Thursday, 29 May 2008

Interfaith Dialogue

I attended an inter-faith discussion yesterday and realised just how difficult it is to communicate something as intrinsic as faith/belief in a humble tangible manner. I suppose practice makes perfect. The aim and guidelines (see below) I thought were super, although I might have fallen short of the mark on occasion.

Aim of the Dialogues: sharing understanding between people of different beliefs and spiritualities.

Guidelines for Good Dialogue:
- Not a debate it's a dialogue;
- Feel free to ask questions;
- Don't speak in an offensive manner;
- Don't compare ideals of your religion to the practises of other people;
- use "I" statements to identify yourself in your tradition;
- It's OK to say "I can't answer that question".

Thursday, 22 May 2008

11, Getting it done: how to lead when you're not in charge

Title: Getting it done: how to lead when you're not in charge
Author: Roger Fisher and Alan Sharp
Publisher: HarperBusiness (May 1999)
Language: English
Pages: 240

There is no doubting that working in a team we get more done than working alone. This book is packed with tips on how we can work/collaborate better with others. The advice is based on a method of "lateral leadership", which consists of three steps: "The first step is to organise and sharpen your personal skills at getting things done by yourself. The second step is to understand clearly your strategic goal of an organised way of getting things done with others. The third step is learning some tactics of participatory leadership." The first two steps I kind of skim-read. Techniques pertaining to the third step I found particularly thought-provoking and useful; techniques related to asking, offering and doing things that "stimulate others to become skillful at working together".

In summary: another good book from the Harvard Negotiation team; well-structured and plenty of examples to demonstrate the advice.

Monday, 19 May 2008

In & Around Lisbon

Just got back from a week in Portugal. Good country. Nice helpful people. Nobody stares and everybody minds his/her own business. However, not much to see, except one breathtaking Masjid; big and beautiful, with a dome, minaret, open courtyard, facilities for women, classrooms, sports hall, the works, maa sha Allah. Worth checking out if you happen to be in Lisbon. Definitely better than praying in the nearby car park of the American embassy and being surrounded by angry men with machine guns, which happened to a friend of mine on his way from his hotel to meet me at the Masjid.

Saturday, 10 May 2008


"Dreams are messenger to us from the unknown. They are voices from our collective sub-conscious, warners of deep inner disturbance in the individual psyche, bearer of glad tidings of good things to come, or echoes of happy or sad and long hidden memories..."

(Source: Forward to 'Ibn Seerin's Dictionary of Dreams')

I have been seeing a lot of dreams recently. Passing these off as nothing in a blanket fashion I think is a bit nonsensical, so I have got myself this book as a starting point, not necessarily to find answers to my dreams, more so to increase my appreciation for the science of dream interpretation and to understand a little better what dreams are, where dreams come from and how dreams can (and have) play(ed) a positive part in peoples' - including mine - lives.

Any thoughts, dear readers, on this matter? Rarely does consultation disappoint so I would love to hear your take and experiences on this subject. Jazaakumullahu Khairan.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Relax About Writing

I was just clearing my desk (actually, shuffling papers from one side to another) and noticed notes I had taken at a 'Relax About Writing' workshop attended a number of months ago that I had not Blogged about.

One exercise we did at the workshop which I thought was kind of "cool" (sorry, felt like using that word) and which I thought would we worth sharing with my readership was "freewriting". The exercise is to write non-stop for five minutes anything that comes to mind - there are to be no pauses and the pen is not to leave the paper. Upon completion, read what you have wrote, either then or some time later, and pick out "nuggets" worth thinking about and exploring further.

Try it. It is meant to be "a technique to explore ideas and clarify thoughts" and "useful when you are stuck or overwhelmed". Also, apparently a great release "for emotions and frustration", like Blogging might I add.

Note that your freewriting doesn't have to be five minutes. You could write for a shorter amount of time... or longer, or perhaps keep writing until you fill a page... or two.

As well as freewriting, another tip for writing is to step away from "notes to self" and write with a reader in mind. In doing so, there is need for better explanation and this is where holes in your ideas/thoughts come to light.

More tips: keep a writing journal, carry a notebook, or even, start a Blog!