Moved By Love in April
Posted by Lahar Mehta on Apr 29, 2013
We gathered from seven different cities and diverse backgrounds, holding one common thread between us - to integrate a little more kindness and generosity into our lives. In a world torn by stories of negativity and consumption, the April Moved By Love Retreat was a gathering of 30 people who decided to open their hearts and give unconditionally for three days :)
From just the opening circle in the morning, once could tell just how fearlessly people were giving of themselves. From the gift of time (captured through a watch), to poems and books close to peoples hearts - we all knew right away that this was a gathering that would shift us all! A circle that saw a flow of sharing and offerings which could only have emerged from open hearts- ones flowing with gratitude and compassion. An over-riding theme emerged to be, gratitude for our roots. As Pratyush’s mother - Kavita’s heart was offered to the circle, big enough to hold all our love and more, Col Hari offered his heavenly mother’s spirit, sure she would be smiling down at him for being in this space at this moment. While Ashima remembered how her grandmother’s highway home in Jaipur was always filled with travelling strangers who never left without a meal, Gokul offered promising ‘kind eyes, retentive ears and a genuine smile’ to all. Seema remembered a sacred thread that was offered to her as a gift by children at a beautiful school built by slum children in Ahmedabad.
It was an opening circle that represented all that the retreat thought to bring about - and opened the doors to the three days of Head, Heart and Hand harmony.
Through breakout sessions in groups, to SpiriTed circles, each participant offered their attention to the small and ordinary beauty in each others journeys. Mira shared valuable insights on her experiments with waste management and Bela talked about how she is learning to ‘bloom where you are planted’.
But it was only after we collectively served with our hands that the insights really started flowing in. Jayeshbhais words about using our actions to purify our minds resounded with Shagun. She shared how she is now a ‘fan of cleaning toilets because she understood how it helps her clean within’. Sheetal learnt making a broom is actually a scientific process, and Kavita held a paint-brush in her hand for the first time after years, happily expressing her painting on dustbins meant to distribute in Tribal villages. Nikita shared a moving reflection on the 3 days, while Swapna shared her voice through a beautiful song probably for the first time in a cirle.
And the joy we held wasnt only restricted to the 3 days - on reaching home, Ashima seemed to have expanded her thinking to the simple people around her. Feeling compassion towards toll operators on highways, to inviting ladies who were sweeping the road outside for a drink of water - it triggered a journey in seeing our interconnectedness and honouring the opportunity to serve.
The retreat might have concluded but it seems like the journey for most seems to have only begun. From 20 year old Meha and Bhumi in Mumbai now looking to live a more authentic life, to our respected Col Hari who goes back to serve out of his home through the Awakin circle. The heartfelt transformations are in motion - serving silently, working their magic in varied local communities.
At the post retreat meeting with all the volunteers who served at the retreat - someone mentioned the quote: Service doesnt start when you have something to give - it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take.
Quite truly this was a circle of unknown friends who met with no intentions of taking only serving :)
Truly, Moved By Love.
Details about similar retreats here.
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