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A Song Underneath It All

Thank you for a beautiful Sunday at Karma Kitchen spent welcoming guests, serving tables, filling tea cups, rinsing dishes, slicing pie, placing orders, and going about the hundreds of big and small actions that combine to make Karma Kitchen possible.

But there is something that sings beneath all these mundane tasks --- and our guests tune into that "something". It's what made a table of young Berkeley students exclaim, "I don't know if we can eat anywhere else on Sunday's now!", it's what prompted the manager of Cafe Gratitude to bring her mother and friends in saying, "I'm on duty so can't stay, but had to bring them here because they LOVE the concept of what you're doing here and they want to learn more." It's what inspired a woman and her husband to offer up a song that "had written her" eighteen years ago -- an enchanting piece that had the whole restaurant tuned into something intangible yet powerfully real ...

During yesterday's closing circle at Karma Kitchen I was struck by the richness of the reflections and the sincerity in the faces and voices around the table. We heard Andrea saying, "this is one of the most meaningful things I've ever done," Shreya reflecting on the deep sense of accomplishment, Debbie exclaiming how, "everything about Karma Kitchen makes her just -- happy :)", Sohini saying how much she learned just by asking people to share the best piece of advice they'd ever received, Ashish's amazement at Juan's superhuman dishwashing abilities :) Pranav sharing his realization that some of our guests come not for the food but because they are hungry to be listened to and each one of them has something special to share. Richard sharing the backstory to the woman's song -- and reflecting on the power that comes from not just knowing your gift -- but knowing too what to do with it. Isot with a beautiful beaming smile saying, "It was so much fun!", Ari's candid words on how the demanding functional aspects of a role can overtake the experience, Kinnari recalling how Sharanya's poignant song on unity and oneness "hit the reset button" reminding her and all of us of the intention that drew us here, and Sharanya reflecting on the mystery of how corporations spend top dollar on ineffective company retreats and teambuilding exercises while, with no money in the equation, a group of total strangers working side by side at Karma Kitchen for four hours end up feeling like family by the end :)

It was such an honor to "team build" with all of you :)

For me one of the most telling testimonials for Karma Kitchen came from yesterday's youngest volunteer. When I asked Sohini what had inspired her to join us, she responded promptly, "My sister [who has volunteered at KK before] told me the experience completely changed the way she thinks about things."

--Pavi on Sep 9, 2011

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