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Thanks for organizing such a special journey, Khatiza! As I said, that was my first travelling & volunteering experience and you, the country, and the Bhutanese people, fellow volunteers, and everyone you introduced us to made it extraordinary. Looking forward to hearing what's in store for this program in the future.
Thanks for everything. It was my first volunteering experience overseas and had been an amazing and inspiring journey. We came with the thought that we were the giver but turned out that what we learned is much more than we have given. Will share our experience at our local TGIF and will keep you posted how the audience like it.
Khatiza, you rock :) thank you so much for putting this together for us. The entire experience was extremely enriching and it is something many more Googlers should participate in. Will do my part to spread the word :) And to the Googlers who were there, you guys made the trip all the more memorable :) Thank you!
Thanks Khatiza for making all this together into an awesome trip! As it is always said "More Blessed to Give Than To Receive". What I have learned and received are far beyond anything measurable. I have spread the word to my fellow googlers in Beijing office & my old school mates and hope they can try in the future too.
What struck me the most with our conversations with the students were their honest nature, or maybe it was the lack of cynicism.. It's so common in our culture to use cynicism and dry humour as a sort of defense mechanism, when we feel insecure or uncomfortable. I may be wrong, but I felt the students were comfortable in their own skin. Happy or not happy, they just were. At the end of the class one of the students asked me "where is Sara" and I sheepishly pointed to myself and said "here". And he said but that's your heart" and I pointed to my head, and he said "but that's your head", and then he said "if you can't locate your 'self' then you don't exist
A simply incredible experience. The landscapes are the most beautiful I have seen. The people are the friendliest. It is uplifting to see such a different culture and way of life, yet connect on a personal level with everyone you meet. The value is mutually shared. For the volunteers, the environments we entered were full of optimism and that was contagious. You could not help but leave feeling good. We were introduced to a different and valuable perspective. There is much to learn from the Bhutanese approach to human and economic development, for example the emphasis placed on environmentally responsible development, and placing happiness above material benefit. For the students, this was exposure to fast-moving people and ideas that they don't necessarily get to interact with otherwise. For the students, hopefully they learned something valuable that they will use in their academic careers and beyond. In this globally connected world, of which Bhutan is a part, these connections can be invaluable. I'd like to highlight the impact that this had on my self-awareness. I found the mountains, people, experience, to be just humbling.
A calmness and spirituality that is deeply hidden due to my maddening daily work routine. Need to stop and smell the coffee more!
Life can be widely improved via technology and innovation. Google should support more similar projects to really make the world a better place with our technology, marketing and sales forces.
Simply put, I have realized that the volunteering piece that I used to love and so often do is missing in my life. There are very few days that go by since the trip where I don't think about Bhutan, the people, the experience and wonder what else I can do to have a greater impact on the world.
I was really touched by the personal stories of the women entrepreneurs (most of which worked at non profits). They were very attentive, interested, well-versed, open-minded and ready to learn! I wish we could do more...I feel as though 4 days is not enough.
That I know quite a bit, and I can help others with what I know. That I *really* can learn pretty fast... I like volunteering and I miss working with inspiring people.
A HUGE thank you for such a powerful and inspiring experience this past week in Bhutan. It wouldn't have been the same without you! It was an eye opening journey for me in so many ways. This week has given me a renewed perspective on so many aspects of my life and has provided amazing clarity. We went to help the people of Bhutan yet upon leaving I feel like they have taught me so much more. Incredible!
The Mindful Volunteering for Innovation Journey to Bhutan encourages employees and their partners to actively participate. As a partner, the May 2014 journey was a thoroughly rewarding experience and highly recommended for anyone looking to find focus and reconnect with their inner self. Throughout this wonderful learning journey I was constantly taken aback with the natural beauty and peace resulting from the simplicity of life and our surroundings. Both the country itself, with its stunning mountains, and the people of Bhutan are remarkable in many ways. Being such a young democracy it was inspiring to see such a level of respect for one other and people working together towards a better life for the greater whole. Our learning facilitator and host provided us with rich local experiences and enabled us to meet some truly unique, inspirational characters. Gaining first hand insights into Buddhism practices had a profound impact on me during the week and a discovery I will definitely continue. Learning the basics of mindful meditation which set the stage on the first day led us to practice and grow this skill throughout the week in monasteries and on mountain tops. A spiritual experience beyond words! Overall this learning journey provided a deep reminder to be more focused every minute of every day and the importance of being thankful. Even though we went to Bhutan to give and volunteer on projects, I feel I gained so much more in return.
- Employee Partner
With that in mind, we embarked on the preparation for a week long journey to Bhutan. Bhutan was amazing; from the physical landscape to the people themselves who demonstrated grace and humility no matter what their status in life. What has had the greatest impact on me was the meditation and the silence, and the change that this has brought into my life. It has taught me to disconnect from emotions that are negative, and even those that are positive, and to think about them from a distance. It has helped me to understand what I have and what I am, and to embrace this in order to prepare for the future, whatever that future maybe. I feel for the first time in my life I am driven from within, my spirit is in the present, and what is going on around me or whatever is in the past or the future is irrelevant. I am centered for the first time in my life.
- Market Research Professional
Helen Keller once said, "the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." This is the profound experience I felt in Bhutan, where I learned about Gross National Happiness. Spending some time outdoors to connect with myself and nature, stopping for a moment and just being! Bhutan is a wonderful place to go within and refuel your batteries from your daily work and life. This beautiful country and the lovely people welcome you with an open heart and caring hands. From the moment you arrive, till the time you leave, you carry with you a calm which is worth more than what you spend. I am blessed to have found Khatiza, an inspirational woman. She makes your learning journey unforgettable. Being an extraordinary professional and well connected in Bhutan, you get the best ROI out of your investment. I can strongly recommend her services and would like to thank her for the beautiful journey together. Thank you very much, Khatiza, and looking forward to our next Insightful Learning Journey!
- Asia Pacific
"My learning journey to Bhutan had a threefold impact on my heart, mind and soul! First it stirred my emotions through admiring the beauty of the remote mountains and relatively isolated people I met, in their often simple living conditions, impressed with their omnipresent smiles and sense of happiness. Secondly, the trip stimulated my intellect through discovering and learning the history and practice of Mindfulness with such fervor and authenticity. Thirdly, witnessing true compassion practiced by many truly touched me. Overall this was a journey of learning, a real lesson of mindfulness for me. Being one who has a tendency to anticipate or project the Future, I learned to become more aware of the Present, to seize the day and live each moment fully in thankfulness and humility.”
- Executive Search Consultant
Mindful Volunteering has crystallized the important elements of being a good leader. I think the most important thing is to be able to focus. Mindfulness is a way that I can practice being aware of what is most important to me. A leader who is able to create a trusting, collaborative, and friendly environment will be much more likely to reap the benefits of strong team dynamics. In conclusion, my Mindful Volunteering Journey has been very enriching and fulfilling. It has reinforced my own personal leadership values.
The main leadership value that was keenly highlighted on this Mindful Volunteering Journey is the value of patience. It highlighted that patience is important to let things unfold and develop at their natural pace, rather than trying to force things. I also learned the importance of diversity and how it is critically important as a key leadership practice that increases the flexibility and dynamism of any top–performing team. The best learning points I had are from working with my classmates.
My reflections on Mindfulness - Organizations are increasingly interested in mindfulness as these have been proven to improve several aspects of the businesses. Volunteering helps develop compassion as companies engage the staff at all levels to develop new leaders. It also helps the company understand the green field or cross culture differences where companies wish to invest in new markets. I would like to develop myself as a compassionate leader who understands the people he leads and not just looks at the bottom line.