The Ace Up Our Sleeves :)
--Nipun Mehta
4 minute read
Sep 29, 2020

Imagine a few dozen people coming to your home, and you don't have the furniture, food or fun ready. Then, add a couple hundred gate-crashers. :) That's sort of what happened to us at the start of our summer Laddership Pod -- no tech, no curriculum, and no plan. Panic or postpone? Neither. We trusted emergence. And we know the rest of the story.

Actually, that pod was only part of the story. What unfolded was our "Pod Technology" that has already become the bedrock for umpteen Pod variations. We've hosted multiple 7-day "hands, head, heart" immersions on it, and earlier this week, we started another Pod with 180+ applicants from 19 countries. Various external groups are bringing their entire communities onto the platform. Later this month, we are hosting a 'Sacred Space' retreat. In Romania, they had 70 applicants for a 15-person Educators Laddership circle that is coming up. Already, our newest curriculum is being translated to Spanish by a "Social MBA" group in Colombia, alongside Japanese. Prior to the pandemic, we had plans of an in-person "Boddhisattvas in Training" retreat, and now, we've scheduled it for December through our newly emerging processes and platforms.

Given our rather unique process, the manifest designs are equally unique. Maybe even radical. At a cursory glance, of course, our "Pod Technology" is just a commercial-free way to share content and engage. However, as you peel the layers of the onion, it allows for the formation of distributed pods. At yet another level, it offers tools, not for mere management or leadership, but laddership of intersecting parts. Even more subtly, it creates a pathway to do Italy Talgam shared in his talk on great conductors: do-nothing laddership, powered by our deepest intrinsic impulses. In a world that is overwhelmingly designed for content, our genius lies in unlocking the context.

One of the trending movies on Netflix right now is The Social Dilemma. One of our community members helped produce it, and is featured in it as well. It tells an alarming story of "content", the perverse effects of social media: "Tree is worth more financially dead than alive. A whale is worth more dead than alive. And now, we've become the product ourselves." It's a dire warning about losing context. If a tree is the context, wood is the content, and chair is the product, today's zeitgeist is myopically focused on chairs. Intellectual awareness of considering the tree are easy, and public oversight and regulation is a bit harder, but ultimately, we can only feel into the invisible roots when the medium becomes the message.

Someone recently spotted a heartfelt endorsement of SSp online, that opened with: "The truth in this talk made me cry. The sort of cry that suddenly springs from being so shaken by the fact that there is a force that is more powerful than anything out there and it's beautiful. No superheroes with capes, no super ability, alien influence or radiation mutation. Simply humans. Us."

That "suddenly springs forth" is the force that propels ServiceSpace. Our world feels real, and such impulses feel ad-hoc. By our mere existence, we are offering a flipped narrative: maybe the material world is a house of cards, and it is this "force more powerful" that is real. Within just a couple weeks of the pandemic, we launched an entire KarunaVirus portal. Ad hoc or real? We can go down the list of 20 years. Hardly an anomaly. Everyone innately recognizes this strength, and ServiceSpace rekindles that faith. Yesterday, on a call, Gary Zukav mentioned how the opening lines of his upcoming book explicitly thanks the entire ServiceSpace ecosystem for keeping that flame alive.

Around the globe, people are hungry not only for what we offer, but the way it's offered. Following an interaction, in Persian, with change-makers in Iran, the local buzz has continued. On the island of Guernsey, Karma Kitchen has inspired the launch of "Suspended Pizza". From Portugal to UK to Hollywood, various gift-ecology experiments are in motion. Mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska is hosting a wide-spread "belonging" event that is organized on our platform. A NYT best-selling author tweeted this week's Awakin Reading: Movie of Me. Dalai Lama's group at Emory approached us to host at 21-day Compassion Challenge on KindSpring. From a park in Austria to prison in the Philippines to a college in Vietnam, every day, we see SSp ripples arising, intersecting, converging, and heading back to the Ocean.

As the heartbeat drums on, we also continue to get umpteen talk invites, from Germany's Innocracy conference to Vinoba Ashram's webinar to a women's leadership group in Switzerland. Last week, I had a conversation with a London based happiness group, where 2000 thousand people signed up (and 10K watched it on FB live). Just today, I agreed to a youth interview on Ismaili TV alongside a "Sage-ing" Jewish community of elders.

It's hard to know where this emergent ecosystem of compassionate intents is going. Yet, simply holding and carrying such sacred seeds feels important today. Intentions like this Pod applicant from Singapore: "I am looking inside me to learn, question and grow. In less than eight months, I have lost my mum, sis, (brother to suicide) and partner. I chose love over fear, when I decided to stay alive, and reach my potential, and seek like minded positive people. God bless all the amazing work you guys are doing."

Thank you, for being keepers of noble intentions. That context is the ace up our sleeve. :)

Posted by Nipun Mehta on Sep 29, 2020

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