RE-Juicing the Common Ground with Rowan Duczek
Service is a complex term because of its linguistic closeness to servitude, and can be a delight or a chore. I presume many of us will have experienced service by people who did not want to serve, the bored shop assistant or the arrogant waiter, and it is a demeaning experience. Good, enjoyable service has more in common with Play than with Duty. Play involves attention, focus and fun, while service linked to Duty can become stale and foster resentment.
Within the spiritual and New Age literature one finds terms like ‘being a World Server’ or an ‘Emissary of Light’ that sound very grandiose. For me, service is a quiet and most of all a natural activity that nourishes both, giver and receiver. I have a garden and Nature gives so generously if I put some effort in, and so it is with people and projects. Possibly, a healthy attitude to service entails that it is given without the secret desire for praise and acknowledgement.
Some 50 years ago my mum – mother of 5 daughters – said in a grave voice, “A woman’s role is to serve” and my rebellious 14 year old self shot back, “I will NEVER serve!” Now, looking back, it seems that I have served my own little family all my life, as parents do. But I also create spaces to nourish myself. After the quick succession of her children leaving home, my mum needed years to get in touch again with her own needs and undoubted creative talents. Perhaps, service is ultimately a question of balance and proportion. It is helpful to ask oneself honestly, “Why am I doing this and what is my intention?” Once clear on these points, it bypasses the sense of ‘feeling used’ or any notion of self-aggrandisement
- Have you experienced positive, life-affirming service either as a giver or receiver?
- Were there times when service has felt like a chore, and why?
- How do you create spaces that nourish you?