Mean Ol’ World

Don’t mistake activity with achievement-

The importance of selfless service can be found deeply rooted in our local communities.

My heart has been wanting to share my dedication to selfless service for some time now. Recent world events, a few long bike rides and the time I spent attending the Citizens Academy for Omaha’s Future has allowed me to collect my thoughts to present to you here. I have so much to share with you, I have finally decided that now is the time to pour my heart out. There still are some lingering thoughts that trouble me: Is it truly possible to give to others without expecting anything in return? To cast my pride and ego to the side? And of course, yesterdays post addressing compassion.

Recent world events in Nepal and locally have got me thinking about the “behind the scenes” act of charity. I think we can all agree that on its face, charitable giving is fairly noncontroversial. Agree?!? Someone is in need, we sense their pain, and we lend a helping hand in return. Over the years, we have developed the ability to respond to subtle cues in others, not only intuitively, but emotionally. We are literally tuned to feel empathy, to experience someone else’s feelings as our own. Our capacity for empathy is so deeply ingrained in our being, that we respond not just to actual suffering of living beings but to representations of suffering as well. Remember in the Star Wars movie when Luke Skywalker had his hand cut off? Old Yeller anyone?!?

Charity, empathy and harmony are in our genes. And yet charitable action, as personal habit, has some dubious, counterproductive features. First, our charitable impulse tends to be reactive, not proactive – The homeless man on the street and the charitable begging of Omaha Gives. We are “all-stars” when responding to the disaster that recently happened, not at preparing for the one yet to happen. How many of those who donated recently to Nepal’s victims would have contributed similarly to an effort to bring their antiquated infrastructure up to code years before the quakes ever happened?

Because we depend on raw emotion to spur us to give, our giving is susceptible to the many distortions that beset perception at hand. Every second of every day around the world, there are countless people in need, hungry and wounded and homeless. Just like those in Nepal, here in Omaha and a community near you. They are quite frankly, non-events; tedious and boring, and boredom does not elicit the empathy required to motivate charitable giving.

While charitable giving will always be necessary, I argue that, morally, if the life of a devastated family in Nepal is really as worthy as the life of a family in Omaha, Nebraska, then that life should not depend on whether someone in West Omaha rolled out of bed in a charitable mood; should not depend on the viral appeal of the Omaha Gives media blitz. Should not depend on whether that family’s suffering has been successfully bundled into a sufficiently sexy narrative about the latest “spectacular” disaster on another continent.

Daily Meditation:

Instead of patting ourselves with compassion and kindness on our backs, as we click “donate now” for the poor people in Nepal, we should ask real questions about our own individual process of compassion, and whether better ways exist to harness it for genuine, love soaked good. Through further soul-searching, I found that you must be in a selfless frame of mind before engaging in selfless service, or your efforts may be tainted and off-putting.

CultFit Giving


Where (it) All Starts

When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points-

Seva, (service) has come to define my true self while walking along this spiritual path “thing“. Embracing Seva allowed me to tap into my personal growth and creativity, or lack there of at certain times – I can’t possibly be the only person in the world who forgets their right from their left?!?.

During each step of my journey, I believe I need to be sharing in some shape or form, whether it’s with a close friend in need of comfort, writing – blogging or the willingness to help a complete stranger. I sincerely believe it’s important that we take notice of the tiniest actions in our lives, realizing that we are all in this world – together. Life is not about acquiring as many “things” as we can  Life is about actively contributing to the whole thing.

This thing being Gaia.

Daily Meditation:

When we take time to give openly, to listen with an open heart, to love equally, to heal kindly, to teach passionately, to be compassionate in daily life? We are expressing mindful love through Seva. That’s about as simple as it gets folks.

Take care and be well!

CultFit Connected


My Spirit Flies to You

Incredible nervous state, trepidation beyond words: to be this much in love is to be sick (and I love to be sick)-

This act was not necessarily random, although it was based on kindness and service

 I was first initially baffled, and then pleasantly surprised to find my Yoga students coming to class earlier and earlier. Some arrive at class 40 minutes early … which, of course, forces me to arrive even earlier to prepare the studio for them. I couldn’t figure out why at first, but then I saw that they liked to check in with each other before class, and as they took off their shoes at the door and hung up their coats, I noticed such a sense of relief in a few as they turned off their cell phones and smart phones — it was a noticeable sense of a technology burden being lifted from their shoulders. Their Yoga practice — in the form of Pratyahara — begins as soon as they touch that “OFF” button. Realizing that made me much happier to come to the studio even earlier to be ready for their arrivals!”

Baseball, Yoga, Life … (and me)

When we act with mindful love? We release the true spirit of those we interact with on a daily basis. Our action(s) and reaction(s) –aka the Law of Karma- begin and end, with how we mindfully care and nurture our own spirit first, and then through embracing Seva, we can bring forth the best in all whom we interact with.

Daily Meditation:

Love – Is feeding and serving others with compassion, kindness and a deep and abiding sense of giving. Through love and Seva, lies true realization.

CultFit Seva