Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rumi Rocks!

"I looked to the temples, churches, and mosques.
But I found the Divine within my heart."
-- Rumi

Friday, June 15, 2012

Post Retreat Musings, Part 1

One day last week, I sat down and wrote out some thoughts about 2012 Retreat for LGBT Muslims and Partners ("the Retreat"). I wanted to write something about what I learned at the Retreat, what was meaningful to me. I wanted to share it with my fellow attendees, and also with all of my friends and family and other supporters who gave generously to fund scholarships and help us cover other costs, and those who are simply curious (I got a lot of questions). What follows is part one of my musings. 


I keep learning the power of just being. Just gathering. Connecting. 

Where two or more of us gather, Spirit is there. Maybe even where just one of us is, if we can quiet our mind's chatter, we can feel It. Sometimes. 

If I am open and discerning and see the signs, I hear It in what one of my brothers or sisters says to me. Or I see It as I gaze in wonder upon my surroundings. Something as simple as the trees can reveal, when I am open, the awesomeness of Creation that I all too often simply take for granted (like the air I breathe).

And why should I not see it all around me? Spirit, the Divinity, is everywhere. 

It is the Light that reveals Creation, and It is Creation. It is the Creator and the Created. It is All That Is. It is the Infinite, a never-ending Mystery.

I truly believe each of us has access to It and Its guidance, as well as to the serenity and peace promised us when we discern Its will for us and our best to follow it.

The process of seeking knowledge of the Divinity's will for us is a deeply personal one, something no one else can do for us. We must go within, to connect to where Spirit resides in us all. 

This does not mean that we must be alone when we do this. In fact, gathering is part of how we understand our personal mission even better. Sharing with others our personal process (and allowing them to have theirs) is part of moving further along this path of seeking.

And that, for me, is what was spiritual about the 2012 Retreat for LGBT Muslims and Partners. The Gathering. The Connecting. The Being. The Love. The Light. The Peace.

I thank you all who attended and were a part of it, a part of opening my eyes, each of you in your own way, to the Beauty that is Creation, and all the lessons and messages that the Creator would have me heed.

May the Spirit bless you all with joy, love, and ease as you walk through your life. Know that you are never alone. None of us is.

Love, Light, & Peace,

Fundraising 101, Part 2

Last month I wrote a blog on fundraising, sharing some tips I had compiled from my own research on how to do fundraising for the 2012 Retreat for LGBT Muslims and Partners. Here is some follow up advice I gave to a friend (Abdurrafi Adkison), who recently reached out to do some fundraising to get to the Muslims for Progressive Values retreat in NYC in July 2012 (he needs $200). 
The retreat is coming up fast. July 13-15 promises to be a life changing event. I am attempting to attend. Due to some medical issues I have been set back financially. But through the generosity of family and friends I have raise all but $200 for my trip. I would like to ask to please consider donating to help me go to the Muslims for Progressive Values retreat. More information can be found at 
Click here to donate to help Abdurrafi get to the MPV Retreat

I wrote to Abdurrafi, sending him the link my blog post on fundraising, and adding the suggestions below. 

I share them here to disseminate his fundraising appeal, to amend my previous post in hope of helping other fundraising newbies like me, and since some of you may be helping us do fundraising for next year's Retreat, to give you a jump start on the process (start saving now people! Seriously, if you can set aside money for yourself and budget to also save $5 or $10 or $20 to donate on top of your registration fee, that would be awesome!): 

(1) post your "ask" regularly on your FaceBook page and other places and at different times (e.g. one day in the morning, one day at night, one day midday... well, you get the idea) since different folks have a different schedule for checking their FB and other social media or even emails; 

(2) post it daily or some other regular interval because people want to give and usually plan to get to it later and then forget, so they need and will appreciate the reminder; 

(3) make specific "asks" of specific people (send them an e-mail preferably after calling them to ask them or bringing it up in conversation), asking them for something you think is reasonable for them to give; 

(4) don't hesitate about soliciting small gifts ($5, $10, $20). Some people might be embarrassed to give a small amount, but be assured and reassure them the small amounts really do add up -- if my friend gets $10 from 20 people, he will cover his gap (he might consider asking 40 people for $10 each and maybe he will get the $200, since some people will say no) & if all 40 give $5 each he will get to his goal and if they don't all give he will still be closer to it; and lastly

(5) consider borrowing the amount from someone and pay it off at $20/month for 10 months or whatever is workable for you (and if you whittle it down with donations, then it won't be the full $200 that has to be borrowed)...

There are always more ideas that can come; my suggestions are not exhaustive. Be creative, be bold, and listen to your intuition.

Love, Light, & Peace,

Related Links: 
Muslims for Progressive Values (Principles)
MPV Retreat Registration and Program

Abdurrafi Adkison's fundrazr campaign to get to the MPV Retreat