Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Circle is Growing :)

I was about to enter the hall to facilitate a session named as "Pyar se Parivar" (Family of Love) with Divas but the sea of footwears (chappals) outside the hall intrigued me. I wasn't aware of exact number of people sitting in a large circle inside the Satyagraha Hall of Gandhi Darshan and thus began my counting. There were 129 pair of footwears. The family of love has grown, this was the largest number of people Youth Alliance family has ever hosted in one program, in one circle. I am talking of Change Festival, the two day residential program that has strengthened our belief in love, trust, surrender & compassion. 

Change Festival with its motto to celebrate both people & ideas had a deep focus on transformative enterprise & we prepared with a guiding question, how will my work change me from inside? The two days were of complete surrender in trust. The team worked hard to make every little thing special, nearly all the things used in the program were handmade from namecards to mementos to decoration material :) It was heartening to see the team put their heart and soul in every little things they were doing.

Out of 110 participants, 26 shared their idea. The ideas varied on issues ranging from Education to Sports Comics to Employment for Visually Impaired etc. We had to work on 10 of them to learn the art of refining an idea keeping transformation at core. All of them collectively chose 10 of them and effortlessly all other joined the chosen ideas to form 10 teams. During our planning we were thinking this transition from 26 ideas to 10 teams(of around 10 member each) would be difficult but it so happened that everyone was happy in their teams. In the final closing circle on Day 2, the final presentations were made and everyone came forward to offer their gifts to these 10 ideas. We felt happy that everyone in the circle could see that finance is not the only form of capital support and there were multiple form of capitals that were offered to each team.

It was a leap of faith for us both in terms of number of participants in the program and also that we were hosting this on Gift EconomyShashank shared with us that GIFT is nothing but Giving in Full Trust and that set the tone for us. We promised ourselves to host a space for 120 people in full trust without any participation fees & they can pay it forward whatever they are moved to. At the night of Day 1 when participants were engrossed in refining their ideas, I was sitting with my team members and then we shared that it is not the outcome of 3-4 months of hardwork but it's years that have gone behind building this ecosystem. Two days were enriched with the gifts of Ravi BhaiyaDeven Bhai, Vivek Bhai, Anshu Bhaiya, entire Moved By Love community and several other mentors who were part of it to mentor the teams. For us it was such a wonderful feeling to see around 15 mentors who stayed with us for two days to support the participants in refining their ideas.

A day before CF we were holding our review circle and Jagdish bhaiya who is the caretaker at Gandhi Darshan was around. We asked him to join us, he sat with us throughout our sharing, later he said,"Yahan itne log aate hain, per aap logon jaisa pyar nhi dekha maine." (Many people come here but I have not seen such love in people.) He had set the right tone for us. GSDS is an amazing place and one of the few places where things were ready before time :)

All in all, it was a humbling experience where everyone came together in a circle to make it a reality. It was a wonderful confluence of multiple form of capital, participants from across the country enriched it with the diversity, GSDS offered us the space, Youth Time Movement supported us financially, mentors shared their experience, team offered their labor of love, the rain made the two days pleasant. 

It was in true form a community build with love, trust and collaboration. Now, all we need to do is make it stronger one person at a time, one heart at a time :)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

To love, is to SERVE :)

Today, I went to bank to withdraw some money for Change Festival, only to know that banks are closed on every 1st April and then closed on 2nd for Mahavir Jayanti, 3rd for Good Friday. All in all bank will be closed for next three days and 3rd, 4th April is our much awaited Change Festival. Thinking of people from whom I would borrow some money for the event, I prepared a list in my head.

I entered the office & shared this with our team (mostly comprising of college students) that has been working relentlessly for the upcoming festival. I shared the bank scenario and said that we need to crowd source a significant amount for next three days. In next one minute what happened moved me completely and strengthened my belief in power of collaborative community. The team offered to pool in a huge amount for next three days, good enough to meet urgent requirements. It was a powerful moment for everyone, each one of us was happy seeing the ownership in the team. This is true interdependence :)

This is one such incident in the series of such things that have been happening at Youth Alliance office. Each one has been trying to make it as special as possible. Often with the race of time we prefer things that are ready-made but this team has been working day and night to make every little thing from the quotes, to gifts, to backdrop everything has been made with love, trust and compassion. It has been a truly collective effort, where each one has risen to the occasion and given her or his best. 

There have been times over last couple of weeks when I have stopped one of them and said, "Isn't this too much of work for you? Can you do this alone? Start only if you can complete it?" and the reply has been,"Bhaiya, it will done! Don't worry. I will do it at home."

I feel proud to be part of an organization rather team that is so special. This is a true community, where everyone brings their gifts together, share them with each other and surrenders in trust :) The artist takes care of art and gives space to others for expressing; the critical thinker asks the right questions and surrenders in trust; the (main)host makes sure that everyone has space to do what they want to do; the believer takes care that everyone understands the true meaning of gift economy/ multiple form of capital and maintains the ethos; the writer makes sure that every word is written with love; the invisible is busy arranging the logistics and running across the city to make sure that everyone's stay is blessed, the list goes on...

This is like a dream come true for all of us. Now, it is just a day away :) Youth Alliance is going to host its largest gathering ever. We all can feel butterflies in our stomach, I trust the festival will be blissful but I am sure that the process has brought us closer to each other and this is what we all aspire :)

To love, is to SERVE and we have loved :)