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Slow Stories, With Deep Roots

Tonight, at Trishna's home, we held an Awakin Circle that she said was the most diverse group she's anchored in her 8-year history of hosting.

Beneath that diversity, though, were a lot of invisible affinities. Jade, who is a local bike mechanic, biked 1.5 hours to join the circle: "Something you said last time really stayed with me, so I thought I'd come for a hug." I met Deepa at last year's circle, and on a whim, she ended up sitting a 10-day meditation retreat with 50 of us in India last December ("I'm usually not in tears like that," she now promises me. :)) She asked two of her friends, Lucy and Sophia, to join. Kush, whom I love to tease as the famous Paralympian torch bearer in London, is someone with whom I did a Laddership Circle. I last met David, who is doing the remarkable work of bringing relationship into metrics, many moons ago but some connections have a way of sticking. :) A first time college student met me at another event, and said, "I couldn't believe you actually emailed me back, and that, too, so thoughtfully and past midnight! Seriously, like I couldn't believe it. I stared at the email for at least 20 minutes. Thank you. I knew I had to come today."

All to say, there's a splashy kind of way to get 60 people into a room, and then there's the Awakin way. It's a "slow story", and slow stories give you deep roots.

That's precisely what I spoke about. Gaus's white shirt, Shiv's yogurt and the after effect, and Steve's work with "wounded animals healing wounded human beings." All slow stories, with deep roots.

As they say, there was clearly a vibe in the room.

One woman later wrote to me that she is going to start practicing kindness with her daughter and keep a daily diary of her reflections. Couple folks are keen to start Laddership Circles. One sweetly insisted that I "really underestimate myself" and has connected me to a BBC filmmaker for a documentary. :)

The whole circle felt like a family, without any boundaries between us.

And a super sweet note: "Prior to this weekend, I hadn’t heard of ServiceSpace or Awakin Circles, but I’m so very grateful that it happened. I felt very humbled, lucky and privileged to be part of the weekend events and feel quite overwhelmed (in a good way)! Today, I feel massively unsettled, ha - like I’ve had an awakening! Similar to my Vipassana experience a few months ago. I think it will take me a few weeks to unpack everything that I have gained from both the conference and the retreat yesterday and to explore my next steps. What I do know for sure, though, is that every positive thing that I experience, every opportunity I have in my life, I want to share with others, particularly with those from under-privileged backgrounds, and those who feel disconnected, excluded, lonely, lost or isolated. I will call on you to help me pay it forward."

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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."