Category Archives: Service

Service: The Heart’s Vocation

Bryce AutumnQuite awhile back I graduated with a degree in social work and immediately landed a paying position in this serving profession. Years on, the form of my work life has evolved, as has my appreciation for the Essence of Service. An Essence whose extraordinary everydayness transcends societal labels and in its own way is as moving and shaking and rewarding as a respected job title or university diploma.

Living the Essence of Service is a vocation unrivaled in beauty and significance.  It is Being in the Heart and Responding from there.

The Heart’s natural work is to hear needs and embrace them. Touched by inspiration, the Heart reaches out.  It perceives healing opportunities and Initiates wise actions. Knows interconnection, responsibility, and well-being.  Is Tender. Fierce. Unrelenting. Generous. Courageous. Comforting.  Depending on the need.

Circumstances that propel us beyond the ordinary and that push personal buttons put our Service staying power to the test.  The normal routine of relationships, commitments, and professional binds brings its own challenges.

How then to stay fresh? Serving? In the Heart’s vocation?   Each of us, I believe, is charged to find personally resonant ways.


Last week my way brought me to three days of hiking with my Mom in Utah’s stunning Bryce Canyon and captivating Kodachrome Basin State Park. Penetrating sun. Clear air.  Exquisite rock formations. On the less traveled paths, away from the selfie picture taking crowds, the high desert drew me in, It played on my senses with compelling affinity, matching beauty for beauty my highest ideal of the Heart’s capacity to listen, touch, see, apply and know.  I had expected a nice get-away; this embrace exceeded my imagination.

I returned to my workplace renewed, but most importantly I was restored in the Heart’s vocation. Refreshed.  I’m grateful.

Service: Feeding the Hunger to Give and Make a Difference

Hungry Bowls

Choose Your Bowl

Last Saturday I wiped clean my bowl of robust vegan mushroom soup with a hearty crust of bread.  Every morsel was worth savoring.  Not only because of the pleasing texture and taste, but  because of the occasion’s intent.

The Second Annual Hungry Bowls gathering, a local re-creation of the international Empty Bowls effort, raises awareness and money for Carroll County’s Flint Street and Loaves and Fishes Food Banks. The event is powered by my neighbor, Jim Wallace, and other area potters who handcraft hundreds of soup bowls and pull together the community dinner.

Jerry Jones and Friends$20 buys Hungry Bowl attendees a unique bowl of one’s choosing, a meal of soup and bread donated by local restaurants, and an evening of good company along with the toe-tapping music of Jerry Jones and Friends. All celebrated in the Eureka Springs High School cafeteria.  Simple.  Down home.

Potters Doug Powell and Jim Wallace

Potters Doug Powell and Jim Wallace

In this “click for a cause” world of online protests and petitions, I find real-time, tangible place, local flavor, neighbor-helping-neighbor efforts vitally refreshing and effective both in spirit and action. Hungry Bowls puts food on tables during the economically challenging winter months.  One one hand it doesn’t directly confront causes of the hunger scourge — income inequality, societal priorities, food waste,etc.  But on another it strikes at the very heart of the matter by releasing our human capacity for mutual awareness, practical action and cooperative effort.  And by nourishing our innate desire to give and make a difference.

What local effort is your Heart feeding and being fed by these days?