Applicants from 33 countries blessed the field with their intention. 3504 pages of content came alive with context. 5768 comments and 10423 hearts. Wow. Thank you for holding such a sacred field with the curriculum, reflections, (200!) quote-cards, email responses and more.
Alumni Pod Group already filled with touching posts, Pod Rooms are buzzing, and people are sending in profound feedback with ripples that will continue for a while.
Argiris shared this paragraph in his feedback, that I felt was emblematic of the whole experience:
As I decided to open my heart everything landed well. This experience made me remember through the content, helped me align different energies inside me through the context, served me to capture many of my asynchronous flowing thoughts through reflections, and fed and informed through emerging emotions, my actioning system, by holding space in the realm of possibilities. I think that was a Phd in Compassion from an invisible university, with physical and non physical teachers and loving beings of light as podmates. One thing what "stood out" from me is my heart. I think its center moved to the field in the space of Oneness.
As Valerie shared in her closing remarks on the call, and as we all genuinely feel, it is in giving that we receive. As the last sentence of our last prompt read -- the reward of service is more service, because -- "I acted and behold, service was joy."
Few days ago, a plumber came over to our house to do some repairs. He was quite old, but had a quiet kind of integrity. Slow but diligent. Honest. He charged by the hour, but didn't round us his minutes. His wife sat in the car for the entire 2 hours, in the driveway -- I sense they've had a beautiful life together. Something about his spirit touched me deeply. As I paid him at the end, my heart wanted to give him a lot more -- but my wife warns me of my over-generous ways, "People can't always relate to your generosity. Holding yourself back is skilful at times." So I thanked him, and as he left, I sat on the bench in our hallway, and just wished him well. What Sister Lucy might call prayer. Tears streamed down my eyes for most part of the next 30 minutes.
As Sapolsky taught us, if an act of violence is neurochemically affected by many prior generations, certainly an act of compassion is the same way. I'm sure my service in this pod influenced that sacred connection.
Then, yesterday, after our pod completed, I went out to pick up some dinner from a local Thai place. As I was coming out, I saw this overweight fellow struggling to bend down and rest his hands on the trash can with his palms cupping his chin. It took him a slow 45 seconds to muster the strength to put on his mask. His face had a serious kind of infection, and he couldn't stand straight either. It seemed like he was looking through trash in hopes of finding something. It just broke my heart. I've been fortunate in life, that I've always had some direct contact with external human suffering -- it reminds me that all stories of duality have the same tragic ending, no matter how alluring it seems in a particular manifestation. Yet, it still never fails to crack my heart open. I cannot look the other way, without at least making an offering, no matter how subtle it might be.
So I did share a blessing here too. Surprisingly no one else was around. I sat in my car, and as I traversed my internal spectrums, :) I decided to open up my wallet and give him the biggest bill I had. Incidentally, my mom had given me some twenties few days ago, so I held her blessing, went up to the man and said, "I think this is yours." At first, I'm not sure if he understood. Anyhow, he couldn't speak much in his condition. But I walked off. As I was driving off, he hobbled away from the trash can with his small steps, and towing his few belongings, and looked at me from a distance with eyes that blessed.
I meant what I said, though. "I think this is yours." I felt like I was holding it for him temporarily. Sometimes I feel that way about my entire existence.
Perhaps all these small acts are connected to our service together over the last month. As our thread in the early days of the pod reminded us, thank you for saying yes to this:
"Trick is to get the job description just right-- WANTED: people who are willing to put in a lot of labor, receive zero salary, work invisibly, give away all the credit to others, and operate with a momentary team that will soon dissolve itself."
With a grateful heart, I offer a "Khang, Chaz and Claudia" and with an addition of Linh/Jung :), and a silent prayer that the embers of compassion continue to burn bright in you.
If you'd like to join a similar circle, please explore upcoming pods.