The word that is on my mind this month is TEAM. We had a meeting of the four of us living at the Ashram the other day and we discussed our plan for this upcoming Labor Day weekend, which often has two hundred or so visitors. We shared with our newest karma yogi, Betsy, who has been here for just over three weeks, how we really need to work as a team together. We explained how we look out for each other, check in with each other often, and make sure that no one gets over exhausted and that everyone has time for a rest, meals, and a walk.
There is just a lot to pay attention to when you live off the grid, have a propane stove you have to light by hand, a delicate propane refrigerator, live in the wilderness, and compost and recycle as much as possible. It felt great that we were all on the same page by the end of the meeting. At our weekly meeting with our whole staff we discussed similar things to both be prepared for the big weekend and also to remedy and clarify some of the situations that came up with our many visitors this last weekend.
There is such deep magic in coming together, like Shri Babaji said, we come to know each other better and differences between us seem to melt away and our common goal of serving the Ashram and through this, humanity, takes the forefront. I love that we make sharing time like this a priority here. Our Ashram Board of Director meetings are also like this. I am often amazed at the end of any of these meeting just how ingeniously problems are solved and how easily new creative ideas are generated. We are really such a big team here supporting this Ashram!
One fun example of our great team spirit was last Spring when I asked the Board if any one would help with sewing the Divine Mother’s nine saris for Navratri. Our wonderful board not only supported this idea, but decided to set up a sewing party and when we announced it in the newsletter, even more people joined in. Well we just organized one for Fall Navrati and looks like we will have a big table full of seamstresses again! It is Wednesday, September 7 from 9am until 1pm if you wish to join the fun!
It is a rich feeling for me not to feel alone. Most of my life, I have felt like I needed to be the strong one that supported others when they were in need of help. It was generally a foreign thought to consider reaching out to others when I was sad or confused; I never wanted to bring other people down. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons I have learned from my Real Love work is to get supported when I am not feeling peaceful and loved. The network that Greg Baer has organized through the Reallove.com website is phenomenal and I feel blessed to be part of it. I speak to people around the country and listen to people around the world on conference calls all the time. Even though I have never met most of these people in person, their love, clarity, and kindness are always there for me. I have learned that a quick phone call (usually less than 10 minutes) can make the difference between a day of stressful hurrying to get things done and a day of peacefulness where everything seems to get done just fine but in a joyful flow of loving teamwork.
I was shopping today in City Market in Alamosa and I loved it when I heard an announcement over the loudspeaker that is was time for the City Market TEAM to take their walk! Shri Babaji spoke about working together and being a team as a very necessary component for humanity, particularly during this Kali Yuga age. At the staff meeting we coined the phrase TEAM ASHRAM! And am I ever happy to be part of it!
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The full-moon fire ceremony this month is on Friday, September16 and the next new-moon fire ceremony will be on Friday, September 30. 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.)
Sewing for the Divine Mother! – Wednesday, September 7 from 9am until 1pm
Last Spring eight of us gathered at the Ashram to sew all of the saris for the Divine Mother to wear for Spring Navratri. It was a delightful time together and as one of the participants remarked when I asked her to join us again, “Oh of course I will come again! Just to know I was sewing for the Divine Mother and to see and feel all those beautifully divine fabrics was remarkable." If you would like to join us, give us a call at 719-256-4108 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you soon!
Fall Navratri (Divine Mother Festival)
Saturday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 9
The beautiful festival celebrating the Divine Mother, Fall Navratri is coming up soon. We are fortunate to have two full weekends with five glorious days in between this year. The dorm is already totally booked for the second weekend, we still have a little room for the first weekend. We are excited to have folks coming from Florida, New York, California, and closer areas, some have not been here for years. Each day we will have large fire ceremonies, extra pujas, discourses, chanting, bhandaras, and aaratis. We hope you can join us, at least in spirit for this wonderful time to thank our benevolent Divine Mother. You may sponsor a fire ceremony or bhandara by clicking here. Let us know if you have a preference of a particular day. The first three days honor Mother Durga, the next three, Mother Lakshmi, and the final three, Maha Saraswati. You may email us at email@example.com or call us at 719-256-4108. Jai Ma!
Diwali - Sunday, October 30
The special Festival of Lights (Diwali) will be gloriously celebrated at the Ashram on Sunday, October 30. We will begin with the new-moon fire ceremony at 10am followed by a meal. The rest of the day we will be setting up the luminarios around the temple and Ashram grounds and getting all the delicious food ready for the evening. The luminescent evening will begin this year at 5pm with aarati and we will gather from 6pm until 7:30pm sharing songs of peace and light. This will be followed by an Indian feast and lots of desserts. Call with questions or if you would like to reserve space in the dorm at 719-256-4108. It is always an evening to remember!
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Repairing the greenhouse, refinishing the temple windows, clearing old wood from the grounds, deep cleaning of all the buildings, wood cutting and gathering, water system raking, battery checking, hosting all of our guests, and all the other regular duties at the Ashram kept all of us and all of our many volunteers busy this month. Thank you to all.
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!!
It seems hard to believe that we began this super full month with our Annual Family week. It was profound and fun bringing together many old friends that come year after year and quickly assimilating new members in to the Family. The bonding that takes place during this time is deep and unique. The children’s program led by Kelly Hossner-Crowley was great. Their big project was creating this amazing paper mache flying horse that was featured in a tale about Lakshmi and Vishnu. Our daily family meetings are also moving and help us connect on a deeper level. We love to watch all of our children grow, many serve as helpers and counselors now that they are too old for the Children's program.
Real Love Workshop with Inge Jeckart
While the children were hiking, doing karma yoga, chanting, and making paper mache horses, the adults gathered in the temple and learned about how important having true unconditional love in our lives is.
Igne Jechart, a coach with Real Love, traveled from northern California to lead us in this work. Her contact is firstname.lastname@example.org.
At least 25 folks immersed themselves in these profound teachings each day. Many have joined the weekly study group that is held every Tuesday from 1 – 3pm at the Ashram. We were deeply grateful to bring this knowledge to so many folks.
Transformational Studies Group, Sufi Group, and Kriya Yogi Group Visit the Ashram
Sari Terusa brought a great group of about 20 pilgrims from Florida to the Ashram to experience a day of aarati, fire ceremony, and karma yoga. No stone was left unturned as they cleaned the dormitory, the temple, the earthship, the grounds, and made granola, cakes, cookies, enchiladas, chai spices and dal for Family Week, which was beginning the next day.
A couple days after family week, a group of ten Kriya Yogis from around the country stayed at the Ashram. Their love and devotion were apparent and deeply appreciated.
The following Friday, a group of Sufis came to the Ashram for fire ceremony, breakfast, questions and answers and even a Dance for World Peace.