This past weekend I went for the 5th Annual Bhakti Immersion Weekend upstate. The weather was hot, there was no a/c, the creek was cool (i sat on a chair in the water to avoid crawfish #citygirl), the mood was pure bliss.
My teacher Dhanurdhara Swami put this retreat together 5 years ago with the intention to gather yogis to learn from each other and share our hearts. Here is a picture of us dancing from our hearts and being silly at the same time!
Have you heard of the word “seva”? Seva means service. Service done with joy out of love. Somehow I never loved the word “service”, but I really love when I engage myself in acts of service to others, especially when it helps and pleases others.
I want to share a secret. At this retreat, there is always some type of seva for everybody. Every meal ends with a few retreat goers helping to collect dishes, wash them, and clean the kitchen. Somehow, I think because I am a “presenter” at the retreat, almost every single year my name is not called. I have sat in my chair as the mealtime is ending listening to the lady in charge, Caroline, reading the names of who gets meal seva, hoping for so many ‘good’ reasons my name isn’t called. Reasons like: 1) I still need more time to eat 2) I need to run back to my room to change before the next program 3) I am in a great conversation that I do not want to end 4) I’m not good at cleaning 5) etc.
This year she did not call my name. At the last meal she said she was desperate for one more volunteer for seva because somebody had to leave early. I felt guilty the whole weekend so I raised my hand. I now had to (or got to!!) dry 100’s of super hot dishes coming out of the dishwasher. I got to it. Within seconds I was dripping sweat down my shirt, my legs were sweating, my face was getting its own spa treatment, my hands kept burning on the hot plates. But you know what, I was in bliss! People kept coming up and chatting with me, people that I didn’t have a chance to connect with during the weekend, people were helping me, people were laughing with me how hot it was, people were connecting, I was connecting! It was pure bliss. There was blissful chanting, blissful yoga, amazing morning meditations, great body work, wonderfully deep talks with Dhanurdhara Swami, hilarious and deep talks with Ragu, ridiculous and fun antics by us city girls in the creek trying to avoid all water species, but that dish drying seva topped it all!
Go do something you do not have to do today! Doors will open. Maybe even doors to your heart.
PS. This is 6am Meditation Class!