What an incredible week long journey of inner exploration, inspirations, and transformation with 29 participants FROM 9 different countries. Collectively, we are immersed in one overarching question: “Who do we have to BE in order to listen, see, do, and trust in a way that can create a sacred space for ourselves and for others around us?”. We explored various spectrums, from Grit to Surrender, from Inclusion to Boundary, Content to Context , Leadership to Laddership and so much more.
What transpired within just a week was incredible. The stories, connections, love, joy, and surprises that emerged were beyond what words could describe but the hearts undoubtedly experienced.
The honesty, simplicity and generosity with which everyone shared their reflections cultivated deep connections within themselves and also with other participants. By the closing call, we were in a sacred space where everyone felt safe to be their authentic self. There were smiles to point where cheeks started to hurt and tears were flowing with love. Unplanned and unintended, the process landed itself in healing, growth and inner transformation.
The internal ripples were already in motion when the participants shared their reflections on what they wished. The journey then continued by exploring various spectrums and profound questions.
Listening: Transcending through the three stages of cognitive listening as specified by Otto Schramer (downloading, factual and empathetic stages) onto the fourth stage - generative listening - that causes shifts within. Listening here is from a space of relaxation, full acceptance and no judgment.
Some mind blowing and heartwarming reflections were shared – from realizing the power of inner silence, suspension of judgment, feeling peaceful in sounds of the city, and feeling deep connections with no words.
One of the participants heartily shared “That words are not always required and in our own inner quiet lies all the insights and answers we need, if only we practiced listening to it."
Seeing: Have our voyages and life experiences give us new eyes...to “see the world in a grain of sand..and heaven in a wildflower”? How does context create meaning for the content?
Through the reading, reflecting, and soaking in the collective wisdom from participants, we discovered new lenses to view the extraordinary in ordinary, seeing beyond the obvious, seeing with a beginner’s mind, seeing without judgment, seeing without seeing, seeing in the soul and the heart, seeing through different contextual forces like culture, belief systems, education, religion and life experiences.
Doing: How can one give oneself to the delicate dance between Grit and Surrender? How does one put in maximum effort towards the process and then completely surrendering to what the outcome may be?
Participants beautifully reflected on their experiences with grit and surrender -
“It was an interesting experience to observe how, when one consciously decides to employ grit or surrender to something, the inner voices of doubt disappear or become more quiet..”
“Surrender requires faith and a sense or belief in a higher power or a benevolent universe. It requires defenselessness. The question of when surrender becomes shirking responsibility...that's what it's called when we don't try.”
Trusting: For our pod, trusting is very much about creating balance between giving and self care, and about freedom from fear, guilt, expectations and society norms. The intensive talk by Dr Gabor Mate opened doors for discussing boundaries for care-givers.
“In face of conflict, I reflect on the question - what is holding me back to love at this moment? I try to connect to the deepest roots of my intention and look straight at it, just that awareness guides my next steps”
“I began to see my parents as people with their own challenges, issues, and struggles. Compassion became possible. And liberation.”
Laddership: Bringing it all together with the focus on our being. The prompt directed a discussion between power-with versus power-over dynamics.
Some participants reflected on offering silence and speaking the language of love, getting closer to their teammates at work, resolving conflicts, letting go and who we are becoming in the process of all the doing.
The pod culminated in a most magical tie-up captured in the surprise video of the week’s themes. All `member`s practiced ‘generative listening’ with each other to ‘see beyond’ the appearances and social structures they came from, by ‘surrendering’ to the sacred space built through ‘trust’, in order to be able to ‘ladder’ through and beyond the sphere of the pod.
Two remarkable guest speakers - Sachi Maniar and Janessa Wilder interacted with the participants on what the term ‘sacred space’ means to them.
The mid-week call in our short week together was incredible. We had an amazing, fierce change-maker, Sachi Maniar, join us. Sachi is full director at Ashiyana, her dream children's home to nurture and support holistic solutions to children and youth that have no place to call home. Listening to Sachi’s work, experience and conversing with her was awe inspiring. She beautifully shared the importance of listening to the children who were being served. They don’t need a multi year plan; their needs can be as simple as changing the color of the wall to brighten up their day. Sachi beautifully shared her stories on how seeing, listening and being present leads to emergence. There were tears flowing listening to the suffering of the young ones, and Sachi shared her grounding practices, like meditation and yoga, that enables her to care and serve, but not carry.
We had a wonderful Speaker Janessa Gans Wilder for our closing call. Janessa , is an Ex CIA agent with a counterinsurgency career , who later on went on to establish Euphrates Institute which is engaged in supporting Peace builders worldwide. She, amidst the fighting in Iraq , could see “ a brother in the other “.
She narrated a beautiful incident about how her dog Nigel , who after 13 years being together with them, passed away last fortnight. She felt very sad at the passing away and had buried Nigel in an orchard in the backyard. While burying, it was the first time she noticed so many wonderful trees in the orchard and she felt a deep sense of gratitude for Nigel who would compost and provide nutrients to the trees and remain alive in her memory. It was almost as if she had found a Sacred Space in the Passing away of Nigel. Her Sharing was so touching , everybody , including Janessa , was in tears.
In a nutshell, we experience the intersection of Silicon intelligence, Carbon wisdom, and Eternal compassion in the Sacred Space pod. What is mystical is when a bunch of strangers from a different religion, communities, and geographies, who individually have their unique struggles, come together for authentic dialogues, hold each other in their goodness and create a space for collective inquiry, we all end up together cultivating a field of love. A space where everyone feels nurtured and connected to within themselves. A space where they find their answers for life in a very contextual way. A space where who is giving and who is receiving is difficult to conclude. Everyone ends deeply connecting with themselves and in the process with others. There is so much merit in imperfect people coming together. :) Instead of looking at Individual perfection, we found value in Human connection and the ripples continue...
The Volunteer Crew
If you'd like to join a similar circle, please explore upcoming pods.