Awakin Calls » Ashima Goyal on May 11, 2019

Bloom Where You Are Planted

What is the difference between pursuing inspiration versus "blooming where you are planted"?  Can you recall a time when you have discovered incredible value right in front of you, when you didn't see it before?  To what extent do you draw inspiration from further distances, and to what extent do you simply nurture what's in front of you? Share Your Reflection »


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Call with Ashima Goyal

May 11, 2019, 9:00AM PST


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Ashima Goyal is an "ordinary" heroine who channels her talents and wide-ranging training to serve extra-ordinarily in small and large ways. A writer, an editor, a socio-emotional learning educator, an artist, a community-builder (and visionary behind Romania's first Karma Kitchen), a cook (and food blogger!), and a spirited volunteer, her service has spanned from online space-holding, to hands-on direct disaster aid in grassroots villages after serious floods in Uttarakhand, to transformative 'hands, head, heart' retreats. As an engineer, and later as a social policy graduate, Ashima had the idea to change the world. "Luckily," she says, "I came in contact with people who helped me see that all I can do is change myself." For the See full.

Ashima Goyal is an "ordinary" heroine who channels her talents and wide-ranging training to serve extra-ordinarily in small and large ways.

A writer, an editor, a socio-emotional learning educator, an artist, a community-builder (and visionary behind Romania's first Karma Kitchen), a cook (and food blogger!), and a spirited volunteer, her service has spanned from online space-holding, to hands-on direct disaster aid in grassroots villages after serious floods in Uttarakhand, to transformative 'hands, head, heart' retreats.

As an engineer, and later as a social policy graduate, Ashima had the idea to change the world.

"Luckily," she says, "I came in contact with people who helped me see that all I can do is change myself." For the past 7 years, all her work has been towards transforming her environment by first transforming herself through small acts of service -- from writing letters to strangers, leaving bookmarks in library books, holding up a "smile" poster, inspiring generosiTREE, or hugging trees. She's taken on personal practices including meditation, spending 40 days never looking in a mirror, and traveling only by foot or public transit as an experiment in trusting strangers. Every act unfolds with a simple intention of bringing more joy into the world.

In her own words, she reflects: "I’ve lived in many countries, including some where I wasn’t sure I wanted to be. A mentor once told me — “Bloom where you are planted,” and that has been my guiding light. Over the years, I have served in different spaces in different capacities — a cook, a teacher, a trainer, a fundraiser, a cleaner, a planner, a painter… however I was called to served. Two of my passions are cooking and being with children. I always loved cooking, creating something that is more than the sum of it’s ingredients, but volunteering at Seva Cafe in India taught me how the most important part of cooking was the love I was putting in while cooking. To cook mindfully and with reverence to everything that makes the meal possible.

She finds joy in crafting many forms of art (often as a gift to others), and has been tremendously inspired by souls like Kanti Kaka, who view themselves as an instrument through which art flows.

Join us on May 11th, 2019 for a deep-dive with a force of extra"ordinary" love, on her learnings from blooming wherever she is planted.


Five Questions for Ashima
What Makes You Come Alive?

Creating something makes me come alive. For me, art comes in many forms and shapes and whenever I create something with my hands be it a bookmark, a mandala, a floor rangoli, or a simple meal; it makes my heart sing! To be able to create and offer is a blessing and a joy. There was a time when I was attached to whatever I created, but ever since I met Kanti Kaka, I've practicing not to put my name on anything and letting go. It's been many years and it still a work in progress :-)

Pivotal turning point in your life?

There are actually two events that have been a turning point in my life. The first was when I started volunteering at Seva Cafe back in 2012. The first time that I picked up a ladle to stir the curry, Bhaskar bhai told me to take a moment and check in with myself if I'm holding any negative emotion. That was the day I learned that everything we create is so much more than it's ingredients. That my happiness or my anger will directly go into the food that I'm cooking or the art I'm making.The second was my first Awakin circle in 2013. I remember my first circle when I could not sit still for even 15 minutes and every time when I opened my eyes, I would see Jignasha sitting in stillness. And I remember wanting that stillness, that calm.Week after week, I would return to the circles. Awakin circles have and continue to change me beyond words. Everything I am today is a ripple of being able to sit in stillness.

An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?

After the floods in Uttarakhand in June 2013, I had gone to the mountains with Pratyush and Joseph ji. For almost 3 months we walked from one village to another, stopping wherever we were called to serve and serving in which ever capacity we could. During one such walk from one village to another, we stopped for a break on the banks of Ganga. For most part of those 3 months, we lived on the kindness of strangers but it was mostly in ashrams, or schools, or organizations. But this one day, an old lady who lived in a small hut on the banks of Ganga called us out. She asked us if we've had lunch. We looked at her hut with one mat and a small stove on a corner. My thinking mind was all very careful of not imposing on her, or not taking anything but maybe we could offer her something. But I was so wrong!She made tea for us, shared her biscuits with us and then the most beautiful gift of sharing her journey with us. How since last 40 years she was living in that hut waiting for Ganga to call her and how Ganga has been feeding her every day. She held my hands and I had tears rolling down. In our modern lives we build so many walls around us, but here she was teaching me to let go of my inhibitions, to welcome everyone inside and share my biscuit with all because Ganga is there to feed me the next day! It's been 5 years, I don't know if she is still there, but her lesson of undeterred faith will always be with me.

One Thing On Your Bucket List?

To learn how to swim :D

One-line Message for the World?

"Sometimes our light goes outbut is blown again into an instant flameby an encounter with another human being"

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