Super Soul Saturday DC: The Currency Of Love
Posted by Krishna Desar on Mar 9, 2012
On Saturday, March 3, about 25 of us from the greater Washington, DC area, as well as New York City and Boston reminded each other of our interconnectedness, our oneness. By co-creating a vulnerable space where we were able to listen to and express our hearts, verses of poetry danced through the room like notes from a flute, tears of love and acceptance made us feel like the Earth after a fresh rainfall, and the joyful laughter that rippled throughout the room reminded us all that in diversity, there is unity.
Below are some expressions of the currency of love that emerged…
“Good Morning!” by Seema Patel
The morning began as guests arrived at Krishna & Sujata's sacred space and home. To say that it was a khush (happy) morning is an understatement. We walked in the door and were greeted by a buoyant, springing Audrey who, after having endured a treacherous 10-hour journey from Boston for the sangha, still shined a smile that lit up the room. All the way from NYC, Amit’s famous bear hugs squeezed good love and energy into each entrant, and Birju's calming presence made everybody feel welcome. Bela and Krishna were scuttling about in true organizer-form, having had worked tirelessly to build what unfolded to be a powerfully moving day.
The day began with the 30-some of us gathering in a large circle for the morning sit. As Linda would later observe, the power of 30-some people sharing a relatively small physical space, all in silence, created an energy of its own. Sharing a collective breath was at once moving and immensely calming. After the sit, we went around the circle and shared either a compelling, or a most-recent, aha moment. We heard about how a simple smile and eye contact between strangers at a bus stand resulted in a powerful human connection. We heard a little brother--who was visiting his sister in DC for spring break--tell us what an inspiration she was to him, and how lucky he felt to be part of our day (it moved some of us to tears).
Another person, whose mom was also with us that day, delivered a powerful message of gratitude, love, and a commitment to her own continued journey of loving more purely and more deeply, thanked her mother and her family for giving so much (another tear-jerker). There were stories of kindness, generosity, and moments big and small alike, all of which awakened a light in everybody there. One of the most exciting shares came when it was Krishna's turn. It went something like this: "I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve everybody here in my home; I also have something very exciting to share, but I'm not sure if I should share it. Should I share it? Should I share it? I don't know if I should share it, but it's very exciting . . . !" Amit finally put words to the excitement; Krishna and Sujata are expecting a new addition!
Afterwards, Neha graced us with her poetry; the words moved many to tears, in part because of the message being delivered, and in no small part because of Neha's heartfelt verbal recitation of her art.Thereafter, in what unfolded to be a true "aha" moment, Smruti, who had been asked in advance by the organizers to bring "an inspiring poem about life and/or love," gave life to Oriah Mountain Dreamer's compelling poem, The Invitation.
With passion, sincerity (and a gorgeous British accent, to boot :)), Smruti began to recite the powerful prose. At the same time, Audrey and Bela began to giggle and squirm because the plan for the next session had been for the group to reflect upon a selected passage: The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. We were definitely interconnected that day :).
“Lessons From the Heart” by Sujata Bhat
After a morning of stillness and sharing, we tapped into the worldwide weekly Forest Call with special Guest Speaker-in-Residence, Seema Patel!
"When your intentions are pure and come from the heart, the rest of the path will be laid out for you." Her Dada's wise words came at exactly the right time for Seema, when she was at a key juncture in her work with Manav Sadhna - helping to bring Ekta to the U.S. - and feeling a bit lost. Her grandfather quietly dedicated his life to seva, and Seema found his example an inspiration on her own journey.
After college, Seema bought a one-way ticket to India, motivated only by the urge to give. She wasn't sure what she'd do when she arrived, but it just felt right. And she continued to follow her heart, first volunteering on earthquake relief after the 2001 disaster in Gujarat, and then helping with Ekta, a dance-drama about Gandhi and MLK performed by children from Ahmedabad slums. At each point, Seema explained, she wasn't quite sure what she was doing, and it's only looking back that she sees the path she was on. Her Dada's advice to just trust her intentions helped her keep going.
For a full synopsis of the forest call with audio, catch it here.
“Creativity in Action” by Alyssa Schimmel
During the writing portion of Saturday's retreat, we saw the beauty of creativity and synchronicity in action. Smruti read the poem The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, which shucks aside the traditional ways of knowing one another - what we do for a living, the stories we tell, etc, and invites us instead to get acquainted with one another through our longings, what makes us come alive, how we serve, how we can sit with our pain and joy and others' too. Bela and Audrey had selected the same poem to read as inspiration for the exercises and asked us to respond to the questions of what fills us with joy, what punches us in our gut, and how we envision a new world.
The responses were as unique as the individuals, but certain themes abounded -- those of community, gratitude, love, honest reflection, and more. Aparna and her mother shared tear-filled writings acknowledging how important family is to each of them. Birju shared a comical and heartfelt anecdote about how his love for his family has deepened like his love for dark
chocolate. Sujata, similarly, shared her enjoyment for sharing good food with friends. Audrey andAmit expressed their wishes to bid adieu or befriend doubt and the ego. Alyssa, Arbind and Aparna expressed their vision for a world where community cares for and provides for the basic needs of all individuals. Linda created a community-sourced crossword puzzle - in which everyone shared words like love, friendship, wonder, trust, and fun (double fun!).Neha graced us with her rich rainbow-infused poetry and Angela wrote a lyrical piece about finding an aquatic home in the sea, swimming with her father.
“Poetry of Shared Silence” by Neha Misra
How does one room, many stories, many faces, many voices come together? In poetry of a shared silence. For what else can it be?
Coming together to energize and sustain in the spirit of service, as also in service of our innermost spirits. A warm Sunday morning, made warmer by love of friends both old and new as we entered Krishna, Sujata and Luniva’s beautiful home. A surprise greeting by faces popping out from different parts of the room. A room whispering that you are welcome – with your dreams and disasters in your heart, for everybody has been there and discovered that there is a world beyond.
And so we started with silence…
Silence hasn’t always been my friend for my life was always filled with sounds (sometimes as music and sometimes as white noise). So much so that when I first came to the U.S. in the summer of 2006, I couldn’t sleep well because it was way too silent for my brain. I was used to constant humming of fan as a lullaby to put me to sleep. So one of the first things I remember doing was getting a fan. Buzzing made me sleep because I didn’t know any other way for a summer sleep. You see, absolute silence and I had not been friends.
But that has changed. Now we are becoming cherished friends for I have discovered that silence teaches us to listen better to ourselves and to others. And only when we listen better, can we speak and connect better.
So we started with silence. Not just any silence but a shared silence. For if silence is a deep blue sky, shared silence is that deep blue sky studded with rainbow. Things to do list starts floating around in my mind, as do plans for the coming week, reflections from my India trip from which I got back earlier in the week, home…my room…mom’s cooking…wait what am I doing?! I am meditating here…have I been sitting here for forty minutes or have one hundred days passed? Breathe. And I do the best way I have learnt to connect with the now…just being aware of my five senses. A deep breathe in and out. Smell of a Sunday morning…rose perfume from Chandni Chowk in old Delhi…goodness breathing all around me. Taste of silence and morning Starbucks coffee blended together. Touch of bangles, floor, cushion. Sounds of silence. All these people with so many different life stories..sitting here in beautiful silence. I take another deep breath and another. And the bell rings. I am at peace with silence. We are now friends…close friends..like long lost childhood friends embracing each other. I put hands on my eyes to soak it all in and send a silent wish to every beating heart in the room. I open my eyes and find the world beautiful as it is meant to be. Beautiful – just as it always was, is and will be if only we can see.
This is for silence – my friend and for my friends in silence.
Dedicated to our hour of silence
This is dedicated... to every person in the room,
to the footsteps above,
to the ice-cream van music going around,
to deep breaths,
to stomach gurgles gud gud gud
to dreams in his closed eyes
to reflections in her open mind
to birds chirping outside
This is dedicated... to clock going tick tock tick tock
to time that stands still like water
to sounds of silence
to us, to our shared humanity
to service space
to every person in this room
to every person every where
to you – yes – you – the one reading this now.
“Receiving with Gratitude” by Smruti Patel
After a day of extended silences, bubbling laughter, deep listening, glistening tears and thoughtful prayers, as the sun began to cast its long shadows across the space in Krishna's home it was time for our assembly of souls to voyage inward one final time to consider the personal realizations that the day long Retreat had brought.
As the circle of sharing advanced, a theme of deep gratitude emerged. Gratitude for Krishna and Sujatha for opening their home to us, for Bela, Amit and Birju because it takes a great deal of thought to put together a Retreat, for Seema who generously shared her experiences of profundity in the midst of despair, and for each individual whose presence created the unique experience we had collaboratively created.
One soul shared gratitude for the stillness brought through silence in the company of many, and observed that too often, we are plagued with tumult within and unable to find tranquility in the deafening noise of our loneliness. Another soul expressed joy at being reconnected to a spiritual community when hers had dispersed into the many corners of the world. Yet another candidly expressed the challenge of taking all our learning and applying it to our schedule driven busy lives. A brother and sister, mother and daughter tied themselves to each other with the unbreakable thread of spirituality. We learnt that all it takes to serve is "head, hands and heart" and that to receive with gratitude is also a part of the humbling spiritual awakening.
We began the retreat with a passage about oneness, its meaning for each of us, and how it showed up in our lives. We left the retreat with a deeper understanding of unity, what it means to stand in community by both humbly serving and gratefully receiving.