Fall Navratri, which began at the first of this month was very full and wonderful and is a big reason why this newsletter is still in process. I will save the stories and photos from Navratri for next newsletter, since we have so many September activities to cover here. Trust is what is up for me this month, as I am learning about it a lot lately. Obviously it was an act of trust to know that it would be okay with all of you to get this newsletter off so late, allowing me to have a stress free (although very busy) Navratri.
Deep trust in people has not been easy for me most of my life. As much as I loved my parents and appreciated my family, I was always nervous sitting at the dinner table because I was afraid my dad would get angry and leave the table as he did occasionally. Although it was understandable with 10 children at the table, it was still very scary for me. So instead of being trusting of a peaceful mealtime, I became hyper vigilant thinking I was responsible for preventing his anger. When I asked my mom for some time, I could not trust that she would be there for me. Once again, understandable with 10 children to care for, but when she would get irritated at me and send me off to play by myself, I was devastated. I actually remember playing by myself as a predominant memory as a child. I do not recall ever feeling treasured by my parents or that I could ask for their advice. I learned early it was better to just pretend to be fine, happy, smart, and stay out of trouble so as to cause as few waves as possible.
As I got older, this lack of trusting in others translated in my life as becoming a pretty strong individualist that was somehow separated from others. Even raising my family, since I had no one I trusted for advise on how to do this, I created my own picture of how an ideal mother would be. I think I achieved this but at the expense of manipulating my children to be the perfect kids they appeared to be. The deep cost of having them be my tools to reach a goal was that I never connected as deeply with them as I would have if I just allowed them to be who they really were.
Of course my time with Shri Babaji in 1981 and 1982 was a time of deep trust. I remember looking into His eyes and just seeing total unconditional love. I knew that I did not have to do anything to expand that love nor was there anything I could do to diminish that love. It was just there at every moment. Oh, to have felt that as a child and to have been able to give that to my children.
I am deeply grateful for my work with Real Love to finally experience trust in my every day life. I trust that it is really okay to be just the way I am, that asking for what I want or need is quite okay, and that people actually love me just for being me, not performing or accomplishing. I feel very easy at calling loving friends for support and love and trust their love and guidance. I feel a deep sense of ease in my body and much of the time I feel like I am flowing from situation to situation as it arises. Loving and deeply connecting interactions, with both new and old friends, occur daily.and it is so enriching.
Living at this Ashram I continually have opportunities to deepen my trust. As I mentioned above, we just completed Fall Navratri with all of the busyness that it entails. I had cataract surgery three weeks before and assumed this was enough time to adequately recover before Navratri. Well I had complications with swelling behind the retina, inflammation, and other unexpected side effects. I knew I was not in shape to take much on for this busy event and shared at our staff meeting the week before it began that I did not feel up to taking on any responsibilities, of which there are many. I trusted and sure enough everyone stepped up to the plate to fill the many duties and all went extremely well. I was actually able to participate and help out a lot but on my own time and with little or no stress. I am also happy to report that my eye is much better now and my vision seems to have improved a great deal.
I am also experiencing an even deeper trust in Shri Babaji and the Divine Mother. I continually see all around me the constant miracles that happen around the Ashram. I also realize that my prayers are even changing, where I used to ask Babaji and the Divine Mother for certain things, I begin to realize that that is doubting their infinite wisdom and all I need to do is thank and love Them with all my heart and trust completely in Their guidance and love.
In Truth and Love,
Ceremonies and Schedule
The new-moon fire ceremony this month will be on Sunday, October 30 (Diwali). The next full-moon fire ceremony will be on Monday, November 14. 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 (usually done indoors this time of year). 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.)
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. Afterwards 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!
New International Journal Published
Every six months dedicated devotees from England, Rob and Gaby Hock, with the help of their editing committee, publish a very inclusive and insightful journal on line. Here is the link http://hi-journal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/HI-JOURNAL_14.pdf
Let me know if you would like to begin receiving this. I enjoyed reading every bit of this fine publication.
Chanting and Satsang Evening in Decatur, GA
Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7pm
Fire Ceremony at 9am - Friday, Nov. 4
I will be traveling to Georgia in November for an evening of Kirtan and Satsang (Nov. 3) and a fire ceremony the next morning (Nov. 4) at our friends Pam and Kelly's home in Decatur, Georgia. Richard Cahall from Seattle, representing the American Haidakhan Samaj, will be joining us as well.
To RSVP please call Kelly at 404-271-3155 or Pam at 404-259-2586. We look forward to seeing you all there. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Deep cleaning in the temple, Baba’s kutir, the dormitory and earthship in preparation for Fall Navratri was a major focus this last month. We also decorated the temple beautifully, got three huge shipments of stock for the Maha Lakshmi Shop, collected and chopped large amounts of fire wood for the winter, and began the fall process of retiring our garden for the year. We also made all the saris for the nine days of Navrati, sewed the chunis for our Baba murti, the small Devis for puja and our kumaris for Chidlren’s day. This really kept all of us and 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!!
A Touching Wedding Celebration
Our dear friend and internationally renowned peacemaker, James O’Dea has been dealing with Parkinson disease now for several years. Two of his lovely sons are getting married in California in the next several months. Knowing that he could not attend their weddings due to his health, he asked if we could celebrate their wedding at the Ashram. We were more than happy to accommodate his request.
What a memorable occasion with the two brides and grooms to be, everyone’s parents and a few dear friends from Crestone blessing these upcoming weddings. We had the sacred fire ceremony and even had them take vows walking around the fire. The bhandara afterwards was full of love and blessings and James was grateful to tears for this sacred occasion. We love them all so much.
Sewing and Ironing Parties for the Divine Mother!
This Fall we had a great turn out for our sewing party and it was so fun, we had a second one. We also had an ironing party to make all of Mother’s saris really beautiful and ready for Navratri. How blessed we are in Crestone with so much support for the Ashram.
Students from Yampa High School in Glenwoods Springs, CO at the Ashram
It is always a great treat and often a huge help when groups of students come to the Ashram. This is the second year for this high school to send their student council for a day and a night. They plunged into the ceremonies and the karma yoga with great enthusiasm, since it was just before the beginning of Navratri, their help was extra helpful!
Fall Navratri (Divine Mother Festival)
The beautiful festival celebrating the Divine Mother, Fall Navratri, as I mentioned above, was wonderful. I will share more and all the amazing photos in the next newsletter.
Visitors to the Ashram
The weather has stayed magnificent and the colors as the trees change are spectacular. This along with our very, very busy Labor Day weekend made for a very full month. We love you all and appreciate that you would travel so far to have the darshan of the Divine Mother and Shri Babaji