blog > 2013 > April

Stories, history and the flow of kindness by Misha Lyuve

Apr 28, 2013

Family stories hold keys to past in special ways. They make history into more than just textbooks, but vivid alive experiences passed through the words of people we know and love. They allow us to honor the past in a way that forwards the future…

Dora Shapiro, 1930ies

…After my album release party in February, Elena, my doctor since the day I landed in the US, approached me with an idea: to host a private performance and a fundraiser for Worldwide Orphans for her friends at her home. Two months have passed and now Elena’s living room is tightly packed with guests. Before the performance, Elena approaches me: “I will need a few minutes. I want to share something, something very important.” And now that everyone quiets down, Elena stands fragile and beautiful in front of the guests, her husband and daughter. “I would like to dedicate this evening to my mom and my aunt Dora,” her voice cracks.

Back in 1920 when they were 1 and 7, their family decided to venture on a long and dangerous journey. They left their hometown Genichesk in Ukraine, where food and jobs were sparse and many were starving to death, for St. Petersburg in search of a better life. During the grueling move their parents died from typhoid and the sisters ended up in an orphanage in Sumi, Ukraine.

Incidentally the orphanage was built and supported by an American Jewish organization and it became home for Elena’s mom and aunt for years to come. It provided food and shelter and made them into generous and ‘full-lifed’ humans. Aunt Dora became a teacher. During the World War II Leningrad blockade, when the German troops surrounded Leningrad taking away all access for food and supplies for 872 days, she was a director of an orphanage. She starved herself, but she made sure whatever little food they had went to kids. She saved many lives…

Sonya Shapiro, 1930ies

Sonya Shapiro, 1930ies

As Elena continues with her speech, I get a vivid glimpse into the universal flow of kindness – American philanthropists a century ago, women at the Ukrainian orphanage, lives of kids who survived the Leningrad blockade, my free visits to Elena in her Brooklyn office when I had neither an insurance nor money, another doctor Jane Aronson who founded Worldwide Orphans and works tirelessly to improve lives of orphans, abandoned kids in Haiti whose eyes are still following me and these people in front of whom I am about to perform…

We honored Elena’s family and raised $2,145 for Worldwide Orphans. The universal flow of kindness is continuing, touching more people and creating stories that will turn into history.

Why you are NOT in love with your job
- Part 2
by Misha Lyuve

Apr 21, 2013

This is a continuation of my previous post Why you are NOT in love with your job – start there.

4. You don’t care. You treat people as temporary supporting characters in a movie where you are a protagonist.  You are not interested in them as fellow humans. What really makes their heart beat? Or ache? You ask “how are you”, but it is not your intention to know how they are. It is this surface of politeness that makes your experience at work lack humanity. And how can one be in love with that?

5. You think your job owes you something.  It should pay you more, give you satisfaction and provide you with work-life balance. You really think that it owes you that. You even have a list and you are waiting. Some of you might’ve not even bothered to ask for what you want. Or you asked, and now pissed that it’s not there. You cannot be entitled and resentful, and be in love with your job at the same time.

6. You are ok with mediocrity. You made compromises; each of them at the moment could seem convenient or necessary, but together they don’t leave you much breathing room. You indefinitely put off the dreams you had. You give a few bucks for a disaster relief, but for the most part the world’s problems are not your problems; they are too big and too removed. Thus you don’t see your job, your skills and your network as an opportunity to do something big, outrageous and difference making. You cannot be in love with your job if it is just means to an end.

7. You gave up. You gave up on the idea that you can be in love with your job. You tried changing companies, and maybe not once. You might’ve even tried changing your career all together. But you are in the same place. You have a good explanation of carefully choreographed reasons that make it logical and convincing. Is it the children? The mortgage? If only you knew that one thing you are destined to do. Or had more money. Or if only you were a genius like that writer, composer or businessperson. It is impossible to be in love with something you have given up on.

This is a place to start an inquiry. The journey begins with saying the truth.

Why you are NOT in love with your job by Misha Lyuve

Apr 14, 2013

Since you are reading this, I am assuming that at a minimum, some place, even a tiny bit, you are not in love with your job. You might keep it as a big secret from everyone. And maybe even from yourself. Or your friends might’ve developed calluses in their ears listening to your complaints. Or you just turned off that part of self all together, disconnected from it, shut it down – because what’s the point.

Whatever the story is, you will most likely discover that one or more of the following applies to you:

1. You are afraid. And you might not be aware that you are afraid. The shivers on your back when you get an unanticipated call from your boss. The increased heart rate when threatened by a customer complaint. You are scared of your coworkers and even people that report to you. You are terrified of being fired, or that you will not get a raise or a promotion. The fear that your life will be like this all the time. Fear is your driving force. It runs in your veins. All the time. You cannot be in love with your job if fear runs your life.

2. You hide. Meaning that you show only a partial self at work.  You developed a “work personality” that cuts out the other aspects of you that you find inconvenient or not professional or not relevant. You don’t talk about what’s important in your life. You share your gripes, but not your passions. While you think that you have “good” reasons to live a double life, it is impossible to be in love with your job, not being able to express a full self.

3. You don’t think it matters. You believe that this particular moment of your life doesn’t really carry that much importance. But some time not now it will all work out – when you find your “dream job” or you retire or win a lottery, then you will be the person you want to be and live the life that you want to live.  But for now, it’s just a job, a means to an end. You cannot be in love with your job, if you think that right now doesn’t matter.

This is enough for now.  Mull it over… To be continued in part 2.