Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Cupcakes, Smiles and the Spirit of Baraka

--by KHF, posted Aug 26, 2009

It was 8.30 am on Sunday morning. I woke up exhausted from a very hectic weekend, but had a smile on my face at the thought of our first London Smile Card Activity!  The weather was brilliant, it was going to be a fantastic day!

I grabbed my batch of cupcakes which I had made the day before...this was my first attempt at baking, and my husband warned me that taking on this feat of making 50 cupcakes for a public audience was overly ambitious. I bought a box of pre-made cupcake mix in trepidation, but decided the day before that I wasn't going to use it. I was going to do it from scratch, and do it with a heart full of love because that was the only way. After burning the first 3 batches, I started getting the hang of it...process of trial and error seemed to be teaching me something. The cupcakes were edible, and eventually, they were tasty! I made extras as my husband was eating my best ones, and in the process of baking my confidence and excitement soared!!

As I got ready on Sunday morning for the park, I decided to have one of my extra cupcakes for breakfast with coffee. Something had gone wrong, terribly wrong. They were horrible. I mean seriously bad.  Some sort of strange chemical reaction overnight? I had never heard of such a thing, but it had happened.  In panic, I ran over to our nearest convenience stores..three of them. I found one batch of unglazed cupcakes, so I grabbed them in a rush. I was now late for the ice-glazing party, my cupcakes were ruined and I hadn't managed to replace them all, I was going to let everyone down. I felt horrible. I knew how hard everyone was working for this, and I dreaded the thought of being the one that was going to be the one that set everyone back.

As I walked into my friend's house, where everyone was going to meet that morning, with my tail between my legs, I was hit with this buzz, this amazing energy. Posters were being made, icing was being frosted, cupcakes were being decorated with smiley faces and hearts, the music was going.  As often happens in a circle of sharing and love, 'baraka' unfurled itself.

Baraka is an Arabic term for the concept of endless blessing, or a gift that keeps on giving. . My father first cited the word to describe a gathering where there wasn't enough food, too many guests showed up, and when you would panic and expect for the food to run out, it manages to overflow. People pull together, they share, they eat less, they make 'not enough' turn into abundance. Its a small bowl filled that never reaches the bottom, because everyone that contributes to the bowl and takes from it does it in the spirit of love and sharing. Everytime in my life I've experienced bakara, it felt like a miracle...this was no exception. In the spirit of love and giving, the other cupcake bakers made extras, and it more than made up for my deficit. In the spirit of love, everyone pulled together and we had abundance when in all practicality, we should've had scarcity. And everyone reminded me of that ... no one chastised me, or even allowed me to continue on my cupcake hunt across grocery stores in London. They simply said 'we're okay, we have enough, it'll be here, be present, enjoy the experience and help us decorate!'

The rest of the day continued in the spirit of bakara. We were afraid that we'd run out of cupcakes in 10 minutes. But there were sweets, chocolates, smile cards and just plain smiles to give away. We went on the entire afternoon giving, and giving and giving...our small bowl never seemed to go empty. In fact, most of us would agree that even when our bowl finally was empty, it was indeed full of the smiles and good wishes we received, and small moments of transformation that we experienced. It was inded a fantastic day, just as I knew it would be. It was the miracle of love, giving and baraka.

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Readers Comments

dhivyashana wrote: Thank you for sharing this
lilmorningdove wrote: What a blessing thank you for sharing
Sarah wrote: What a wonderful story. You and your group did a great thing. It made people believe in kindness again.
iferlamb wrote: This is such an awesome idea! Thank you for sharing it.

Sydney wrote: This is a really great post that captures a really great day!

What a positive way for a day that had started of 'wrong' to end.

Keep up the smiles! ;-)
Richard wrote: Thank you for sharing this. And it's wonderful to have this powerful new word "baraka" added to my vocabulary. It's a word we need. Knowing it, and having its meaning made apparent, can help its reality come more often into the world.
twiceblessed wrote: What a wonderful thing that you guys did, and that you experienced along the way. It is truly through the process of emptying ourselves and giving selflessly that we receive the gift of 'baraka'.
cabbagepatch wrote: What a fantastix experience. So true when you dfo something with love for others the bowl is never empty. Your group is an inspiration to all.
Sri wrote: I was around briefly to hear about the planning, to hear about the unfolding and the way you experienced it is cool.

Thanks. Sri
Shez wrote: I am the husband. Yes they were tasty when they first came out of the oven and yes there was a chemical reaction that happened overnight - one that did not cause me to smile for most of the day!

Seriously, sounds like a truly amazing experience was had by all. I know karishma came back with a big smile!

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