Manila Update: Many Ripples From Your Seeds!
Posted by Ana Valdes on Jul 14, 2018
We have been writing you many times in our heart. A few stories to share.
We did two En theos retreats ! En theos means “in God” and it is also the root word for enthusiasm. We held circle for 40 people, and began to practice a culture of kindness outside school walls. We did this by enabling “invisible service” and “silent service” for each other.
Each day, we took some 25 people to wrap and package lunch in banana leaves, and gifts for street people, and we took a van to the streets to distribute lunches, sandwiches, and gifts of love. We served 190 meals each day (380 meals in total of 2 days). We hugged the police men, the street vendors, construction workers, and anyone who would accept our love.
One mother, Nati, had 5 children, the youngest a 3 month old baby was sleeping in a cardboard box on the sidewalk. When we met Nati, we had no more to give her, so we gave her the towels around our neck, our sweaters, our scarves. We embraced her and her children in a circle and prayed together. We came back a few days later to bring Nati some clothes for her and her children.
We met policemen, embraced them, gave them cards that said, “You are our hero” and held a prayer circle with them. We received comments, “We wish you would come back tomorrow.”
“We wish you could do this every day.” "See you tomorrow. Could you come back tomorrow?" They asked.
We prayed spontaneously in prayer circles on the streets. When we returned to school, we served each other lunch sitting on the floor (India style) and ate using banana leaves for plates, with our hands. In the afternoon, we practiced a walking meditation through the school, ending with three steps and a bow at the chapel. At the chapel we placed a mandala under the cross of Jesus Christ. At the foot of the cross, we knelt, and as each participant bowed, we bowed. At the end of the day, we sat in an “Awakin Circle”. At the circle, we asked, “What seed has been planted ? What do you wish to amplify? Did you have an experience of overcoming ?”
We have 4 more retreats this July, enabling Entheos for 130 people in all, serving 1,200 meals.
At the end of the day, we met our invisible servers privately, and discussed how we could even be more loving and invisible in our service. We gave hearts sewn at the prisons. Hearts just like yours.
Lalla also named Graciella
Lalla, short for Graciella, is a strong, dynamic, generous, loving woman. She was our Theater Arts student for four years at the women’s prison, where she was our assistant director and stage manager. Lalla was sentenced to 12 years for drug use in the women’s maximum prison. In the Philippines to be caught a drug user means serving a sentence of 12-15 years. Drug pushers are sentenced to life imprisonment. Because of her participation in Theater class, her sentence was commuted down from 12 years to 7 years. (For 4 years attendance in theater class, she received 5 years reduction in her sentence.)
Newly freed, we helped Lalla to set-up a secondhand store near her home and to work part-time as a receptionist. We formed a “Kindness Circle” a hub for distributing information, assistance, mentoring, or coaching. Basically, we are holding space for kindness acts.
Lalla is a driver. She used to manage a hardware store. She is fixing her passport, so she can join her sister in Dubai, where she is applying as a truck driver (six wheeler).
The Kindness Circle is an invitation to act for love.
Sisters of Mary, in Silang Cavite
In May, we visited children in the Sisters of Mary School, where the children sang with Nimo in an unforgettable experience.
Many ripples from your seeds.
We bow to you our family. Bonnie’s "priceless pricing" has become a hit. There is no way to thank you except to pass it forward, as you have taught us.
In loving kindness,
Ana and Anjo
June 30, 2018