Door Unlocked? And "Yomi" Love Oranges :-)

Posted by Pancho Ramos Stierle on Jan 25, 2017
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"But what if someone comes and robs all your stuff?" It's one of the most common questions kids ask when they come to Casa de Paz and learned that we don't locked the door at all and that, during Spring and Summer, the door is even wide-open most of the time. 

Yesterday, was not the exception when our local consistent contributor teacher Raj brought again his 5th grade class from the nearby government school. At the beginning many of the kids were expressing their fears about brother Donald deporting them and their families. So there was an extra smell of fear in the air, nothing that a few minutes of receptive silence cannot deal with ;-)

In some schools every so often the principal of the school chooses to be "the shadow" of one of the students --following the student everywhere--, and this time it happened to be one of Raj's students. So the principal was part of the visit too. At one moment the students where asked to be like detectives to observe places in Casa de Paz where the residents were trying to be more in harmony with Mother Nature (from using less water, less electricity, bees' wax candles, organic hyperlocal food, etc) and I caught the principal reading with twinkly eyes wide-open a note that was at the kitchen counter.

It was the note of a precious gift we just received the previous night.

In Casa de Paz we have the tradition to leave the notes of the gifts we received for a few days in the kitchen counter to remind us of the beauty of love, gratitude and reciprocity we are all the time surrounded with. So this time was the perfect prompt to explain another side of the coin about leaving the door always unlocked. So we explained:

"In 6 years nobody* has come inside of Casa de Paz to steal something. The people know we are here to serve them. When there are fights in the street --with or without knifes, with or without guns-- we show up to de-escalte the violence with nonviolence. We have seen babies coming out of their moms' wombs, kids becoming teens, and teens becoming young adults. There is some sort of kinship among ourselves and when we give healthy food away, the block becomes a little bit healthier and a little bit happier. But if someone comes and takes our stuff we are ok with it --or at least we are trying to be ok with it. If they take books, wonderful! Or neighborhood needs to read more about generosity, spirituality and nonviolence; if they take food, wonderful! we need the neighborhood to eat more healthy organic food to let behind diabesity; if they take cushions and matts, wonderful! we need the neighborhood to meditate and practice yoga some more to have more balanced minds and bodies. And, to begin with, all these things are not 'ours' it just happens that now we are using them.

So, if someone we don't know shows up around Casa de Paz, we engage with this person, with utter respect, compassion and dignity, and ask: "How can I serve you brother?"  followed very frequently by some of the service we do in the neighborhood. In this way, the next time they come around, they are going to think/feel twice before doing something hurtful to us or to themselves.

So the question: "what if people come and rob you?" is surrounded with fear and lack of trust, whose antidote is fearlessness. But what about the other side of the coin? "Here's the other side of the coin" [as I pointed the bag of oranges and the note.] The other side of the coin of fearless service is love. [And then i proceeded to read the note].

Casa de Paz Family!

Me, Milo and Audrey, picked these from the tree in my yard with you in mind. They are super juicy and just the right amount of sour and they make great juice. I would like for you to accept these as a gift from the San Francisco Waldorf High School Class 2017 for all the amazing work you do for the World. I hope you all enjoy the oranges!

With love + admiration, 
Yomi Oringunwa :-) 

These, beloved brothers and sisters, are not any random oranges. These oranges are LOVE oranges. Our beloved brother Yomi is a young 18 year old black brother who lives here in East Oakland and could be doing so many other things than picking delicious oranges with his sweet sister and his friend Audrey, but he chose to come in the night, enter Casa de Paz and bless us with this gift of hyperlocal love oranges. Or he could eat all these oranges for himself and his family or make great orange juice and sell it, and yet, he decided to tap into his generous heart, into the currency that never runs out --love!-- and gifted them to us. He could typed and printed the note, but he chose to put some extra care to make this hand-written kind note.

[I started handing love oranges to the astonished 5th graders] So when you eat this sweet-super-juicy-perfectly-sour-love-yummy orange [(or is it Yomi ?;-))], feel the generosity of all that needed to happen for you be enjoying this deliciousness of life, and please consider to leave this door unlocked [pointing to my chest] and sometimes leave it wide-open --why not?!-- to start cultivating fearlessness and love in your own heart. Let's leave this door unlocked for love to freely flow."

A sense of awe and kinship was very palpable in all the shining eyes now gifting us with the priceless gift of their attentive loving presence. 

The (R)evolution is hyper local AND delicious! Jai Jagat! 🌎❤ 

PS1: * Well, actually a few months ago a kid took all our matches/lighters --we couldn't light the candles! :-)-- and later we invited him to have a bonfire to talk about the sacred nature of fire! He was very excited and we still have the intention to gather. And also some iron horses --aka bikes-- left in the extended community garden have been indefinitely borrowed together with a  guest's pair of brand-new boots! 

PS2: And this is just another ripple of our beloved brother Rahul (commencement speech) and sister Anne Veh and her Kindness Circles with youth! 


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  • Brinda Govindan wrote ...