We just completed our Annual American Samaj Weekend followed by the New-moon Fire Ceremony, followed by Family Week and the Real Love Workshop. It was both magical and a huge under taking, and the primary reason this newsletter is over a week later than usual! As far as the news, I will keep this to the news of the past month, July, and leave the events that have happened in this first part of August for the next newsletter.
However, I will speak to something discussed at the Real Love Workshop this last week that has rung very clear for me and that I could feel viscerally in my body. It is the effect that fear has upon me and how it colors my perception of what is going on around me. My fear runs deep and at its source is usually this belief that I am not worthy of being unconditionally loved. My parents did the best they could and were very good people AND they treated me differently if I was good and smiley and got good grades and did not cause any trouble. I could definitely feel the difference though, and it was terrifying to me as a child, when they withheld their love and approval when I made mistakes and goofed up.
I therefore decided to hide anything that I thought would be disapproved of and show only my happy face. This may seem to be a pleasant thing for parents but it was devastating for me as a full human being. Living a life of fear of being discovered as a person that has both strengths and weaknesses has kept me from fully engaging in life, particularly in difficult situations.
As I have been doing this Real Love work for the last several months, I am becoming more aware of when I am trudging through my day in fear or when I am flowing in peace and knowing that I am loved just as I am. I could feel this during our Family Week. The first day was blissful and flowing, even though there were many more adults and children than we had expected. The next morning, although not much had changed externally, I felt constricted and found myself judging people and being bugged by situations that had been fine the day before. Fortunately, I could share my feelings during the Real Love group and was helped to see that I was in fear about anything not going perfectly as I thought it would reflect on me and prove that I was not lovable or worthwhile. After seeing this and being loved in my imperfection, I felt a cloud of darkness leave me and I was back in peace and joy. The next day was so easy and blissful again despite the added confusion of a day full of rain.
Asking myself the question, "How can I be more loving to this person in this moment" has been a huge help to me. Sunday morning I felt myself going into judgement about someone and when I asked this question and chose to move toward love, I felt so much lighter. It remained all day, surprising since we had four Indian families here making breakfast and lunch in a lot of chaos. It was joyfully flowing and even a karma yogi who sometimes becomes overwhelmed by too many people in the kitchen commented on how harmonious it all felt. I cannot take all of the credit for this joyful feeling in the kitchen but I know my peace added to this sense of harmony. A little later this newsletter crashed and I lost a good part of the work I had done on it and still the feeling of peace prevailed. As the time for the evening aarati approached, I felt myself begin to get tense and cranky wanting to get the newsletter out that day, Sunday. I recognized this not to be a peaceful state and made a decision not to trade my peace and joy for the completion of a newsletter. That was a big step for me and led to a beautiful evening connecting with many people and so the newsletter is still in progress!
Once again, I am so grateful to live here in Shri Babaji's and the Divine Mother's infinite love for me. I feel deeply supported by so many people, it is a great tribute to the path of truth, simplicity, love, and service that Babaji gave us.
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony this month is on Thursday, August 18 and the next new-moon fire ceremony will be on Thursday, September 1. The fire ceremonies begin at 10am and are followed by a meal. Please arrive ten minutes early, freshly bathed, in a long skirt or pants with shoulders covered, and having fasted from grains, cereals, meat, eggs, garlic and onions. Fruit, yogurt, unsalted nuts, veggies and tea or coffee are fine to eat before. Also, if you have a dietary need for something more hearty before our meal at 11:30 or so, please partake.
Our evening aarati is at 6pm and morning aarati at 7am, with paduka puja at 6:30am and the small fire ceremony is at 8:00am. We do not have the small fire ceremony when we have our large fire ceremony on new and full moon. Lunch is served at about 12:30 or 1pm, and we invite you to join us. (Call if you are a group or have special dietary needs.) The Maha Lakshmi Shop is open every day from 10am until 5pm. We love to see you.
If you would like to participate by sponsoring a fire ceremony or a bhandara (feast), we would be happy to send you a blessed item from the fire ceremony if you request. They are:
$27 sponsorship - Copper, brass, nickel Om Namah Shivaya bracelet
$54 sponsorship - Rudraksha, Rosewood, or Tulsi Mala
$108 sponsorship - Rose Quartz Mala or a copper, silver, brass Om Haidakhandi bracelet
(Click here to go to our Paypal link to sponsor a fire or bhandara.)
Divine Mother of Crestone 2017 Calendar Has Arrived and Selling Fast!
The new calendar has arrived and is even more spectacular than imagined! (See under Maha Lakshmi Shop for more images.) What an amazing thing to have a different professionally produced image of the resplendent Divine Mother of Crestone on your wall each month. This first ever magnificent calendar measures 12" by 12" on 120 lb. gloss and sells for $25. Each image will be framable and contains a heart-melting quote from The Haidakhandeswari Sapta Sati written by our beloved Shastriji. We are deeply grateful to award winning photographer and long-time devotee, JD Marston (aka Ram Dass) for undertaking this breath-taking project. To order you may call us at 719-256-4108 or go on-line to our shop website at https://mahalakshmishop.wazala.com/products/divine-mother-of-crestone-2017-calendar/ . It is listed under Devotional Items. If you are a center or ashram there is a 20% discount for quantity orders. Jai Ma!
Next Big Event -
Fall Navratri from Saturday, October 1
through Sunday, October 9
This special time at the Ashram when we come together to honor, thank, and express our deep devotion to the Divine Mother is always a heartfelt time. We have daily large fire ceremonies, extra pujas, aaratis, chanting, discourses, and readings from the Haidakhandiswari Sapta Sati and the Srimad Devi Bhagavatam. It is a rich time.
Please join us if you can. We are already filling up for the weekend nights (fortunateley we have two weekends during Navratri this year!) so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 719-256-4108. Jai Ma!
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Another month of generous helpers and lots of karma yoga. We appreciate you all so very much, thank you. So much keeps getting accomplished by your generosity and love.
We are so grateful for all of the love and help that Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother send to us.
We ask each of you to look into your hearts and see what this Ashram means to you and to please donate as you are able. You may go to our website and donate through PayPal (you can even set up a monthly tithe). You can also send a check (made out to HUA) to P.O. Box 9, Crestone Co, 81131 for your support, love, and prayers. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!!
Fourth of July Weekend
Lots of folks. lots of meals, lots of joy!
Ashram Receives Donation of a New Car
As most of you know, we have been wanting to get a newer car. Most of the Ashram's cars are over 20 years old and have nearly 300,000 miles on them so we have been putting out the word for the last many months. By Baba and Mother's blessing and the generosity of Susan Black, we not only received a newer car but a brand new 2016 Honda CRV! We were stunned and overwhelmed with gratitude. Here is Susan presenting the car and the next photo is the Ashram Board doing a puja to the new car. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
JD Marston (aka Ram Dass) and Dharmananda Return to their Homes
We bade goodby to JD at the beginning of July when he returned home to Thailand after being at the Ashram for two months. He was deeply appreciated here and is contribution of the photography and layout of our new Divine Mother Calendar will be remembered.
Shortly after this, our dear friend, Dharmananda returned to New Zealand after a much shorter than usual stay. This year he just could not adjust to the high altitude here and he finally had to surrender and return home. We are happy to say that he seems in good spirits and good health now that he is at sea level again. We send our love and gratitude to both of these long-time devotees.
Jai Shankar Represents America at the Jai Ho "Next Generation Gathering" in Holland
"When I first arrived to Sada Shiva Dham in Holland, a person I have never met before greeted me with a hug. I was in an instant filled with so much joy to have been given the opportunity to go to this amazing place for such an important gathering. That evening, most of the people arrived from all around the world. People from Russia, Poland, Sweden, Scotland, Italy, Australia, and so on came for this same gathering I was coming for. The feeling was very unique, because all of us young adults gathered here in Holland were representing something so much more than, “Hi I’m Jai Shankar from the US”; but we each had a glow of the future about us.
"I had the honor to be part of this workshop that was organized by Jai Ho with many of the older Haidakhandi’s as our facilitators. To see some of these older devotees come together (some for the first time in ages) and look into each other’s eyes, laugh, embrace as though they have finally been reunited with a long lost brother or sister was such an inspiring feeling. These devotees who had met while they were with Shri Babaji, were able to share their experiences and wisdom with all of us present. The practical tools that we learned during our workshops were so solid gold that we were able to put them into action immediately during the following day's discussion. All of us involved in the gathering became so close so quickly. W