How do we respond with compassion?

Dear ServiceSpace Friends,

In the face of compounding disruptions in society, so many of us are left asking difficult questions. Like Otto's recent inquiry: "What does the emerging dawn of this century look like?" Perhaps what's bubbling up among us can be summed up by three interviews this month. Parker Palmer interviewed Preeta around the "Inner Work of Democracy", a Buddhist university's interview with Birju was titled "Compassion as Capital,” and Audrey's interview with Heartfulness magazine was headlined: Kindness is Key to Resilience. In other words, how might we nurture personal resilience, interpersonal care, and systemic transformation?

Building on that flow, here's a few upcoming events:

  • Nov 4th, Teens Interview a Monk: next Wednesday, the Santa Clara Awakin Circle has a special conversation with Rev. Heng Sure! Post U.S. elections, what questions will American teens ask one of the senior-most Western monks residing in Australia? Join the dialogue. (7:30PM PDT)

  • Pods-r-us: to support building deeper ties in a virtual context, we've created new "pod technology". Meghna described its intent as, "How can our carbon (material) and compassion (eternal) wisdom guide a silicon interface to mirror the whole that is greater than the sum of its parts?" Hundreds of people from a couple dozen countries have already held wide-ranging pods, on topics from Laddership to Hands, Head, Heart Immersions to Holding Sacred Space. Coming up in the next month: Priceless Pricing, Love and Power, and more. Explore open pods.

  • Awakin Calls: in the ever-expanding lineup of illuminating weekly interviews -- most recently on topics from beyond hope to the language of emotions, at the intersection of interfaith and food, and on the art of difficult conversations -- we now have a thriving new offshoot in India! Coming up on Nov 7th is the Magsaysay Awardee, Anshu Gupta, and his wife Meenakshi. RSVP here.

Yesterday, during a podcast interview, the host asked me a question about purpose. What surfaced was this:

If I had to define it, I would say my purpose is to serve life's emergence. By serving what lies in front of us, life itself becomes a moral gymnasium in which we untangle and transform a set of internal and external energies -- as unique to us as a fingerprint. We do this, not so much to increase or reduce the suffering of the world, but simply because it is ours to do. As a sign inside a local monastery kitchen reads, "Life is an endless series of dishes. I vow to do them all." In doing so, our flute becomes hollow once again and the winds of nature effortlessly play its symphony through us.

With gratitude for playing your note,

(on behalf of ServiceSpace)

P.S. A small tribute to an untiring ambassador of ServiceSpace, who just passed away: Humble Love Affair with Life. On another call, we got unexpected word of a volunteer's mom passing; the global community of strangers responded in an unforgettable way: Dear Fran (video).


ServiceSpace is an incubator of volunteer-run projects that nurtures a culture of generosity. What started as a small experiment in 1999 has rippled into myriad expressions of service in dozens of countries around the globe. For more, watch a video on our unique design principles.