Our mission for TEDxKish ((a tiny island off the coast of Iran) was threefold:
1. To bring together world-class innovators to inspire and energize the Iranian Community.
2. To reconnect a thousand years of Persian culture, civilization and innovative spirit with the rest of the world.
3. To promote Kish as a hub for innovation and spark new conversations, connections, and collaboration that continue into the future.
I believe we did this AND more. Blog post about the journey coming soon!
I wanted to create an experience that was local, global, personal, universal. Something at the intersection of immersive travel + global & local community + experiential programming that maximized the magic of spiritual retreats + personal/professional development conferences + group travel.
I also wanted to bring back the idea of a Caravan. Hundreds of years ago, our ancestors traveled together in a Caravan for safety and survival. Think: Silk Road, Camels, Oregon Trail & Covered Wagons. Today, however, we can travel together in a Caravan for collective and personal expansion.
From all of this, Caravan was born. See more here: www.wecaravan.to
An ode to turning 25. The night before I turned 25, a rush of birthday wisdom surged my heart and mind. The result is the 25 most meaningful lessons I've learned in the 25 years of my life.
Although it was a bit scary to reduce my life to only 25 lessons (piercing down at my Google Doc had be thinking, "Can my life really be summed up in 3500 words?) I am so glad I surpassed that fear. The result for me was empowering -- I have experienced and learned quite a lot, and for that I am grateful.
I traveled to 3 states in India (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, & Kerala) visited over 20+ villages and interviewed more than 70 women entrepreneurs to create this mini-documentary that captures the essence of Accion's Dialogue on Business program.
The program gives women in India the entrepreneurial tools and skills they need in order to become develop a business initiative in their neighborhood.
All photographs, cinematography, & editing done by me -- obviously without a mic and tripod :)
My design & rapid prototyping thinking journey began by being taught by one of the industry's best: Tom Chi (Founder of Google Glass). I have now received a certificate for an intensive 2 month course taught by Tom Chi and have lead workshops (such as Rapid Prototyping Community Engagement and Designing Your Life -- see photos to the right).
I LOVE good design and am a real believer that ANYONE can be a great designer so long as they have some good systems, tools, questions (and a helping of curiosity and empathy). And if you know me you know I am a SERIOUS fan of stickies + sharpies. The more colors = the better ideating, in my book :)
Photos to the right are of a Community Rapid Prototyping workshop that I led while at Hive. Have a big burning question in your life? Need help answering it with Design or Prototype thinking? Get in touch!
Since I was young, it has been my life purpose to expand global consciousness. I wasn't 100% sure what global consciousness meant or how I would expand it -- and today I am not 100% more clear but I have come to know the following as my own understanding of Global Consciousness.
First, it's important to take note that since the two words "global" and "consciousness" are enormous in scope, naturally "global consciousness" has many definitions or interpretations.
On a macro level, global consciousness refers to the degree, level or state of humanity's collective conscious.
Since the whole is made up of its pieces, the way I examine/understand Global Consciousness is via the micro level, or the individual.
It is, in effect, the consciousness of 7+ billion individuals that make up the global conscious! The more expanded the individual, the more expanded the global, and visa versa (this is an infinity loop or Casual Relationship -- expanding one expands the other).
So this is how I see it:
What is global consciousness?
Knowing/Understanding the world
Knowing/Understanding yourself within the world
Why it matters?
It benefits the individual:
1. Fascinating and meaningful to experience a fuller spectrum of human life.
2. Individual can live more fully that she's has an expanded knowledge of the spectrum of human experience (different ways of being/existing/cultural norms/ behaviors/ideologies) and she can actively design a life that is most suitable for her well-being, thriving (for herself and the world) given this expanded understanding and access into different ways of being. In other words, we are moving past Uni-Cultural Living and into the Culture of Ourselves which can include a fusion of ways to understand the world.
3. By the individual seeing he shares a lot of similar threads as the "other" he becomes less lonely, more open and sees himself as a part of the whole, this whole that is the human species.
It benefits the collective/earth:
1. Becoming more aware of yourself, and the world, we become more empathetic and conscious of the power of our actions. We see that we are all interconnected and that our actions (or lack of them) have tremendous impact on the humans around us -- as well as mother earth herself.
Every project I get my hands on, wrap my head around, any company I join or create is to do just this: expand global consciousness. I am dedicated to this.
Does this stuff also get you excited? Join me and others for a virtual monthly gathering around the Whats, Hows, & Whys of Global Consciousness. Sign up here.
Photos to left: 37,000 miles in the sky, trying to figure out how to visually capture what global consciousness means. Perhaps a pyramid will do? Later changed to pillars.
In 2011 I founded Innergy, a conscious living community that intends to enhance daily living by practicing mindfulness, cultivating compassion, and connecting with our inner selves and with those others around us.
The intent was to create a comfortable and inspiring space where a community comes together to explore, embrace, and enjoy life’s experiences with infinite curiosity, love, and joy.
Every Thursday from 2011 through 2013 I led and organized various forms of discussions, events and experiential workshops in order to help the UCLA student body and the wider Los Angeles community grow, cultivate and free their minds, bodies, and hearts. Little did I know I myself would grow: as a leader.
Innergy grew to 300+ members in the 2 years I led it. It still exists as is thriving at UCLA today :)
Visit our FB page to see what’s going on this week!
Short story: To check out some of my work, you can visit my photography website: asyatabdili.com
Long story: When I was 12 years old I picked up my grandfather's film DSLR and started shooting. Within months I was addicted and would daydream about photography /photoshoot ideas all day long while in class. In those days a day didn't go by without me shooting -- anything and everything, I was compelled to capture the essence of it all.
Four years later (and probably 1+ million clicks) my mentor at the time said to me: You know, Asya, you're really quite good at this. You could get paid to take photos. A couple weeks later a client was handing me my first check. For the next years I specialized in lifestyle portrait photography but also shot for weddings, magazines, newspapers, exhibitions, even famous musicians and actors.
Fast forward 10+ years later and I still shoot for pleasure or for that one client that has turned into family, but certainly not as much as I did when I was a teenager. But when I do shoot, I instantly remember the magic of what drew my to photography in the first place. For me, photography has given me my eyes and has enabled me to connect so deeply with whatever I am taking a photo of -- to really slow down and experience that thing or person's essence completely and deeply. When I look through the camera viewfinder I see and feel new things I couldn't access without photography. I loose myself and become what I am photographing.
I owe my perspective and so many incredible experiences to photography. I think of it as a good friend and respect what it has done for me immensely.
Photos to the right: Climbing trees and other natural things to get the perfect shot during a photoshoot.
Lower photo: No shoot is complete without a trip to the local ice cream parlor (at least for this family who I have been shooting every year for 6 years! Post-shoot Ice cream has become a tradition -- and a good way to keep the kids motivated!!)
kissthisworld is a is one giant exploration & celebration of the human spirit.
Through the creation of interactive projects and public experiences, kissthisworld serves as a platform to discover + document the spectrum of human experience.
kissthisworld was inspired part by the many ancient Persian and Sufi poets, mystics and philosophers -- to whom beg of their readers to fall in love with themselves, the world and their lives.
I owe much of the development of my mystical and spiritual life to these women and men who span countries and centuries but who all bow down to the Divine Being. Omar Khayyam, persian poet from the 12th century said “Be happy with this moment. This moment is your life!”
The first project of kissthisworld documents how the world responds to the question, “How do you kiss this world?” See some responses to the right and use the hashtag #kissthisworld to follow new responses on Instagram. Website kissthisworld.com launching soon!
On a monsoon morning in India, I awoke to the rain sloshing against why windows and my phone vibrating mad with notifications. My Indian friends did not miss a beat, "Asya! You made the national newspaper!"
Making it into the newspaper was actually easier than finding it. Granted, I had had several meetings that day and started searching in the afternoon, after the newspapers had been distributed and bought.
One after one, I went to all the markets, supermarkets, hole in the wall marts, and could not get my hands on a copy. Frantic, I must have a copy to frame for my grandchildren (if nothing else becomes of me, at least I could tell them their grandmother had her 15 seconds of fame in India back in the day).
Just when I was walking away from my last store and feeling hopeless -- I saw several kids smiling, laughing and pointing at me. Great, I thought. They too know how much grandchildren are going to think I am uncool. One of the kids ran up to me and said, Madame, your photo in newspaper.
Yes! I thought at least this little fellow knows. Do you know where I can get a copy? He replied wait here. Within a 5 minutes he was back with 3 copies in his hands. He looked at the photo then me then the photo and smiled.
To the right is a the original article (and under it, a more readable version). I was also featured a few more times after but nothing surpassed this first experience of making the paper.
What's the list? A crowdsourced list of opportunities for you to expand your potential.
Why, you say? Because we wish such a list existed for ourselves. There are just too many incredible opportunities out there, some of which we have never heard of or wouldn’t even know to search for, so why not share them! It only takes 3 minutes to possibly change your or someone else's life.
IamWithTheList.com -- website coming oh so soon! In the meantime, fill out The List here!
Let me tell you a story of serendipity.
I was on a boat (as most interesting stories start out) sailing somewhere in the Atlantic. I was (as usual) taking photographs and was backing into a corner in order to capture a streak of light dancing along a wooden chair. Backing up backing up, bounce! right into another photographer.
His name was Atsushi and he was from Japan. We discussed the beauty of the chair and then flowed into a longer conversation about our hopes, dreams, desires.
Flash forward one year, and we're working together -- designing stories for his Japanese magazine, Coffee Time! Turns out the Japanese LOVE coffee and they're interested in knowing more about the coffee culture in other parts of the world. Atsushi had been looking far and wide for a Western Collaborator to quench his reader's thirst.
I've been shooting and writing stories for Coffee Time since, capturing the Western coffee culture experience one article at a time.
Moral of the story: Backing into, welcome! You never know what collaboration might just ensue. See some examples below!
Hive is a global community of 900+ CEOs, leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs & creatives from 80+ countries who are working together on creating a better world.
I joined Hive in 2015 and became a part of the Founding Team. For over a year I managed Hive's Global Leaders Program: a three-day immersive leadership training program we designed to help participants be the best leader that they can be and make the most impact possible -- by maximizing their potential, connecting them to a network of extraordinary peers, and helping them think about redesigning their world, life and work.
To learn more about the Hive Global Leaders Program, please visit Hive's website.
Short story: visit http://www.wereset.in/bali/ to see what I'm creating. Hint: It's all about reflecting on 2016 and designing for 2017!
Long story: In September 2016 I moved to Bali after feeling a bit burnt out and disconnected. While here, I’ve come to understand the importance of slowing down & taking space to reflect and reset — which can sometimes feel counterintuitive in this fast world.
But taking this space is so essential for personal & collective growth that I've decided to design an experience to make a reset more accessible to everyone.
Thus, Reset - Bali 2016 was born. Join me and an intimate group of friends for a week-long, all-inclusive, immersive program designed for you to reboot your mind, recharge your body, & dream up what’s next for you in 2017 all while being surrounded by good company and the sublime beauty of Bali.