I'm joining Service Space because ... it feels like my community
A good day to me is when ... good day implies there are some that are not. I must be in denial about those, for every day seems good to me.
My hero in life is ...ordinary decent folks who just persist and do the right thing day after day .... ok, the Dalai Lama, Rev Desmond Tutu and others who laugh easily also tug at my heart strings
My favorite book is ...Ten Tall Tales by Dr Suess, The Little Prince, Stories from Panchtantra and many more
One thing I'm grateful for is ... a good enough life that enables me to serve
Dec 12, 2018, 1 comments, 3 smiles I have borrowed Birju's idea of a minute of silence in the classes I teach to working professionals. I see my class as a co-created space for learning where I hold space and set the agenda, and just as the students are learning from my expertise, I am also learning from them and about them. I set up the minute of silence as the pause to decide for themselves what they want to take away from the class. I also check in afterwards as to how that minute went, and get permission for doing more in the future, if they are open to it. I asked for mid-course reflections on how the class was going, and here is what one of the students wrote, reproduced below in his own words.: "On the first day of class, I learned a valuable lesson in our minute of silence –self-reflection is important. Taking ... Read Full Story
Nov 09, 2018, 1 comments, 6 smiles Awakin started when the group of friends meditating together decided to leave the door open, for others who wanted to join them. Trust the ripples and just pass it on, along with bloom where planted are other commonly practiced values in ServiceSpace. Putting these into practice in my life has led me to convert my empty nest into an open nest. I left the door open and offer the same patient listening I have enjoyed at Awakin circles, to pass it on to whoever walks in through the door. There are several young families in my neighborhood who, like me, are first generation immigrants. They have left their family elders behind in their birth countries and started their young families here. I simply started by talking to the kids and parents as they played in the park right outside my front door. They soon learned that I leave my door open ... Read Full Story
Sep 21, 2018, 6 smiles This week's Awakin reading was about Love. An ordinary home in Santa Clara is where I had the good fortune to attend the Awakin circle. There are too many people and too many small acts that convert this ordinary home to the extraordinary Kindness Temple for anyone to describe it all but a couple of things that make magic happen are consistency and care. This home has welcomed complete strangers every Wednesday, to come join the Awakin circle, for twenty one years. This consistency is remarkable, if not unparalleled. No excuses and no reason is great enough to break the weekly hosting practice. Earlier this year, as I presented the ServiceSpace story at a conference, Barry Schwartz in the audience confessed that although he was really pessimistic, hearing about the 21 years of unbroken Awakin circles had given him reason to be hopeful. Not many can sustain their efforts this long. Food ... Read Full Story
Aug 19, 2018, 1 comments, 4 smiles I have been hosting monthly poetry circles in my living room for almost a year. For 2-3 hours, a few friends and strangers who are yet to be friends come to sit together, read some poems aloud. Sometimes the poems are written by the people reading them, and more often, we read poems we want to share with others. There are poems in all different languages and impromptu translations, followed by heartfelt conversations about the reading. It is a treat to have poems read by people who have been touched by the poet's words and what is beyond words, in-between the words, beyond the lines, in the musicality and cadence, the tone and mood of the poem. Everyone listens to more poems than they read, for that is the nature of the circle we meet in. By listening, we make the poem our own and also connect with the person ... Read Full Story
Jul 03, 2018, 1 comments, 7 smiles For the past several months, a young lady has attended poetry circles at my home, and the heartfelt conversations about poems have led to a friendship between us. Recently, as we were discussing something about the inequalities in this world, she expressed her frustration and helplessness in a manner that led me to spontaneously throw out a suggestion that we could do something, maybe cook lunch and take it to those near us who happen to be homeless. Her initial reaction was to say don’t sign me up for anything, but as the weekend approached, she followed up to ask if I was serious. I had wanted to do this for a while and only needed a companion. We agreed to do it. As we made plans, she asked why we couldn't we just buy some food to give away. I told her I want to offer home-cooked food, as they ... Read Full Story
Jun 28, 2018, 8 comments, 14 smiles An off the cuff remark made by Bonnie Rose during her talk at the Awakin circle stuck with me. She said "You guys are quite radical. It is very Nipunesque" referring to something she had solved, perhaps by thinking about: What would Nipun do? I am still thinking about "What is Nipunesque?" Smile, for no reason at all. Give, just because one can. In a world of mistrust and fear Be courageous enough to be kind. Listen, really intently. Remember it all. Celebrate joys. Trust, to amplify them. Notice every act of kindness anyone does. And thank them for it. Tell others about it. Out the quietly kind ones. Believe there are many. Gather and connect them. At home and abroad, In person and virtually, Virtuously. Tell stories. Laugh. Sit in Silence. Welcome strangers. Stay open and curious. Do the dishes. Work tirelessly. There is a lot of work to be done. Involve whoever wants to work, But expect nothing. Hug often, and don't forget the key: Practice random acts of kindness. There is a whole lot more if I ... Read Full Story
Jun 20, 2018, 13 comments, 13 smiles After a specially powerful opening of the Santa Clara Awakin circle with a new sister sharing her journey of being held by strangers, we listened to each other in the circle of sharing. As usual, there were other newcomers, two of whom were visiting all the way from China, Zilong's parents. When it was her turn to share, Zilong's mother said that she feels the warmth of everyone's shared stories and has a lot to say, but with a hesitancy over her English, she will simply appreciate the warmth and smiles. The lady sitting next to her immediately volunteered to translate from Chinese to English, so she could share fluently in Chinese. What are the odds that these two just happened to be sitting next to each other, to be able to spontaneously connect? At the end of dinner, Zilong's mother said to me that she understood my share had something ... Read Full Story
Jun 12, 2018, 10 smiles At last Wednesday's Awakin circle in Santa Clara we were collectively reflecting on the reading about three kinds of leadership, based on force, transactions and love. It reminded me of a short poem by my friend Lara, from her book 'Searching for God Within" written under her pen name Madhura Bhakti. The poem goes: You can't force love. Its not love. Its force. I offered up the poem to those gathered in the circle. Later I sent a short note to let Lara know that I had done so. I believe it is nice for a poet to know when her poems are shared and as an excuse for me to reconnect with a friend. I also told her about meeting author Gary Zukav and his wife Linda, who were among the 50 or so listeners in the circle that night. Lara promptly sent me an email back with her photo with the book she ... Read Full Story
Feb 22, 2018, 1 comments, 10 smiles Saw some pictures on India's DNA newspaper webpages, with Jayesh-bhai, that some friends here may enjoy seeing too, so sharing them, with the link to the website where the originals belong at the bottom.