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Giving unconditionally and receiving gracefully

I am fortunate to have been part of the Karma Kitchen team this past Sunday in Berkeley, just before the Christmas holidays. After our shift was over and we sat down to a community (and long awaited) luncheon, I found myself suddenly moved and almost reluctant to go.

The impact to me was strong enough to inspire deeper reflection, and one area I focused on was the concept of giving and receiving. When I compare the experience of Karma Kitchen to my own life experiences, I found a big difference. At Karma Kitchen, we the volunteers were there to give and serve, from our hearts. Thus, whenever giving is so passionate, it requires the recipient to gracefully accept. That is the only way giving and receiving have taken place.

I find this to be lacking in my daily life. Perhaps we are all trained to be so self sufficient that we don't need other people to help or share. Everyone is in their own houses, cooking their own meals, caring for their own children, working their own jobs. There is no community spirit at all.

When I think about my customers on Sunday, I realize that they were all happy to be there, ecstatic when I brought food to the table, and enthusiastic about being part of this experience. I hope they could tell I loved being there and I loved serving them. They accepted with grace.

I suddenly remember a quote from Kirpal Singh that I store in my heart. It goes like this:

Kind hearts are the gardens.

Kind thoughts are the roots.

Kind words are the blossoms.

Kind deeds are the fruits.

If we can remember and respect the wisdom of the ages, and have a place to experience them, then we really can be the change.

Thank you, Karma Kitchen.


--Nancy on Dec 23, 2011

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