Three Stories From ServiceSpace Retreat

June 2013

Dear Friends,

Thanks for a lovely time together last week.

Every year, Team Leaders come together in this way and nominate others from their teams who they feel could benefit from a deeper dive into ServiceSpace.  That always creates a beautiful spectrum of loose, deep and noble ties -- who work together to support each other's service journeys and spread love in the world.

Lot can be said about our joyous three days, and a lot probably will be said. :)  But I remember three unsuspecting examples that speak volumes about us.  

First, that busted faucet that was spewing out a massive waterfall before we were even awake. :)  In face of the emergency, we laughed a lot, we brainstormed mightily and ultimately, we (well, technically Ricardo!) created art with whatever was locally available.  Imagine if we did that with all the problems of the world.

Second, I remember Lily.  She was doing a paid gig when she first hear of SSp, but she wrote in saying, "I want to offer myself.  I want to involve my kids too."  She drove many hours to just take photos, offered a ride to four others, she hugged.  After the event, in a moving note, she said how she had given up cooking and wants to learn from "CF Mom" how to do it with love; and she's wondering how to live in the gift when you have financial responsibility.  She is coming this Wednesday and having her kids join next week's Awakin Youth retreat.  In a follow-up email, she stepped it up further: "I'm turning 45 on June 19th, and as a gift to myself, I'm giving away 45 portrait sessions.  The only request is for the recipient to give it forward."  Oh, and: "I've also invited the friend who hired me to photograph her son's Harker Graduation, which connected me to you and Service Space.  When I was being evicted from my home two years ago and had to generate some fast money to pay for bills, her mother passed away at the same time.  To help me, she donated a lot of her mother's belongings for me to sell at my yard sale.  She said she didn't know what 'Pay it forward' meant, but she was inspired to do that for me.  So, if she does come on Wednesday night, this will come full circle for me."  The unending ripple effect.

Third, I remember Andy -- senior and Junior.  He catered food, but we never stop there.  We just shower onto love anyone who comes our way.  Pavi tagged his son with a small note of gratitude; the next day, I spoke to him and he told me he was in tears reading that.  (As a quiet pay-forward, he brought us a lot of extra goodies of food to express his gratitude.)  In a short time, we deeply connected, as I told him Pancho stories :) and he told me about tragic details of his son's bullying.  At the end of retreat, he comes over to pick up his goods -- but he also brings his son.  Our informal circle was continuing outdoors, and Sunaina has just asked a question about insecurities around sitting in a stranger's car in Texas to get gas.  John steps up with his divine masculine wisdom, speaking about his daughter; Pancho steps with that utterly profound story of nonviolent strength; and Guri steps up with her stories of the unflappable divine feminine.  Magical.  It was almost as if the entire universe conspired to create that perfect moment of service.  And the relationship with Andys continues even now.  Ego-systems or Echo-systems can't create such connections -- it takes an ecosystem.

So yeah, thank you.  To be honest, I don't even know who I'm thanking.  Still, thank you.  :) My heart is filled with gratitude, that even if these were the only three days we'll ever connect, we met in the spirit of service.

May your life be filled with smiles.

Much love, :)


P.S. An additional story from Pavi ...

One story I'd like to add from the many that unfolded this week...

I remember Ann -- our quiet host at Mesa Del Sol who considers herself "the steward not the owner" of that sacred space. When we first contacted her about the retreat, she asked what ServiceSpace was about and halfway through the explanation interrupted to say -- "I'd really like to make a donation," and then proceeded to give us a generous (and unprecedented) discount :) Ann joined us for a short while on Saturday night and soon after entering the grounds and witnessing the glow on people's faces, receiving heart pin tags, taking in the beautiful handmade decorations, and being greeted with wide-armed hugs and exclamations at every introduction, she shook her head, "It's giving me goosebumps," she said, "My heart is so happy." And before leaving that night her parting close-to-tears request was, "Can you please leave all the signs you have up? I love them, and I am so grateful that all of you are here. What an amazing group of people."

What an amazing group indeed. Gratitude to each of you for helping me deepen in my own journey, and for sharing your light with so many others in the unique ways that you do.

With much love, three smiles, and a bow :)

P.P.S. Our unedited stream of photos :) ...


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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."