Ripples From The London InnerService Retreat

Posted by Ani Devlia on Feb 20, 2014
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As part of our one-day retreat in London, we wrote anonymous love letters to women at a local homeless shelter and bundled them up with lovely canvas totes, which said "A smile is the best thing a girl can wear!":) along with a wooden heart ornament that had a positive message on it.  Last week, on Valentine's Day, I went to visit the Women's Group at the Whitechapel Mission, as I do every Friday. It was a day that flowed with much love and good energy.  

Following a delicious lunch of chilli/rice/ salad and fresh raspberry  sundae, I explained to the women how friends of a meditation circle had been inspired to gift these bags...(thunderous clapping when I read the caption :) )... and that these friends had written anonymous love notes...more clapping with loud "oohs". :)

We didn't give the bags out until the end of the afternoon.  However, as the women got engrossed with making valentine day cards and heart shaped cushions filled with lavender, their hearts overflowed with love and gratitude. The heart cushions were exchanged and gifted to each other as well as to volunteers. Pippa, clasped both my hands looked deeply with her smiling blue eyes and said "I want to thank you for everything. I want you to thank your friends for such a lovely gesture. I want to make a card for them." She didn't like my suggestion of writing in the valentine card they'd made because "it wasn't big enough." "I want the card to be really big, so we can ALL write in it." She smiled.

Many warm hugs were given when the women finally received their gifts and letters.  Rosaline, sends everyone a message that "you be blessed, prosper, increase, and continue to do great work".

Renee, 85, lives by herself and always has several fractures as she has no balance. Yet, somehow finds strength to turn up every Friday with her frame, thankful to have company. Renee quietly gave back her bag. She went on to explain how her daughter doesn't like her coming to the Mission and would be cross if she saw the bag. She did however, keep the letter and put it in her pocket.

Something quite unexpected touched a deeper chord within me.  It wasn't an aspect that I'd given much thought to, and took me by surprise. What i saw was that it wasn't just the clients that were moved by love yesterday. It was the volunteers too. As Sonia and I wrote the name of each client on the hearts, the tears openly rolled down her face as she read beautiful words that had thoughtfully been chosen for each woman. She kept repeating how much goodness there is around. We had extra bags so gave these to the volunteers. Bron, another volunteer, travels 90 minutes every Friday for the past 6 years to volunteer at the group. When Bron got her gift, she hugged me, her eyes welling up and said: "I can't tell you what these words mean to me. That's a story i shall leave for another time. I believe this message was somehow sent to me  from above". The words on the heart read ...
"You are loved. You are valued."

The beauty of ripples from love is that they often reach  beyond where we never knew they could reach. :) it's these unexpected blessings that are so powerful. 

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  • Ani Devlia wrote ...

    Trishna ! Was surprised to see this posted on my profile. Hahaha x