Mysteries of Grace

Jan 29, 2016

Hitting a state of equilibrium is a mystery. Many elements have to come in balance. In a lab setting, perhaps you can control the circumstances to replicate some kind of equilibrium but when you're all out in the open, it's a completely different story. Each moment of equilibrium start to feel more like a moment of grace.

About ten days ago, Ram posted our financials for last year. We spent about $3K more than what we received. It wasn't much of an issue, but it was the first time we had that situation (mostly because we started paying for email, a 30% budget increase). Soon after, Ram went on a meditation retreat, but wrote me a sweet note saying, "Maybe we should start writing thank-you notes to our donors." :)

Two days later, since Ram was away, I checked our mail. We had two donation checks from random, first-time donors. Fifteen thousand dollars. This is January -- *after* the December tax season is over. Completely unexpected.

People are always baffled by surviving in a gift ecology. The thing is, equilibrium in such a vast ecology is not a problem to solved, but a mystery to be lived. So many variables have to come together, in just the right way, to create just the right synergy.

One of the donors, for example, was a fellow I first met on the 10th day of a meditation retreat. Throughout our conversations, it was clear that we had starkly opposing world views -- but still engaged deeply, with sincerity. I couldn't have imagined that we'd stay in touch, and really, neither one of us was the gimme-your-email type person. Almost by fluke, a third person insisted on connecting few of us and we obliged.

But who can figure out grace? One serendipity led to another, and, ten months later, I ultimately got an email that read: "It seems like I run into your name or ServiceSpace anytime I'm around compassion focused folks. What you all have built has had a huge impact. Would you mind giving me a call when you have some time?" I thanked him for the compliment, and deflected the attention. So he expanded his intention in a follow-up email, "My wife mentioned that she had tried to get in touch to feel out donations to ServiceSpace. We like to focus on a handful of organizations and then donate to them in a way that is meaningful for us. We both think that you're working in a way that magnifies impact and lifts consciousness, we'd love to help move that forward. It feels like this work can have enormous exponential impact. But she said that you had pointed her in the direction of some other organizations that are undoubtedly doing amazing things but not ServiceSpace."

We do, in fact, redirect more money than we keep every year -- often in many multiples. It's a practice in not accumulating. In this case, though, they insisted and we accepted. It ended being a huge amount (for our small budget), and it arrived in perfect time.
(An equally beautiful story accompanied the other donation.)

Equilibrium is a mystery. Grace. ServiceSpace has lived on the edge of that grace, from the beginning -- by design. It's a quiet kind of resource, but if we listen carefully that is what fills us with abundance. It tunes our attention to the infinite small variables that factor into that one moment, it humbles our conviction into a no-man's-land between will and surrender, it invites us into an enduring equanimity for all that arises, for it is all on its way to equilibrium.   

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."