Pollination And Cross Pollination: Samanvay Retreat @

Posted by Kishan Laddha on Sep 21, 2018
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15+ NGOs, from across the country, whose founders/key members have been part of Maitri Space’ were sent an invitation to send two/three members from their eco-system. The invitation read:
“When five unconscious sticks come together, the bunch becomes stronger; we can only guess the potential of five alive consciences coming together. At our Maitri space, we have a privilege of knowing many such organisations who brought together many such individual consciences and are together serving society while being the change.

To take a step further, in the spirit of “moved to serve”, we are inviting 2/3 members from ten- twelve such organisations or groups who are serving together! We don’t know what would emerge from this gathering named “समन्वय” (samanvay) but we know that this gathering for sure shall deepen our spirit of Maitri.
Some of the intended outcomes are to know each other well, to learn from strengths of different NGOs, to explore possibilities of cross pollinations and to identify butterflies to facilitate more such cross pollinations. “
No agenda was shared, sheer trust and noble friendship brought together 40 individuals who are serving thousands of individuals through their parent eco-systems.



The retreat started providing a tribute to Ishwardada, servant of internal and external sanitation, on his birth anniversary. Anar didi shared that papa was an inspiration to her for he lived his life while purifying his innerself bringing harmony of head, hands and heart. Vasudhabaa shared that Ishwarbhai dedicated his whole life serving most neglected communities in the spirit of repentance.

From 14 Sep to 16 Sep, what happened is difficult to express in words. Post conclusion of Samanvay retreat, Gautam, cofounder of reap benefit shared his reflection, providing a glimpse of what must have gone during Samanvay:
  • I am now More aware of myself, my thoughts and moments of “Aham”
  • It’s easy to forget the lessons learnt if not revisiting periodically.
  • Easy to slip into doubt and second guessing people. My learning is to now be more patient with them and remember that the context is different for each person. This reflection comes from the fact that the path we followed was special for us, as we were on a peace walk, but is just a pathway for the person watering the plants.
  • Easy to be unnecessarily hard on myself and then go easy on myself, but, tougher to be easy on myself and focus on learning the bitter lesson.
  • I now strive to be a 0 (zero), wait for my moment of relevance. If not needed, I observe and learn. If needed, contribute and return to being the 0. It’s very frustrating and easy to forget, but very satisfying.
  • There is too much power in connecting heart to heart.
  • I miss you guys at times, when I think of the good moments we had.
  • Impact over Individual is a value at Reap Benefit. Hearing stories of Gandhiji/Jayesh bhai, I realized it’s easy to say, but not easy to live by at the moment your under pressure.
  • Discipline is key to Evolution - Accept. Reflect. Summarise. Internalise. Act. (Repeat).
  • Following the rule to disconnect, not using mobile much avoid distraction, creating a frustration inside me. This helped me think more, and made accepting myself for whom I am easier.
  • The rules of the ESI (Maitri Space) is really well thought off. If I can implement them at home, it will become more homely
While Gautam could streamline his thoughts and put forward his reflections, almost every 6 hours one of the volunteer is receiving a call/message from participants expressing their profound gratitude.



One of the volunteer, Abhishek, founder of Blue Ribbon Movement, shared his reflections: “Samanvay for me was a meeting (and melting) together of hearts.....love pilgrims from all over the country who have been serving came together to share their life journeys and create a field of transformation.
The space for co-held by everyone and the volunteers seamlessly merged with the participants. There was learning flowing from all over the space - through leaves and insects as well as quotes and the peace pole.
How did such magic happen? I'd say it was the space and intent that allowed this beauty to unfold. In the collaboration session, the number of offers and invitations far exceeded the time that was available to share them! This new approach to collaboration is workable and holds the seeds of how things will happen in the future. “


Diken, another volunteer shared his experience:
After witnessing or participating in this humble gathering I personally connected with popular saying “Where wise actions are the fruit of life, wise discourse is the pollination.” I see this gathering as pollination, as we know pollination is the process of transfer of pollen grains," from an anther to the stigma of the same flower or of different flower." And when you have the same plant of different varieties in a garden space. When the wind blows, or a bee travels into the flower of one plant variety, and the pollen of this plant makes its way into the flower of another type, it occurs cross pollination. When cross-pollination occurs, it can create unusual varieties of fruits. The fruit produced becomes a new variety of the plant because it will share characteristics from both parent plants and I see this “samanvay” gathering as process of “cross pollination”


Somik, a participant from Youth4jobs, poured his heart and moved us all with his authenticity. He speaks to his father (a retired govt school teacher) every day and updates him about his day. In his tenure of last 20+ years of work across spectrum, for the first time he told his father that he is experiencing field of love and he is deeply moved. Later he shared his reflection:


1. Heard new stories about Gandhiji,Vinoba Bhave helped me to think deep (Somik studied in a school named on Vinoba Bhave, he experienced the spirit for the first time)
2. Visit of the Girls hostel, Interactive session with the Director of Museum is really wonderful.
3. The peace pillar, morning prayer, chirping of the birds, green garden and all your hugs not easy to forget. (He shared during one of the circle that he would like to replicate peace pole at his rooftop and would have peace prayers with his 6 years daughter).
4. Posters behind the doors of washroom is something which i think we can follow in many places.
5. I miss you all as if i have migrated to kolkata from sugad in search of Job.



Dimple, yet another noble friend who dedicated her life to serve cancer patients and their families shared her reflections:
“It is my spiritual home”. Nowhere am I happier. Here we bring our truest, most authentic self. Our lives may be very different, but the one constant here is each other. This is the power of Samanvay, of the friendships and closeness that we all share. The synergy, the ambiance, the vibration of compassion was at its peak. It was almost as if the purpose of all our individual journeys, including our past three days, was simply to co-create this ambiance. In the vast matrix of our interconnectedness, it would help somebody, somewhere somehow. That felt enough for all of us.
Everyone's cup of gratitude was overflowing. I express my gratitude for all that people, and particularly the courage and spirit we all exemplified. Thank you so much for making this retreat a truly special one! Each of your unique gifts is what co-created our magical space over the last couple of days. I feel loved, hugged, and cared for by the whole ecosystem.
"May this gratefulness walk with me on my way. May I be a gift to all of you."
Thank you all for your presence and time! I appreciate you all very much and I am grateful to be connected to you all. Many blessings!



What we witnessed and felt was just a tip of the iceberg, what moved within is beyond explanation. All the participants from across NGOs such as Akanksha, Khamir, Maher, KMVS, YouthAlliance, ESI, few NGOs supported by Drishti laddered by Smita didi, Pahal, SevaDham Ashram Ujjain, TeachforIndia, Gramshree etc. with potential direct connect with hundreds of thousands of people (hearts) were moved by love in the spirit to serve. We await to witness fragrance, fruits and seeds of the pollinations and cross pollinations of hearts!

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Comments (1)

  • KM Bhai wrote ...

    Wonderful ! ripples of love and peace around the world.