Give Freely: Thuy's Journey Of Generosity
Posted by Harshida Mehta on Mar 29, 2014
Couple years ago, we had a young woman visit our Awakin Circle for the first time. After the circle, she wrote this note that moved many of us:
I was touched ever so deeply last night. Words will fail my deep sentiment, but I must communicate somehow and offer my eternal gratitude. While the entire night was a very nice experience, something struck me at the end of the evening that took me by surprise. Even now as I think about it, tears well up inside me. I can best describe the sensation as my heart breaking in a million wonderful ways. It began when I sat down to eat. I felt like an honored guest to receive such a delicious meal, to dine in divine silence, to be happily served, to enjoy. The truth is that it was difficult for me to accept such a thing and it was painful to me that it was so difficult. So I breathed a lot in between bites choked with tears, coaxing myself to relax and accept. It was then that my heart began to break---from the binds that I did not even know were there. The binds that kept me from receiving unconditional love.
Yesterday morning I was writing about food, about our relationship to it. It was a creative moment I had not had in a long time. That I was guided to come to the meditation after that and to taste the true ambrosia of love is almost unreal. It stops me in utter silence and stillness.
The invaluable gift I received last night will be passed forward a million fold. It is impossible to receive such a thing without giving...it is here that I understand receiving and giving as one.
Thank you Dinesh for welcoming me and not allowing me to leave early. Thank you Harshida for a life-changing meal. Thank you Universe for bringing us all together.
I am humbled before you both and the Great Mystery.
Very moved by her gratitude, I wrote back spontaneously with this note:
Thank you so much for coming yesterday and giving us an opportunity to serve you. You have served both of us for quite some time and it was certainly a pure opportunity to sit with you yesterday, along with 65-70 others.
Like you, we also feel that when there is no distinction between giver and receiver, we go deep within. In Sanskrit, there is a prayer with this meaning. We grew up with that. So we really feel like we receive a lot more through this rare opportunity of service. Our lives have evolved remarkably with this dance of giving and receiving over last 15 years. Both Dinesh and I, as well as our family, are in deep gratitude to universe for this practice.
My personal relationship with food is very special and I am immensely grateful to be able to express my love thru food.
It is not just us. It is the great mystery, as you call it, that designs these Awakin gatherings. Many blessings and seen and unseen hands create this space. It is a unique design that the kale and collard greens in the food yesterday were grown in our backyard -- with starter plants as anonymous gifts, compost tea was offered by someone as gift, sunshine and water from universe and in turn the leftover food went back into compost. What a complete cycle we are fortunate to witness! How grateful we are to be to be instruments of service.
Thuy, what a deep acknowledgment to universe we can see in your writing. We are grateful to have you in our lives. Hope to see you as and when you can come to Awakin.
Harshida and Dinesh
Over time, we've seen Thuy many times -- and every time she moves us with her beautiful spirit. She started to write more. Dinesh developed some physical injuries that she effortlessly solved through her acupuncture skills. Her donation-based Friday shift at Berkeley Accupuncture Clinic continued as her practice of generosity. Below is a post she recently shared, titled 'Freely, not Free', which is a reflection not just of her articulation but her ever expanding heart ...
Today, after receiving acupuncture during my donation based shift, a patient asked me why I was “giving away” such amazing treatments for free. Don’t you value your skills? She asked. Don’t you want to demand that others value your skills too? Don’t you want them to show you respect by paying you what you are worth? Then she saw my perplexed expression and then added, oh, I see you are trying to fix the world. You are trying to help people in need because they are lacking. That is good of you. She waited for a response but I was speechless. There was so much off in what she said to me that I didn’t know where to start, so instead, I tipped my head slightly as to nod. She smiled, deposited $5 into our money box and left. I’ve been thinking about what she said ever since.
I do what I do and there is no amount of money that anyone could give me to make me feel that it is an adequate match to what I have to offer. Not $5, not $5000. Because what I have to offer is not quantifiable. What I have to offer is myself and it not only reflects in my practice of Chinese Medicine but how I run my business. It is what has evolved over my 16 years of thinking about medicine and health and how I would like to affect and be affected by the world I live in. It is a reflection of my understanding of health and our connections with one another. My practice reflects my faith in abundance, trust, and connection that is possible in the world that we live in and my faith in the profound healing capabilities of Chinese Medicine. I am taken by its simplicity, its gentleness, its humbleness, its accessibility, its profound depth, its quiet healing. I am heartened (especially in this day and age) to be able provide an environment where 5 complete strangers can lie down side by side to nap, relax and heal together, no strings attached. And I am amazed that day after day, people do come to do just that. That is trust. That is healing.
From this understanding, value and worth take on very different perspectives. It is only because of my understanding of the profound value of what I do that I offer it up freely. Not for free, freely. I am not doing this to fix a broken world or to give to people in need. The world is not broken, what people may or may not need is beyond my comprehension. I am simply doing this because it is the most natural expression of who I’ve become and of who I am.
What a blessing to be connected with such pure hearts.