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Birthday Gifts That Keep on Giving

When his mom insisted on giving him a birthday gift, MJ tells her: "Mom, I'd love for you to volunteer at Karma Kitchen."  So yesterday, she did and was simply ecstatic after 7 hours of hard labor.   Incidentally, it was Praveen's birthday too and Elad led the whole restaurant to a collective song offering; a guest had commented that Praveen's Jimi Hendrix shirt was really cool, so Praveen borrowed another t-shirt, took off his (favorite) t-shirt and gave it to the unknown guest with a note: "On birthdays we usually receive gifts, but my birthday is more special because I get to give a small gift.  Please laundry before use." :)

Another volunteer was going through a rough patch and almost cancelled, but then emailed back after the shift: "You have no idea how much your smiles and love helped me today and gave me strength for the week and more."  Matthew, a young investment banker from the East Coast, wrote: "Is the positive dynamic and rapport among volunteers like this on most weeks?"  If we're all growing in generosity together, how can it not be? :)

Based on our theme, we asked guests to "Take a moment to share a moment."  Many wrote.

There are such rare moments that I live in the moment.  And so sad that is.  Because some of those are the most ecstatic of life.  Great friends, good people, great food, sunny day, how incredible is my life right now.

The whole restaurant erupting to sing "Happy Birthday" to an unknown volunteer--the act of sharing in another person's happiness--a true living in the moment "moment" for me to see.  Love the cheerful, happy and selfless environment of KK.  Will always come back for the joyous experience.

Letting go.  Allow the universe to fully realize the music of your soul--and allow yourself to bask in its acceptance.

Life is short, the world is big.  It is not enough to only focus on the "I".  With opportunity comes responsibility to help others and give back.  Sad is the man who has everything but gives nothing, for he is truly disconnected.

Doing what is right for people, like sharing a story in passing on the street with a stranger can change my day.  I love sharing an old experience like it's new.

Taking in the significance of every tiny miracle happening around us all the time.

I think quite often it becomes so easy for us to live caught up in the everyday fuzz of things, that we forget to just be content with what is.  Stopping to smell flowers, stopping to smile at a memory or another person passing down the street.  It seems if more people put off good energy in their everyday life, other people would soak it up and give it back to even more people.  I guess it's almost the same as generosity.  If someone does a small thing to make you happy, it will make you want to do good on others.

To be happy with whom and what I have in my life.

Living in the moment is living for other people.

Just another Sunday at Karma Kitchen, with 120 people we would now call friends. :)

--Random Observer :) on Mar 8, 2010

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