Super Soul Saturday III

Posted by Krishan Patel on Aug 5, 2012
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(Community-sourced with love from Ashish, Bela, Audrey, Ann Marie, Arathi, Birju, Amit, Krishan and all of you :) See more pictures here!)

Super Soul Saturday was indeed a super soul enriching day! We gathered from New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh and India to come together as a community and support each others journey.

The day was balanced with sharing and reflection, meditation and mindfulness. From the sits, to the discussions, to the delicious mindful lunch, to the mindful walk, the heart opening writing session, the inspiring ambiance and everyone who gave their presence, the conditions were set for grace to flow.

The day did not begin with voices, but with each of us observing our surroundings. Each individual was draped with construction paper necklaces with inspiring words, the sidewalks were covered with loving words, and the walls were covered with quotes.

It was amazing to see flower shaped necklaces of hope, love, compassion, and joy hanging lightly against everyone's hearts. No matter where we turned, each person construction paper heart and flower necklaces, reflected back to us messages of peace and service.

“Hey Anha, what messages of inspiration should I post up on the wall for our peace heart?” ….

“Ummmmm… I don’t know… compassion, love, kindness, trust, things like that… you should know this, you’re an adult!”  
This conversation with Ashish’s amazing eight-year-old daughter was just one of many that set the intention of creating a peaceful and loving environment for the retreat.

The night before, our resident leaders of the team, Audrey and Anne-Marie, came equipped with bags full of construction paper, colored pens, post-its, and candles.  They quickly put many of us to work creating a large heart shaped peace sign on the "reflection wall" where people could leave inspirational messages for each other on colorful post it notes.  

The following morning, as the fellow retreat attendees walked up to Ashish and Manal's lovely home, they were greeted by rainbow welcomes beautifully etched out in the sidewalk with chalk.

The ambiance that day reminded all of us how blessed we were to share such a special space with good people. It's not everyday that you will see adults bedecked with construction flower petals:) But ambiance is a beautiful reminder of our inner child, and the light and love that is just waiting to shine forth into the world.

*** The meditation in the morning began the day on a heartfelt note with individuals sharing their thoughts on "Rude Awakening" by Hellen Keller. We each left the shares filled with gratitude and open to receive the moving discussion with Charlie Hess.

Charlie's wisdom and lightheartedness shined through and left us all with many important nuggets of wisdom, but two stood out "The universe knows what it is doing" And, "create the conditions for grace to manifest."  More information on the call itself can be found in the fantastic write-up.

While this fourth retreat was deepening in many ways, the cooking team stepped-it-up with dynamic duo Manal and Arathi, plus some veggie-chopping-pizza-making-cookie-eating sous chefs that snuck in under the radar. :) The flow of love radiated the kitchen, as each silent plate of lunch nourished everyone’s body and hearts. As Anne-Marie captures:

I think I have a slightly better understanding of why artists love what they do. There is something magical about depicting the world you feel inside and watching it come alive on canvas. So too, did magic happen in the kitchen this past Super Soul Saturday when Manal and Arathi poured all their graceful love and joy into creating an abundance of rich mouth tantalizing flavors!  If I could paint a picture of the festivities that were happening with each bite of the food that was so wonderfully cooked, it would splash out glorifying every color known to earth! Then, imagine taking that celebration of sensations happening within and quieting yourself down in silence-a whole new world emerges. I had read about mindful eating before, and am in reality quite terrible at it, as someone who barely even chews her food more than twice and often swallows it whole while rushing out the door! While eating mindfully (or shall I say, at best attempting to), I began to tune into the sights and sounds around me. I heard the thunderstorm rumbling in the background and could imagine each raindrop revitalizing the plants and trees and the flowers dancing in merriment. I pictured the cool crispness of the air outside. In the meantime, inside the house, there was a calm stillness that lingered. Looking around, it was as if everyone was cloaked in peace and love. There were gentle bows, kind smiles and sweet tempered gestures. It was a beautiful sight.

My heart was furthermore filled with warmth when witnessing people walking up to the ‘reflection wall’ after lunch, and posting thoughts of love and kindness or anything else that had inspired them throughout the day. The wall was filled with note after note in varying colors and overflowed the space with further love. I attribute it to all the love that was poured into the food, every kind wish that came with each stir, every blessing with each pinch of spice. My deepest gratitude goes out to our wonderful ‘Cooking team’ for creating such a blissful meal and for all who with their loving presence made it all the more joyous!

The rainy day auspiciously cleared up to allow Sarika and Amit to lead us in a mindfulness walking practice.  As a community, we practiced mindful walking in nature -- we were to notice our thoughts, our bodies and the nature around us and go wherever our hearts took us.  The image of 20 individuals walking slowly in many different directions around the Super Soul Saturday Retreat Center (Ashish and Manal's backyard!) was hard to forget. That afternoon, the ordinary became extraordinary as we let go of our tendency to walk fast and instead walked slowly -- noticing the beauty within and outside.

Next, we followed our mindfulness walk by a 30 minute sit and a writing exercise. Bela and Krishan led us through an experience of reflecting on our stories of fear, and expressing our stories of faith in drawings and words.

The writing reflection activity revealed a dance between fear and faith. As one guest described, "Fear knocked on the door, faith answered and no one was there". It is cultivating deep faith in the Universe and its inner workings, that is at the heart of our journey.

The commonality of fear in all aspects of each of our lives brought us together a bit more and gave us a bit more faith that we will be stronger.

The day ended with an hour meditation and a final round of shares. A key theme that emerged through the day was that the Universe knows what it is doing and we need to learn how to dance with it. This came through in the passage from Helen Keller who spoke of a person turning blind and then discovering other approaches to touch life. Similarly, our Forest call speaker Charles Hess spoke of the seemingly insurmountable challenges that only present opportunities for further growth.

After such a joyous day, Anshu, founder of Goonj and our guest speaker, summed up our great responsibility: we have been enriched so much in our hearts, and now we must enrich the lives of others.   


Posted by Krishan Patel | Tags: #supersoul | permalink

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