5 July, 2017

I was asked by Kathy Sage, Minister at the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship to participate in the Sydenham St. United Church's Charter for Compassion Series, in Kingston.

I was asked by Kathy Sage, Minister at the Kingston Unitarian Fellowship to participate in the Sydenham St. United Church's Charter for Compassion Series, in Kingston.  Interfaith Services were taking place there with the focus on how different religions & spiritual beliefs bring the Charter into their ministry.

How this came about is because, Karen Armstrong;  Author, Theologian & Recipient of a TED Award brought together representative leaders from all faiths & religions, a few years ago, to map out the Charter, seeking to find the common ground within all belief systems.  

I am happy to say that I was one of the first people in Kingston to sign the Charter & was asked when it came time for the Unitarian Fellowship to address the congregation to talk about how, as a Unitarian, my work is guided by The Charter For Compassion.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I believe a story can have an equivalent currency. 

There are two aspects to the work I do in Financial Services with the ultimate goal of "Making Dreams a Reality".  One is investing money & the other is, financial planning - designing a plan to achieve all that you want, for your life, with a focus on mindfulness & compassion. 

These two stories help to illustrate how mindfulness & compassion are an integrated daily part of all aspects of my work.

The first story is based on an interview I heard on CBC radio - it was a Congressional Hearing into the demise of a very large investment firm in the U.S., called The Leahman Brothers.  One of the defendants, during the hearing, said; "People don't care HOW they make their money, they just want to make money!"  I & most of my clients care immensely about HOW we make our money. Doing so in a way that has a positive impact on society & the planet, adhering to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing that have been signed by Money Managers who are managing trillions of dollars, so we are not alone - there are many people who care about HOW money is being made; Profits with Principles, making a commitment to incorporating compassion into the investment world.

The second story focuses on another HOW.   I met with a woman who works with an investment broker with another institution,  she came to me as she wanted to take a year off to spend with her Father who was dying.  She wanted to spend that time with him & to help out her Step-Mother.  I asked her why she didn't go to her Broker to discuss this & she said; "Because he will tell me NOT to do it & you will show me HOW I can do it" - which was true.  Focusing on her needs & how to make her money work for her in order to attend to her family was paramount.

I believe in what I call; the meaning behind the money, what it can do for you as an individual & your family - it is a very different perspective & requires a very different way of approaching things, with compassion & asking questions that lead to different outcomes. 

As a final story & a way to sum it all up, I am reminded of Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of microenterprise lending who won a Nobel Peace Prize for that work &  shining example of someone who took a compassionate approach to money.   He too recognized the importance of the HOW & the questions we ask when he said;  why are we approaching lending from the perspective of the banks asking; "are you a lending risk"  but instead people should be asking the banks, "what makes you worthy of my business".  

The questions we ask, determines the solutions we seek & who does the asking helps to establish the path that will be followed. For me, this needs to be done with compassion &  respect.