I'm joining Service Space because ... I'm inspired to give back
A good day to me is when ... I get to meditate
My hero in life is ...Lily
My favorite book is ...Brene Brown - Rising Strong
One thing I'm grateful for is ... Being loved
Feb 18, 2019, 1 comments, 5 smiles What a joy to see updates from around the world. In Toronto, as cold as it is on the outside, all I've been feeling is warmth, wrapped in a blanket of open hearts, serendipity and generosity. Today we had a beautiful karma kitchen in the park that has left my heart singing and now I can't help but pass it on to y'all. We've been having monthly lunches indoors at Moss Park Apartments since October and although it's different than the outdoor park setting, so much magic happens indoors too. There's three apartments in the complex (that surrounds the park we animate in the summer) and it's become clear that without the foot traffic outdoors from various neighbourhoods, what we've been able to focus on indoors is to facilitate a small shift in the residents from isolation to community. After a few months, it feels like hanging out with extended family on ... Read Full Story
Nov 09, 2018, 10 smiles Our friends Nimo and Daniel were in Toronto last week bringing their gift of presence, message of love and generosity to the Parliament of World Religions. The conference brought together 10,000 people from all faiths, 500 presentations from world luminaries and an inaugural Interfaith Family Festival where Nimo and Daniel brought kids of all ages to their feet to dance and many hugs for one another. They also performed in a huge auditorium (that was likely set up to seat 10,000) as the opening act for an incredibly moving Sacred Music concert (Tune in at 25 min). I smiled wide seeing the Grateful music video in the background full of familiar faces in Servicespace, starting with Mia’s mom on the big screen It felt like a dream come true to be in the presence of so many compassionate warriors and change agents who arrived from all around the world to share ... Read Full Story
Jul 28, 2018, 5 comments, 12 smiles Last weekend catching the generosity ripples from last month, our team of 20 volunteers came together to animate a second Karma Kitchen Picnic in the Park. This time we had more hands, more food, more guests, more activities, more kindness, more smiles and more magic. What a joy to witness everyone do small things with great love, and watch the ways that the park and community came alive - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You really have no idea what will emerge in a public space when a few friends get together to give with no strings attached except know that goodness will be generated. It's a dream that we could return to practice and experience Giftivism right here in Toronto: Generosity isn’t a zero sum game because everyone wins. The Setup Volunteers who joined us in the morning to clean up the park and helped breathe a ... Read Full Story
Jun 19, 2018, 8 comments, 15 smiles It's impossible to contain the AWE for what blossomed in Toronto this past Saturday at our first Karma Kitchen Picnic! Our team of amazing 10 volunteers teamed up with our friends at Building Roots threw a community picnic right outside the Moss Park Market. We made fresh banh mi sandwiches, salads, watermelon and ran out within an hour, and also managed to add secret menu items like Augie's Ice Pops, cookies, tangerines, bananas, coffee and run out of it all as well before the end of the second hour :) Not only were guests well fed, we even had The Classy Wrecks, a live local band uplift our spirits all afternoon, an HeArt and bracelet making, and a hula hooping area for kids, impromptu scavenger hunt and plenty of smiles, hugs and gifts. What happened was simply MAGIC. Moss Park is a really special neighbourhood in an increasingly gentrified and unaffordable Toronto. It's got ... Read Full Story
Jun 01, 2018, 3 comments, 17 smiles [My sister in Australia just translated a Vietnamese Facebook post that was going around -- and among Nipun's many qualities, "Giant Nipun" is new to me! :)] Just as I had promised everyone, I would write a series of posts about our talkshow on "Giftvisim -- Live Like a Gift" in Ho Chi Minh City. Today I will write my first post, about Nipun, the lead speaker for the talkshow. In my view, he can be described as follows: A young girl meticulously folds the welcome mats in front of the steps leading up to the auditorium, as the rain had soaked the path and without the mats, it would be very slippery, and dirty as well. All of a sudden the lead assistant’s voice echoes through and she turns around to see the tiny lead assistant, miniscule next to a towering man, akin to a midget standing beside a giant :D And ... Read Full Story
May 26, 2018, 3 comments, 12 smiles Recently, in Toronto, bunch of us have been readying to host an outdoors 'Picnic in the Park' pay-it-forward experiment inspired by Karma Kitchen! It's happening in June, and the menu will have banh mi and fresh fruits from a friend's shipping container market, and the theme is "Kindness". :) Last week, a few of us got together to prep the ambiance -- including painting stones to hold down the picnic blankets. You can even see the hand-print art of our youngest volunteer. :) Being immersed in the tech world, I don't think I've held a paintbrush in decades! Grateful for the opportunity to come together in these ways to grow in service and generosity. :) More photos here :) And if you're in Toronto, come out for lunch on June 16 :) More details here.
Jan 02, 2018, 3 comments, 19 smiles I recently sent the note below to our local Awakin Circle community in Toronto, and just wanted to share how grateful I am for all of you, as the invisible hands and ladderers in cultivating this community. We're doubling in size in January after 5 months - generosity really does scale!! ;) I am truly blessed to be on this path of stillness and service with you. Sending you all much love, air hugs and blessings for the new year. --- Dear Friends, I hope that your holidays are going well and that you've had a chance to pause and rest. When I look back at this past year and what I'm most proud of... It is the seeds that we planted to connect us to sit in stillness, share our collective wisdom and meal together. Whether it was an email exchange to coming out to one or more of our sittings, it was ... Read Full Story
Sep 05, 2017, 8 comments, 21 smiles The highlight of my past year away from home was Wednesdays at the Awakin Circle in Santa Clara. The silence kept me grounded; the noble friends nourished me with hugs, kindness and wisdom; Harshida Auntie's cooking and generosity filled my belly with love. No matter how busy I was and how far the commute was, I would plan my schedule around Wednesdays. I could never find the right words to describe my experience at an Awakin circle and found it easier to bring friends and coworkers to see for themselves. The Seeds Whenever I was in Toronto, all I would do is tell stories of my new Servicespace friends and Wednesdays. More and more friends back home were reaching out to chat about meditation or how to develop courage to get started on labour of love projects. I told my boyfriend I wanted to bring the Awakin Circle back to Toronto and ... Read Full Story
Aug 12, 2017, 11 smiles [Below was Dustin's beautiful share from our very first Toronto Awakin Circle in Regent Park while reflecting on pausing] I just want to share two aspects of my life where pausing has been very...sometimes painful but beneficial. The first is when I was making presentations at work. So I had this last job where I had to make a lot of talks. I actually hate public speaking with a passion and I had to suffer 11 years. It never got any better, quite frankly. I kind of noticed this pattern when I was making presentations where in the first parts of my preparation I would be focused on making the content from the presentation, I wasn't thinking of the delivery so much and I was so efficient during this time with all this content. And then, at some point I would go into this place of fear I would imagine myself up ... Read Full Story
Jul 20, 2017, 3 smiles Shortly after I returned to Toronto, Eddie Huang's tour of Toronto was released on VICE which I think accurately captures the culture and heart of Toronto, the diversity found here, our embrace and support of immigrants. Part of it features a friend's project, Newcomer Kitchen who has provided a place for Syrian immigrant women to cook, share meals and connect with the community. I thought I'd share it so have a watch and you're welcome to visit anytime!