Love Like A River, Joy Like A Fountain
Posted by Min Lee on Oct 20, 2017
We started with a heart-opening circle with Nipun. After lots hugs and heart pins, he opened the circle by asking them to reflect on "what they saw" at their first Awakin experience. They spoke about how they saw love, gratitude, kindness -- and "that too with strangers!" Nipun then shared how also saw suffering :) but that being there for each other without an agenda gave us a lot strength. Lots of questions. What do you think is the purpose of life? Don't we all just die one day? What do you recommend reading for kindness? Can Karma Kitchen work in our life too? What about paying our costs? What about strangers? Aren't there rotten people in the world? What if people reject your kindness or don't trust you? Lots of dynamic question and answers. :)
As stories weaved, eyes teared up, love blossomed, and by the end, the girls sang their first group song of the trip -- Love like a River. :)
As we closed with some chocolates, :) Nipun asked if anyone saw a bike parked out last night. "That's Pancho's bike with the earth flag, because he biked all the way from Oakland as his expression of gratitude. And around midnight, he biked back. He probably got home by the time you woke up today, and guess where he'll be in the next ten minutes? With you! Why? Just because he cares. Or as he said last night, because he loves you -- even though he doesn't know you! That's what you get to receive and pay-forward."
Everyone got a Smile Deck, and we all spilt into small teams to paint the streets with acts of kindness. Pancho joined us. So many stories! They are still writing up their experiences, but for now, I'll just say that Pancho invented a new form of walking free hugs down the street. :)
The girls had such deep reflections by the end of night. So many of them are questioning narratives that they have been brought up with -- about how their families constantly warn them about not talking to strangers, or worrying about all the ways things can go wrong. One girl shared very deeply that she had all these scary narratives about America (how if she gave out free hugs, someone might put a gun to her stomach!), and today's exercise just put a humanizing face to the country. And humanizing look at themselves.
More is coming later in the week, with Aryae and Wild Life Sanctuary and more.
But for now, I'm signing off here with immense gratitude for these profound values that everyone stands for! And Pancho and Nipun, you have changed so many lives today -- including mine! :)