When we choose to be in service to others, something magical happens, the noise of the mind quiets, the ego dissolves, and our hearts opens. This month we began a new seva project with PADV, Partnership Against Domestic Violence. We had the fantastic opportunity to share some Kashi love and light with women and children at a local shelter. We did not know what to expect. The paperwork we completed mentioned that the women may not talk or make eye contact, and we should avoid the desire to ask questions. As we entered the unmarked building through a secure door, the only thing we knew is that it was not about us, we were there to serve. Without hesitation, we jumped all in. We began to transform everyday household chores of preparing dinner, washing dishes, and sweeping the floor into offerings of love and selflessness. Without judgment, layers of life were wiped and scrubbed from the counters, the drawers, and even the blinds. We opened our hearts, searching for more ways to serve and lend helping hands to women courageously focused on safety for themselves and their children. We took turns holding the young infants giving the mamas a moment to use both hands. While dinner was cooking, we began an art project with the residents.
Kids and moms got into the art. There were magazine clippings, crayons, glue, glitter markers. Everyone taking their own creative liberties to color and collage their own creation all themed around dove-shaped cut-outs. The doves were perfect, a symbol of peace and freedom. Some of the moms were inspired to write on their collage’s words like “peace,” “hope,” and “never give up”. For some of the little ones, we tied strings to their decorated doves. They danced around with their birds as if they were flying around the room as birds themselves. We made crowns out of magazines and transformed some of the kids into royalty. It was beautiful to see imaginations come to life. After a quick art clean-up, dinner was served. It was a feast. Soup, salad, lasagna, ravioli, penne pasta, and garlic bread were all laid out in a full spread. Compliments to the chef. Bellies full and hearts overflowing. While we respected their privacy and may never know their story, we know their courage and strength are beyond measure. We bid our farewells with mutual expressions of gratitude and with the hope that we would meet again.