From Snow to Water

Trupti Pandya, Feb 9, 2024 in Gandhi 3.0, 2024

[In our second community night, Xue stilled all of our hearts with her shining snow-to-water share!]


[Introduction by Shayna -- Amazing grace might be the best way to describe our next friend. She's a loving mother, a graduate of MIT. She studied Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Management Science. She had a successful career at Goldman Sachs. She's a two-time entrepreneur, whose company was listed as one of 50 most innovative companies in the world. A near-death experience, 8 years ago, change the arc of our friend's life. Showed us how soul force comes about, sometimes, in the most unexpected ways. Turns into a blessing. She's now the co-founder of The Space Between, a venture capital fund guiding, mentoring and stewarding, massive wealth holders, inspiring them to shift their consciousness to being owners of money to being the stewards of money. In just the last few years, they have guided over 700 million (US) dollars into companies and causes that are led with heart.]

I'm just going to take a deep breath. Maybe you'll take a breath with me. [Deep breath.] Thank you.

I am also quite introverted, so I am feeling just a little bit nervous. It's been really humbling to be here. You all have held a field of love that has truly touched my heart. I'll also just share my story. I was born in inner Mongolia, China and I was crying a lot watching the video, because the last year that I lived in China was during the Tiananmen Square massacre. So one of my last memories growing up there was seeing people on the streets covered with blood. By the grace of God, I was able to leave the country. My parents were already in the States and a woman who was a total stranger decided to travel with me -- her name was Zhang Yun. She passed away, actually in a car accident a few months after she arrived and she was just a college student. I think about her often and just wanted to honor her for bringing me to the United States.

In my youth and most of my childhood, I was really achievement-oriented. It wasn't for fame or money, but if I could name one thing, it was probably to honor my mama and baba -- they gave up so much of their life, to provide a future for me.

I remember working on the Wall Street, fresh out of college and sort of being proud of myself for getting the hardest job to get, coming out of school. It was during my first year that I remember this very poignant and chilling moment, which had a huge impact. I was the analyst working for 110 hours a week, building all the models, etc. We were considering making an investment and I was sitting in a room with all white men, and there was this big debate about how can we get one more percent of IRR -- one more percent of return on this investment!

I was the one who built all the cases of the model, of the different things we could do. It was decided that we really need that extra percent in order for this investment to make sense. And, Case B in the model was decided in an instant -- we are going to go with this! And my heart sank, because I built that model and that was the case in which a thousand people would be fired and the decision was made with no thought. That was it. It was done.

I remember walking out of that room and just feeling kind of frozen. Nobody talked about it. It really bothered me. I walked into one of the senior partners, who was a senior mentor of the firm, and I said to him, “You know, I think, I kind of want to quit. I don't think this place is right for me.”

And he laughed at me, actually. He said, “You know you are not going to quit. I've wanted to quit every day for 20 years, and here I am. You're going to quit if there's one day when you literally cannot stand being here -- like you will actually puke If you stay another day. That'll be the day that you quit.”

I took his advice and was sticking it out and just listening. At this point in my life, I was mostly listening to my head. I remember about a month later, I remember the morning very clearly. It was a bright sunny morning. I arrived at work. I scanned my bag through the security machine, because it was just after 9/11. I got in the elevator and I started to feel really queasy inside my stomach. I got out of the elevator, ran to the bathroom, and I threw up. And I walked into my boss's office and I said, “I did it! I quit!”

Fast forward many years later, I had this near death experience. I'm not going to talk about that tonight. That's another story. But what I will talk about is coming back from that -- the universe putting a big stop button. I came back with severe PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). I fell into depression. I questioned everything in life. Also found out that I was pregnant with twins. It was really hard -- three years of just digging deep and trying to heal. It made me really question everything.

I've been living in a state of questioning ever since that day, eight years ago. The questions I asked were everything -- the fundamentals of reality. I asked about money -- why does money even exist? It was one of my primary questions -- what does it [money] really do for us? And I thought about my daughters: what kind of future was I going to leave them?

It was through such questioning that I met a dear friend. When I met him, I didn't realize that he was a multi-billion-dollar wealth-holder. And we met and really connected, because we were asking the same deep questions; we were both heartbroken by the state of the world. We went on this learning journey, just trying to figure out how to do this systems change -- how to build a better world. And we met with some of the most incredibly talented, intelligent people -- polymath scientists, complexity-science people, academics, etc. And I found myself, again, sitting in these circles of mostly men, listening to all these theories of change of how we're going to change the world.

I remember a day very clearly -- after a very productive eight-hour session, thinking about different governance and laws and different technologies and all these different ideas that were floating. I left that meeting and I just burst into tears, and I couldn't stop crying! And I cried and I cried and I cried until finally the tears ended. And I realized why I was crying. I said to my friend, “That meeting felt no different than the meeting I sat in at Goldman Sachs. If we're going to change the world, it cannot feel like this.”

Fast forward to this present day. I've been in this space of just deep listening. The Space Between, we may look like an investment fund from one perspective, but truly, as my teacher Orland Bishop helps me learn this concept -- we are a sacred hospitality company. Really, what we're doing is hosting spaces with our hearts. We bring investors and entrepreneurs into our home, and we cook them warm meals with vegetables that we've grown on sacred land. And we love them. And we share vulnerably about what we care about together. It's from this place that we've been blessed to have moved the kinds of resources to help steward the companies and the entrepreneurs that are building businesses truly driven by love.

And the name of our entity is called the ‘Space Between’ because we are in the ceremony of practicing beyond our identities, that the greater intelligence -- the soulforce that's leading us -- rests in the space between us and the space between us is held by the relationships the loving, trusting, vulnerable relationships that we have with one another allows the spirit to lead us towards a better world, hopefully.

As I stand here and think back on Gandhi 3.0, I've been so deeply moved by the silence. By the invisible touches. By the plants. By the little pieces of artwork found everywhere on this land. By the laughter of the children last night. 

That feeling -- [gesturing to the gathering] is what it feels like. Now I have hope. This is what it needs to feel like.

I've been so touched. As you know my name, Xuě, means snow in Chinese. And everyone has been calling me "Shuǐ" all week, which actually means water in Chinese. And my gē ge [older brother] Victor is back there. As he says, "Be like water." And I just wanna thank you all for melting me into water.

If you'd like to join a similar circle, please explore upcoming pods.