I just returned from my Vipassana course, and this time, I was a server. For those of you unfamiliar with Vipassana, it is a meditation technique taught over ten days. I have been doing it for decades, and it continues to change my life. This time, I was serving on the course, as in serving the meditators. I had sat two courses in the last two years, so the desire to serve was so strong that I had to serve. 

I arrived at the centre at 7:50 AM, tired from lack of sleep and a hectic work schedule. The minute I walked into the centre, my body relaxed—the vibrations were different. The course did not start until noon, so one of the volunteers suggested that I get some sleep, for which I am so grateful. 

The universe only gives you what you can handle. So trust that whatever is happening to you is exactly what you need.

One of the volunteer positions I wanted to avoid was kitchen manager because I was tired of managing people. That is what I do at my day job, and I did not want to do it again in my service. And as you can imagine, that was the role I got. They asked me if I would be interested in the role, and I wanted to say no but knew that I wouldn’t be able to live with it as everybody else was a first-time server and needed more experience.

The role of the kitchen manager is to ensure that food is on the table for the students three times a day and that all kitchen tasks are done. If you think about it – it is pretty cool. A group of seven to ten strangers get together one evening, and the next day, they start cooking food for sixty people for the next ten days in a commercial-grade kitchen. As a kitchen manager, I assign tasks, make sure obstacles are removed, plan for contingencies, understand people and match them with the task or work with them – in short, it is people and project management. There are conflicts and issues in people management. Still, it is all done in a meditative atmosphere where we practice meditation, which is very helpful. This time, I was doing exactly what I was doing at work but on a much smaller scale. The same problem(s) and tasks but at a smaller scale and in the Vipassana atmosphere. 

When the heart/ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has found.

This may be the Universe’s way of saying I cannot turn away from managing people. Don’t get me wrong—I love bossing people around and telling them what to do. But recently, it has been feeling a bit too much—some days, I just want to show up and be told what to do. That is why I wanted to be the course’s salad or dining hall manager. I also know that the Universe works in mysterious ways, and since I just got back today, the lessons that my body/soul has absorbed have not been realized yet – but they are there. 

This blog feels like a journal entry—it is what it is. What I am realizing is that the Universe does not give us more than we can handle. Sometimes, we may not think we are ready for it or can do justice to it, but these are the times when we push ourselves and level up. The food was on the table every meal—sometimes fifteen minutes before. All servers got a day off, which rarely happens. We all laughed a lot and handled tensions together. I don’t feel unique or extraordinary when I say that because I showed up and was myself. Maybe that’s why this blog: I am trying to figure out what I did apart from showing up and not wanting to do the job I did. I am trying to find evidence that something extraordinary happened – when it all feels so typical. 

Sometimes, you have to live the questions until they turn into answers. What unanswered questions are you living with now?

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