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Posts Tagged ‘Karmacy’

Gifts that are given from a space of gratitude have the power to unleash tremendous goodness into the world.  This is the story of one small gift that demonstrates the awesome capacity for that goodness to ripple onwards.

When I got asked to make a short-film for Blazin’ Hope 2, I agreed only after others had committed to do a lot of the preliminary work so that I could finish the piece in 8 hours or less.  Somewhere on day 2 when I realized that the original vision / story wasn’t working, I was frustrated because it was going to take a lot longer to finish that I had planned.

After the frustration, or perhaps because of it, I started digging more deeply into a blog that had more information about this organization.  Every story I read touched me– I was so moved that I melted into the project, losing track of time and myself.  It took many hours over two more days to finish the video on Itipini, but those last two days were filled with such gratitude to be in a position to do something small to aid the noble spirit of the work.

On the night of the concert, I started getting text messages from other Be The Cause volunteers.  The audience was “frozen, mesmerized” and “deeply still” during the video while being “visibly moved”.  I forbid friends to send me SMSes because they cost me 2o cents in and out, so I knew that these notes were sincere or people would not have wasted my dimes on them.  Though I was already deeply rewarded during those last two days, the audience reaction and the SMSes were the first wave of many more rewards to head in my direction.

Turns out that the curator of a film festival was in the audience, and she was deeply moved by the video.  She asked me if she could enter it into the My Hero Film Festival.  I agreed and sent her several more films, all of which were received with the same excitement.  I forgot about the whole affair until a few months later when I was invited to attend the festival, and then sent home with all the top prizes and cash!

Again I realized that I had already been amply rewarded, so I immediately donated the cash to another beautiful effort called the Art Miles Mural project.  My interaction with them forged a deep friendship with their effort, and opened the door to an audience with the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Ambassador Chowdhury (to whom I also gave a gift & smile card!).  It also lead to super-fun talk and interactive session with a group of kids from an afternoon program, and a film screening and short talk at a children’s talent show put on by Arts4Unity 🙂

The feedback from that first festival was to enter more festivals, and when I decided to do that, I was flooded by generosity from many friends who pitched in to fund entry fees into many other festivals.  These films have been seen, and won more awards at the International Family Film Festival, San Luis Obispo Film Festival, Garden State Film Festival, and Nashville Film Festival so far.  I only attended the San Luis Obispo festival, and was again flooded with gifts and generosity throughout that experience.  I have to write a proper blog post about the experience, but once again, I knew I had already been amply rewarded, and so I paid forward gifts during that festival– many of which have opened up other doors.

As beautiful as those film festivals were, I saw their limitations, which lead me to dream up the InSIDe Film Festival.  After only a short presentation at USC’s Cinematic Arts,  they loved the concept and gifted something like $20,000 in venues to make the event happen.  Incredible!  Of course, the InSIDe itself will be a gift-economy film festival, so that others can experience this magic 😉

Before all those festivals, Swap of Karmacy saw the video and wanted to hire me to make a video for one of their songs.  It was pre-election and they wanted to make it for Obama.  Of course, I had already been deeply rewarded for whatever little I had done, so it would not have been proper to be ‘hired’.  I naturally offered to make the video in the gift-economy, and was deeply gratified to be able to do something to help Obama get elected.  The piece made quite a little splash in the South Asian community, and I started getting emails from a few friends around the world who I had lost touch with over the years.  Amazing that despite years and separation our subtle connection never disappeared and was re-ignited through a gift given somewhere else!

Perhaps because of the film festival wins and the Karmacy video, MTV Iggy got interested in my work.  I’ll be introducing the world to my homie MC Yogi through a short piece that may get up to 110M views worldwide across several markets and platforms!  The relationship means it may be possible to introduce more inspiring stories to a broader worldwide audience.  What a way to spread the good!

Couple of weeks ago, I get an email from some folks on the east coast who are arranging a speaking tour for Jenny McConnachie.  They ask if they can use my short video on Itipini during her tour.  Of course they can!  In fact, I am humbled and honored that they would even want to use the video.  They’re a tad surprised by my enthusiasm, and lack of legalese-ish hurdles in getting permission, perhaps not understanding the spirit in which I operate.  I explain the story and purpose of Blazin’ Hope, and add:

As a filmmaker, I only work for inspiring people, organizations, and causes as a way of amplifying the good in the world.  The goal is to bring that goodness to as many people as possible  🙂   though I leave the marketing and outreach to the universe.

Turns out that it is the first time Jenny is speaking since her husband Chris McConnachie passed away in 2007.  Though this film helped raise money for her work, she had never seen it until her first presentation a few days ago.  Here’s the note I just got from the east coast:

Rahul –  Jenny and I have been in NY, NJ and MA with presentations and sharing what is happening at Itipini.  She saw your presentation for the first time and was in awe…she really, really liked it and is talking about taking and sharing it more….I wish you could have seen her watching the first time….awesome!   thank you again….Carla

It gives me goosebumps to put the woman who inspired me in awe!

The gifts keep on growing in every direction, revealing an abundance that I never quite experienced until I started living in the gift-economy.  Blazin’ Hope III is just around the corner– a chance to overflow again with gratitude and hope!

And to think, none of this would have been possible if I charged my “market rate” to make the video…

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I would really love to start living in this amazing country more regularly, but I think I have to leave America if McCain wins.

Please help me stay in this country!

Lyrics to “Stop” by Karmacy

…Listening to KRMC, 99.1 FM. This is your host,
Modest Goddess (?), the date is January 23rd, 2008,
and welcome to the breakdown. The World Health
Organization just realeased its estimate of the death
toll: 151,000 Iraqi citizens since the start of the war
Depending on your source however, this estimate varies
from a minimum of 80,000 to over 1 million people.
In comparison, nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11
attacks, and approximately 4,000 American troops
have given their lives in Iraq.
The difference is a human loss of 144,000.
Today’s pop quiz: if 3,000 American lives justified going
to war, then how many more people have to die for
this government to feel vindicated? Let’s have a chat.
We have our first caller.
We always doin what they say
And follow any path they lay out
But it’s our chance we’ve got to prove
To bring the new we’ve got to break the rules and make our future
STOP
The centuries all disguised, the politics Memorized,
The Illusion
Projected as a social contribution
The Evil lingers in the sky
They paint their versions of the truth into my brain
Not even wonderin why
And then I
I simply step in the cut
Not even not knowin what’s what
Not even takin the time to break the Zeros and Ones
They’ll end up havin you,
Grabbin you from your avenue,
Mentally stabbin you, Slappin you physically
Now don’t you ever tell me that you never knew
You’re just a form of revenue to them
Condemned to the independent ballot
statistically
Tossed like a Salad,
The judge’s mallot,
the devil’s palate
All this time I thought that my opinion was valid
And now I’m
Makin hard it to tell, and now, I’m
Workin to make the sell, and now
Livin in my own hell that I designed from my own wealth
So step back
Will you act or be acted upon
Fact
Whether it’s Hitler, 9/11, Vietnam or Iraq!
We always doin what they say
And follow any path they lay out
But it’s our chance we’ve got to prove
To bring the new we’ve got to break the rules and make our future
STOP
My ears pop I can’t get higher
the plot thickens as we chop chickens and raise foster kids
but we hostile we’ve lost our virginity to peace and serenity like backs with bad posture
it’ll cost ya, cha-ching, I got my loved ones living on st-strings
one snip of the cut and thata be what’s up
and thata be what’s wrong with this world when it gets stuck in the gut
who said we have to live by the rules and die by the grave
it’s insane how we follow the game without playing
one day we learn  once we listen just pause to maintain, stop, breathe
can we foresee what we miss when we try to aim
it’s a shame how we follow the game without playing
one day we learn
once we listen just pause to maintain, stop, breathe, aim (gun click, shot)
We always doin what they say
And follow any path they lay out
But it’s our chance we’ve got to prove
To bring the new we’ve got to break the rules and make our future
STOP
Ever since the big bang, or Adam and Eve,
Or whatever you happen to belieive
Happened to conceive
Life on this planet.
However you choose to see it;
From single cell organisms all the way up to human beings,
There’s always been war. Always been killing;
Always been heroes and villains
Filling masses of millions with passionate feelings.
Shady politicians politicking for top billing
In the media, to influence societal thinking.
What kind of system do we live in?
So called conventional wisdom
Preaches policies of segregation and division.
While parents are making livings,
The predispositions of children
Are being formulated and driven by television.
And all of the great thinkers, thinking the great thoughts
Always seem to preach about this hell that we’ve wrought.
Our criminals don’t get caught, cause politicians get bought
And children are steady taught that television is god.
See this capitalistic mentality’s kind of twisted
Sometimes I wished it had never even existed
They got us chasing presidents like assassins
Trying to cash in off of every trend and fashion
While multi national conglomerate corporations
Set up exploitation stations in third world nations
With the motivation of leaving mass populations
Facing the devastation of economic starvation
This is the result of the Regan administration
The next generation of British colonization
And it’s a mockery,
To call a system a democracy’s hypocrisy
When the people that make up the majority
Don’t even have the power to challenge the authority
Of the five percent elite wealth minority
That own a 95 percent monopoly over the world economy
Because they own the land,
which is improperly known as property
and will probably always be, since they also control the policies.
Ya feel me!
Yo!
We always doin what they say
And follow any path they lay out
But it’s our chance we’ve got to prove
To bring the new we’ve got to break the rules and make our future
STOP
STOP!
If I could make the world slow down some
Then we can give it what it needs
Stop. STOP!
If I could make the world slow down some
Then we can give it what it needs
Stop. STOP!

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Itipini is a squatter’s camp in one of the poorest parts of South Africa, but hope came in 1984 when Dr. Chris McConnachie & his wife Jenny McConnachie moved from the United States to devote their lives to serving that community. Their selfless service has inspired many to give back, including Karmacy at tonight’s Blazin Hope 2 concert.

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