunately, at the present time, I do not have any space for new coaching clients. I expect that it will be about 4 months before I am able to take on another client. I realize that this is a long time to wait. You may prefer to seek out another coach … or … if you like, I can keep your email and contact you when I have some space available.

Please let me know what would suit you best. Either way, I wish you all the very best as you move into the best year of your life!

With warmest regards,
Karen

Generally speaking, when people decide they are ready to hire a coach, they do not want to wait.  So, I was entirely surprised when I received her response:

hi karen

thank you for u answer and your kindness. I will wait. I have started my new year and I will send to u my progress. spring is really a good time to start …. 
with love and respect
fatemeh noroozi

It turned out to be even longer than four months before Fatemeh and I reconnected in December of 2015.  In my coaching practice, I annually offer to provide my coaching services ‘pro-bono’ for one client and because we were just turning the corner into a new year, I was able to offer the pro-bono space for 2016 to Fatemah! I was eager to work with her and meet her via Skype because there was something about the energy of this magnificent being that touched me so deeply. And so, the most remarkable journey began … on January 15th, 2016.

And, what began as a coach/client relationship has grown into the meeting of two hearts … who are clearly very old friends (as Hafiz would suggest!). I  am not sure either one of us had any idea we would feel so connected and that, three years later, we would still be meeting, on occasion, to reconnect and catch up with one another.  And, I am holding hope that one of these days we will get to meet each other in person!

Fatemeh … or … Fatima (as I have affectionately come to refer to her)  has done some of the most remarkable work.  Not only internally  (through her personal growth) … but … also externally (in her professional capacity as an educator).  Fatima defines herself as a “teacher/explorer” and when we started our coaching relationship, she was about to make her first venture abroad by traveling solo to Europe. Our coaching agreement was centered around helping her overcome some of the fears she was experiencing in anticipation of her upcoming travels.

I learned very quickly that Fatima is whole-heartedly committed to making the world a better place. It didn’t take very long before I was sensing the genuine goodness of her being … her heart … her loving spirit. And, I knew that she was making a significant difference for all those touched by her kind and altruistic nature.

I have been so inspired by all that she is and all that she is doing, that I recently asked her if she would be willing to share her remarkable story with me, so that I could share it with all of you here on this “Better Because of You” blog. She expressed some reticence because she was self-conscious about her command of the English language.  She requested that I edit her story to ensure that it reflected proper English.  I responded by saying that I was reluctant to do so because I could feel so much of her joyous soul and benevolent spirit and compassionate heart in the way she strung her words together that I didn’t want to risk losing that energetic resonance in exchange for optimizing her spelling, grammar and/or vocabulary.  And so, I didn’t. And, I trust that you will understand what I mean!

Fatemeh / Fatima

It is my absolute honor to share Fatemeh’s story with you here. And, although I feel a bit self conscious about publishing it because, within it, she has so very graciously elevated my presence in her world … I would most humbly suggest that we are seeing her own bright light projected in my direction. While her generous description of me warms my heart with fond appreciation, I trust you will hear the brightness of her spirit as you are touched by how her own sparkling soul is rendered visible in this impassioned story of a woman with a love filled desire to make a difference in the world. Here is Fatemeh’s story, in her own words:

 

 

 

And … my relationship with this exceptional soul is a genuine example of the humanity that loudly exists despite our differences in culture or geography or religious beliefs.  Fatemah and I are in a relationship that sees well beyond the obvious … we know each other at the heart level.  And our relationship is an example of what can happen whenever any one of us seeks to suspend our beliefs and our biases … when we decide to look beyond the superficial stereotypes and into the treasures of each human spirit.

And, to see the world through the eyes of this amazing soul … to feel her efforts to unify our global population is beyond extraordinary!  And then … out of the blue … I received this parcel in the mail from her just this past December, 2018.

There were so many beautiful offerings reflecting her country and expressions of the cultural spirit of Iran. I truly appreciated her efforts to bridge the geographical gap between us because we live in a world where misperceptions of other cultures are publicly perpetuated and ‘others’ are misunderstood and marginalized with criticism and judgement. I am excited to share the contents because they reflect the heart and soul of our shared humanity.

One of the things Fatima sent to me was a parchment with my name written on it …  in Persian. It serves as a reminder to me that regardless of the culture we inhabit or the language that use we use to name things … the essence of someone/something cannot be fully captured  in the finite flow of ink, but rather … to be fully known … must be experienced at an energetic level.

Fatima also sent a most beautiful weaving called a “Termah”.  My dining room table is now adorned with the beautiful tapestry. It serves to remind me of the threads of love that have been woven into the tapestry of all of our lives. For me, it reflects the exquisite beauty that can be created when we are wise enough to honor and blend differing colors and textures together.  It is exceptional in it’s refinement and spectacular detail. Wikipedia states:

“Termeh (Persian: ترمه‎) as a type of Iranian handwoven cloth, produced primarily in the Yazd province. Weaving termeh requires a good wool with long fibers. Termeh is woven by an expert with the assistance of a worker called a Goushvareh-kesh. Weaving termeh is a sensitive, careful, and time-consuming process; a good weaver can produce only 25 to 30 centimetres (10 to 12 in) in a day. The background colors used in termeh are jujube red, light red, green, orange and black. Termeh has been admired throughout history … “

Fatima also included a little box filled with small gold figurines called “farvehar.” As she shared, they are intended to be symbol of “good thoughts, good words, good deeds” and are intrinsically related to the history of Iran from 1500 years ago.

As per Wikipedia, “The Faravahar (Persian: فروهر‬‎)… is one of the best-known symbols of Iran” and “is the most worn pendant among Iranians and has become a secular national symbol, rather than a religious symbol. It symbolizes good thoughts (پندار نیک‬ pendār-e nik), good words (گفتار نیک‬ goftār-e nik) and good deeds (کردار نیک‬ kerdār-e nik).”

Also included in this package was a glorious painted plate which is called “Minakari”. It is absolutely exquisite in its beauty! I love the richness of the colors and the intricacy of the pattern is gorgeous. I found the perfect place in my new office to hang it so that all my clients can also enjoy it’s beauty … and should they inquire about it’s origin … learn about the abiding connection between Fatima and I.

“Minakari or Enamelling is the art of painting, colouring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colours that are decorated in an intricate design. Mina is the feminine form of Minoo in Persian, meaning heaven. Mina refers to the Azure colour of heaven.” (https://surfiran.com/iranian-minakari-art-heaven/)

Fatima also sent me a beautiful scarf. It is so soft and, as I shared with her, “whenever I wear the scarf, it will be as though I am wrapped in a hug from you”.

There were also a number of other things that she thoughtfully included in her gifts to me. As I shared with her …

“The rosary beads. They feel so beautiful to the fingers. I shall count amongst my blessings … the heartfelt union of our souls. And, I shall display it in my new office, as a fond reminder of the deep connections we have with each other and the spirit of the divine that bridges any geographical distance between our souls.

And … the rose blossoms! They are so delicate and fragile and remind me that we must pay attention to the little blessings and blossoms of tender love and natural beauty that surround us. And, I shall sprinkle them on my shelf in my office as well.

And, the tiny figurine of mother and child … is such a beautiful depiction of how each and every one of us needs to feel the warm embrace of someone who cares deeply about us. “

Although there were a number of other things, I offer up this smattering of the gifts she sent so you might get a sense of her culture and herself. She has gifted me with so much and not just in the package that arrived via Canada Post.  As I shared in an email to Fatima:

“I can so very much feel your loving presence in these gifts Fatima. And, I don’t know how to thank you enough for the blessings of your loving spirit that speaks to me in such meaningful ways. Your thoughtfulness is so very deeply appreciated. My life is so much better because of your presence in it!

And so … as I sit surrounded by the gifts of your spirit … I am basking in the joy of connection and love and all the divine energy that moves between us. You are treasured. Thank you again. I am so honored to have you in my life.”

And, as much as our relationship is unique and special … it is but an example of what can happen all over the world … if/when we accept an opportunity to connect at the heart level with each other.  As you can see … Fatemeh/Fatima is a very exceptional soul. And … her message of love and unity is deeply needed as we collectively attempt to bridge the gap that often exists between our souls based on cultural or religious differences.  If we dare to look beneath these perceived differences, we will find as Hafiz as contended … that all our hearts are, indeed, very old friends.

And … that said … I am honored to use this “Better Because of You” blog space to introduce you all to this exceptional woman.  Please join me in celebrating this wonderful soul and all the loving energy that she brings to our world! And, please, may we heed her wise words:

“Love is a global language and its alphabet comes from all diversities and cultures and acting beyond ourselves.”

Fatima … I remain blessed to have come to know you and remain humbled by your loving presence.  You do, in fact, make the whole world a better place!

With deepest reverence for your heartfelt being, ❤ Karen ❤

 

 

 

[GUEST POST]: Township Environment

We are often inspired to support those less fortunate than ourselves. This Better Because of You Tribute is dedicated to Jim and Janet Jamer for their selfless efforts to bring more hope, light and love to the incredible souls trying to thrive despite the unfathomable hardships they must endure whilst living in the townships in South Africa.

We were so sadly sobered when we saw for ourselves the plight of so much of our humanity. It has been one of our deepest pleasures to provide just a wee bit of support.  I hope you will spend a few moments taking in the magnitude of both strength and strife that is reflected in these pictures and words. And, if you are so inspired, please feel free to contact Jim or Janet and see how you might be able to add your heart to this project!

AND … most importantly …

THANK YOU” Jim and Janet for being such amazing light workers. Our humanity is so much better because of you!

With deepest respect and appreciation for your hearts, Karen

Iizidima

IMG_2055 Knysna township

There are few days when we are not reminded that there is plenty to be thankful for in life. Given what we do in South Africa, we would need to be blind, in a physical and emotional sense, to not experience this sentiment. The living conditions and depth of poverty experienced by so many Africans, while in close proximity to areas of affluence and abundance, is jarring. Imagine visiting another planet each day,

DSCN0752 Shacks which will be demolished to allow for construction of government-provided homes

Similar to most of our supporters, we grew up in proper homes, a safe neighbourhood, raised by educated, employed parents, who provided us the material necessities of life. We attended good schools. Our friends and families lived similar lives.

IMG_2039 Temporary government-supplied, single-room wooden homes for former shack-dwellers awaiting construction of government-provided concrete-block houses (subject to a means-test).

We can’t recall a day as a…

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Kindness Stopped This Homeless Man From Committing Suicide

THIS is such a touching story. We can never know whose life could be better … simply because of us … because we showed some kindness.

Kindness Blog

Today I went to Dunkin (Donuts) and saw a clearly homeless guy singing on the side of the road and picking up change.

Eventually I saw him stroll into Dunkin, as he was counting his change to buy something I began to get super annoying and talk to him over and over again even when he didn’t really want to talk.

Since he had maybe $1 in change I bought him a coffee and bagel and asked him to sit down with me.

He told me a lot about how people are usually very mean to him because he’s homeless, how drugs turned him into the person he hated, he lost his mom to cancer, he never knew his dad and he just wants to be someone his mom would be proud of (along with another hours worth of conversation.)

This lovely man’s name was Chris and Chris was…

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Her Tears Brought Out the Kindness of a Stranger

Better Because of the Kindness of a Stranger! AND … we ALL have the opportunity and capacity to bring such bright points of light to the dark parts of people’s journeys! May this poignant reflection remind us of our collective and universal potential … ❤

Kindness Blog

‘heartlines’ wrote:

“I was sitting in the airport by myself crying.. embarrassing in public, but I just couldn’t stop.

A man gave me this. He didn’t say anything, just slid it in front of me when he walked up to his terminal.”

kindness of a stranger

“He’ll never know how much it means to me to know a stranger cares.”


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Better … Because You Cared Enough to Say Something

Source Unknown but deeply appreciated!

I’d like to share a remarkable story with you. It reinforces my desire to continue acknowledging all the ways I have become better, grown wiser and been serendipitously shaped by the people who have generously left their heart-prints on my soul.  I hope I can do the story justice!

One day, a middle-aged woman entered the crowded waiting room at the dermatologist office. She heaved a discontented sigh because it was clearly going to be a long wait.  She was aware, however, that she could pass the time begrudgingly or she could simply make the best of it.  She consciously resolved to use the ‘waiting’ as an exercise in building more patience (not always her strong suit!).  She determined herself to be a ‘patient’ patient. She had barely settled into her reading when one of the doctor’s receptionists plopped unexpectedly into the seat right next to her … gently apologizing for bothering her, but at the same time curiously searching the patient’s face and saying:

“I have a weird question for you. Did you, by chance, have a baby in February of 1986?”

“Yes” responded the puzzled patient with palpable rumblings in her heart around where this odd inquiry was headed.

“Oh good!” exclaimed the visibly relieved receptionist.  “I hoped it would be you.  When I saw your name come through the system, I was hoping I would get a chance to thank you.” With her eyes welling up a wee bit, she continued: “We shared a room in the hospital when our babies were born. My daughter was born with so many problems, it was such a rough time … and … you were just so kind to me.”

The patient felt herself feeling totally unworthy of the appreciation and a bit sheepish to accept the generous acknowledgment because she had absolutely no recollection of those moments at all.  She suspected she could not have been this woman’s roommate, but didn’t want to discount or dismiss the significance of her heartfelt recollection by admitting her total lack of recall.

“Oh my  gosh … that was 28 and a half years ago” uttered the patient incredulously.  “How on earth did you remember my name after all this time?”

With a wistful glance downward, the receptionist warmly acknowledged “I remember  it like it was 5 years ago.  I have never forgotten you. You even brought me carrots … to my house. You have no idea how much your kindness and caring meant to me.”

The patient was deeply humbled, because it really was true that she had ‘no idea’ … except for the carrots.  That comment triggered some unwelcome memories stored in the deepest recesses of the patient’s mind of an exceptionally stressful year when they had been farming carrots.  With that, the patient’s eyes softened  …  maybe, just maybe she could have been the one who shared that hospital room with the lovely receptionist after all.

It was the strangest thing though, because in that magical moment of awareness, the patient felt as if she were the one who was being transformed by the exchange. She could not believe how good it felt to know that she had somehow, however unwittingly, eased a very difficult time for a complete stranger.  She thanked the receptionist for not bypassing the opportunity to re-connect and gift her with that kind recollection.

The two women took some time to catch up on what their little baby girls were doing now that they were grown women.  The receptionist shared that it had continued to be a bumpy ride for her daughter in many ways, but things were OK.  The patient shared that her daughter had just delivered her first child … and … that her cherished 8 week old grandson might be facing a surgery.  The receptionist was all too familiar with such unwelcome things … she offered some empathic words of compassion for the patient.

As they parted, the receptionist re-iterated the gratitude she felt in finally being given a chance to express her appreciation.  She indicated that she had always wanted to say “thank you” to the patient.

Just as the patient was letting all the richness of the special moment land deeply into her heart space … another patient unexpectedly plopped into the chair beside her. It was a young lady who had caught the patient’s eye when she had entered the waiting room.  This wholesome 30ish(?) young woman was unpretentious, outdoorsy looking, and exuded a really earthy energy.  She was wearing a Bohemian style dress and she had a cap fashionably pulled down over her long blonde hair … beautifully highlighting her  bright, blue make-up free eyes.

Her name was Ayla.  She began by saying “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help overhearing you say that your grandson may need surgery.  I just wanted to tell you that my little girl had the same problem when she was a baby.  I can only imagine how scared your daughter must be.  I was a complete mess, but I didn’t need to be.  It went really well and I only had to give her a few Advil for the first day.  She was just fine after that.  Maybe you could tell your daughter so she is not so worried about it.” 

The patient was deeply touched by this genuine, sincere and compassionate offering.  She could feel the gracious warmth and heartfelt empathy that drove the young mother’s intention … she was benevolently intent on easing the fears of a complete stranger.

The patient contained her own tears of gratitude until Ayla was called in for her appointment.  She was overcome with emotion … an intense sense of appreciation for the blessings she had received that day in the crowded waiting room.  She could never have guessed the gifts that were about to be offered to her in her efforts to be the ‘patient’ patient ….

kindness everydayI share this story with you because it proves to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are absolutely no insignificant moments in any of our lives.  We can never begin to know, and may not even remember, the things we might have said or done that will spark something special and land indelibly in another person’s soul.

And, I can tell you that 28 years from now Ayla might not remember  the other patient’s name or how much her kind words meant to that worried grandma … but I certainly will. You see, that other patient was me.

And, it is my honor to use this public forum to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate these two phenomenal women …‘ Ayla’(from Fernie) and ‘Karen’ (the receptionist from the dermatologists office).  It is my hope that one day, you will come across this little blog … and then … I will get the opportunity, from the deepest place in my heart, to say “thank you”.  I will never, ever, not in my lifetime forget the time we shared in that crowded waiting room.

I am so much better because you cared enough to say something … Karen

stop and give thnaks

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