Heartfelt Service: An Act of Loving
"When you move into a consciousness of service, you realize that the first thing you have to do is love. If you drop out of loving, you have also dropped out of service, and you may be doing things mechanically. You are no longer being of service; you are now being of "slaving," where you feel like you are a slave to something. When loving comes back in, then the serving reappears.”
- John-Roger, D.S.S.
The following article is part two of five in our HeartFelt Global Network series on service.
Jennifer Cayer from Los Angeles, California
Jennifer currently services at the Culver City Senior Center, 2 times per week for 2 hours per day (when not traveling for work) supporting the Los Angeles County Senior Nutrition Program, which feeds approximately 100 seniors’ low-cost or no-cost lunches.
I asked her about service and here is what she had to say:
Skyler: What does service mean to you?
Jennifer: Service is being fully present with a consciousness of authentic caring, curiosity, listening and willingness to do what Spirit asks in each moment. Certainly service means giving and receiving, being in the flow, sharing without expectation of return, accepting the gifts that surface, surrendering to what is needed/wanted/wished for this moment, and foremost demonstrating loving. And for me service brings both the requirements and the gifts of putting aside my own agenda, thoughts, beliefs and ego positions to honor who and what is present, including my own authentic expression.
Service is hope. Hope that I and others can manifest and demonstrate on this level here, in this world in this moment, some of the magnificence of the other 90%.
Skyler: What inspires you into service?
Jennifer: Service is a way of being, a way of life actually, and I am grateful for the training I’ve received with all the organizations with which I’ve been involved over the years. I am also grateful to be asked this question, so that I can examine what has become as natural as breathing to discover what is underneath.
J-R’s words around service being the highest form of consciousness (something like that!) penetrated my being a long time ago, and I think I have been aspiring to live as a true initiate through serving. If I am able to work in small ways, in small moments, to hold a service consciousness, then perhaps I can contribute to the greater good. The familiar words, “for the highest good of all concerned” remind me that it’s okay if things don’t look or sound or feel in the way I prefer; the only question left is how I am going to express myself, or my response to the stimulus that is present.
My experience with serving is that it creates loving and joyful moments. I think service creates the environment for Satsang, which is one of the primary ways I connect with Spirit. So perhaps my true answer is that “Self-ishness” with a capital S inspires me to serve!
Skyler: How did you become involved with hospice?
Jennifer: This question makes me laugh out loud! A service project was part of the required curriculum for USM’s CHH program last year, in which I participated. I thought this would be the simplest and easiest part of the program for me …and Spirit really had fun with me. I was challenged to find something outside my usual patterns (which translated for me to volunteer outside our family organizations), and my ping-pong inner responses were hilarious. A woman at my gym had a CCSC newsletter posted one day, I spoke with her about her volunteer service there, and then simply called the volunteer coordinator listed in that newsletter. (Basically, I just did it – thank you, Nike, for the tag line!) But I also checked online for volunteer opportunities and considered several before making this choice.
Skyler: Why were you drawn to this project?
Jennifer: There are multiple answers to this question. Tactically, I wanted to find something flexible because of my typical heavy workload and business travel schedule; and I wished my service to be local so I could ground more of my energy around home. The nutrition program at the center provides this. But the essential draw was that this project met my desire to provide ordinary support and service that made an extraordinary difference in daily lives. It’s a way I can contribute without having to be in charge of anything, without supporting a huge vision or mission; I am reminded each time I serve that there is value in simply being present and doing what needs to be done.
Skyler: What advice would you give to someone wishing to be more involved in service, but perhaps doesn't know where to start?
Jennifer: Once again my two perspectives come into play. On the inner, I invite us all to become more aware of what is present in our daily lives, and to perhaps put on a special pair of etheric sunglasses that illuminate everyday service opportunities. How did I happen to see that newsletter at the gym when I am usually super-focused on getting in a good workout? Some part of me was paying attention.
Practically, check out volunteermatch.org for possibilities, and pick one. Or easier yet for those of us involved in Heartfelt/HeartReach/MSIA/IIWP/Insight/USM/Etc., just pick up the phone, call, and ask what needs to be done. Try a few things. My husband says I have a Whitman-Sampler approach to life: I grab ahold of something, bite into it, and then see if I like it. If I don’t, I put it back (eeeew!). If I do, then I lean in farther, and then if I still like it, I commit. Hey, it’s worked well for me in the area of service, and has brought joy, fun stories and a lot of learning.
Thank you, Jennifer for sharing your ministry and service. Your sharing enriches our collective experience and understanding of serving and giving.
If this has inspired you to share your ministry or service in future HeartFelt Global Network articles, get in touch! Email Skyler@heartfelt.org
"The highest form of consciousness is service. And the highest form of service is selfless service." – John-Roger, D.S.S.
We are one in our loving for one another.
Skyler Patton, HeartFelt Director
office: (323) 328-1925