“Community!” This is the first word that comes out of Paula’s mouth when I ask her what her favorite thing about volunteering at Spirit Rock for the Monday Night Meditation Class is. “I think that it is important to feel a part of a community, doing something positive, being part of a community connects you in a very profound way. That is what Sangha is- community, but to volunteer makes you feel an even more deep connection to community.”
Paula has been volunteering at the Monday Night Meditation Class for about six years. She is one of the first people you will see when you enter the building, greeting you and holding the basket to collect the fee. “I love holding the basket. I know from my own experience that people can come in with a lot of skepticism, and to be there with a warm and open heart, people, especially new people, are grateful for that.”
Paula shares this warm and open heart in quite a few communities around the Bay Area. Along with being a mother of two sons and a partner, she works during the school year in San Francisco, teaching computer skills to elementary school students. She has spent her past six summers Co-Directing a program called ‘Aim High’, an academic enrichment program for underserved middle school kids. Here kids are nurtured in a fun and exciting environment, and are given a lot of personal attention. This year they are even integrating in a program called “Tools for Peace”, started by a Tibetan Lama. This program teaches youth to cultivate compassion and peace through Mindfulness and Meditation.
Paula says that she has seen all of these communities cross over at Spirit Rock. Greeting people she comes across parents from her school, people she recognizes from her neighborhood. One of the first people she got to know here at Spirit Rock looked so familiar to her. They started talking and found out that they lived next door to each other in the city but had never met. This person was Rik Center, who spent quite a bit of time volunteering here as well. Another time, a girl came in who had gone through the middle school summer program with Paula. She now had a Masters degree in chemistry and the two had a reunion in the Community Meditation Hall foyer. They still cross paths here to this day.
Along with all of her beautiful community service work, Paula is an artist, focusing on botanical art. Watercolor painting as well as drawing. Her most recent love is working with silver, doing silver point drawings, a technique used back in the times of the Renaissance. “I love doing detailed work. It is another form of meditation for me. Doing silver point with nature is like interviewing a leaf or a seed pod.”
We are so fortunate to have such an interesting, bright and engaged person in our midst. Here are a few things people who have worked with Paula have said:
“ She is extremely friendly, always so warm, you can tell that she works with children because she is so patient. You walk in and she is the first person you see and she has this incredible smile.”
“I am always surprised at the different aspects of her life, from her art to her family, she is always so positive and upbeat.”
“She is a rock, so dependable!”
So next time you come to the Monday Night Meditation please give her a little bow. We are so grateful for Paula and all of the Volunteer Community/ Sangha here at Spirit Rock. Thank you to all of you who are currently serving here as a volunteer. And to those of you who are interested in volunteering, please consider this an invitation. Come deepen your connection.
If you are interested in joining the Volunteer Sangha at Spirit Rock, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com or call (415)488-0164 ext. 224.