SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 159: “Maktub”

Left to Right, Chanel, Jen, Valentina (President of Fever LA), Liza (Director of Fever LA) and Nicolas.

I get a random call a couple of days ago, an inquiry directed to me via one of my on-line marketing placements, Production Paradise. For my industry friends, it is a very well populated source for all kinds of media and production resources from around the globe.

We have a brief conversation, find our mutual ground, and schedule a face-to-face.

Our phone call concludes, and in addition to the prospect of a business venture, a voice in my head directs me to be certain to take my 365 gear. This is going to be a meeting of both business and spiritual discovery… I listen.

My instincts are correct…

Liza is the woman of my first contact at our decided meeting place, the office of Fever LA, a very contemporary product placement company specializing in the fashion and entertainment industries, where Liza works as a the director.

With the inclusion of company president, Valentina, we conduct our business, and upon its conclusion, I speak of 365.

I am greeted with open arms, and faster than I can write; the entire staff steps up to voice their part in becoming 365 friends. Instantly, I find myself captivated in a series of discussions with five amazingly unique, life experienced and articulate people. People ranging in age, cultural backgrounds and advice; the captivating people of Fever LA,

The office is bright, clean and airy, and even though it wears a trendy Melrose address, it possesses a wonderfully peaceful chi; a feeling that emits not from the open floor plan, its unpretentious furnishing or sunlight drenched atmosphere, but a magnetic vibe that flows forth through the people filling the room.

I speak with Liza first, and even though very busy with incoming emails, she breaks away from her hectic afternoon with a set of insights. Liza is a powerhouse, a sensitive blend of focused mindset and apparent compassion.

“I know everyone says this,” Liza begins, “‘But I have to say it, ‘Believe in your dreams, and go for it.’”

“How do we know what those dreams are?” I ask.

I love Liza’s answer, “The ones you don’t tell.”

The ones you don’t tell, a very thought-provoking perspective to a globally pooled dream quest. Makes you takes a breath for relaxed reflection.

Liza’s wishes for the world, “I’d like to see a see a planet of people getting better, smarten and kinder, and a year older.”

She does it again, “A year older”

We chat about this one-year older concept. What Liza is inspiring us to do is to not accept the one-day I will posture.

I see one-year older as a three word philosophy of applied actions. Meaning, every year has purpose, and that purpose is to grow, and with every experience comes, both painful and glorious, greater knowledge emerges, regardless of the circumstances.

Liza has more, “Life is to live and to take, don’t accept no. Be prepared for the worst and go for the best. Life will give you shit, but you can’t let that stop you. And in all things, you have to be willing to not get back what you give.”

This is going to be a long entry, Liza alone has given us much to chew on, yet she is one of five contributors, So if you like, maybe it is time to grab a tea…

…OK… rested… eyes ready to read more, here we go, it’s Valentina’s turn.

Valentina is truly charming, and spoken through a beautiful Italian dialect, she ambassadors with a quick sentence, “Try always to get your chance.”

Very to the point, but I need clarification, “’How do you define, ‘Your Chance?’”

The conversation warms up, “I believe in the Arabic word, Maktub,” Valentina inspires. “It means, ‘All is written…’ in a good way. We create our own destiny. We have to listen to our own voice and recognize that chance, then we need follow its path.”

I did some research on Maktub; it is a very empowering philosophy:

Maktub: The Arab culture has an ancient belief, or rather, an archaic saying. It simply says, “It is written” – It is written. Meaning no matter how horribly things go wrong, or how badly life deviates from the script you had planned, believe that if you want something with all your heart and you believe it is your destiny, then the whole universe conspires in helping you achieve it, because it is written. And if it is written, it happens. Maybe you wouldn’t be too sure about it now, but you’ll see. Believe in yourself, and no matter how messed up things may seem at that moment, things will fall into place, because you believed in yourself and your destiny. And when the pieces of your life fall into place, you’ll find yourself muttering ‘Maktub’, because you will realize that miracles do happen, but not to those who call themselves ‘lucky’, but to those who believe in them.

In gracing us with wisdom, Valentina is direct, “Go out and get your chance. Like what I am doing, I thought about it one year ago, and now I’m here. All I did was commit to the idea, and things started to happen, it was not easy, I had to make sacrifices and now I am here. You don’t quit… solutions arrive.”

Valentina is following her own advice, and as I expressed earlier, there is a peace at Fever LA and I think I am tapping into the source of that balance; it emerges from the faith and courage of its owner, Valentina. Who after a move from Milan to Los Angeles, has opened a thriving business in under a year, during a recession, that is itself is quite remarkable… Maktub.

“I’d like to see people living and getting the best out of technology.” Valentina states.

Yet her reasoning is greater than one would expect, she sees it as a tool for shrinking the planet. A means for a global activism of sorts, “I’d like to see it contribute to helping people to get out of poverty, and would love to see no gap. Of course there will be rich and people who need help. But each are be able to do the best with their lives and with what they have.”

We talk of works, and the fact that everyone can grow from wherever they are. Regardless of wealth, education or situation. What it takes is ambition, drive and the courage to listen the dream.

Wow! We have been talking a lot of the dream over the last few months. Seems a ship is setting sail, and it is up to us to jump on board, or not. I’m not promoting major lifestyle destruction, just a small adjustment to our thinking, an adjustment to allow ourselves to nurture the peaceful thoughts, and an admonishment to allow them in. They are core to personal growth and the foundation to strengthening our ability to navigate compassionately in this world.

To support this soapbox, Valentina has the perfect words, “Inside we are a garden and we need to nurture its growth. We should not look outside for our peace, it is a jungle.”

On to the refreshingly wise Jen, whom I have identified as a student of humanity.

“Never stop learning, because as soon as you do, you are dead,” she tells us.

Bold, exact and highly motivating, Jen’s thoughtfulness is radiant in her eyes, and the sureness of her words demonstrate her belief in her reasoning.

“I’d like to see everyone being Intelengencia.” She challenges. “Too many people are closed-minded, ignorant, and follow the trends and social media without looking in-depth into what they are following. They need to look at all perspectives before coming to any conclusion.”

Jen identifies the problem as, “They think they know everything, but they really know nothing at all.”

Again, bold, exact and a call to mindfulness.

Intelengencia, a new word for my vocabulary, so I spend some Google time.

Its origins are complex and derived from Latin; define a Russian order of class distinction. But over time is has become an accepting force to understand humanity.

The intelligentsia (from Russian[1][2] интеллигенция, Russian pronunciation: [ɪntʲɪlʲɪˈɡʲentsɨjə]; from Latin: intelligentia) is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them (e.g., artists and school teachers). Initially the term was applied mostly in the context of Russia and later the Soviet Union, and had a narrower meaning based on a self-definition of a certain category of intellectuals.

Here are a few bullets as the modern interpretation of intelligentsia:

  • Advanced for its time moral ideals, sensitiveness to fellow-creature, tact in manifestations;
  • Active brain work and persistent self-education;
  • Patriotism, which is based on faith in its own people and whole-hearted, inexhaustible love to little and big Motherland;
  • Creative activity as a crucial part of intelligentsia lifestyle (this applies not only to artists, as many can consider, but also to scientists and engineers – ranging from creative approach to their main occupation to recreational culture, various hobbies and self-improvement practices, like sport and hiking);
  • Independence, aspiration to freedom of self-expression and finding of themselves in it.

For a full definition and history, here is a Wikipedia link. Before reading it, I suggest that you prepare yourself another tea; it’s a long and deep read.

…1648 words so far, I told you this is a long read. Like I said five amazingly unique, life-experienced and articulate people.

To stage the young and vivacious Chanel, who begins with quoting William Shakespeare, “Nothing is right or wrong, but the thinking that make is so.”

At under twenty of age, Chanel has a depth of world experience, is traveled and clear speaking.

She addresses observations from her time living in Asia. “We are so far behind Japan, and need to match up with the people of its culture. They love their children, the environment and value spirituality more than religion. And they are way ahead in technology.”

Chanel is a speaker for animal rights, and puts her concern to actions. “I’m a vegetarian. I’m not saying don’t eat meat, but before you kill an animal, don’t torture them. People should see themselves in the minds of animals. They would probably think twice as to how they respect what they eat.”

Four diverse women, four wonderful perspectives, four humans who all look beyond themselves and accept their futures with faith and hope; it is no wonder, that in the fast-moving and highly competitive world of fashion and entertainment, that Fever LA, is a safe harbor in the storm – quite the contrast to its Name.

To center room comes Nicolas, our final friend today, who is business traveling from Italy.

A very reserved guy, he gives us this, “Live every day like it is the last day and respect each other.” Sort of a nice wrap up of all we have talked about.

Lot’s to nibble on today, isn’t there.

Talk tomorrow, my friends.