Category Archives: awareness


Hey there everyone!!

I know I’m awesome. I possess many talents, have developed many skills, and have done a tremendous amount of personal growth through various therapies and programs over decades.

And, I’ve learned that many successes in life don’t come from an individual’s merits, but rather from the cohesiveness of a complete team.

That’s where I feel I have I’ve really been given a raw deal.


Family is the most important thing in the world.Starting with the first team of family, I didn’t get much. I understand that most families could be qualified as being dysfunction, so I don’t say this lightly. I’ve had less than a dozen conversations in my entire life with my father (despite my efforts). Other than financial support (mostly through welfare) until the age of eighteen, I didn’t get much… I didn’t even get a genuine hug, let alone seeing a role model to know what it is like to become a man.

My brother may have had the same experience, but he didn’t have to deal with having albinism and being blind (nor did he support me as an older brother). I imagine that many people who grow up without a father figure could “see” what’s happening with other friends or in the media. To this day, I feel some members of my family still don’t get (or choose to support) my physical limitations.


Sportsmanship, for me, is when a guy walks off the court and you relaly can't tell whether he won or lost, when he carries himself with pride either way.When playing sports, I was always the last person to get picked for teams. This makes sense, of course, because I would be the weakest player no matter what the sport. I remember being the goalie in floor hockey, and I never even saved one shot. Eventually, I was told that I was unable to play any sports, and was deprived physical education classes of all kinds.


Difference between school and lifeIt wasn’t much different with school projects. Nobody wanted to work with me. Once in history class, I thought I was assigned to an awesome group of people. Unfortunately, I got lost on the TTC (public transit) while going to one of the group meetings. Because of that, the group convinced our teacher that I didn’t contribute anything and I was given a failing grade.

At lunch time, I would try to sit at large tables so there was ample opportunity to have people sit beside me. But nobody would sit beside me. One day I was sitting at a small table with just one other empty chair, thinking that maybe a different dynamic would yield a better result. I thought it worked when a woman approached me to ask if the seat was taken. I excitedly say, “It’s free!” and then the woman grabbed the chair and took it to another table, leaving me all alone with no other chairs.


I thought I was finally part of a winning team when I was a co-producer for a musical. There was still something missing, though. As an example, one time I found out that the entire team went out to a big social pow-wow at Canada’s Wonderland (amusement park) without even asking me. When I inquired to find out why, they said that because it was an outdoor activity, that I wouldn’t be interested due to my skin condition. When I shared that that was a big assumption which was inaccurate, they didn’t show any remorse.

Still, I loved this group of people and wanted the relationships to continue. Being responsible for setting up on-line ticketing, I asked my partner to please check the accuracy of the ticket since our physical address had changed (as I was unable to read the ticket that would be printed). The new ticket was not checked, and it did have the wrong address. Apparently, it was still “my” responsibility to get it right and I was dismissed from the team after this incident.


Since I couldn’t find team players, despite my efforts, I thought I’d make it a numbers game. For years, I went to as many networking events as possible, attempting to connect with as many people as possible.

While I connected with thousands of people and broke Facebook records for number of friends, I wasn’t creating the dynamic team that I had envisioned.

Even through the power of network marketing, I couldn’t create the right team. I saw many others create teams that became profitable, and I even taught others how to build large followings and significantly increase their financial wealth.

Eventually, I did recruit someone who became a superstar and now I collect a small royalty from that huge business. That’s great, but it’s greater for that guy who makes literally 500 times as much money as I do.

Health Care

If you're crazy and you know it, shake your meds!I have sought out many doctors, healers, and holistic practitioners over the years. Some of them have been OK, and a few have been great. However, none of them seem to be team players.

They reside in their own ivory tower and are a slave to bureaucracy. For example, it would take many months for my general physician to simply contact my psychiatrist. And it would never be real-time or over the phone—just through letters. My feeling is that those letters are just quickly skimmed and not really understood. Moreover, they go-back-and-forth arguing, from telling me I need therapy to telling me I don’t.

There’s No “I” in Team

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret MeadYet, “I” am the common variable that must exist in a team. Where do I find my teammates? How do I create a winning team?

Let’s love the world together…

[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary

Intricacies of Compassion

Make sure to include self-compassion.Hi there everyone!!

I’ve just completed a weekend with one of the most inclusive communities I’ve ever experienced – The Contact Improv Regional Jam!

When I acknowledged one of the organizers with this realization, he asked me if I could be more specific. So here is one such example.

During Sunday night’s dance, my water bottles ran out of water, and I was getting really thirsty from my exhaustive moves. I asked my friend, Alex, “Do you know if there’s a water fountain nearby?”

From the Mundane to the Profound

One of my friends, Jordon, thought that this subject matter is obvious and he understands the lessons already.  He didn’t want a sermon, and didn’t want to be told what to do.

I assert that sometimes the obvious isn’t obvious.  Common sense is not common.  As another friend, Sarah, said, “Some people need to be hit over the head to get it”.

I don’t want to hit you over head.  Consider that a master does the same fundamentals as a novice, only with extreme precision, graceful flow, and impeccable execution.  More importantly, the master does this without conscious effort, in the realm of unconscious competence.

You may already understand a lesson, and are capable of understanding it at a much deeper and substantial level.

Alex’s Answer Became the Genesis of this Article.

Nice is different than good.Telling you what the five words Alex spoke to the question “Do you know if there’s a water fountain nearby?” may sound obvious and simple. So, let me take you step-by-step, to really get the deeper meaning and significance of his compassionate words. You may skip to the end, but may miss some valuable lessons.

Play a game and guess what the magic phrase might be.  Challenge yourself and see if you come up close to the answers that follow…

How Hard Could It Be?

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.Over the years, some people have responded to my challenges of not being able to find things, places, or people with this remark: “Just ask somebody – How Hard Can That Be?”

In many situations (like being lost in the suburbs), there is nobody for miles around. That can be hard.

Imagine someone visually impaired, trying to just locate a moving body. Keep in mind that that body may be in a hurry, on their cell phone, listening to music, or simply lost in their own thoughts. All of these visual signals would be lost on me.

Empathy is seeing with the eyss of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.Now imagine not having the ability to make eye contact with anybody. How would you know if you have someone’s attention? In this culture, grabbing somebody or touching them, could be considered hostile. In dense urban areas, there may be so much traffic or background noise, that audio communication is neither effective, nor even considered an option (like a loud night club).

Empathy is a gateway to compassion. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. When we help people in difficult situations, our energy reflects this phenomenon.

Take Risks, and Ask Anyways

You Are The Risk I'll Always TakeI wrote an article called “The Power of an Authentic Request”, so I understand the nuances of being approachable, being clear, being concise, and being compelling. And there are many good people in the world, who either authentically consider, or authentically accept requests from strangers.

As you may know from your own experience, many people ignore strangers altogether. Even our culture teaches, “Don’t talk to strangers”.

What if that stranger looks really different or is acting in a peculiar way? I can understand why people wouldn’t want to talk to a blind albino, especially if they had never seen an albino in their life before (or may not have ever seen a picture of one).

Be a stranger talker, and have a relationship with a stranger.

Sometimes, I Am Met with Anger

The more something upsets you, the more iti is meant for you. When it no longer upsets you, it is no longer needed because the lesson is complete.What can be worse than being ignored? Being ridiculed, laughed at, cursed at, verbally assaulted, or concerned for my safety.

This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen from time to time. At some level, I do understand it now.

I am sometimes (without knowing it) invading people’s space. They don’t understand that I can’t see, and they see me as being confrontational first.

For example, one time I went up to a couple to ask them for directions. They seemed really upset. Then, I noticed cameras all around me. I had accidentally walked onto a movie set and disturbed the filming. I guess that costs people money, too.

In retrospect, I realize that there have been times when what I’ve been asking for was right in front of me.  People thought I was either crazy, or trying to be funny.

Sometimes, I’m Given Inaccurate, Unclear or Incomplete Information

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.In people’s haste to get rid of me (or quickly solve the problem), they guess, or tell me what they “think” is true. Perhaps what they think they know, just isn’t so?

Are people’s heart really in the right place? Receiving inaccurate information can cost hours of time and frustration. Of course, I try to course-correct by asking other people. Nevertheless, there have been times where I have been sent back-and-forth over the same territory because of conflicting information.

The biggest communicationproblem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.In some situations, people use their fingers and say “over there” or “that way”. I explain that I cannot see, but they just don’t understand. They continue, “just behind that huge building!”

My favorite phrase is “you can’t miss it”, because then I know I’m going to miss it.

Strategies of Deference

In other attempts to be helpful, some people defer the problem. For example, they direct me to another person I need to find.  But I can’t locate them (or that person doesn’t exist).

We blame society, but we are society.In some situations, people will defer by time. They will ask me to wait five minutes or so before they can help me. Unfortunately, most of the time, five minutes becomes twenty-five minutes. Or worse, the person forgets about me, and leaves me without notice.

And still, some will defer the importance of the request and blame me for having the challenge. In the case of requesting water, possible responses would be, “don’t worry—you don’t need any water right now!”, or “why don’t you carry more water with you?”

Meeting the Need vs. Getting into My World

Integral wisdom involves a direct participation in every moment: the Observer and the obsered are dissolved in the light of pure awareness, and no mental concepts or attitudes are present to dim that lightI believe that compassion isn’t just about accommodation. It’s about integration. That is, nobody wins unless we all win. And getting my needs met is not winning—it’s merely surviving.

Winning is having our needs met, with dignity, in an inclusive and enjoyable way. Giving accurate and clear information upon a request, is compassionate. And here’s how to go even further, tiny-step by tiny-step.

Consider: “Let Me Get It for You”

You can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.This is going one step beyond solving the problem. It is taking responsibility for the problem.

At the same time, the statement infers a relationship dynamic that is subordinate. While it is great to have things done for us, it may leave us feeling helpless in the long run.

If Alex brought water for me, I still wouldn’t know where the water fountain is. If I needed more water in the future, I would be reliant on making a similar request again.

Ponder: “Let Me Help You Get It”

"A kind gesture can reach a would that only compassion can heal." - Steve MaraboliThis response is so beautiful. To be nit-picky, this phrase has the connotation that help and support is needed.

And yes, in many cases that is a true statement—there is a need being met with support. However, there is another layer of communication I found to be even more comforting…

Alex said (drum roll): “Let’s Go Find It Together…”

We Are All In This TogetherWow. Do you see how this statement is making us equal partners on a noble journey?

It’s so co-operative, collaborative and co-creative! It is giving BOTH of us the shared responsibility. It is honoring all parties as contributing members of the team.

More than that, the power is in the tone of the words spoken. Alex said “Let’s go find it together…” with enthusiasm. There was a sense that he would enjoy this journey with me. In fact, he may even learn from the adventure through my unique perspective.

Alex made the solution fun. That was the most refreshing splash of water that has ever quenched my thirst!

It’s Your Choice

Everyday we have a choice...I don’t expect everyone to live in this vibration all the time—that’s not practical. However, being aware of all the intricate possibilities of compassion, will give us more openings to choose to be there more often.

What’s available to you now, is the possibility of touching somebody’s life in such a way that they feel the embrace of humanity.

Extending the Metaphor

I’ve been sharing my life experiences around visual impairment.  These intricacies of compassion can be generalized to any disabilities, and can be applied to anybody at all.

Be the person you needed when you were younger.What If a child is lost in a busy mall with no parents or guardians in sight?  We could inform security.  Or we could say have a quick conversation and check-in with the child.  If our perception was correct, then we could say, “Let’s go find them together…”

Perhaps an elderly person with mobility issues is looking for an elevator or ramp.  Don’t just give them directions.  Try, “Let’s go find it together…”

It’s not about the magical five words.  You’ll have to do some work by being present, understanding the context, and generating what works for you.

If somebody needs to eat at a vegetarian restaurant and is making an inquiry, it may sound a little creepy to say, “Let’s go find it together…”  Best case scenario, you’ll make a new friend.

BONUS: The Lessons Continue

I shared these intricacies of compassion with my friend, Jeanette.  She asserted that Alex’s words may have been incidental, because he needed water for himself, and he was just killing two birds with one stone. That could be, though it wouldn’t take away from his compassion.

If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.When we did find the water fountain, I noticed it first. That may not have happened if Alex was just “helping me”. I got a great sense of empowerment by finding the water fountain with Alex.

Before I started drinking the water, Alex asked, “Are you OK to get back on your own?”

I knew then that Alex didn’t need any water. But more importantly, Alex wasn’t being a caretaker: There was a great dance he was missing, and he valued his dance time as much as he understood that I probably had the capacity to make it back to the dancefloor on my own.

The Ripple Effect

Words can last forever!Alex’s five words made such an impact, that it spawned several conversations around this subject of compassion and inclusion.

His words also birthed this article, which you are now reading. You now have the opportunity to continue this ripple of compassion into your own circles of influence.

Oh, How Easy Can It Be!

Transforming Corporate Culture – 21 Ideas about Accessibility that Can Change the WorldWith an inclusive atmosphere like the Contact Improvisation Community, it’s easy for someone to ask for assistance. In the outside world, I hope you now understand how hard it can be.

Now, realize that’s life is not binary, but rather a spectrum of possibilities. Everything in between happens. Where in the spectrum will you play?

In contrast to many corporate cultures, inclusion isn’t about meeting arbitrary accessibility standards. Rather, it is about taking a sincere interest by creating a personal connection with a human being—honoring needs, preferences, and requests.  (Honoring doesn’t necessarily mean accepting.)

Go take a field trip and exercise your depths of compassion.

May We Have This Dance?

Answer through dance.

Alex facilities a monthly dance jam called Chemistry in Motion. You are welcome to join the both of us at our next event to experience contact improvisational dance, and the energy of an inclusive community.

Let’s love the world together…

[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary

P.S. Isn’t it note-worthy to notice that “Let’s go find it together…” has a similar linguistic structure as my motto, “Let’s love the world together…”?

More Mouth-Watering Cocktails to Quench Your Humanitarian Thirst:
Helping People in Difficult Situations
Making Difficult Conversations Easy
Helping People with Disabilities {everybody}
Dance is Personal Development

My Changing Love for Microsoft

Not too many individuals influenced me in life. Number one was Anthony Robbins, and number two was Bill Gates.

At the age of twelve, I hunted for my first computer. I had experience on the Commodore PET, Commodore 64, and the Apple II. They all seemed very primitive. At the Kiwanis Club, I was introduced to the IBM PC Jr.

The PC was very different. The programming language it had (BASIC) seemed so much more comprehensive and exciting, while being easier and simpler. My heart was sold!

I ended up buying an IBM PS/2 (Model 25) and I was in love. I would spend the next several years writing all sorts of software and games.

Through my research, I understood that DOS (the PC Operating System) was actually sold to IBM by Microsoft. This intrigued me and so I bought a book called “Hard Drive” which was the biography of Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft).

Keep in mind, that I hated to read, and only had read children’s books in their entirety! Moreover, I would be so motivated, that on my way to school on public transit, I would whip out my magnifying glass and strain my eyes, so I could get several pages of the book into my system.

As Microsoft evolved, so too did I. Microsoft’s help system was so good, that I just read through mounds of documentation for all of their software. I experimented, I learned, and I had tons of fun!

Microsoft actually didn’t write DOS, but bought qDOS (which stood for Quick & Dirty Operating System) from somebody and modified it slightly. This didn’t disappoint me at the time.

Soon I uncovered that Visual Basic was created by Alan Cooper initially and then sold to Microsoft. Microsoft PowerPoint was originally designed by Forethought Inc., which Microsoft bought for $14 million and had it become Microsoft’s Graphics Business Unit. The list goes on.

This was enlightening to me as an entrepreneur. Soon I would think of Microsoft, not as a software development company, but rather as an acquisition and marketing company.

In my eager and cocky youth, I crafted a letter to Bill Gates himself. I don’t remember the exact words, but the gist of it was that I was a cool techie, and that he should call me to discuss potential ideas.

Even though I followed-up with phone calls (and actually got his secretary live on the phone at one point), that path didn’t lead anywhere.

Over the next several years, I created new things with software. It was so rewarding to build something from scratch, and witness its positive impact on productivity and entertainment.

Then, the software industry started to change for me. I found myself, not building new things, but rather, fixing old things. My job because more of maintenance than of creation.

As the software landscape became more modular and compartmentalized, programming tasks became less about logic and reason. Instead, it is about interfacing with third-party software, debugging THEIR issues, networking hiccups, security and privacy.

Those things must be interesting to some people.

Was Bill Gates really an influential person in my life?

I thought he was. But that was mostly because of my love for Microsoft, which changed over the years.

The whole world changed, and I don’t like this new world. Technology isn’t about things being better anymore. It is about capitalization, designed obsolescence, and fashion.

In my opinion, systems and infrastructure around the world are buggier than ever before, with user-interfaces more kludgy and confusing than at any point in history. Similarly, customer service doesn’t provide very good customer service for anybody anymore (if they can get to a person), even though corporate offices have beautiful vision and mission statements sprinkled across their walls.

I still think Microsoft is a great company. Unlike Apple, at least Microsoft still provides decent accessibility support/features. Apple doesn’t care that inverse video also inverses photos/videos making everyone look like aliens!

What influences me more these days, is witnessing the innovative ideas of start-ups on Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank.