Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dance, My Heart!

Dance, my heart! Dance today with you.
The strains of love fill the days
and the nights with music,
and the world is listening to its melodies:
Mad with joy, life and death dance
to the rhythm of its music.

The hills and sea and earth dance.
The world of man dances in laughter and tears.
Why put on the robe of a monk, and
live aloof from the world in lonely pride?

Behold! My heart dances in the
delight of a hundred arts;
and the Creator is well pleased.


Of Note: Nothing can make a heart dance like giving to others. The art of giving called philanthropy is a rather new phenomenon and has been evolving as men begin to embrace the spiritual concept of oneness and brotherhood. Eventually, we will be defined by spiritual values only, and the days of war, poverty and needless death will be put behind us. But at this moment, humanity is just beginning the transformative process: one man and woman at a time. John Wood, a former Microsoft marketing executive, knows this process first-hand. His journey began while on a self-guided tour to Nepal in 1998 during which he chanced upon an education official, who invited him visit a school. Simple enough. What Woods found, however, changed his life: a sorry collection of castoff books so prized that they were kept under lock and key. As the fairy tale story goes, upon his return, the budding social entrepreneur quit his job and created Room to Read, a nonprofit that builds libraries and schools--first in Nepal and then in Southeast Asia, India and southern Africa. South America may be next. The group recently opened its 10,000th library and 1,000th school, while funding 9,000 scholarships for young girls on a meager annual budget of $30 million. It's donors sing the praises of this tight-fisted operation, which garners accolades from evaluators for efficiency and effectiveness on a shoestring. One thing everyone knows by now is that John Woods delivers. As a matter of fact, the story goes that he went back to that same village where he started with a donkey train loaded down by 1,000 pounds of books--much to the surprise of the locals--and has not stopped since. Recently, the nonprofit executive quipped: "I want an organization with the heart of Mother Teresa and the scalability of Starbucks." Looking at the success of his mission to date, it could be said that this philanthropic choreographer has created a dance of the heart. And he's not done yet.

Today's Weather Report: At 23 degrees Fahrenheit it could be called balmy in the middle of winter. A light snow if falling, just enough to provide a new cover for what has become gray and dirty since the last time. Nothing can compare, however, to the tsunami-like flash flood that descended on the Australian town and killed many people with dozens missing. These people had zero warning about the wall of water coming at them. The one's that weren't swept away escaped up telephone poles and to higher ground. Whole homes were swept off their foundations, leaving the occupants bobbing along in what became essentially a "house-boat." Condolences to those family and friends who lost loved ones in this disaster.

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