Monthly Archives: November 2013

On Non-Judgementalism

Dear friends,

In this letter, I wish to express my views on non-judgementalism. It is one of Asha’s key values and informs all the areas of our work. While it is in human nature to be judgemental, it is mostly never useful. Our judgement can be based on someone’s looks or actions, without knowing the person. We might see something they do, and get angry or disappointed. This approach will create divisions rather than build bridges. Instead, we can try to understand the person, imagining their background, and finding out their backstory, their motivations, the lens with which they view the world. Perhaps there were circumstances that might have led to the person acting or looking like they do. They might have different needs, different dreams.

Dr Martin in DAB  23 Sept 2011 008

Once we begin to understand the person, we can accept them for who they are. With acceptance comes the ability to love the person. As we begin to feel what they are going through, we create opportunities for transformation of the person as well as of ourselves. We begin to build bridges with old or young, light skinned or dark, tall or short, male or female, rich or poor. We see the commonalities between us, despite our differences.

We will then notice that people will treat us better. There will be a growing satisfaction in ourselves, a belief in ourselves, and a trust in ourselves. We will be much happier, those around us will be much happier, and the community we live in will be a much better place.

The practice of this approach by the Asha family over the years has demonstrated that it is powerful, transformative and life changing for all, finding warmth, goodwill, and friendship in the most unlikely of places.

With my very best wishes.

Kiran Martin

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On Leadership

Dear friends,

I am realising that the older I get, the less I know about visionary leadership. Therefore, the older I get, the more I must listen and learn.  The dimensions of my task are huge and multifaceted, full of complexity and contradiction. But then being in turmoil seems to be a part of visionary leadership.  There is no smooth and easy terrain to walk on.

I am learning that talent and skill are important, but more important than that is authenticity, solidity, character and personal substance; the way we love, and how we serve.

I have a remarkable team, the members of which are marked out by their compassion, resolution and courage. I realise more than ever that I must be attentive to their nature and gifting. I must understand their needs, individual aspirations, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and motivations. Their values and perceptions will be shaped by the true intention behind my words, by the soundness of my heart and the accurate centering of my soul, and not through management techniques. They are precious people, and I long to see them grow in all the best dimensions of their lives.

ASHA team photo

My belief and my experience is that leaders are in great need of friends and mentors, people who will be able to show us how to cope with the many complex realities we face. Some one has said that one good and able mentor is worth more than a hundred consultants and a thousand motivational seminars. 

I am particularly vulnerable because of the turmoil of my own upbringing. I often experience loneliness and fear right in the middle of such a vibrant and meaningful mission. I need friends and mentors who will renew me and be with me in times of pressure, change, shifting alliances and intensive tasks.

I have also learnt that disappointment and betrayal are part of the leadership reality, and I must embrace this with all the attending pain. So is resolved and unresolved conflict. But I must still go on doing what I know I must do.

Gifts for CHV 03 May 2013 062

Also, moving forward does not necessarily mean moving fast, as most leaders feel compelled to do. Often the way forward is to stand still. Effective progress is not always related to rapid pace.

Most importantly, my times of retreat and reflection to gain strength and wisdom from God, and to be renewed and refreshed by Him, help me to receive boundless energy for my task.

My prayer is that I will always have the loyalty of your friendship as I seek to nourish the land I touch, the land of the poor living in Delhi’s slums.

Yours most sincerely,

Kiran Martin

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On Generosity

Dear friends,

As I thank God for the many gifts that He always gives us, I feel compelled to reflect on the true meaning of generosity.

Generosity is the act of giving freely because you desire to, not with the idea of receiving a reward or gift in return. When we decide to be truthfully generous, we partake of a big consciousness that admits prosperity, abundance, and wealth to all.

Generosity is a quality that is motivated by love. It cannot be forced by requiring people to give. Generosity means to open space, to share pleasure. We make a pact with another individual’s pleasure or happiness. Generosity is the exact opposite of the word ‘envy.’ It means to be happy for others. We extend ourselves to celebrate the happiness of others. It is the antidote to the self-chosen poison called greed. It is a deeply admirable personal quality capable of being exercised by persons who have learned virtue and noble character.

Dr Kiran at Jeewan Nagar

Generosity gives rise to a feeling of freedom. It is a liberation from the fantasy that we can control the world around us. It is an essential and humble sentiment of no longer being limited to the sphere of the ego. 

Generosity enriches life, and makes us feel content with one’s share in life. 

In Luke 6:38, Jesus said, Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Giving is more than a responsibility, it is a privilege. The world of the generous gets larger and larger (Proverbs 11:24). It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving. When we give, it helps us to gain the right perspective on our possessions and gifts. Generosity is also completely devoid of prejudice. 

Dr Kiran with a slum child

What exactly generosity gives can be various things: money, possessions, time, attention, aid, encouragement, emotional availability, and more. Generosity always intends to enhance the well-being of others. It involves not simply giving in abundance, but rather giving those things that are good for others.

Scientific research demonstrates that acts of generosity result in increased levels of secretion of the hormone oxytocin in our bodies, and this results in a tremendous feeling of happiness and well-being. Therefore, when we practice generosity for the good of others, in doing so, we achieve our own true, long term good as well. Generosity is truly in people’s genuine enlightened self-interest to learn and to practice. It spreads great warmth, and attracts others towards ourselves.

Let us consider it an honour to begin each day with our hands and our hearts open, saying thank you to God for what we have as well as what we do not have. 

I send you my best wishes with great warmth and gratitude for your open hands and hearts towards Asha.

Kiran Martin

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