On Tue May 24, Manhattan meditation center held an exceptional workshop on ” Respect” for it’s youth. Respect is acknowledgement of another person, regardless of their status in society, income, accomplishments, age, ethnic background, etc. When there is respect for everyone, there is understanding of one’s inner self and others. There is a greater appreciation for who we are and acceptance comes naturally because there is true love for one and other. These are some of the ingredients that the participants shared with one another as they introduced themselves.
During the workshop, everyone joined a group of three to five to EXPLORE what “Respect” means to them. In the process of exploration, everyone shared their personal stories of respect; when it is a strength and when it is a weakness. When situations become challenging, how does one give respect? It’s not always easy to give respect during pressing situations because we sometimes lack the understanding and compassion to see it from the eyes of the other person. At times, situations require tremendous tolerance and non-judgement to continue to give respect.
As the group EXPRESSED their personal stories and how they would like to be respected by family, friend, and colleague. It became clear that many of the ingredients that they shared as per ice-break were essential for them to receive respect. Each individual was presented with a random object to present a collective story of the group and link the objects to each other, whether it be metaphorically or literally. For example, A coaster with mirrors was no longer just a coaster, but a mirror of reflection. A USB cable to recharge cell phone became a link to connect to higher power to recharge’s one’s own batteries to be able to give self-respect to one self and than to others. The EXCHANGE of stories was full of creativity and originality that made each and every person shine lightheartedly.
The program was concluded with a video meditation, “Reflection on Respect”. The silence in the room filled the stillness with pure love and respect for the journey that they had all taken in a short two hours. There was a transformation that had occurred through the exchange of individual stories that touched each heart. It was a beautiful workshop full of laughter, singing, and melodious saxophone that made it a treat for all ears.
We followed the spotlight values guides from the websites.
It was a nice evening on which we shared our thoughts on the subject of love, had some fun and laughter and showed our creative talents by decorating our hands with symbols, words and drawings.
The evening ended with Brahma Bhojan and nice chit chats.
Although we were only a small group it was just right for the first time.
Spotlight Values with the help of the Pace University Resident Advisor staff brought the OM Café to the Clark Residence Lounge on April 20th 2011. After enjoying some delicious pasta salad and salsa graciously prepared by our guests we dimmed the lights and students settled in for the Spotlight Values presentation. As a group we did a warm up to get to know each other a bit better and understand what important values each of us recognize within ourselves. We broke into small groups to explore the value of courage and what it truly means to be courageous. My group discussed the ideas of standing up for what you believe in even if it is unpopular and doing things that while they may seem scary at the moment will ultimately help you learn and grow. A few people shared some inspiring stories of when they showed courage in the face of great obstacles and personal challenges. The OM Café also provided entertainment with two talented artists singing a Whitney Houston song that dealt with having courage when times are tough. We ended the event by creating Haikus that dealt with our feelings on the value of courage and enjoyed some relaxing guided reflection. In the end everyone left feeling relaxed, inspired and for some who won raffle prizes quite lucky!
On Thursday, April 7th, we hosted an Om Express for teens at the Jan Platt public library. We explored the practical courage that Gandhi brought into his actions and talked about the roots of courage, where it begins and what feeds the value. The teens made a natural connection between courage and the issues and values we hold close to our hearts. We then created collage pieces. We cut out images that represented courage for us and wrote in the things we could do to amplify personal courage around the images.
On Sunday, April 17th, we hosted an Om Cafe on courage at the South Tampa Meditation. Though there were only 8 of us, the conversation was rich and accented with coffee, tea and delicious cupcakes. We shared stories of times when we had used courage and explored the connection between courage and its latin root “cor” which means the seat of feelings. We then created a story about courage together using found objects. Each one of us also took an object from a bag and explored what that particular object said about the steps we could take in our own life to develop more courage. Then we wrapped up the evening with a meditation.
A beautiful evening filled with ease, deep sharing, lightness and so much Love!
Here is a sharing of a participant:
“Om Cafe provided the auspicious atmosphere to explore Love, express in a creative way this innermost feeling, and finally share it with others. It enabled me to discover that an unlimited source of Love lies deep within – as opposed to always looking for it externally. I am thankful to all the special souls with whom I had the chance to interact. They enabled me to touch and discover again this precious source of Love inside myself.” Anouk Lemieux, Om Café Feb. 2011
On 13 March 2011, we had a half day youth gathering at Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. About 25 youths were present.
Om Cafe was conducted as one of the session, with the theme Purity.
The first half of the session, youths were posted few questions where they were asked to explore among their group members of 5-6 while they were served with drinks and snacks.
The second half of the session, the youths were given task to express their thoughts on purity through a collage. They then exchanged and shared their creations with the other group members.
Few youths shared that this was their first experience of a cafe style workshop, and it made them feel relaxed.
Spotlight Values team with the Champlain Emergent Media Center students at Peace Village Learning and Retreat Center, NYSpotlight Values : March 12, 2011 1:03 pm : Events
The Game Retreat:
On the weekend of January 21st in Peace Village, 11 young adults from the Spotlight Values team met with 9 students from the Champlain Emergent Media Center to explore the possibility of creating a video game for teens and young adults that would lead them into a spiritual and practical experience of values.
On Friday evening, the SV team led them through an “Om Café” to paint a picture of the exploration that happens with values at any Spotlight Values event. Over coffee and chai, we had conversations about the depths of the value of love and did an art activity in which we created hand murals filled with images and symbols connected with our personal experience of the value. The ideas that emerged were inspiring, deep and provocative.
The following morning, the students took us step by step us through the creative animation process of designing a video game. In the afternoon, Ann De Marle , the director of the Emergent Media Center, divided us into groups that were mixed with SV team members and media students . She launched a productive brainstorm session that seeded some wonderful and creative ideas.
Many of the ideas had common elements. We all seem to want the game to have an emotional feeling of mystery, curiosity and a spirit of exploration in which the player enters into various worlds and/or rooms where they are invited to explore values through the choices they make. The game world would then bring to life the outcome of those choices.. One of the games we explored creating was called “Light”. The player would enter at the base of a golden staircase. Then they would ascend those stairs and see a circle of four doors glowing, each with a different color light. In the center of the room would be a dim crystal. Each door they would enter into would represent a different value and invite them to make choices to use that value in a creative way. When they master the levels of that world, they will leave it and find that the crystal in the center of the room has become more beautiful. After exploring each door, their crystal and the beauty of its light would depend upon the choices they made throughout the game. We spoke about he possibility of having a wise old woman as the guide that comes in and out to give them hints as they need it. There would also be the option in the game to do a 5-10 second meditation if they are confused about what to do next. This meditative pause would enable them to access hints and clues to move forward.
At the end of the game, they would be able to email the crystal they created to peers and they would receive a blessing from the old wise woman. There were many other great ideas and several different directions this could go in, but that just paints a picture of what was emerging in the groups.
Our vision is to continue to meet together to create a game that would bring values to life in a fun and exploratory way. We are now waiting on them to give us feedback about next steps. What we can all say for sure is that something magical happened between us all.
“I had an opportunity to share for 12 minutes on TV interview during my visit to Guyana in January 2011. This is a prerecorded show allocated towards Meditation on National TV every Friday in Guyana. I took this chance to spread the word about Spotlight Values. I introduced Spotlight Values and the Om Cafes happening around the world and how young people are taking interest in participating. Then i was asked to speak on value of non-violence as there is greater need for young people in the country who are affected by violence etc. Also briefly mentioned that Spotlight Values is heading towards phase 2 and requested everyone to participate in choosing the top 5 values. This was the first time that Guyana was introduced to the project and I hope to get some activity to happen soon in future.” – Parul, New York.