Today I offer a suggestion for you to open your heart in service. Practice Karma Yoga, also known as Seva, meaning selfless service, by giving something back to your community. This can come in the form of a beach clean-up, volunteering at a local school or community center, donating clothing to a women’s resource center, or donating your time in the form of a class or lesson that showcases one of your talents (like a free yoga class at a shelter or a song-writing workshop at a brain injury rehab center).
“If we must reap what we sow, let us sow seeds of a sweet and tasty fruit.” –NISCHALA JOY DEVI
Over the years, my partner has taught me the theory of reciprocity, which I strongly believe in—what you give to the universe is given back in unexpected ways. However, our giving comes with a quality and energy. If we have hopes of receiving and put out a vibration of wanting, whether that comes in the form of connections, praise, or anything in return, then the giving becomes contaminated. The key to reciprocity and heart felt service, or Seva, is not expecting or desiring anything in return. The more you give, the more comes to you, but rarely in the same way it was given.
“When we feel nurtured, it is easy to nurture others.” –NISCHALA JOY DEVI
“Always give from the overflow of your well, not from its depth.” –SUFI SAYING
During this season of giving, remember to listen to your own body. We cannot give open-heartedly if we are depleted. Being selfish is the first step in being selfless. Everything channels back to caring for ourselves first. We must nurture and show compassion for ourselves in order to do this for others. The first step, and often the most difficult, is opening our hearts to our own beings.
“When you perform an action, any action, offer all results to the highest good, and know that the deed will reverberate throughout your life. When you keep your heart in service, you can trust that all your needs will be cared for.” –NISCHALA JOY DEVI
If you can’t preform an actual Seva practice today, then carve out some time to set an intention and make a plan for a service project you would like to put into action. As I continue to develop my own regular Seva practice, I am working on infusing every action with awareness and gratitude.
May everything we do, even our work, be with an open heart and in service.
Writing Prompt: Experience Seva as an open-hearted in-the-moment experience. Notice if the work that you do in giving to others is depleting or fulfilling. Write for 10 minutes describing your experience. Include any take-aways or how you might change your approach to giving.