A Birthday Balancing Act, An Incredibly Inspiring Year
As my next birth year begins today on September 11, I feel healthier, happier and more confident than ever. I believe that we all can achieve equilibrium when we embrace the fullness of our physical, emotional and spiritual lives.
Like every individual, I have had my fair share of challenges, and like every family, my family and extended family have experienced loss, including the very recent passing of one of our dearest friends; a young father of three who fought cancer hard up until last week, and is now gone from our lives.
Every challenge and loss are reminders that our time on this planet is limited, lessons that we never know what may come next.
I have learned that love and appreciation can be shared and experienced every day, made visible in the smallest gestures of kindness, and continual, compassionate action on as large a scale as we wish when we live with intention, passion and purpose.
Those who know me well know that my energy can be intense and that my drive for quality and success in business and life has manifest in 20+ hour days, sometimes sequential days. When left unchecked, this aim for perfection can be a recipe for exhaustion and defeat, and I am happy to report that in the last twelve months I have become a lot better at letting go – because when we let go of perfection, we open time for rest and reflection!
I am enjoying life more as I get older and doing so by understanding what balance is for me; it is different for everyone, but for me it is about a harmony of family and friends, work and pleasure, doing well and doing good, self-improvement physically, mentally and emotionally, and overall awareness of the gifts I have been given.
Of the many gifts, two of the most important are my two grandchildren, Hudson & Ella Grace, who have enlightened our world with their intelligence, curiosity, unconditional love, joy and generational journey, tuning us even more into the importance of balancing our time and energy so we can get the most out of every moment.
This year, it was impossible for me to choose one cause, for example, to celebrate on September 11, 2018 as I do each year, so I chose five and thank so many for donating to these non-profits using Facebook’s awesome birthday giving platform, which raised over $300 million in less than a year (100% of which went to the non-profits without any fees).
Rather than focusing on the many amazing memories including participating in dance competitions in support of charity, traveling around the world for work and service, growing as a cook in my own kitchen and food blogger through Bita’s Kitchen, celebrating many family and friends’ moments, contributing to great organizations like Persian Women in Technology, speaking at many business and philanthropic conference and so much more, instead I am sharing information about those causes and asking for you to support the one or two which you care most about.
The links will take you directly to a donation page on Facebook – it’s easy to give and share your support!
International Society for Children’s Cancer (ISCC)
ISCC was formed in keeping with the 4th goal of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals; to help reduce child mortality by the target date of 2015. ISCC is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) non-governmental, non-political organization that was co-founded by Mrs. Saideh Ghods and Mrs. Fereshteh Tavakoli in Chatsworth, CA in June of 2004.T o date, ISCC has helped NGOs working with cancer-stricken children in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Turkey, USA and the UN refuge Agency. Dedicated volunteers support ISCC, enabling over 90% of every dollar raised to go directly to programs.
Please join me in supporting Farhang Foundation’s Iranian Music Program at UCLA! Farhang Foundation is a non-religious, non-political and not-for-profit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. The foundation supports a broad range of academic activities in Southern California by funding university programs, publications and conferences. The foundation also supports diverse cultural programs such as the celebration of Nowruz and Shab-e Yalda, theater, dance performances, film screenings and poetry reading in Southern California. And, in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions, Farhang Foundation funds major programs and exhibitions about Iran and its culture.
Pars Equality Center
As a community-based social and legal services organization, PEC is dedicated to the idea of helping all members of the Iranian-American community, and those from other Persian-speaking countries, realize their full potential as informed, self-reliant, and responsible members of American society. We believe that learning and teaching the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy as well as the rules and rewards of entrepreneurship are the necessary ingredients for our success as a community.
World Central Kitchen
José Andrés founded World Central Kitchen after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti with the belief that food can be an agent of change. We have expanded globally and have developed into a group of chefs creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty. Today, World Central Kitchen uses the expertise of its Chef Network to empower people to be part of the solution, with a focus on health, education, jobs, and social enterprise.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU works tirelessly in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country. “Dare to create a more perfect union.”
As I posted last month, quoting James Thurber, “Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
As we all navigate a world that can be overwhelmingly negative and dangerous, let’s aim to live in enlightenment and awareness, to love one another, accept and celebrate our differences, reject polarization and hatred, and do our best to balance our own lives so we have the strength and creativity to help make other lives better.
Finally, I thank you all, dear family, friends and followers, for your faith in me and your support of others, however you may best express that support – and wishing every person on the planet their best birth year ever, choosing happiness, choosing health, and choosing to be kind and generous, as this may be the best way to fight for the right – and rights – of humankind.
With everlasting love, hope and respect,