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Poem Written By A Guest

 A guest at last week's Karma Kitchen came up to us with an unusual offering -- a poetry reading -- of a poem she'd written dedicated to the volunteers! Here are a few lines from it that convey how deeply the KK experience moved her:

"I care for you so much

without even knowing you

Because you give without knowing me

Or asking for anything.

This is unconditional love."

--Pavi on Sep 14, 2009

A Currency of Abundance

When I was asked to make an 'Abundance' poster for Karma Kitchen, I was filled with fear.  How could I possibly convey such a huge concept in just one word?  I knew that something had to shift, that I needed to feel a fullness in my life before I could tackle this project.  So, I sat with it for a while, and began to imagine what abundance would feel like with no limits and no attachments.  Gradually, I began to experience a sense of comfort and ease.  Little by little, the creative juices began to flow, and letter by letter, the poster came together.  From this experience, I realized that there is an ocean of abundance underlying everything we do -- all actions great and small are expressions of love.  If we shift our awareness just a bit, we can dip down into this ocean and find sustenance there. Here is the final product, which notes of abundance that people placed on it:

The greatest gift I received from volunteering at Karma Kitchen last Sunday was the joy of working with a group of people who truly cared about each other.  At the end of the day, when Vishali offered to serve me a meal, I felt a huge sense of gratitude.  I learned that there's nothing to worry about when you are surrounded by love.

--~ Elizabeth on Sep 11, 2009

"Be Kind to Each Other" T-Shirts

One fine day, I was Googling the word kindness and ran into Karma Kitchen.  It really resonated with the t-shirts I was making, so I came as a guest several times and found everyone there very welcoming, loving and open.  Best of all it was so much fun!

This last week, census was low at the hospital that I work for, and I had been canceled 3 times that week.  "I could get down and go into a slump, or I could pick myself up and actually do something," I told myself.

So I volunteered at Karma Kitchen.  Not only that, I brought along some t-shirts that could gifted.  Each shirt said, "Be Kind to Each Other", so it was a simple way to spread good cheer in the world.  When random guests were "tagged" with the t-shirt and asked to pay-it-forward, they will filled with such joy and surprise and it opened me up to give more freely.

I left there that day feeling uplifted and carefree.  Thank you, Karma Kitchen!

--Vishali on Sep 10, 2009

A Dream From Two Years Ago

 Two years ago, I had a vivid dream that I was in a place in Berkeley,California, where the most amazing food appeared on the table, and I was surrounded by angelic people, who were intent of spreading a message to souls passing through. At the Karma Kitchen this weekend, I realized that this was the place my dream had showed me. When I looked around me at the table where I was sitting, I was surrouned by the loving faces of friends, who traveled with me to Berkeley from Portland, on faith, who did not know one another before the trip, and one by one, each of our talents became clear and necessary. But that is not all, i found myself sitting in between two very special and valuable people that I had lived with at two different times in my life, each living now in the Bay Area, who came to Karma Kitchen to be with our group and to give a hug--on my left, a man who taught me to love Islam and who encouraged me to fast this Ramadan and on my right a man who taught me to love the future. It was a peace and truth FULL moment.

--Ahimsa on Sep 9, 2009

An Unforgettable Birthday Dedication

Birthday songs have a way of bringing everyone together.  Just as we did one for "Yolanda", someone on the other side of the restaurant yells, "It's my friend Rogers birthday too."  So we did an encore.  Happiness filled the air.  Couple minutes later, we get word that there's a third birthday in the house.  The birthday song was overplayed now, so we decided to step it up.

A table of 4 from Portalnd -- an activist, a professor, a poet and a permaculturalist -- had just arrived and when we found out that one of them was a musician.  So we asked if he could do a special dedication for our third birthday person, and Paul was more than happy to oblige.   The restaurant paused.  No one knew what to expect ... but this humble man opened with a lion's roar:  "I can see a REVOLUTION.  It's already started.  Sing it with me.  Love is the answer, my only weapon."  Everyone starts singing.  Soon we're all thumping our feet and clapping our hands.  And then he start strumming his guitar while singing a beautiful song.

Raw. Beautiful.  Powerful.  Here's a rough cut that a guest happened to record:

Smita's even got some of this on video:

--Nipun on Sep 7, 2009

I got my PhD(RT) at Karma Kitchen!

Susan Schaller is a huge fan of Karma Kitchen. After her first time at KK, she went home and sold her car as a commitment to her simplicity. Now, every week, she walks couple miles to get to the restaurant. And she's made a renewed commitment to give away something every week, that is very difficult for her to let go.

This week, she brought many of her most precious possessions from pendants to coins from memorable travels -- all with a wonderful hand-written quotes that started with "My cup runneth over.  Abundance is seen when shared."  Because I was volunteering at her table, and she knew that I had left my PhD in favor of slow science, she gave me an offering too: her tassle from her graduation! "It's PhD(RT) -- Peace, Having Done the Right Thing!" she explained. And not only that, she knows that I believe Poetry is the Science of the Soul, so she gifted me one of her favorite pens to encourage me to keep writing! What abundance I felt.

--Pancho on Sep 6, 2009

Explaining Karma Kitchen in Spanish

A few weeks ago, I had to prepare a final 15 minute presentation in Spanish on a topic of my choice. At first, I didn't find any topic that really excited me. So I decided to lay low and let it come to me. When I woke up on Thursday morning, it hit me, Karma Kitchen!!

As many of you know, it is already difficult enough at times to explain Karma Kitchen and gift enconmy in English, so explaining it in Spanish was a challenge. full story

--Trushna on Sep 1, 2009

The Gigantic Smile Card

Our theme last Sunday was Joy.  Guests answered "What makes you smile?" and Sachi colorfully choreographed a gigantic Smile Card collage which will be offered to a volunteer who was recently hospitalized.  Here is some of quotes people shared:

"hot chocolate on blustery day", "when someone asks me, 'what makes you smile?'", "a kiss on the cheek", "kids laughing", "Audrey Hepburn riding a scooter with Gregory Peck", "cool breeze on my face all night long", "tara watching over us in a corner", "scuba diving", "to see others gain confidence in themselves", "being unconventional and hand-gliding", "connection", "a good meal with Idrens", "meeting new people", "when someone gives me a compliment", "praying", "my 20-year-old sons knock-knock jokes", "labs (dog kind)", "unconditional love amongst brederin and sisterin", "good food", "making someone else smile", "look of love and loveliness", "when I see a friend I haven't seen in a long time", "when someone gives me a compliment", "friendship", "random talks with strangers", "a really funny joke", "hummingbirds", "babies laughing", "when someone says of-ten instead of often", "unintrerrupted horizons", "when someone makes me feel special", "sunshine", "happy, free animals", "breaking my expectations", "wow" ... and of course, the infamous: "when people do impressions of other people." 

Oh, and here one I just saw: "Joy: my 2-year-old running & jumping into my lap, beaming with joy, saying: "mama, mama, it's green!"  Then he showed me a leaf."

Thank you, all!

--Nipun on Aug 24, 2009

Miles of Smiles

"Though it sounds very cliché I think I changed a little bit from inside after my visit to Karma Kitchen Berkeley. I saw smiles all around… SMILE….. it just lights-up our hearts and spreads happiness like ripples in a pond isn’t it? There are so many things I want to say but words are not enough. I can only say Thank You. Thank you for the car seat for my daughter, thank you for picking me up and dropping me off, thank you for the amazing experience you have given me and most of all thank you for the love. I am both humbled and honored by the act of Karma Kitchen Berkeley. It was a euphoric moment for me ... Until next time Love, Laugh, Live. Love you all." --Arbinda, owner of the DC restaurant that runs Karma Kitchen

--Arbinda on Aug 22, 2009

The Memorable Check

A woman came up to me this afternoon to ask if she could please take home her "check." Said she wanted to show it to people as "proof" that a place like this exists.

--Pavi on Aug 21, 2009

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