Sangham Sharanam Gachhami - Laddership Retreat 2017

Posted by Rahul Mehta on Jan 5, 2018


What does  it take for a tree to bear Fruits?

Sun, air, water, fertile land, microbial activity below the earth, etc..and to top it all, a deep connection and harmony underlying the whole ecology :) What looks like a very typical process of flowering and fruiting on trees in nature by itself has the entire universe working in harmony behind it. 47 of us gathered in Sughad in Ahmedabad on a chilly winter morning with a very clear sky for a 3-day MBL laddership retreat. In fact, much before that, the retreat made a gentle start in our mailboxes with a wonderful welcome kit sent by Khushmita and Meghna, who can’t not be awesome.
The attempt of the retreat was to cultivate noble friendship, till the inner field for fertility and be in harmony with each other. One thing what brought everyone together was deep resonance to values of MBL and commitment to live those values. It was a fun-filled and joyous three days for all, and there was lot of laughter, late nights, and listening to stories of life over a cup of chai :)
We started the retreat with a circle on the lawns of Sughad with Kishan welcoming all, invoking the divine feminine with a loud Jai Mata Di! and expressing gratitude to all the forces which align for all of us to be together.  Few of us offered prayers to the circle followed by a silent walk to Maitri hall led by Arundada. At the entrance of the Maitri hall, volunteers welcomed us with a customary tilak, hugs, and heart-pins. Rahul and Neeti welcomed all in the opening circle with a warm smile and poetic words of Narsinh Mehta, welcoming the Lord to his home. Rahul felt this gathering as a celebration of life and was joyous to see all his favorite people in one frame. Neeti felt like an annual pilgrimage, much akin to the traditional yatra of the vaarkaris and bowed to every one of us. They opened the circle to get everyone's voice in the circle by asking a question--

What is your key learning of your service journey during the past year?
The pre-retreat team had thought of awesome middle names for all participants – e.g. Parag Ginta-Kaun-hai Shah, Sheetal aa-jao Sanghvi, Shaalini Superrraaa Shah and so on. As participants shared their reflections along with their middle names, the Maitri hall reverberated with laughs. Neeti opened the circle sharing a beautiful story and summed up that in the event of a dichotomy between expressing empathy and holding on to values, values should be a priority. Sheetal shared that the learning for the year is that service is a way of being and way of doing (‘Once you are a part of a river, you are always a part of the river’) and is constantly vigilant about space he is operating while doing any act of service. Neeta shared that how not to react to an overpowering situation is something she has learned. Smita-ben shared constant cultivation on her journey is blurring the line of separation and feeling one with people around her.
Gopal referred to shifting from a large joint to a nuclear family during the year and shared how life comes as a package deal of pleasure and pains and how he is growing in equanimity to situations that life brings up. Suratvanti too shared that to keep going on in the face of adversaries is the learning for the year. And how pleasure and pain are transient. Sanchi shared how she is learning how not to get attached to her work and be in the moment. Purvi shared how when we change ourselves; the world changes for us while hosting circles and holding space for organic growth of her local community.



Tharanath shared he is finding stillness in his work, and that is regenerative in itself. Amit Arora shared that being an active anchor of Baroda community, he is surrounded by goodness, and that is working on himself in being good. He also felt that volunteering as an end in itself and not a mean to something else was his lived reality for the year. Nipun Shah (N2) shared that being disconnected from the ecosystem from volunteering, he felt he was losing his calmness. The year is some sense organically brought him the value of noble friendship. Jaimit, who is an active participant of Prayer Circles at Baroda each week, shared that prayers are helping him to be a better listener and he is gaining strength in power of prayers. Anupreet shared that to surrender to the flow of life is something she is learning through lived experiences. She also shared how Awakin Dialogues became her instrument to connect to the community and how it held her at a time when she was adjusting to the life at Navadarshanam. Deven's growing awareness is helping him to differentiate between service and disservice (ku-sewa) at a very subtle level, in a very nuanced way, and, in the process, deepening the layers of inner transformation. Arundada shared that there are two kinds of “dada”s, the ones who run people over and the ones who can be run over - and that he is in the second category :). He resonated well with the newness of life by stating that even if he sings a song for the nth time, it always brings a fresh meaning to him.Shaalini shared the life in last year has increased her faith in the higher power in organizing her life and yet how ego shows up more frequently while serving one’s own as against the world outside one’s family. Drishti is learning to slow down and observe and introspect within her in every act of service. Trupti shared that she is learning to observe the space from which she operates while serving.

Bhumika is learning to be kind to herself even when she falters, and that is bringing her lot of peace and calmness. Divyang attended a three-day silent meditation retreat course and felt very anchored in silence for the first time in life. Ragu also brought forth how the external world greets each other by either (hand) shake or (back) slap, but at MBL, a welcome is through either hold or fold – he is learning to integrate this hold/fold method in all situations life brings to him. Sunita who came from Dubai shared that the year’s key learning is learning to love and what it means to be loved and to give love. Goli shared that they moved to a new community called navdarshanam during the past year and he has come to realize that any action arising out of compassion can never be wrong. Gitanjali spends a lot of time with herself in observing the space she operates, and she is learning to be mindful in all her intention behind every action of service. Avani shared a very touching story of a very young friend who was diagnosed with cancer during the year, and she is learning that to be detached with life is a great way to deal with life. Nipun shared that the events of the year are deepening his understanding in being grateful for every moment in life. Ashish shared that 'Sahaj Sveekar' of every moment life brings to him is his learning for the year. Khushmita was in the mode of factory reset and learning for the year is to be free from the known !! Parag shared seeing everything from the perspective of a spectrum instead of bearing the cross of a polarized viewpoint, has softened him. He shared that he is learning to see the edge in every act he likes and in every act of other, that he dislikes. To be aware of his polarity is what he is learning throughout the year. He also shared how sitting in circles and listening deeply has brought about this learning for him. Amit Maheshwari shared that the learning for the year is to listen to his heart and act out of that deep calling or intuition.

Mihir shared that his learning for the year has been that the way things appear to him depends upon how he sees them. And given that he does not know who-he-is, the illusion gets more nuanced! Devesh shared that to hold presence like a child and live life in innocence is the learning for the year. Diken shared that year has brought one realization to him-- 'You are more important than I.' Suchi shared that she has learned to be available to others and how paying attention is the best form of expressing gratitude. Jignasha shared the experience of serving Arundada for almost 2-3 months during the year, and that has given her deep insight that in giving we receive!! Vidhi Is exploring and experimenting with volunteering for the year and is observing the way spirit in going up and down in different moments of life while doing service. Sachi shared that she is feeling grounded in the year pass by and she is letting go fix ideas and letting come whatever life has to offer. She also expressed deep gratitude to our noble friends to make a gathering like this possible. Meghna is learning from her failure and feels that there is a lot to be grateful for in a tough year. Rupali gratefully shared she has learned the language of love from the MBL community. She shared that the last one year has changed the course of her life and got immense love and deep connections with the community. Jayeshbhai shared that serving the world is serving myself and that is getting deepened through lived experiences throughout the year. Swara shared that she is learning a lot from the whole ecosystem and she is learning what is invisible service from the way she is being served. She is also deeply learning to operate from the power of love within the local ecosystem in Baroda. Kishan is learning to search and amplify goodness in others in every situation. How the divine feminine operates out of all of us – and a seven year Reva becomes a mother to a 1.5-year-old Maitri, and Maitri in turn mothers an 8-month old neighbor :) Vinod’s learning has been to beware of the ego. Vinit is learning the spirit of volunteering and how when he operates from the spirit, he never feels the burnout and instead, felt rejuvenated in all acts of service. Jaideep shared that the year had some great insight on volunteering and in times of confusion and conflicts, connecting to noble friendship is the way out.


Post a short break, Khushmita and Meghna were in the anchor's seat for the post-lunch session called “MBL Prem-station”. It was a very nostalgic feeling when they shared the journey of MBL and all its projects and spirit.

How can we build deeper Maitri?
How can we lead with Inner transformation in all our service work?
How can we keep love in the center in all our activities?

The above were the primary questions which lead to the birth of MBL, Looking back to all these years, they briefed the circle on all the projects and events happening within the ecosystem. There are 28 Awakin circles in India started during the last 10 years, Seva Cafe runs for 6 days a week for last 12 years, different retreats throughout the year, including shorter retreats in locations other than Sughad, are happening since last 7 years, Karma Kitchen in different cities for last 7 years, Wisdom craft for last 5 years, Karma Meals for last 4 years, Maitri Tunes for last 3 years, Awakin Dialogues for last 18 months
and Laddership circles and Heart circle for last one year.

Few reflections during this session were: N2 sharing that Awakin Circles have changed the culture of his home and relationship he shares with his family. Smita ben shared that NGO retreats are creating a synergistic relationship between the donor and the NGO.
She also shared that the Educators are excited about the paradigm of gardening versus manufacturing and the ripples need to be caught during the year. Meghna shared that Wisdom Craft is bringing a lot of artists from multiple locations in the same spirit and building deeper bonds within the community. Suchi shared the challenges of Karma Kitchen (KK) Hyderabad, where good people
came together with good intention but not deeper bonds, which created issues in operating KK and as a community this was a learning process and insight into the spirit of KK.

Parag shared that Laddership circle is creating awesome ripples within the community and also in other communities and on a lighter note he shared that the quality of hug is different when two laddership circle alumni hug each other !! Vinit shared that Karma Meals are discerning the difference between distributing food and sharing food, Vidhi who operated Karma Meals in Mumbai shared that serving together is creating deep bonds within her ecosystem. Sheetal shared that Maitri Tunes which crossed 2100 subscribers a little while ago are a way to treat our being with devotion to the Divine. Mihir shared that Awakin Dialogues is creating gentle ripples in the community and is a great space to learn nuances and edges as well as reflect on the core learning of sages. He poignantly shared that on our own, we can get only a little bit far but collectively, we can go much farther. Rupali shared that since Heart Circles are held on Thursday, her family calls it Happy Thursdays as she is in a different zone. For her, Heart Circles are a silent reminder that everybody is good at something. Shaalini shared that editing the MBL newsletter is about amplifying goodness for the wider community. When she comes to know that the newsletter is reaching 10,000 plus subscribers, it fills her humility and a sense of fulfillment that she is becoming an instrument to record the acts of goodness and inspiration for such a large community.
With an overview of all the projects and happenings within the ecosystem, we concluded the pre-lunch session and broke for lunch. It is to be noted that the assembly line dishwashing process team super-ably laddered by Simran did not allow many of us to offer dishwashing sewa during the entire retreat!

Post lunch, Mihir anchored a session called 'Nested communities.'
He put Jaideep and Gopal, who laddered the inclusion movement, on the mat first. Jaideep briefly shared some highlights and ripple from India Inclusion Summit and Inclusion Retreat. The container team of 40 volunteers connected with 800 participants for six months prior to the Inclusion Summit created heart rendering scenes at the Summit.  That connection ran way deeper than the event gathering itself and was a very transformative experience for all involved. As a creative constraint people on the disability spectrum (disabled people) also volunteered with temporarily-abled people, and it is a transformative experience for all. Gopal who leads youth4jobs is a recruitment and training NGO for people on disability spectrum. So far, they have employed 11000 people on the spectrum enabling them to earn a right livelihood. They have 22 centers in 12 states, and after coming in contact with MBL, they have shut down the “head” office and moved to a decentralized model. He shared stories about Raghava who is deaf but has trained 800 people and Renuka who is on crutches, and yet seamlessly hosts events for 400 people.

Mihir then called upon Shaalini and Deven to share stories of their local community Auroville. Deven shared that during last year Nipun visited Auroville and he hosted a talk at Unity Pavilion that had series of ripples. So many people in local community resonate with Service Space/MBL values, and that leads to series of events this year in Auroville. Start up the retreat, KK in Tibet Pavilion touched many a heart – the Talk organized at Unity Pavilion on Laddership, as well as a talk in Pondicherry on Humility and Generosity brought about curiosity about learning more as well as the desire to go deeper into these values. Shaalini shared that she is hosting kindness circle for children in schools that engages both the teacher and parents community.

Next was the turn of Sanchi, Diken, and Kishan who are laddering the entire Gandhi ashram ecosystem. There are five institutes and some 900 students including a teacher training college. Kishan shared that Gandhi ashram ecosystem is an attempt to bring the spirit Jai Jagat and Love Jagat to humanity. It is building bridges between government and local communities. Sanchi shared while working as a volunteer she is experiencing a deep shift within her. To surrender to the elders, to accept and be with the flow of life is the core shift. Building deep bonds with students aids in resolving so many interpersonal issues.
We ended the circle of Nested Communities and parted for tea-break soaking in all the wisdom that was shared during the session.

                                                                                                       
Post tea-break, we had an impressive youth gang on the spot for sharing their Journey of life with all of us-
-


Drishti, Vinit, Trupti, Vidhi, and Jaimit were on the dais with Jignasha and Deven anchoring the session called the Journey of Young
Ladders
.

Trupti, who is working with a remand home in Baroda, where the inmates are orphaned children, mentally-challenged women, children who are being tried in juvenile courts - in short, the most difficult and wounded people of society. Yet, quite akin to the Japanese art of kintsugi, she does not see any problem with the imperfections of the community she serves. Quite contrary, her lived experience is a shift from fixing the problem to holding space for expression which eventually leads to healing. She uses different tools and processes for healing like Meditation, Gardening, Chanting, Hypnotherapy as well as Circle work. She realizes that her full presence and deep listening, even to what is left unsaid, is very effective in healing the inmates. She also experimented with the magic of many-to-many, wherein the most neglected group of elderly women (perceived to be of no utility) became an asset as they effortlessly took care of the children. Trupti brought with her cards made by the children as gifts for all of us.
Vinit shared that his story is a spiral journey-- doing the same thing again and again but in the process getting transformed every time he does the same thing. He shared how the journey of Karma Meals in last four years has transformed him. While at the core the idea is to cook food and serve needy, they have incorporated some practices like silence while cooking, holding circle before and after the event and bringing their presence in action. Some of the shifts he has experienced are from effort to effortlessness, from distribution of food to sharing (how they shared food and ate along with Ravibhaiyya, a penniless beggar), from scarcity to abundance (moving focus from the number of meals served to having no limits on the serving size), and from isolation to community (how Vinit’s moving away to a different area of Pune made no difference to the Karma Meals as volunteers took it upon themselves to continue). He was grateful for his community for laddering him all the way.
Vidhi, a very young volunteer in 20's, is leading with 'dhishoom to cancer.' She is working with children who are suffering from cancer, and her only tool is holding space for such children and doing some playful activity to bring the smile on their faces. She knows she is fighting a losing battle, but detachment to her work and looking for that elusive smile on children faces internally motivates her to do this challenging work.
Jaimit’s journey of inner transformation is about Seva, Satsang, and Sadhana. As his Seva, he does clowning in children’s hospitals, look forward to local volunteering opportunities in the Baroda community. To him, Satsang is all about attending Awakin Circle, anchoring Prayer Circle and volunteering circle with the local community. Sadhana is about silence and observing his motivation in all his acts. Jignasha shared how Jaimit is attending a circle or other every single day of the week and forever finding excuses to serve the community. He would never turn down an opportunity to drop off any community member to their homes post Circles, even if it meant taking a diametrically different route.
Drishti shared that her journey is all about a small step and small act of kindness at every given opportunity. She shared how it has been transformative for her, and the depth of his relationship with her brother is a reflection of their transformation. On this journey, she is learning to receive gracefully, and she looks at service as a way of life. She says she has enough opportunity in the life of service to lead with being the change and that is a transformative approach for her. She was very grateful for all who have laddered her in her journey.

After their sharing, there was Q&A anchored by Deven and lot of edges and motivation were explored during the Q&A.
With the end of this session, we parted for dinner. Post dinner, Sheetal, and Jaimit anchored a beautiful Prayer Circle, and few of us sang different prayers in silence. The circle was very soothing after a day full of inspirational stories.

The second day of retreat – Christmas day - started with Masti gang of Bhumika, Vidhi, Trupti, Drishti, Vinit and Ashish donning Santa costumes and guitar in hand, waking everyone up singing Jingle Bells and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas :) It was a joyous start for the day.
Post breakfast, we again gathered in Maitri Hall after customary welcome. Swara opened the circle and after a round of brief popcorn style sharing about the previous day, she introduced Nipun quoting a poem (March on, sweet ants, March on) that inspired Nipun into his journey of service a decade and a half ago.

                                        Nipun shared stories of deep connections during his trip to India in various city, and he can see fruits all over the ecosystem every day during his visit. Well on the face of it we may not be able to notice but what it takes to build such ecosystem? And it brought us to the core question of the retreat, How do we cultivate untiring mind?

He then proceeded to give his key insights on Volunteering :
1) Volunteering isn't mean to an end, but an end in itself.
2) Transformative volunteering is regenerative.
3) More diverse the ecosystem, lower the barrier to entry, greater is the pull for volunteering.
4) The fluidity of engagement spectrum is directly proportional to the time duration for which a volunteer engages with the ecosystem.
5) Volunteers group works at a lowest common denominator.

He shared stories from his lived experiences for all key insights. He also touched upon laddership and what it takes to be an effective ladder? And the crux was greater the skillfulness in leveraging multiple forms of capital, more effective the ladder is. The second part of the presentation was focused on transformation driven service. He also highlighted how transformation driven journey is a slow story. He smilingly held out the warning signal that those of us who look upon the winter visits as tsunami season, means that they are on vacation the rest of the year. Transformation driven stories are forever in the making, say, at the speed of the growth of a forest, and not a consumable experience of a sensational story. Reiterating that this is a journey of several births, he underlined that our yatra has to permeate through the year. He raised some key questions for all of us to breakout in small groups and dive deep into it. the questions –
1)    Are we designing for impermanence?
2)    Can we embrace imperfection?
3)    Can we become the wounded healers of compassion?
4)    Can we create a Mobius strip of nested circles?
5)    Can we live in a dynamic many-to-many relationship?
6)    Can we see the middle path in the spectrum of each moment?
7)    Can we cultivate skillfulness with multiple forms of capital?
We had an intense dialogue within the breakout group, and after the group sharing, we parted for lunch with some deep insight from presentation and breakout circles.


After lunch, we had a little longer break for spontaneous sharing and connecting with people in the different group creating some space for emergence. There was a surprise waiting for us, and we were all guided to the terrace where Bhumika and Rupali were ready to welcome us with lots of colors, crayons, brushes and a long strip of canvass stuck to the floor. We all sat next to each other on both sides of the canvass. The session was about connecting with ourselves and with other through art, which Rupali anchors every Thursday at her Mumbai studio, calling it Heart circle.
The seed question as we started painting in silence was what is your relationship with yourself, the society around you and with nature. In silence, we expressed through painting what was emergent in all of us. It was a quite a scene with deep intensity - everyone was focused on canvass and playing brushes and crayons. So many of us touched canvass and color first time after their school days but felt at very ease in Heart space. So much fun and joy exploded on the canvass and in all of us as we ended the session with a cup of tea and listening to thoughts behind everyone's painting. Seeing the collective canvas, Amit later reflected that common themes of hearts, clouds, rainbows, hands and trees abounded on the canvas which really showed our inter connections, while Sanchi shared that the Heart Circle shifted her approach from thinking-drawing to feeling-drawing :) The very next day, she got herself brand new crayon box!


Through the retreat, some volunteers were up to some Bollywood dancing during breaks and late nights khakra parties. Some of this madness spilled over during this break as participants broke into a few Dances. Post evening tea, we headed back to Maitri hall for a session on Community Gardeners - Sachi and  Parag anchored the session with four speakers sharing their journeys- Sunita Lama from Dubai, Avni from Surat, Gitanjali from Delhi and Aashish from Ahmedabad.

Sunita shared the story of how deeply she was touched by attending one Awakin circle which lead to hosting  Awakin circle in Dubai. Avni shared the Surat Karma Kitchen story and how service was instrumental in bridging the gaps in the team and the bonds it has created within the team and the local community in Surat. Gitanjali very candidly shared how chasing impact created burnout and stress within the local Kat-Katha team and the lesson of leading with inner transformation is deepening in her. Ashish who work with TCS a multinational technology company is doing small acts of kindness and drives some service projects within the TCS community and sees the blooming of a deeply connected community in a very corporate market-driven context.
All were very insightful stories with a built-in inspiration. The moment we funnel all the stories, how so ever different it looks, the underlying theme was same –
1) Service connects and creates community
2) Inner transformation-driven service is regenerative and creates its own momentum
3) Impact-driven approach has its challenges leading to Burnout, and
4) When we serve together, we create deep bonds with others.
After listening to insights on community building in different cities, we headed for dinner, and the day ended with a lot of insight and inspiration.


Day 3 morning being a Tuesday was an Awakin Dialogues morning, and quite a few of us came together in Maitri hall at 6 am in the morning to have a live Awakin Dialogue with Arundada. He shared his morning routine that included the chanting of the dhun: kaaljaaranam (this world is impermanent), snehsaadhanam (love is the way to this world), katukavarjanam (avoid being a critic), gunanivedanam (search and amplify the good in others). He shared stories of Saint Madhavdas, Kabeer, and Vinoba while explaining the nuances of the dhun. Later, he addressed questions at the intersection of family responsibility and transformation-led service. We ended the session with a beautiful French prayer by Fenelon translated by Makarand Dave in Gujarati.

26th December being the death anniversary of Ishwar-kaka, the morning session was dedicated to his memory. Anarben and Nipun gave a brief talk highlighting the life of Ishwar-kaka and his works, which epitomise transformation driven service. The session ended with bhajans by Narendra Bhai Shastri. He soulfully sang Sabse oonchi prem sagaai (Love is the greatest bond), Koi nahin paraaya mera ghar saara sansar hain (No one is unknown, the whole world is my home). Arundada also sang Shubh mangal ho, praying for goodness for the whole of life and creation.  


Post-lunch, we headed to the last session of the retreat with Rahul and Neeti back on the anchor seat for the closing session. A brief popcorn style sharing was called upon to get what everyone is feeling and what was expressed by all in different words was Deep Gratitude for Noble friendship, and big heartfelt thank you to all volunteers who were preparing for this retreat since a month or so. Rahul summed up the retreat by emphasizing the importance of cultivation on the path of virtues and how vital is the Sangha (community) or Sangath (togetherness) on this path. He left everyone with this question, what we have to become to create such environment at home, work, and society where we live in? Neeti revisited the story of vaarkaris with which we had opened the retreat and said that the vaaris (pilgrims) address the Lord Vithoba as mauli (loving mother). Indeed, as she reminded us, the sangha and the tender yet deep connections which have been forged is the mauli that connects us all.
With these wise words, the retreat was brought to a close. A few volunteers had plowed through late hours to create a good-bye presentation, which was put up on the screen, and we all were hugging and laughing as the screen flashed some fascinating Kodak-moments of the retreat.

We quickly moved to our rooms and packed our luggage to be transported to the PTC Vidyalaya, Kanyaashaala and Chhatraavaas area of Gandhi ashram. The participants were given a lovely welcome by the ashram shala girls who sang Jabse pyaara ishwar aaya, mera jeevan badal badal gaya (ever since the Lord has entered my life, it feels different) as well as a few garbas. Madhu and Jayeshbhai gave an introduction to the space talking about a few hundred saplings planted by Gandhians several decades ago which have become large trees. Jayeshbhai described these trees as ashrams in themselves, offering silent service through their lives to all around them. A walking tour then took us around the campus which has been transformed over the years – by the service offered by volunteers such as Madhu, Sanchi, Diken, Kishan as well as the motherly and aesthetic touches of Jayeshbhai, Nimobhai (the school where Jayeshbhai studied and now, the Heart Center anchored by Nimo is a part of this campus). We sat in the company of the community garden of Swagyaan and the recently built Jai Jagat amphitheater at the base of a tree around which a heart shaped Hrudaykunj like space was in the works.  Co-incidentally, the same day, Jayeshbhai had decided to give it the name of Mauli. How serendipitous that the first gathering to ever happen at the Mauli (loving mother) space was a baby shower for Anu and Goli who are expecting their first kid in a few months! Jayeshbhai, saying that the mother is bought into this world by the child, sent prayers upwards as we sat holding each other’s hands at Mauli space. As he expressed deep gratitude for our intertwined paths, he made a promise for life to be around and offer whatever he could to all our journeys, eyes teared up. I was left wondering that the retreat which started with Jai Mata Di was drawing to a close in Mauli space :)

After the emotion-rich moments at the Gandhi ashram space, we all moved to Tagore Hall where Nimo and team had put together a show on Bapu’s life and values with almost 260 of the ashram shala kids. Over a period of two hours, the kids put up an amazing display of talent from dance, to acrobatics, to acting. All the time, the values of diversity, community, small is beautiful and universal love would show up in some story or the other. The audio visuals in the background beemed inspirations from the stories of world leaders like Dalai Lama, Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr as well as everyday unsung heroes like love-cyclist Zilong and peace-warrior Pancho. One moment the kids would break into a song capturing the essence of Gandhi’s life (Vaishnavjan to), the other moment, scores of them would be out in the audience distributing heart shaped cut outs to the audience who was thoroughly soaked in the experience. As the show ended, the reverberations of the chants of Jai Jagat never left the hall as the kids expressed their love for the organizing team.

Our inter-connections were so deeply entrenched throughout the retreat, as we often reflected on this quote ~














Relive the moments with more photos from the retreat :)

Posted by Rahul Mehta on Jan 5, 2018 | permalink


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Previous Comments
  • Trishna wrote ...

    Didn't realise a whole recap of the laddership retreat had been posted until I stumbled across it just now, what a labour of love to put this all together to share and what a beautiful retreat!

  • Deepak wrote ...

    Thank you . Inspirational. Reading the happenings at the leadership retreat was like a breathing fresh air , in today's world of negativity . It has been a huge motivation in my own journey of love , service and compassion .

  • Zilong Wang wrote ...

    Second Trishna! So enjoyed reading through the whole post and experiencing the highlight of that magical 3 days! Thank you for the thorough, fun, and heart-ful recap!

  • Gayathri wrote ...

    Second all previous comments. This is inspirational reading and a soothing, steadying balm for the whirlwind times we live in. Thank you for the recap!

  • Soni wrote ...

    This is such a beautiful movement... would like to be a part of it... soon, after I am back from a trip in Feb.

  • Mr.Cletus Zuzarte wrote ...

    Really wonderful to read this recounting of your journey! I too just want to jump onto this bandwagon, that's my first reaction. Loved reading through, thank you so much for sharing!

  • фотограф харьков wrote ...

    A really great article, I like everything in it, and your story and the wonderful photos that you made. I am a photographer myself and with trepidation I treat such photosessions