What working at a Homeless Shelter taught me about Culture

I had an amazing time with Tiny Cabins Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter (Formerly known as Tent City)

Yesterday, we provided catered lunch and an all day Art as Meditation class at the camp. I hope to return here to visit often – this is an amazing group of kind hearted folks, that encompass what it is to be community and family.

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It was great getting to know every unique and wonderful soul at the camp. Each person has their own light of greatness to offer this world – kindness, compassion, intelligence, knowledge, humor, leadership and quite a few natural artists too!

tc19 “A soul goes beyond the needs of the inputs and outputs a machine requires. For a healthy, happy, human society to thrive, all people must feel a part of it.”

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Amazing Acrylic Pouring Techniques

Tiny Cabins, Formerly known here in Seattle Washington as “Tent city”, is a homeless shelter. By the way, they are drug and alcohol free.  The people there are indeed homeless and live in tiny temporary sheds (kinda like those you find at home depot). Amenities are scarce – there are a few porta potty- but no showers yet. This will be in the works soon (we hope). By the way, there are children that live there too.

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After lunch, we got to know each other, about meditation, and how art can be used as a tool for wellness. We covered some basic art concepts such as horizon lines, texture, color mixing, abstract, fauvism, and acrylic pouring; then our campers went to work creating works of art either in the shared kitchen tent or outdoors.

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A natural plein air impressionist at work

They were allowed to paint as much as they wanted to and use as many of the supplies as they desired. Some painted several paintings. Some painted with brushes, others decided to paint freely with their hands, while a couple decided to use acrylic pouring techniques. A couple of students decided to paint privately while some preferred company.

But each one created something beautiful.

And each individual taught me a profoundly beautiful message.

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All the while that we worked, we talked freely, transparently. There was a sense of trust amongst the entire group. No animosity, no fear, no judgement. There was joking, laughing, but no passive aggressiveness of any kind.

There was mutual respect. Please, thank you, and many smiles were exchanged freely, naturally, effortlessly, authentically.

Encouragement – normal.

Complaints – none.

Politeness.

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When it came time to leave, every individual pitched in to help clean up, pack supplies, and load them back into the truck. This was something they offered and wanted to do.

Someone inside ran out to bring a forgotten apron that was accidentally left on a table. And before I drove off, they each gave me a profound hug – those type of hugs that really mean you care.

I left with two gifts. Panda, the village elder, gave me the painting he made of a dream catcher. The other is a message and a lesson that will remain with me always.

Remember not all help has to come in the form of canned food and donation dollars.

A soul goes beyond the needs of the inputs and outputs a machine requires. For a healthy, happy, human society to thrive, all people must feel a part of it.

If you are wondering where to donate, Tiny cabins is supported under a broader nonprofit called Low Income Housing Institute.

And they will receive funds if you donate.

Here is their contact info:

www.LIHI.org

Or please do visit. And if you happen to pass someone that is homeless on the street, Don’t look away. Say hello.

 

-Rivkah

paintmymeditation.com

 

 

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