Karma Kitchen Dubai
We've hosted several Karma Kitchens in Dubai, and each time, it has proven to be a profound experience in community, generosity, and spirit of gift. If you'd like to get connected to future events, as volunteers or guest, do let us know and we'll keep you posted.
Spreading Love in DooooBai (March 2016)
Over the course of the last two Karma Kitchens Dubai, it's been an incredible journey for ourselves to really explore our own connection to the values around KK, and ask ourselves what they truly mean to us. And we realised that the experience for guests is far deeper when each one of us is operating from that space of purity, inner transformation and love.
So this time we decided to hold a deepening session for everyone who will be volunteering at the upcoming Karma Kitchen on Friday. 16 of us came together in a park, surrounded by trees and the lively chirping of birds. Few of us reached earlier to decorate the space MBL style and Sonia, Chandni and me commented on how we felt like we were back in India :)
Once everyone was there, Natasha invited us all to hold hands and we held a few moments of silence and then each shared what they were grateful for - most were grateful to be there in the circle! Natasha and me looked at each other and we were just so grateful that this moment was unfolding, something we'd held an intention for since the last two years, was actually happening. It's a miracle :) Then Natasha guided us through a beautiful heart meditation where I could feel a palpable sense of interconnection and when we opened our eyes and looked around at each other, there was so much love.
We were asked to share a story from our lives where we fearlessly experimented with our love. Such beautiful stories emerged, I had no idea that I was living side by side with such fearless love warriors!! Maryam shared how she'd held space for a cleaning lady at one of the toilets and their interaction resulted in a shift, where the lady then and there declared that she was going to be kinder to every being who walked into that toilet from this moment on, Aimy shared how she had a hard time hugging people. All her friends would tell her she hugged really awkwardly, but over time, inspired by Sonia & Chandni, she's learned that hugs are a way to connect heart to heart with another person and now she's ready to be Chief Hugger at Karma Kitchen :) Sunita shared how her expression of love is to spend every Friday, her day off, teaching children in India through Skype, who she loves deeply and got a chance to meet in person recently in Pune. Adel shared that he has never meditated in his entire life, but during the heart meditation he felt such a deep experience of being loved, that he had a vision of himself lying in the centre of the circle, surrounded by all of us, and looking up at the vast, open blue sky.
Alex shared how he'd gone from a beautiful meditation course into a high-profile, super corporate meeting with heads of Oil corporations - and his expression of love was to invite everyone in the boardroom to take a few moments of silence. Even though his client looked at him as if he'd gone crazy, everyone got on-board and by end of the day he had 5 emails telling him those 10 minutes were the best part of the entire meeting :)
We closed with Natasha asking each of us to share our intentions for Karma Kitchen, and once again, such beautiful intentions flowed into the circle - Maryam's was to plug everyone back into purity, Shermeen's was to make as many people smile as she could, Sonia's was to be love, Chandni's was to enjoy the process and not get caught up in all the to-do lists. People didn't want to leave and many of us were meeting for the first time! for us as hosts...this is all a live miracle because we've intentioned spaces like this in Dubai for so long, and it just makes us bow our heads deep in gratitude to witness it all unfold.
It's a true blessing to be able to hold space for others to experience the love, gratitude, kindness that we've received in such abundance from this ecosystem and let the ripples from that spread far and wide all over Dubai, UAE and rest of the world :)
Stories From Our Launch
This past weekend Karma Kitchen opened its doors in Dubai. And it couldn't have been more wonderful! It still feels like a dream that everything came together so seamlessly and in the process touched us all so much that we're still carrying the joy well into the week. The space was offered to us by a simple Gujarati restaurant here, run by Nitin bhai whose smile reminds me of Jayesh-bhai. He and his wife treat every customer like family and always insist that they eat "just one more chapati". Many a times if a customer doesn't have enough money on them, Nitin bhai will lovingly tell him it doesn't matter, he can pay next time. Overall, it couldn't have been a more ideal space for Karma Kitchen to start :)
The 22 volunteers came together so naturally, we'd got all the positions filled in 2 days! And even though most of us were meeting for the very first time, there was an instant bonding and lots of hugs and massages were exchanged. We were a little bit wary since this is Dubai - the land of laws & fines, that customers would be skeptical and may not warm to the concept immediately, but boy were we wrong!?
The guests would walk in puzzled and look up at the sign board to confirm they've come to the right place, and then cautiously take their seats, wondering what they were signing up for. But just a few moments and interactions with servers later, they were telling us how this is exactly what Dubai needs more of. Some guests who are alone here, away from their families told the servers they were reminded of their moms and sisters. Others told us how they haven't smiled so much in awhile. One man who had been sitting there while we were decorating the place, came back with his wife later, because he wanted her to experience this. Two gentlemen offered their own restaurants (famous chains in Dubai) to run the concept.
But the most beautiful takeaway was really that sense of love, joy and exhilaration in the faces of volunteers, guests and the owners :) And I can feel myself being kinder to people on metro, to my Mom at home, to my colleagues at work this week. That's the most powerful, wonderful thing :) Many bows of gratitude to all the ServiceSpace family for serving as inspirations many oceans away. We all thought of you guys and sent you so much love.