Saturday, April 2, 2011

Peddling cupcakes, giving away love

There's so much bad news about the world available to us all the time -- the miserable crap that people do unto each other, other creatures, the planet; natural disasters; unnatural disasters like bombing Libya, just for example. When really big bad things happen, like earthquakes and tsunamis and nuclear fall-out, it's so easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer badness of it, the magnitude of the problem, to feel helpless, small, even isolated, in the face of it.

We have an urge to help, to do something, something more than texting a donation or mailing a check.  The hands want to get involved.

Thanks to the creative vision of Samin Nosrat, hundreds, thousands, of us across the country had a chance to involve the hands through the Bakesale for Japan, held today, coast-to-coast.  It was a profoundly moving experience from beginning to end, and I'm sitting here, filled to the brim with happiness, so grateful for this day.

* * * * * 

If you've been reading me or hanging around me lately, then you know that March was a supremely shitty month.  We lost our beloved Jasper precipitously on March 16th and have been deeply, deeply grieving him since then.  Last Sunday Joe was in a serious accident that landed him in the ER and then hospital for three days with four broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a broken scapula, and punctured lung.  It has been intense to say the least.  

Remember how the force of the earthquake in Japan on March 13th shifted the earth's axis?  That's a bit how I've been feeling lately, too.  Like the ground isn't where it used to be.

And with all that, I've been wanting to pull back from things.  I spent hours the Tuesday after Jasper's passing trying to figure out how to withdraw from Herpetology, for example.  I've been having trouble, a lot of trouble, focusing at work, even though it's a new job and I love it. There have been many occasions when I haven't gone out or gone to class, in favor of being home staring at Jassie's pillow or staring at birds.  

But when I heard about the Bakesale, I had no hesitation.  This was something I wanted to help with, if only to be able to work with Samin, who is one of those amazing people who makes things happen.  

* * * * *

The Bakesale came together very fast.  From a handful of locations in SF and the East Bay, it exploded across the country.  I was delighted this morning to awaken to pictures my sister was posting from her shift at the Bakesale in Brooklyn.  I loved feeling a part of something happening nationwide, an outpouring of caring from our combined yoga and foodie kulas, drawing in lots and lots of new people along the way.

There's something just so basic about a Bakesale, right?  It's such a great, familiar grassroots way to address a problem, to come together in community to raise money.  Everybody knows how to do this.  It speaks so appropriately to our need to involve the hands and to get involved with each other, to connect with each other through action.  It's an amazing yoga, in so many ways. 

I loved my role for our Bakesale.  I loved promoting it via Facebook and postings on other websites.  I loved emailing people and working to secure donations.  I loved meeting our hosts at Marin Country Mart, who were so generous with resources and marketing and such a big part of our success today.  I loved being there this morning early, and greeting our crew, each person bringing such amazing energy and heart to the task.  And so many bringing such gorgeous treats baked for the occasion.

I got to see old friends and current friends.  I got to make new friends.  I got to be a part of and observe dozens and dozens of beautiful interactions as we "sold" cookies or bread, the way people's faces would light up, how obviously good they felt doing something for others even while doing something for themselves.

* * * * *

I am reminded, naturally, of something that Douglas said last weekend, that our yoga is about getting what we want while serving the greater good.  Over and over again I watched the wheels turning in people's minds today, the expressions on their faces, when they realized that they weren't buying the bag of cookies or lemon bars or almond cake.  They were being invited, instead, to have the bag of cookies or lemon bars or almond cake and give the contribution that they could to the worthy cause of Japan relief.  The way this transformed the interaction over and over again was a beautiful thing to watch.  And the money came pouring in.

Because essentially we weren't peddling cupcakes, we were giving away love.  And they were giving it back.

It might sound crazy, but honestly, that's how it felt.  

And so I've been sitting here, savoring the sweetness of the day, and considering how the urge to philanthropy, to helping others, is deeply self-serving and what a good thing that is.  It feels good to do for others.  It feels good.

* * * * *

After a very full day, I feel good.  Really good.  I'm happy to have been part of something so simple and lovely, to have done my part to make it happen, to help create this opportunity for giving.  And to receive the bounty right back, big boomerang of love.

Thank you, Samin.  You did all our hearts so much good.  In Japan and here, we are grateful for what you created today, for connecting us back up, cookie to cookie, hand to hand.


1 comment:

Janna said...

Thank you for sharing your love and light and insights. Sounds like such a beautiful day, and so glad I could contribute in some small way. <3