Nipun Mehta is the founder of Service Space, an incubator for generosity projects. He lives a radically generous life dedicated completely to service. Service Space is a volunteer driven ecosystem that leverages technology to encourage everyday people around the world to do small acts of service. Their projects range from a daily positive news service, to an acts-of-kindness portal, to a gift-economy restaurant. Their work has been the inspiration behind many ‘labour-of-love’ projects around the world, including The Goodwill Tribe.
We were so extremely happy to have him here in Dubai with us and organized a Kindness Retreat, facilitated by him, for the community. 22 people, most of them strangers, and a cute little grey cat gathered together with the intention of deepening their capacity for kindness, in the serene space at House of Om.
We were amazed by the intentions that brought everyone together and are so grateful for what emerged. Vijayalakshmi Aunty was honouring her decision to do more ‘right now’ and be a kinder version of herself. Neelam Aunty came all the way from Ras Al Khaimah (a journey she repeated for all 3 days of Nipun’s visit to Dubai). Elena who has just moved to Dubai from Hong Kong barely knew anything about the retreat but turned up anyways because her heart had guided her to it. Douma and Natalie stepped out of their comfort zones and reached out to each other to travel together all the way from Abu Dhabi just for the retreat. Yoga and his gentle wife Dona are service heroes who host yoga classes as a gift to the community every weekend. Their curiosity drew them to the retreat. Vahid and Meet are both just visiting Dubai and still chose to spend an evening pushing the edges of their kindness comfort zones. Varunya was soooo excited and her energy filled the room as she shared her joy at being a part of the retreat. Elham with her glowing persona shared a moving story of a woman in India who has dedicated her life to service. This woman is really working at the edges of what is comfortable and changing lives while she’s at it and Elham was moved to dig a little deeper into herself. Natasha, an inspiring warrior of love, elevated our circle with a beautiful opening meditation and spread smiles with stories of her amazing 3-year old daughter (and little warrior of love), Aria. Pranav inspired us with his commitment to really listen, be open and push all the edges as he designs his path for his life. We were so grateful for the presence of Sandhya and Prakash who have been instrumental in introducing Service Space to the community through the first Awakin Circles in Dubai. Nazil lit up the space with his whole hearted laughter and story of kindness with the cab driver. Vikita, always so radiant, added so much to the circle with her gift of being able to beautifully articulate her thoughts. Reema’s genuine and simple stories of kindness reminded us of how natural kindness is to us human beings. Jubi, who is like sunshine, revealed her pure and authentic self through her beautiful shares. Kristin is inspiringly committed to pushing at all her edges and stepping completely out of her comfort zone. She closed our first circle of sharing perfectly by extracting and expressing the common themes that had emerged.
Nipun then had our attention captured with his stories of radical generosity by friends from around the world. What did it mean to be vulnerable in generosity? What is our edge of kindness? How can we push out of our kindness comfort zones? These are a few of the questions that came up. We then were divided into smaller groups, to connect deeply with each other and dive into these questions together. Most groups stepped out into the garden and it was an amazing sight to watch all of these people sharing straight from their heart.
We then came back to the circle and people from each group shared what had come up. And wow! such powerful and priceless reflections. Can we define our own edge of generosity or do we need to factor in others like our family, friends, community? How can we step up the collective kindness in a place? How can we be like nature, so kind and compassionate without any thought? How can we hold space for others to be themselves? How can we be generous even when it makes us feel very vulnerable? It was really amazing to witness the wisdom that can arise from a collective circle of sharing.
Nipun Bhaiya then closed with a powerful story of his dear friend Pancho that left many of us close to tears. We then wrapped each other in a big group hug and closed with the inspiring video ‘Being Kind’ by generosity superhero Nimo Patel. We continued to share beautiful conversation over dinner and how we wished we didn’t have to leave!
It was amazing to be among a community of people who are so deeply committed to serving others, and lighting up this world with the goodness of their hearts.