Awakin Call



Awakin Calls are weekly conversations that share insights and inspiration from various corners of the ServiceSpace ecosystem.


  • Susan Collin Marks -- Wisdom and Waging Peace in a Time of Conflict

    Susan Collin Marks -- Wisdom and Waging Peace in a Time of Conflict


    When Susan Collin Marks was growing up in South Africa in the apartheid era, her mother took a stand against the regime. Susan’s mother also took her, starting when she only 5 years old, into Black townships to show apartheid in action. “It is hard to imagine what it takes to be a dissident in a police state,” Susan now says. “Yet she did it because she couldn’t have lived with herself if she hadn’t. It was also hard to see how apartheid would end, and then it did, spectacularly, with the election of Nelson Mandela as the first democratic president of South Africa.” As the old system of apartheid broke down as Susan came of age, a new system had not yet been born, and the country was trying to navigate the vacuum in between. Susan stepped into the vacuum, carrying forward her mother's courageous stand, working as a peacebuilder during her country's transition from apartheid to democracy. In 1990, she was the sole woman on the executive committee of Cape

  • N.Vaghul -- Compassionate Leadership

    N.Vaghul -- Compassionate Leadership


    Narayanan Vaghul, former Chairman of ICICI Bank, is widely recognized in India for his role in pioneering the Indian private banking space. At ICICI, N Vaghul was at his institution-building best. His vision resulted in the formation of TDICI, (India's first venture capital company), ICICI Securities (investment banking outfit), CRISIL (credit rating) among others. Prior to that, N Vaghul became Chairman of Bank of India in 1981 at 44 years age, the youngest ever Chairman in a Public Sector Bank.  Describing his foundation values, says Vaghul, "Firstly, whatever I do, I should do it for the organization, for humanity but not for myself. Second was I try to get away from negative emotions, anger, jealousy – cultivate positive feelings – love, compassion. I never thought that in work situation I would operate differently and in personal life I would operate differently – they are one continuum. In personal life, if I am in meditation and as a part of the

  • Patrick Meier -- A Digital Humanitarian Devolving Power, Money and Voice to the Global South

    Patrick Meier -- A Digital Humanitarian Devolving Power, Money and Voice to the Global South


    “The goal of the social good sector must be to end need, not just meet need. This means, for example, that international organizations … must have a transition plan that is centered around devolving power, money and voice to local organizations.” – Patrick Meier When Patrick Meier was 12 years old and living in Africa with his European parents, the first Gulf War broke out. With a big map of the Middle East, he started physically mapping the news updates with crayons and pens and markers. Fast forward to January 12, 2010 at 4 pm – when he learned as a Tufts doctoral student about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Patrick didn’t know if his close friends, who were in Port Au Prince at the time doing research, were alive, hurt, or even worse. So he did what he had done many times since childhood – he pulled out a map of Haiti, and started to manually map crowd-sourced pictures, updates, and video footage that were emerging, largely from local Twitter users. He did

  • Rev. Liz Tichenor -- A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief

    Rev. Liz Tichenor -- A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief


    On Good Friday, 2018, the Reverend Liz Tichenor, at 33 years old, stood tall and poised beside a barren altar, a blood-red stole draped over her neck and shoulders. With a solemn tone, she imagined aloud how Jesus’s mother, Mary, might have beheld her son crucified upon the cross. As Tichenor continued, Mary’s story began to blur into her own: four years earlier, Tichenor had beheld the death of her own son, a newborn infant. She knew firsthand the pangs of love and loss. But somehow, she was also able to tap into the promise of rebirth and resurrection. Tichenor, rector at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Pleasant Hill, California, was called into the priesthood as a “wayward teenager” of 17. Her parents had divorced, and her mother’s alcoholism was worsening. Tichenor found at a parish in her hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, a sense of community, stability, and “a way through to a life of health and wholeness.” That summer, she served as a y

  • James ODea  Nipun Mehta -- Conscious Activism and Active Consciousness

    James O'Dea & Nipun Mehta -- Conscious Activism and Active Consciousness


    Please join us for a special dialogue between James O'Dea and Nipun Mehta -- both of whom have dedicated their lives to service as conscious activists as well as active agents for the awakening of consciousness. James will open with an invocation that will mirror the arc of their conversation -- "soul awakening, heart opening, light shining, love flowing, wounds dissolving, peace radiating." Given his own journey with front-line activism in violent conflict zones (Amnesty International), to running a foundation that supports impactful service (Seva Foundation), to then leading an institute aiming to bridge science and spirituality, James' dialogue with Nipun will explore the inevitable flow of inner transformation into external service and change, touching upon the integration of inner and outer work. Both speakers are story-tellers, with profound personal stories and encounters with saints and mystics across numerous traditions.  Both an a

  • Dakshayani Athalye and Mandar Karanjkar -- A Jugalbandhi (Duet) with Life

    Dakshayani Athalye and Mandar Karanjkar -- A Jugalbandhi (Duet) with Life


    Both Mandar Karanjkar and Dakshayani Athalye were brought up on a steady diet of Indian classical music. Mandar was just six when he began accompanying his mother to harmonium classes and soon showed an interest in Hindustani vocals. In his late teens, he taught himself to play flute. Back in her Maharashtra hometown Ratnagiri, Dakshayani accompanied her mother to learn kirtans. By the time she was 10, she was performing in villages across the state. Despite having graduated with college degrees in engineering and law respectively, the duo found their calling in making Indian classical music accessible to the masses through their non profit Baithak Foundation. Through Baithak, Mandar and Dakshayani conduct music courses in three schools, including Pune Blind Girls School in Kothrud. Through their many-fronted initiatives, they take classical music to construction site kids and aangan-wadis (community centers for kids). Apart from Baithak, Mandar and Dakshayani conduct theme based musi

  • Oscar Perez Marcos -- Developing Conscious Leaders: The Social MBA

    Oscar Perez Marcos -- Developing Conscious Leaders: The Social MBA


    "Raising people's consciousness is the way to humanize the world." Several years ago, Óscar Pérez Marcos was not satisfied with the successes and failures he had harvested throughout his life. Born in Santander, Spain, Oscar had begun working at the age of 16 and commenced an entrepreneurial journey (with mixed results) at age 21. Searching for more, he embarked on a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, and experienced a critical awakening and inflection point. He discovered what didn’t matter to him, as well as what really mattered: helping others. Having already lived a bit in the United Kingdom and the United States working as a waiter and bartender, as well as having had some corporate experiences in Europe, he undertook a new journey: that of unconditional surrender to others and the discovery of himself through volunteering and service. This journey took him to Ghana, India, Colombia and Mexico. After his time in Africa, Oscar co-founded HOLA GHANA, a n

  • Parvathy Baul -- To be a Praner Manush (A person of the Heart)

    Parvathy Baul -- To be a Praner Manush (A person of the Heart)


    The Divine Madmen The Bauls -- a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal -- set in motion a movement so subtle, and yet powerful that territorial boundaries have ceased to matter : geographical (India - Bangladesh), sectarian (Vaishnava Hindus and Sufi Muslims) or definitional (religious, cultural, spiritual) merge when it comes to the Bauls. A handful of such Bauls across generations have shaped the Bangla culture in such myriad ways that it is indeed one of the masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Tagore articulates the core belief of the Bauls : Amar praner manush achhé prané Tai heri taye sakol khane Achhe shé nayōntaray, alōk-dharay, tai na haraye-- Ogo tai dekhi taye jethay sethay Taka-i ami jé dik-pané The man of my heart dwells inside me. Everywhere I behold, it's Him! In my every sight, in the sparkle of light. Oh I can never lose Him -- Here, there and everywhere, Wherever I turn, right in front is He! Rightfully called "Th

  • Aqeela Sherrills -- Phoenix Rising: Transforming Trauma in Urban War Zones as a Heart-Centered Peace Activist

    Aqeela Sherrills -- Phoenix Rising: Transforming Trauma in Urban War Zones as a Heart-Centered Peace Activist


    I believe we now exist in a time where the heart has been prepared for a new movement, where love becomes a practice as opposed to an idea, where vulnerability and humility become strengths as opposed to weaknesses. Growing up the youngest of 10 siblings in a Watts, Los Angeles housing project, and a member of the famed Crips gang, Aqeela Sherrills witnessed from the inside the pain and devastation of the country’s most violent urban street gang war, which would proceed to claim 30,000 lives between 1983-2003. By 1992, he and his brother and a few other key community players had brokered a historic peace agreement between the rival Bloods and Crips. He is now a leading campaigner against gang violence and the death penalty, as a subject matter expert on victim service and community-based public safety. Aqeela inspires as a national leader in the public safety and criminal justice movements. As a spirit-centered organizer, he promotes transformational change at both individual and community levels,

  • Neil Gaught -- Single Organizing Idea: Creating and Operationalizing Purposeful Businesses

    Neil Gaught -- Single Organizing Idea: Creating and Operationalizing Purposeful Businesses


    “There is hope and change is entirely possible. But the systems and rules we will need to live by to ensure that all stakeholders (human and otherwise), live long and prosper now and into the future cannot be the same ones we abide by today.”  As far back as he can remember, Neil Gaught has been consumed by “a conflict that exists in my heart and mind that pits the way things are against the way things could be”. Having grappled with that conflict much of his life, Neil is now a leader among a growing number of business thinkers who are helping companies create a whole new operating system to radically rethink and operationalize purpose in order that they (and we) might have a sustainable future. Neil discovered design in his early twenties as a solution and a discipline for seeking to reconcile the world as it is from the world as it could be. After graduating with a degree in graphic design, he found his own design consultanc

  • Padma and Narsanna Koppula -- Life and Farming: The permaculture way

    Padma and Narsanna Koppula -- Life and Farming: The permaculture way


    Narsanna Koppula is a pioneer Indian permaculture designer, an energetic and enthusiastic teacher, passionate nature-lover, and a staunch feminist. Padma Koppula is the other hand of this pioneering permaculture couple, whose quiet, behind-the-scenes organizational skills, calm demeanor, superlative patience, local farming knowledge and social skills hold the joint reins of this couple's life of service. Together, the Koppulas founded 'Aranya Agricultural Alternatives' in 1999, an organization focused on permaculture advocacy and education in India and worldwide; and set up the Aranya farm as a demonstration site for permaculture at around the same time. Permaculture, a portmanteau of the words 'permanent agriculture' or 'permanent culture', is a design science that seeks to design landscapes, be they ecological farms or gardens, social systems, or personal emotional landscapes, using ethics and principles derived from the observation and mimicry of Mother Nature. The three

  • Phyllis Cole-Dai -- Writing Across the Divide

    Phyllis Cole-Dai -- Writing Across the Divide


    "This is not a thing I have sought, But it has come across my path and I have seized it. " -- Annie Dilliard Annie Dilliard's words point to the place where Phyllis Cole-Dai's most significant projects begin -- in that electric intersection where serendipity, sincerity and steadfast resolve collide.  On Ash Wednesday of 1999, Phyllis Cole-Dai walked out of her home in Columbus, Ohio with a friend. The two of them carried no money with them and would spend the next 47 days -- of Lent and Holy Week -- living on the streets. "We didn't go out to find answers to questions or to search out solutions to problems. We didn't go out to save anyone or to hand out donations of food and blankets. We went out for one primary reason: to be as present as possible to everyone we met - homeless person, volunteer, University president, cop."  The Emptiness of Our Hands is a moving memoir of those 47 days, co-authored by Phyllis. It explores the great divide bet

  • Don Berwick -- Health Care as a Loving Relationship

    Don Berwick -- Health Care as a Loving Relationship


    For the past 30 years, Donald Berwick has been one of the nation's leading authorities and innovators of quality and improvement in the U.S. healthcare system. A pediatrician by training, a professor at both Harvard Medical School and the School of Public Health, and a top health care administrator during the Obama Administration, Berwick challenges administrators, policy makers, and doctors to go beyond the standard discussion of systems, strategies, and statistics to something more essential, more human—something he considers moral. The secret to improving quality in medical care, he argues, is love.  “Healthcare is more about love than about most other things,” Berwick says. “It’s not just the quality of mercy, it’s the mercy of quality.” He believes no one should be left behind. Berwick was deeply influenced by his Jewish upbringing, which taught him about the importance of being a steward of society and the world at large. In addition to

  • DVR Seshadri -- Business, Ethics and Life

    DVR Seshadri -- Business, Ethics and Life


    DVR Seshadri is one of the most respected Professors of business, with a teaching career of 20 years across premier b-schools of India including ISB and various IIMs. His areas of interest among others include: B2B Marketing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship.  While thousands of country’s brightest young students have taken his courses on marketing and gained from his immense technical knowledge, yet the subtle intangible lessons from the encounters have lasted much longer. Lessons of integrity, humility and kindness. Lessons which were not really spoken in as much words, but yet, received deeply.  His courses on leadership have had a transformative effect on many senior professionals and corporate leaders. Some would write back saying how it helped them find strength to quit their job to serve the under-privileged, while some would say how it helped them make peace with traumatic experiences, let go and move on with positivity. Leadership is more about SQ -- Spiritual

  • Ryland Engelhart -- Kiss the Ground: Sacred Commerce, Love Activism, and the Solution of Soil

    Ryland Engelhart -- Kiss the Ground: Sacred Commerce, Love Activism, and the Solution of Soil


    When entrepreneur and “love activist” Ryland Engelhart was feeling hopeless about the damage human beings were doing to the planet, there was a solution so obvious that it was practically hidden beneath his own two feet: the soil. Upon discovering that healthy food heals the soil that produces the food, as well as our bodies, and that healthy soil can help balance out gases in the atmosphere, Engelhart responded, “Wow! There’s nothing else to give my life to but that. The most important story right now on Planet Earth is that there is a solution.” As a result, in 2013, he co-founded Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit organization that focuses on awakening more “soil advocates,” educating consumers to make healthier choices and training farmers in regenerative practices to help sequester carbon from the atmosphere and reverse global warming. Engelhart was born into a family of love activists—practitioners of “sacred commerce,” the philosophy of right

  • Peniel Joseph -- The Sword and The Shield: The Struggle for Black Freedom in America

    Peniel Joseph -- The Sword and The Shield: The Struggle for Black Freedom in America


    When Dr. Peniel Joseph was growing up in New York City during the 1980s and 1990s, a child of a Haitian immigrant single mother, he learned about how the civil rights movement had transformed America, ended legalized segregation, secured black voting rights and moved the nation closer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of a "beloved community." Yet his own lived experience involved fielding racial slurs at his mostly white high school in Queens, and in other ways absorbing the racial divisions that persisted in the social, political and cultural landscape of New York City in that day. This included an incident that shaped his early life, in which a black man was chased to death by a white mob in the Howard Beach section of Queens. The event left him, as he says, “deeply troubled, but also politically exhilarated by the realization that the narrative of civil rights in America in history books differed greatly” from his own experience. That exhilaration wound up fueling a life&rsq

  • Matthew Fox -- Mysticism, Intuition, and the Divine Feminine

    Matthew Fox -- Mysticism, Intuition, and the Divine Feminine


    Last November, Matthew Fox had a riveting (and too brief) Awakin Calls conversation, hosted by Rahul Brown and Aryae Coopersmith, on the topic of "Fidelity vs Faith: Bowing to the Heart Over Authority." Matthew is a spiritual theologian and scholar of mystic spirituality whose theology of creation spirituality was systematically singled out and denounced by two successive Popes, only to see a third Pope incorporate it into Church doctrine. Now he returns, this time in conversation with Pavi Mehta and Cynthia Li, for a deeper exploration of his powerful views on the divine feminine. His most recent book, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic--and Beyond, is about a female medieval mystic who lived through the plague of the Black Death, drawing out timeless wisdom relevant to our modern COVID-19 era. "A theologian way ahead of her time," he writes, "Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of natu

  • प्रह्लाद सिंह टिपानिया -- अनहद में विश्राम (हिंदी में)

    प्रह्लाद सिंह टिपानिया -- अनहद में विश्राम (हिंदी में)


    Prahlad Singh Tipanya is a name that needs little introduction as one of the most compelling folk voices of Kabir in India today. He sings in the Malwi folk style from Madhya Pradesh and has an incomparable ability to sing and explain the words of Kabir, making them easily accessible to the listener. He has been felicitated with many national awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Padmashree. When Prahladji is'nt travelling to spread the message of peace and oneness through singing the poems of the mystic saints, he can be found in his village, where he has been a teacher in a government school for over 40 years. Every year for the last 20 years, his family hosts the Malwa Kabir Yatra where over 20,000 people gather to listen to wisdom songs by some of the best contemporary musicians. This event is run in the spirit of gift, completely funded by his family's own resources as well voluntary contributions from well wishers. When asked how the experience has been of running this mass

  • Ruth Pittard -- Service Learning and Learning Service: Love as an Operating System

    Ruth Pittard -- Service Learning and Learning Service: Love as an Operating System


    “Love like life depends on it, be curious and expect miracles.” Ruth Pittard has practiced learning and transforming in love for most of her 74 years. A forward-thinking educator, she spent over 30 years supporting service-learning initiatives in her community and her professional home, Davidson College, near Charlotte, NC. In her last 14 years in leadership positions at the College, including as Assistant Dean for Community Service, Ruth chose to use love as her organizing principle for programs based in care and compassion. “I began having adult visions of being a mind, face and hands for love in my community,” she says. “At the same time, I remembered a similar vision of a loving place since childhood—perfect strangers opening their hearts. My gift appears to be sensing people’s hearts and pain without interference or trepidation and then to be company. To stand with them.” Often referred to as "The Love Lady," Ruth'

  • Laura Emiko Soltis -- Liberatory Education for the Undocumented

    Laura Emiko Soltis -- Liberatory Education for the Undocumented


    “We believe that radical, democratic change in education occurs through grassroots mobilization of teachers and students and the empowerment of those most directly impacted by injustice. … [C]onsciousness development is key to our liberatory education model.” – Freedom University Theory of Change Dr. Laura Emiko Soltis is Executive Director of Freedom University, an award-winning, modern-day freedom school for undocumented students who are banned from equal access to public higher education in Georgia. With the aim of “ending modern segregation in higher education” – and of a future where undocumented and documented students can learn in the same classrooms – Freedom University provides tuition-free college preparation classes, college and scholarship application assistance for students seeking higher education opportunities in private universities or outside Georgia, and social movement leadership development for undocumented students. A human rights educato

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