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17 Year-Olds On Wisdom

Dec 11, 2017, 11 smiles As a ripple of many beautiful encounters, few of us have been hosting a 9-month Laddership Circle with 7 high school seniors from the K-12 girls' school at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. This month, the theme was on wisdom, and we were amazed by some of the insights that these teenagers presenced! I don't know what I was doing at 17, but probably not spending a Saturday night in a circle of sharing on wisdom! :) Here's few excerpts from their reflections: "I realized that wisdom also does not fall into one archetype, it comes in all different forms and sometimes it is a gentle nudge in the side and other times it hits you like a brick, but each time we should embrace the gift we have been given and impart it on others as well." "People who embody wisdom are not necessary positive, but forward thinking. They do not dwell ... Read Full Story

If You Want To Be A Rebel, Be Kind

Oct 27, 2017, 13 smiles We had a phenomenal week in the bay-area, with 12 young women from Singapore and Mauritius. Alongside visiting Facebook and Google and various thought leaders, we offered them lots of other exposure. But what left an indelible mark on these young lives was the connection to ServiceSpace values. The girls kept referencing the hospitality of the Awakin Circle, or vision quest with Aryae and Wendy, or the visit with the wildlife sanctuary and so much more. And in particular, a vast majority of them mentioned how a simple morning with Nipun and Pancho had profoundly changed their life. I had posted a little bit about it the day-after, but the ripples kept multiplying. I was happily surprised to this note from one of the girls, directly to Pancho and Nipun ... Dear Nipun & Pancho, Thank you so much for the love and kindness you've shown us on Wednesday and Thursday! Words ... Read Full Story

Love Like A River, Joy Like A Fountain

Oct 20, 2017, 1 comments, 22 smiles This week, I'm traveling to the Bay-Area with a group of dozen high schoolers from Singapore. And WHAT A DAY for the girls to get both Nipun-ed and Pancho-ed yesterday! We started with a heart-opening circle with Nipun. After lots hugs and heart pins, he opened the circle by asking them to reflect on "what they saw" at their first Awakin experience. They spoke about how they saw love, gratitude, kindness -- and "that too with strangers!" Nipun then shared how also saw suffering :) but that being there for each other without an agenda gave us a lot strength. Lots of questions. What do you think is the purpose of life? Don't we all just die one day? What do you recommend reading for kindness? Can Karma Kitchen work in our life too? What about paying our costs? What about strangers? Aren't there rotten people in the world? What if ... Read Full Story

Awakin Circles Now In Mauritius!

Mar 05, 2017, 2 comments, 18 smiles Many folks who came by last night were social change-makers themselves, and after some collective silence, and we opened with Tom Callanan's reading of The Fifth Monk to kick off the inspiration.. The diversity and richness in the room was amazing with folks representing many different parts of Africa, that made for some thought-provoking and deep dialogue - e.g. many regimes and terrorist groups would consider themselves doing the work of the fifth monk, so who do we place our trust to do that work? Or when it came to the call for climate action - what is the "work" that is needed when your country is carbon neutral/negative yet on the receiving end of climate devastation with rivers that are drying up and displacing entire populations not caused by your own action? A couple of reflections that ended the night for our own journeys - Have we asked "why" enough times to ... Read Full Story

Money, Social Good And Inner Transformation

Feb 09, 2017, 13 smiles Birju's latest interview on BtheChange, with Ryan Honeyman (partner at LIFT Economy and author of The B Corp Handbook) ... Formerly a consultant for McKinsey & Company, Birju Pandya focuses on the nexus of money, social good and inner transformation and works with organizations on the cutting edge of this inquiry. He is a managing director with Armonia, a private equity firm specializing in “regenerative investing” using nature-based solutions. He is chief mindfulness officer for Nessel Development, working in ‘beyond sustainable’ real estate and also a senior advisor to RSF Social Finance, focusing on projects which facilitate “inner impact.” Birju is a longtime volunteer of ServiceSpace, a non-profit that has been popularizing gift culture paradigm. In this interview, discussion include: Blossoming into meditation and mindfulness with small steps; Whole-person development in the workplace; Dynamic interplay between inner work practices with transcending limiting organizational structures and linear-thinking approaches; Contrasting “ripple effects” with our concepts of “scaling”; The subtle yet profound ... Read Full Story

30 Girls At Karma Kitchen

Sep 26, 2016, 2 comments, 22 smiles Yesterday, 30 girls and their teachers from Singapore arrived at Karma Kitchen without any idea of what to expect. This was one of the few "mystery sessions" on their itinerary as part of a learning expedition on social impact. While we thought we'd arrive early "before it typically gets crowded", it looked like so many people had the same idea and we were off to a very FULL karma kitchen day with one of the smallest teams of KK volunteers. Straightaway we saw people springing into action to just fill in the gaps - Audrey orchestrating the flow with loves and smiles and somehow making sure everything just worked(!), Birju, Anne-Marie, and Vishesh holding space at various tables inspiring the girls with their stories, Richard and Anne bringing their wisdom and smiles at the community table, and Harpreet and the KK volunteers doing all the invisible work behind the kitchen! Even ... Read Full Story

At The End Of A Beautiful ...

Jul 27, 2016, 2 comments, 27 smiles At the end of a beautiful circle on nature's blessings, the meal seemed extra tasty tonight. Then our mother healer Aunty Harshida revealed the garden harvest that went into our nourishing meal, almost as tall as us!!   Also Pancho's giant pen ;)

Money + Transformation Retreat

Nov 17, 2015, 3 comments, 18 smiles Last Sunday, 40 of us arrived at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, stepping into a space of peaceful serenity. The setting couldn’t be more fitting to be exploring money’s role for inner and outer transformation in our lives. Why are we talking about money?? Rippling off inspiration from Jacob Needleman at our previous circle at Teance, we gathered to explore the topic of money not as a problem to be solved, but as a question to be lived. In that spirit, we went around in circle holding the question of how we can allow for our deeper values to be expressed in our relationship to money. So many times, the topic of money ends up being taboo amongst those who seek to live a life of meaning and service. Through not talking about it, we create the conditions for strife as we struggle with all the inner conflicts that arise from wielding a currency ... Read Full Story

Money + Transformaiton Circle

Jun 23, 2015, 6 comments, 19 smiles The second floor of Teance reminded us of an Indian Rickshaw, as forty people circled up to explore money as a lens for inner transformation. With money being such a hot-button topic, we were very quickly looking at a growing wait-list, and people tuning in via live stream! After a period of meditation and a round of tea, Birju opened the circle by inviting us to look inwards at our own relationship to money, and shared his practice of shifting his story through experiments in the workplace. A few powerful stories seeded the opening conversation. Jacob Needleman, whom we've affectionately come to know as Jerry, shared his understanding of the role of money as a quest for meaning in finding a balance between our two natures - one that is material, and one that is of a higher reality. Mark Finser spoke about his work in being a different kind of banker, ... Read Full Story

Compassion In The Classroom

May 31, 2015, 2 comments, 14 smiles I just returned from a circle exploring compassion and kindness in education convened by Audrey and Ward Mailliard who was one of the founders of Mount Madonna School. The school compound felt much less like a school and more like a retreat. The footpaths crossing 350 acres atop a mountain site inspired a sense of awe, adventure, and exploration, how rare for a school campus! I was humbled to learn that Ward himself built the school with his own hands brick by brick He shared how he embraces a philosophy of "not knowing" as the human story is constantly changing and we are all beginners. Curiosity is the doorway to empathy, and the values in world thought program embodies these tenets. While there was agreement that key to the educator’s goal is creating an environment that sets the context for learning to emerge, I was reminded that there exists an even more ... Read Full Story