Four Years. Go!

by Simon Goland, May 15, 2010

Today’s Reflection is about the gift and the blessing of meeting extraordinary people.

The woman, a mother of a family of five, called a family meeting. Her husband runs a very successful business, and they have three kids, ages 11 (or 12), 8, and 6. The woman is running The Hunger Project organization (, and so is constantly traveling the world, on a tremendously busy and demanding schedule. From the home base in the US, to Africa, to India, to any other part where her presence is needed to deal with the incredible in its magnitude task of eradicating poverty. She is passionate about her work and the difference it makes for people all over the world.

Yet, she pays a price. Despite her efforts to try and get home for the Friday evening family dinners, regardless of where in the world she is, she misses her son’s baseball games, her daughter’s school events, and numerous other family activities and times together. And it tears her heart, this paradox-with-no-solution she finds herself in. And so, she calls a family meeting, where she tells them about her state of torment, of passion for the work and the pain of missing these important events of their lives. She begs them for a permission to let her keep doing her work, despite the price they will all pay.

“Mom,” says the 8-years old girl, “Just go and keep doing this work. I know it is important. I can find someone else to take me to the orthodontist.”

“Sacrifice is part of life. It is supposed to be, as opposed to something to regret. Something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices. A mother works so her son can go to school. A daughter moves home to take care of her sick father. Sometimes when you sacrifice something really precious, you are not really losing it. You are just passing it to someone else.” – anonymous

The woman was Lynne Twist, the founder (or one of them, I am not sure) of The Hunger Project, the author of “The Soul of Money” book/masterpiece, and one of the key founders of The Pachamama Alliance ( – an organization that is committed to preserving the Earth’s tropical forests by empowering the indigenous people who are its natural custodians, and contributing to the creation of a new global vision of equity and sustainability for all. I had the honour of meeting her a week ago, as she was one of the guests and Change Agents in Residence at Bainbridge Graduate Institute ( where I currently teach. She spent the whole long weekend with us, students and faculty alike, in conversations, presentations about her work, meals, sitting in classes, and sharing stories, aspirations, and tears.

One of the current projects of the Pachamama Alliance is the FOUR YEARS GO campaign ( – to change the course of history. No more. No less. Really. Watch the video clip on the site.

“The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.” – Yasutani Hakuun Roshi

A sunny week to you all, inside and out.