Summer Interns. Wow. :)
Posted by Nipun Mehta on Jul 14, 2020
Just reading their applications is a heart-opening experience: Lena, Anha, Leela It underscored the kind of intentions that we attract and nurture.
In week 1, as the field is barely emerging, internal ripples were already in motion. All of them attend our weekly Awakin Circle, genuinely meditate (most of them for the full hour!), and share the most beautiful things. Frances, shared this stunning story of her kindergarten friend.
They also rolled up their sleeves and jumped into service. Lena, Leela and Anha orchestrated a first-ever "Teen Awakin Call" with Melissa. Sonya and Tanvi created themed storylists for KarunaVirus, on topics like Youth Taking Action and Behind the Protests. Mika drafted themed reading lists for Awakin Readings, on top of writing 20 story descriptions for KarunaVirus!
Over the next weeks, they began brainstorming personal service projects, too. Anha started crafted "peace stones" to spread smiles around town. Mika began a letter-writing project to more deeply express gratitude to people in her life. Leela invited teens to do an act of kindness, and started an interview series on it. Tanvi decided to record audio files of KarunaVirus story descriptions for visually impaired -- first one is up here (click "listen here" below the photo). Lena is working on sewing face masks and donating them to people and groups with a note. Sonya is scheming up starting a mental health podcast -- which prompted her and Leela to facilitate a group conversation with Sallyann on media!
In her week 2 reflection, Mika wrote: "It has reaffirmed the importance of not just learning how to be book smart, but the importance of being a good person. These past two weeks, I have learned more about how to be kind and empathic than I have ever learned in school."
Very quickly, everyone bonded and started supporting each other. As one of them wrote in the weekly reflections: "As we all grow more comfortable with each other, and start to know each other, we also grow way funnier and I find myself laughing a lot. I look forward to my buddy calls and it's crazy to me that none of us have met in person! We all get along so well and it's amazing. I really hope we can all go on a camping trip or something after all of this is over :)"
But what prompted me to share this post today was reading this reflection in the morning:
What are you learning from your 21-day kindness challenge? "I am really scared that I'm an evil person, and this week made me a little more scared. While I stuck with the acts of kindness, and did them every day, I am really worried that my actions were coming from a place of accountability, not a place of goodheartedness. All around me, everyone seems to be transforming themselves and being kind, while my first instinct is to despair at having to go out of my way to be kind again.
This sounds awful I know, but maybe it's because I'm so overwhelmed that I'm finding it hard to be genuine. After the acts of kindness, I always feel good, but before it's hard for me to do. I'm trying really, really hard to be a good person, but sometimes it feels like goodness is something that comes naturally to other people, and that I have to work towards. I think that I also struggle with the idea of participating in things for the sake of my future rather then for my own personal gain and development. I could blame this on society's hyper attention on college and success, but it's also a me thing. I get myself into things that I think will "look good" and then have a hard time being genuine about it. I'm really working on being genuine but it's frustrating me that it's not coming naturally to me. Like it's really worrying me too, because maybe I'm like one of those people who are just born "bad" you know?
I want to be naturally kind and good and sweet, but I'm scared that I'm not, and I don't really want people to find that out. Anyways, next week I will try not to have such a crisis about it all and make sure I go into my acts of kindness while being gentler on myself."
It's hard to imagine many other spaces where such depth is nurtured, held and allowed to flourish. And it's just as hard to imagine this internship blossom without the visionary compassion of Audrey and commitment of the mentors.
Rock on, interns and mentors! :)